Sorry to have to go all the way back to the 80’s for a good comparison, but it was the most appropriate thing I could come up with to accompany this story…
Connecticut Senator Chris Dodd — special-favors mortgage specialist and former bottom slice of doughy white bread in an infamous waitress sandwich — announced his retirement from Congress earlier this year.
Dodd’s heir-apparent was Democrat Attorney General Richart Blumenthal, who lead his Republican opponents by upwards of 20 points.
Those numbers may soon change:
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.
â€œWe have learned something important since the days that I served in Vietnam,â€ Mr. Blumenthal said to the group gathered in Norwalk in March 2008. â€œAnd you exemplify it. Whatever we think about the war, whatever we call it â€” Afghanistan or Iraq â€” we owe our military men and women unconditional support.â€
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.
And Blumenthal’s braggadocio about having served in Vietnam was habitual:
In 2003, he addressed a rally in Bridgeport, where about 100 military families gathered to express support for American troops overseas. â€œWhen we returned, we saw nothing like this,â€ Mr. Blumenthal said. â€œLet us do better by this generation of men and women.â€
Making things worse for Blumenthal is the fact that his likely Republican challenger actually did serve in Vietnam. But I’m sure the “forgive & forget” mentality that is inherent in most politicians will preclude Blumenthal’s opponent(s) from mention anything about this in campaign ads (pause for laughter).
If Blumenthal is a real Harvard-educated lawyer, he’ll come up with some story about having visited Vietnam in 1997 and how he volunteered to work an hour in a soup kitchen. “So you see, technically, I did serve in Vietnam!”
The Democrats are going to have enough trouble in the coming election without “Swift-Gloating” — that is to allow their opponents to speak in satisfying terms about their self-inflicted demise — themselves out of seats they probably would have won.
Blumenthal will hold a press conference today where he will no doubt talk about his domestic military service and all he had done for veterans, and that will be expected to be enough to excuse his blatantly misleading statements. Whether it does or not is up to the same voters who kept re-electing Chris Dodd, so I’m not going to count out Blumenthal just yet.
Update: A video of one of the times Blumenthal spoke of serving in Vietnam is here.