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.



5 Comments

  1. bob witt

    My blood is boiling.
    I just returned from 3 day Marine reunion in Richmond of the 1st Division 7th Marines. I was not a Marine but my brother, a Platoon leader of 30 Marines,he gave his life on Valentine Day 1969. I met Marines who were shot through the mouth, the chest,the leg. I met a Marine with no legs. Most of these 60 year old men have varying degrees of traumatic stress. Not one complained about serving their country. Not one bragged about the war but all did what they thought was right. I would like to be in the same room for about 10 minutes and hear Richard Blumenthal explain his “service” to them. The few, the proud, not Mr. Blumenthal.
    Maybe he should google the term SEMPER FIDELIS.
    After spending 3 days with these true Marines, I have a little better
    understanding of that code that these Marines live everyday, everyday for the last 40 years

  2. James

    Looks another case of the NYT creating a crisis. Richard Blumenthal has said many times before in public that served state side during the war, and there is no evidence that he ever tried to insinuate otherwise before.

    The NYT simply has to report what appears to be a slip of the tongue remark “I served in ” instead of “I served during” and the media picks it up and runs with creating something out of nothing.

    I am no fan of Mr.Blumenthal’s politics,what worries me more is the power that a newspaper like NYT wields in creating stories, and making or breaking people, or the utter sense of moral superiority they have in thinking that THEY have the authority to publish National Secrets, when they see fit, which usually means when attacking a political opponent.

    As a Marine I have never found Mr.Blumenthal’s representation of his military service to be faulty in the past, and a Marine is a Marine, whether on the front lines or state side, or in the kitchen they all have their jobs to do, and they are all brothers.

  3. Steve

    Those who served, no matter what branch of the service, did not complain and many of them signed up to go to war on their own, no pressures. Those who served felt they were doing a service for their country, they did do a great service. All of them should be honored and taken better care of than the have been.

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