John Galt in Skirts in Connecticut

John Galt is alive and well and living in Connecticut. And he will be voting for Republican Linda McMahon for the U.S. Senate, if her reception by beleaguered taxpayers during a recent round of campaign tours is an indication. Or he may very well be Linda McMahon, judging by those who oppose her. The government bureaucrats, the political, media and academic elites aligned against her, are one with those who fought the fictional hero who defied "a collectivist system" marked by the "utter incompetence" of those in "governmental power" in Ayn Rand's classic, Atlas Shrugged.

Who is John Galt? That's the question asked throughout the book, growing since its publication in 1957 to a generalized rallying cry against, as the Wall Street Journal has put it, the "economic carnage caused by big government run amok."

"We're part of a real-life version" of the novel, lamented commentator Michelle Malkin, surveying the growing statism of American government at all levels during the first two years of the Obama administration. The meaning of the title comes from the metaphor of the mythic giant, Atlas, holding the world on his shoulders, burdened by massive bureaucracies and the corruption of the ruling elites. Atlas is a taxpayer, an entrepreneur, a worker in private industry who has been taxed and regulated until he has "blood running down his chest, his knees buckling, his arms trembling" -- and yet, he continues to try "to hold the world aloft with the last of his strength."

In the book, John Galt is an innovator angered by a government determined to engulf the private sector through confiscatory taxation and paralyzing bureaucracy. His solution: Atlas must shrug, no longer hold the world aloft, just as the taxpayer must refuse to carry the burden of an elite determined to take the fruits of his or her labor. Outside the book, in life, Linda McMahon walks the cities and towns in the heart of the Boston-New York corridor, speaking John Galt to what is becoming a growing population of John Galts in the deep blue state of Connecticut.

Bill Sbona, owner of Central News in downtown Middletown, expressed the growing anger during McMahon's recent tour of Connecticut: "Why should I work another four hours to pay for someone else's health care or mortgage? The government keeps taking from us." He glanced at McMahon exiting his store. "She knows what it's like to have to live under this."

Nick Lisitano, a 38-year veteran of the aeronautics industry, agreed. "She's built a business, not just taken from us." The government keeps taking, the politicians keep "ramming things down our throats," they agreed, a recurring theme on Main Street, and not just in central Connecticut.

The high-profile races are elsewhere. Sarah Palin has established her Mama Grizzlies, the conservative women running for higher office against conventional candidates who are part of the corruption that is politics-as-usual at the state and federal level; Sharron Angle is taking on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who has grown wealthy through public office and Democratic rule; Republican upstart Rand Paul finds both left and right political and media elites aligned against him in the Kentucky senatorial race. These are only a few of the races that together may provide conservatives with "the muscle to enact ... long-lasting and revolutionary changes" -- the way Bruce Walker of American Thinker put it.

But now, in historically Democratic Connecticut, Atlas has shrugged, where contempt for a political class has crystallized into the determination of taxpayers to rid themselves of career politicians. They started with the view expressed to pollsters that it is "time to kick Chris Dodd out of [the] Senate." Suddenly, corruption wasn't cool. Like his father, who was thrown out of office by voters after censure by the U.S. Senate, Dodd used his position to line his own pockets and funnel taxpayer money to a host of corporate and special interests. In return, they provided him with such Washington perks as a below-market mortgage and a vacation home on ten acres of Irish countryside, courtesy of the felon for whom the influential senator had obtained a pardon. Dodd, a career politician whose last shot at consumers and business was sponsorship of a finance bill that dramatically expands government, has come to symbolize the corruption and "very acts of economic lunacy" which, a Wall Street Journal senior economics writer noted, Rand portrayed in a work of fiction that, nearly forty years later, the Library of Congress found to be the second-most influential book in the lives of Americans. The Bible was first.

Enter Linda McMahon, who, like John Galt, stepped out of a high-profile job in private industry to fight against what the Wall Street Journal described as the "relentless wealth redistributionists and their programs" making everyone poorer. She put it this way to American Thinker during her recent tour of the state: "I looked at my grandchildren and realized that someone has to stop the nonsense, those who are robbing them of their future." Her four grandchildren have been born into a "wonderful country" that government "is dismantling."

And so McMahon stepped down as Chief Executive Officer of World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), the $1.1-billion entertainment juggernaut built with her husband. Her goal: Apply the operating and marketing savvy she used to build a profitable business to a government that has been left too long to beltway politicians such as Dodd, her primary opponent (former Republican Representative Rob Simmons), and the Democratic attorney general of the state now in the running for senate. (Richard Blumenthal is a career politician whose best friend and "political twin" was the disgraced former governor and attorney general of neighboring New York, Elliot Spitzer.)

Although losing the party endorsement, Simmons continues the fight in hopes of winning the general primary in two weeks. He is backed by the state's mainstream newspapers, which regularly demonize "ill-informed" taxpayers who dare to question their support of the state's political class, and the New York Times Company. The Times has hammered McMahon from the neighboring markets of New York and Boston for her "outsider" status, for daring to become a "multimillionaire" in an entertainment industry of no interest to the inhabitants of the Upper West Side of Manhattan (the home of its publisher and many of its executives and leading columnists, "where ostentatious is a way of life," noted one local blog), and simply for not being part of a political class that uses taxpayer money for everything -- including the Times headquarters in Manhattan and the property tax exemptions for the luxury condos of its executives.

One of the Times columnists who attacked, David Brooks, is blunt in his preference for professionals with "superior abilities to organize society" through "central regulations" -- just the kind of people brought into government by Barack Obama, he wrote admiringly, and valued by the career politicians regularly sent to Washington by Connecticut.

But the 61-year-old executive remains unruffled. Let them attack, McMahon said, "because Washington needs people who don't want to spend their lives in Washington, who have a life." Outside of Tschudin Chocolates, a spectator shook her head as she watched McMahon with the owner. "She's really like a normal person."

It was Linda McMahon making her way along Main Street in Middletown. But it could have been John Galt or Ronald Reagan ignoring the ninety-degree sun baking the sidewalk, talking about "oppressive bureaucracy" and "stifling government," intent on a single message: We don't work for government...it works for us. Her smile was quiet, but her words were loud: "Let's stop them."

Stuart Schwartz, a former retail and media executive, is on the faculty at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia.
John Galt is alive and well and living in Connecticut. And he will be voting for Republican Linda McMahon for the U.S. Senate, if her reception by beleaguered taxpayers during a recent round of campaign tours is an indication. Or he may very well be Linda McMahon, judging by those who oppose her. The government bureaucrats, the political, media and academic elites aligned against her, are one with those who fought the fictional hero who defied "a collectivist system" marked by the "utter incompetence" of those in "governmental power" in Ayn Rand's classic, Atlas Shrugged.

Who is John Galt? That's the question asked throughout the book, growing since its publication in 1957 to a generalized rallying cry against, as the Wall Street Journal has put it, the "economic carnage caused by big government run amok."

"We're part of a real-life version" of the novel, lamented commentator Michelle Malkin, surveying the growing statism of American government at all levels during the first two years of the Obama administration. The meaning of the title comes from the metaphor of the mythic giant, Atlas, holding the world on his shoulders, burdened by massive bureaucracies and the corruption of the ruling elites. Atlas is a taxpayer, an entrepreneur, a worker in private industry who has been taxed and regulated until he has "blood running down his chest, his knees buckling, his arms trembling" -- and yet, he continues to try "to hold the world aloft with the last of his strength."

In the book, John Galt is an innovator angered by a government determined to engulf the private sector through confiscatory taxation and paralyzing bureaucracy. His solution: Atlas must shrug, no longer hold the world aloft, just as the taxpayer must refuse to carry the burden of an elite determined to take the fruits of his or her labor. Outside the book, in life, Linda McMahon walks the cities and towns in the heart of the Boston-New York corridor, speaking John Galt to what is becoming a growing population of John Galts in the deep blue state of Connecticut.

Bill Sbona, owner of Central News in downtown Middletown, expressed the growing anger during McMahon's recent tour of Connecticut: "Why should I work another four hours to pay for someone else's health care or mortgage? The government keeps taking from us." He glanced at McMahon exiting his store. "She knows what it's like to have to live under this."

Nick Lisitano, a 38-year veteran of the aeronautics industry, agreed. "She's built a business, not just taken from us." The government keeps taking, the politicians keep "ramming things down our throats," they agreed, a recurring theme on Main Street, and not just in central Connecticut.

The high-profile races are elsewhere. Sarah Palin has established her Mama Grizzlies, the conservative women running for higher office against conventional candidates who are part of the corruption that is politics-as-usual at the state and federal level; Sharron Angle is taking on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who has grown wealthy through public office and Democratic rule; Republican upstart Rand Paul finds both left and right political and media elites aligned against him in the Kentucky senatorial race. These are only a few of the races that together may provide conservatives with "the muscle to enact ... long-lasting and revolutionary changes" -- the way Bruce Walker of American Thinker put it.

But now, in historically Democratic Connecticut, Atlas has shrugged, where contempt for a political class has crystallized into the determination of taxpayers to rid themselves of career politicians. They started with the view expressed to pollsters that it is "time to kick Chris Dodd out of [the] Senate." Suddenly, corruption wasn't cool. Like his father, who was thrown out of office by voters after censure by the U.S. Senate, Dodd used his position to line his own pockets and funnel taxpayer money to a host of corporate and special interests. In return, they provided him with such Washington perks as a below-market mortgage and a vacation home on ten acres of Irish countryside, courtesy of the felon for whom the influential senator had obtained a pardon. Dodd, a career politician whose last shot at consumers and business was sponsorship of a finance bill that dramatically expands government, has come to symbolize the corruption and "very acts of economic lunacy" which, a Wall Street Journal senior economics writer noted, Rand portrayed in a work of fiction that, nearly forty years later, the Library of Congress found to be the second-most influential book in the lives of Americans. The Bible was first.

Enter Linda McMahon, who, like John Galt, stepped out of a high-profile job in private industry to fight against what the Wall Street Journal described as the "relentless wealth redistributionists and their programs" making everyone poorer. She put it this way to American Thinker during her recent tour of the state: "I looked at my grandchildren and realized that someone has to stop the nonsense, those who are robbing them of their future." Her four grandchildren have been born into a "wonderful country" that government "is dismantling."

And so McMahon stepped down as Chief Executive Officer of World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), the $1.1-billion entertainment juggernaut built with her husband. Her goal: Apply the operating and marketing savvy she used to build a profitable business to a government that has been left too long to beltway politicians such as Dodd, her primary opponent (former Republican Representative Rob Simmons), and the Democratic attorney general of the state now in the running for senate. (Richard Blumenthal is a career politician whose best friend and "political twin" was the disgraced former governor and attorney general of neighboring New York, Elliot Spitzer.)

Although losing the party endorsement, Simmons continues the fight in hopes of winning the general primary in two weeks. He is backed by the state's mainstream newspapers, which regularly demonize "ill-informed" taxpayers who dare to question their support of the state's political class, and the New York Times Company. The Times has hammered McMahon from the neighboring markets of New York and Boston for her "outsider" status, for daring to become a "multimillionaire" in an entertainment industry of no interest to the inhabitants of the Upper West Side of Manhattan (the home of its publisher and many of its executives and leading columnists, "where ostentatious is a way of life," noted one local blog), and simply for not being part of a political class that uses taxpayer money for everything -- including the Times headquarters in Manhattan and the property tax exemptions for the luxury condos of its executives.

One of the Times columnists who attacked, David Brooks, is blunt in his preference for professionals with "superior abilities to organize society" through "central regulations" -- just the kind of people brought into government by Barack Obama, he wrote admiringly, and valued by the career politicians regularly sent to Washington by Connecticut.

But the 61-year-old executive remains unruffled. Let them attack, McMahon said, "because Washington needs people who don't want to spend their lives in Washington, who have a life." Outside of Tschudin Chocolates, a spectator shook her head as she watched McMahon with the owner. "She's really like a normal person."

It was Linda McMahon making her way along Main Street in Middletown. But it could have been John Galt or Ronald Reagan ignoring the ninety-degree sun baking the sidewalk, talking about "oppressive bureaucracy" and "stifling government," intent on a single message: We don't work for government...it works for us. Her smile was quiet, but her words were loud: "Let's stop them."

Stuart Schwartz, a former retail and media executive, is on the faculty at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia.