Even when Sen. Chris Dodd was seeking reelection with his anemic poll numbers, I was less than confident that Republicans had a shot at winning in Connecticut. When he announced his retirement, shortly followed by the entry of popular Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, I pretty much thought that game was over. Yes, yes, we won in the Peoples Republic of Massachusetts, but there were extenuating circumstances – a special election, a major debate that we were winning handily, major concerns about the expansion of government, and probably the only Democrat in the state who could’ve lost the race on the ballot. As such, I really didn’t think much of it when I saw this article last month saying that some Democrats were referring to Blumenthal as “Martha Coakley in pants”.
Why should we have a shot? Blumenthal is a well liked Attorney General who has gone around for the last two decades showing that he identifies with the people, including the military. Unlike many Democrats, Blumenthal has not only supported the military, but actually served in Vietnam and paid the price for doing so:
“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.”
Jean Risley, Chairwoman of the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial Inc. of Connecticut, recalled a speech Mr. Bluementhal gave at a memorial:
“It was a sad moment,” she recalled. “He said, ‘When we came back, we were spat on; we couldn’t wear our uniforms.’ It looked like he was sad to me when he said it.”
Except for one tiny little almost insignificant detail:
Ms. Risley later telephoned the reporter to say she had checked into Mr. Blumenthal’s military background and learned that he had not, in fact, served in Vietnam.
After at least five deferments, he got into the Marine Corps Reserves.
“The Reserves were not being activated for Vietnam and were seen as a shelter for young privileged men,” Mr. Curry said.
So what exactly did the Marine Corps Reserves do?
In the 1970s, the unit’s members were dispatched to undertake projects like refurbishing tent decks and showers at a campground for underprivileged Washington children, as well as collecting and distributing toys and games as part of regular Toys for Tots drives.
Now there’s no problem with people getting deferments from the military, nor a problem with electing officials who haven’t seen combat. There is, however, a big problem with politicians inventing military records. He outright lied to veterans, and did so on more than one occassion. Standing alone, Mr. Blumenthal’s comments should at the very least make any voter think twice about whether he can actually be trusted on anything. I’ll leave it to the veterans to rip him a new one for saying that he served in a war zone as opposed to a toys for tots zone, though I hear two-year-olds can be vicious.
On top of that, though, is the fact that Blumenthal made these comments, repeatedly I might add, with no need to do so. These comments were made well after he was first elected AG and he hasn’t had a competitive race since. He didn’t simply lie, but he did so without even having a reason. Apparently, his political acumen is such that he thought he could say things without anybody ever check up on them. Well, as AG, he could. A US Senate race is a different ball game.
I was doubtful about just how bad of a candidate he was at first. Now I have a better idea. The Democrats have their convention this weekend, so they do have a few days to come up with a better candidate. I hear Martha Coakley might be interested.