Blumenthal the arrogant, brought down by his lies and his lies about his lies

In replying to the devastating New York Times article revealing his lies about his military service, Richard Blumenthal is partly admitting, partly concealing, what he did, as reported by Politico:

Asked by a reporter about allegations that he lied, he said, “I may have misspoken, I did misspeak on a few occasions out of hundreds that I have attended (in honor of the military) … I regret that I misspoke.”

He added later that it was “absolutely unintentional,” and insisted it wasn’t his job to correct other people getting it wrong—even when past news accounts have described him as having served “in instead of during,” as he couched his own “misstatements.”

It was absolutely unintentional when the hard-driving top lawyer of Connecticut repeatedly told audiences that he had “served in Vietnam” and had “come back” from Vietnam? It was absolutely unintentional that as a result of his statements most people believed he was a Vietnam vet, and he never corrected them?

Now get this:

“But I will not allow anyone to take a few misplaced words and impugn my record of service to our country.”

No one is impugning your military service, Mr. Blumenthal. They are inpugning your veracity.

Let me add that I think it is good that Blumenthal has been brought down, just as it was good when his political twin Elliot Spitzer was brought down. According to Hans Bader writing (pdf) at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, Blumenthal has been the worst of a crop of hyper aggressive state attorneys general (Spitzer is third on the list) who in recent years have grossly abused the power of their office for political purposes:

Over the past decade, attorneys general have increasingly usurped the roles of state legislatures and of Congress by using litigation to impose interstate and national regulations and to extract money from out-of-state defendants who have little voice in a state’s political processes. The worst offenders flaunt such abuse of power, with the most notorious of the lot, Eliot Spitzer, boasting that he “has redefined the role of Attorney General.” This sort of activism may benefit the political and policy ambitions of the officeholder and his allies, but it imposes real costs on consumers, businesses, the economy, and our democratic system. The wave of lawsuits brought by state attorneys general has fostered corruption, circumvented legislative checks on regulation, taxes, and government spending, made the workings of government less transparent, and diverted attention away from their core responsibilities—enforcing state laws, defending state agencies against lawsuits, and providing legal advice to public officials.

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May 19

LA writes:

In the original posting, I referred to Elliot Spitzer as Blumenthal’s “spiritual and political twin.” I said this because the two, one a state attorney general, the other a former state attorney general, seem so similar in personality, being thin, driven, and aggressive, as well as in politics, both of them Democrats from Northeast liberal states, both of them expanding and abusing the power of their office to bring various perceived corporate villains to heel in the name of a left-liberal agenda. But based on an article in today’s New York Times about Blumenthal’s long-time involvement in veterans’ issues and personal identification with veterans, the sense that emerges is that Blumenthal, notwithstanding his lies about having served in Vietnam, is personally affable, cares about people,—at least he cares greatly about veterans—and is patriotic, none of which would describe the repellent Spitzer, a loner who once boasted of being a “f*****g steam roller” who crushes everyone in his path. I don’t get the sense of that kind of personal arrogance in Blumenthal. So I changed the description of Spitzer as Blumenthal’s “spiritual and political twin” to his “political twin.”

At the same time, it’s impossible to understand how Blumenthal got away with his Vietnam lie for years and decades. Consider: on one hand he frequently goes to veterans’ event, attends every funeral of a local service member who has lost his life in Iraq or Afghanistan (often changing his schedule in order to do so), and frequently interacts with veterans; on the other hand, everyone in Connecticut has been under the impression that he was a Vietnam vet. Wouldn’t it regularly happen, simply in the course of conversation with the Vietnam vets he met, that they would ask him what he did in Vietnam? And what did he say to them when they did ask him? Did he go beyond the general lie that he had served in Vietnam and create a fiction about a particular unit he had belonged to there? And if he didn’t create such a fiction, how did he reply to the questions about his Vietnam service that he must have been asked from time to time?

So, as good as the Times’ reporting on the Blumenthal story has been, there is more to be uncovered here than has been brought out so far.

LA writes:

I’m not the only one who has noted the personal as well as political resemblances between Blumenthal and Spitzer. Howie Carr at the Boston Herald writes; “This Dick Blumenthal even looks a little like Eliot Spitzer.”

Posted by Lawrence Auster at May 18, 2010 10:29 PM | Send

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