Another political career ends:
At a ceremony honoring veterans and senior citizens who sent presents to soldiers overseas, Attorney General Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut rose and spoke of an earlier time in his life.
“We have learned something important since the days that I served in Vietnam,” Mr. Blumenthal said to the group gathered in Norwalk in March 2008. “And you exemplify it. Whatever we think about the war, whatever we call it — Afghanistan or Iraq — we owe our military men and women unconditional support.”
There was one problem: Mr. Blumenthal, a Democrat now running for the United States Senate, never served in Vietnam. He obtained at least five military deferments from 1965 to 1970 and took repeated steps that enabled him to avoid going to war, according to records.
This one is catching many by surprise:
A lot of the insta-commentary has been to the effect that Blumenthal is just another sleazy politician. But this gets it wrong by a mile–for almost two decades, Blumenthal has been so pure, so revered throughout Connecticut that he has seemed to exist in a realm beyond politics. That’s not exaggeration. Everything about Blumenthal seemed to set him apart from the ordinary sleaze and compromise of big-time politics, especially in recent years as Joe Lieberman succumbed to narcissism and Chris Dodd’s sweetheart Countrywide mortgage tarnished him beyond redemption (or at least beyond reelection). For as long as I can remember, Blumenthal has been the crusading consumer advocate, humble, modest, unprepossessing, with that guileless Brylcreem haircut that somehow made him seem even more honorable–a throwback to an earlier era.
It seems like Blumenthal tried to walk a fine (although somewhat dishonest) line in describing his service. I know the media can distort these things, and they did get it wrong several times, but I can’t let him off the hook for that. When CNN implied that I was a solider (they never bothered to ask) I made it clear on Blogs of War that I was not. Any person of integrity, especially one who claims to care so deeply about those who served, would go to great lengths to set the story straight. Is he “just another sleazy politician“? I think so.