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Richard Blumenthal will survive

Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal just wrapped up his damage control presser, and it seems obvious enough that he'll survive this mess. Quick reaction:

* It was obviously a well-staged event; he was joined on the stage by veterans who were visibly and emotionally pulling for him. They reacted with seemingly genuine anger when a reporter asked Blumenthal if he felt he should apologize, which was a nice touch.

This event was orchestrated by professionals, almost certainly with extensive input from national Dems. The generally defiant tone Blumenthal struck suggests that he's been told by the big national players that he should be able to survive this. He repeatedly said he regretted misspeaking. But no apology.

* That said, he had a moment of parsing that was odd, and probably unnecessary. He said he'd erroneously used the word "in" instead of "during." His most obvious falsehood was this: "We have learned something important since the days that I served in Vietnam." So he's now saying he meant to refer to the days that he "served during Vietnam."

* The most aggressive element of Blumenthal's pushback was irksome: He repeatedly said he wouldn't allow those pushing this story to "impugn my service." But nobody is impugning his service. Let's face it, if a Republican tried this line, we'd all get mighty ticked off about it.

* The examples of him misleading voters that have surfaced so far are damning indeed. At best, they display startling lapses of competence that seem unlikely in a well accomplished attorney who clearly knows how to wield language to great effect. If the worst is true, that he was consciously trying to mislead voters, it would have been borderline pathological for him to imagine he could get away with it.

Whatever the truth, he insisted with a great deal of conviction that his lapses weren't intentional. And the evidence so far suggests that in other settings, he didn't intend to mislead. Perhaps most important, no Dems are cutting and running right now. They seem to have closed ranks behind him.

Botttom line: It seems clear he'll survive. But man, what a colossal train wreck. Don't do it again, Dick.

By Greg Sargent  |  May 18, 2010; 3:07 PM ET
Categories:  2010 elections , Senate Dems , Senate Republicans  
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I watched Blumenthal's mea culpa during the very obviously contrived press conference, today. He lied continuously as he answered reporters' questions, dissembling over and over. I would never vote for this man because he is a hypocrite who will do anything to achieve his ends. Despite his serious flaws, he most likely will be elected to the senate, where he will be right at home with the other liars who have found a home there.

Posted by: Diogenes | May 18, 2010 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Democrats take note: your supporters do not want to see the party go down in the kind of ugly corruption that sank the Abramoff/Foley Reublicans, or the British Tories at the end of the Thatcher/Major era. Blumenthal's transgressions aren't so bad, but he clearly tried to distort his service. Why? Coming after an administration of top-level draft dodgers any sort of service looks good.

Posted by: gposner | May 18, 2010 3:21 PM | Report abuse

I sure hope that you are wrong. The guy is a sniveling liar who knew damn well that he was fluffing up his military record. I am doing what I can to at least register that there will be a cost to the DSCC for supporting this hack. The Dems have no footing to criticize the mendacity of the GOP as long as they are supporting Blumenthal.

There are too many incidents where he is on record making demonstrably false claims for him to claim that he misspoke. He is a cowardly liar and should resign. Barring that, the DSCC should at least condemn his lies. This makes no sense for the DSCC to support this clown. It seems like they are handing the seat to the GOP. If Blumenthal had the decency to resign, they might find a new Dem candidate who could still manage a win. Now, I doubt it.

Posted by: Gasman1 | May 18, 2010 3:25 PM | Report abuse

First two commenters, give me a break.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | May 18, 2010 3:27 PM | Report abuse

I think that he will survive as well.

He was totally surrounded by marines and he is going to need them to counterbalance the "swiftboat" veterans that the GOP is going to throw at him.

Luckily for him he has goodwill built up in his state for decades.

Posted by: maritza1 | May 18, 2010 3:33 PM | Report abuse

I agree with Gasman. I think he needs to go.

After years of pointing out every incident of corruption, every lie, every hypocritical utterance of the Repubs, I have no stomach for tolerating it on my own side.

Posted by: schrodingerscat | May 18, 2010 3:34 PM | Report abuse

It is quite obvious he is not qualified for a high political job; he simply lacks the deftness to turn those "slip ups" into positive assets. Perhaps he should have acquired some medals from garage sales and flung them at the Capitol or some other appropriate building in Washington.

Posted by: edfo | May 18, 2010 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Looked like he was lying thru this teeth to me.

Posted by: obrier2 | May 18, 2010 3:47 PM | Report abuse

If you were in Vietnam, it was something that you will never forget. If you did not go to Vietnam, you thank you lucky stars until the day you die. Least you doubt the validity of these statements ask anyone who served in Vietnam. The simple truth is the Blumenthal got caught out. If what George Allen said was enough to end his run for the Senate, it is in my opinion minor to what Blumenthal did.

Posted by: jeffreed | May 18, 2010 3:50 PM | Report abuse

NY Times is acting hinky. From their story on Blumenthal's denials:

"The Republican whom Mr. Blumenthal is considered most likely to face in November, the professional-wrestling impresario Linda McMahon, posted The Times article, without comment, on her Web site."

Only...she didn't post it without comment. She posted it with a comment--arguably, a VERY newsworthy comment--boasting that her campaign had fed this story to the New York Times. YOU HAVE A SCREENSHOT OF THIS. And then she took down the boast.

That's a very different thing from posting a link without comment. I understand protecting a source...but now we're altering reality and reporting what McMahon's campaign WISH they had initially done, as opposed to what they actually DID?

I mention this here because, Greg, you and the NY Times can't both be right. Either you're wrong or the New York Times is wrong about how McMahon's campaign reacted to the story.

And it's kind of a big deal if the NYT ignores a screenshot of how McMahon actually reacted.

Posted by: theorajones1 | May 18, 2010 3:57 PM | Report abuse

A lot of Democrats want to call this swift-boating, but it really isn't. This isn't some right-wing campaign to discredit Blumenthal. The main thrust of the attack on him has come from the left-leaning NYT, and it's not a whisper campaign about what Blumenthal did or didn't do during (or in) Vietnam. What is at stake are his own misrepresentations about his service, and it is plain from a number of video records that Blumenthal has overstated his service record repeatedly, while denying that he has done so elsewhere. Slipping in an "in" for a "during" might be a forgivable misstatement, but flatly including himself among Vietnam vets returning home to find weak welcomes makes it much harder to accept that these were misstatements.

At the very least, there is great irony in Blumenthal talking up his service record. The man ran from the draft as hard as he could, and he ended up being more successful than most. Serving in the reserve is no shame, but considering why Blumenthal fought to get into the reserve, it's nothing to brag about either.

Posted by: blert | May 18, 2010 3:58 PM | Report abuse

If only he could have been guilty of humping some prostitutes while married and pushing conservative family values. Or rounded up a job for the husband of his mistress, while married and pushing conservative family values. Or if he'd just outed a CIA operative. Or merely lied a nation into war. Or if he'd just acted each day to obstruct the governance of the country during a series of crises. Or come out in front of the cameras every second day and misrepresented the facts regarding whatever he might be talking about.

But THIS! I cannot forgive this!

Posted by: bernielatham | May 18, 2010 4:00 PM | Report abuse

@ jeffreed : I think exactly the opposite. Blumenthal admitted that he misspoke on a few occasions and regrets the error. He has clearly said that he didn't serve in Vietnam.

Allen, OTOH, not only used a vile ethnic slur against someone at a public event, he lied about knowing what that slur meant.

" Allen's mother, born Sarah Lumbroso, is of French Tunisian descent and commentators have suggested that she may have learned the pejorative during her childhood and introduced it to her son. Even though Allen claimed that he made up the word and said that he did not understand its derogatory meaning, it led to a media outcry."

I mean really, "I made up the word macaca adn didn't know that macaca referred to dark skinned people when I used it to refer to an Indian American (born in VA, unlike Allen) that was working for the opposition."

Allen made a racial slur in public to a crowd and then lied about knowing the meaning of the term. Do you believe that he didn't know what it meant? Really? Really??

And then no apology that actually admitted that he used the term as a racial epithet. Slime on top of slime.

Posted by: srw3 | May 18, 2010 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Blumenthal lied, no one died.

Posted by: BGinCHI | May 18, 2010 4:04 PM | Report abuse

Require DD form 214 for anyone wanting to ride the Federal Gravy Train. That tells who served and where. No exceptions.

Posted by: eldergent | May 18, 2010 4:05 PM | Report abuse

OK, class. So today we'll be dealing with displacement. So, you have a bathtub filled to the brim with water and you dump in the beheaded body of Barbara Bush who weighs 223 pounds. How much water will spill onto the floor?

Posted by: bernielatham | May 18, 2010 4:06 PM | Report abuse

The man lied, plain and simple. This is worse than lying about an affair. This is up there in bribery territory if you asked me.

I appreciate anyone who serves in the military. But he clearly intended to give the impression that he saw combat when he never even came close. Screw him. Connecticut voters, you made the wrong choice with Lieberman, don't do it again with Tricky Dick Jr.

Posted by: SDJeff | May 18, 2010 4:09 PM | Report abuse

BTW, great show on PBS last night called "The Marines". Simply outstanding. I don't know if it was a first airing or a rerun but it was very good. And having just watched it, it makes me doubly pissed that Blumenthal would lie about this.

Posted by: SDJeff | May 18, 2010 4:11 PM | Report abuse

I am sure he did not "misspeak"-he repeatly has referred to having served in Vietnam. As a veteran, I doubt very seriously that "regulars" are going to buy his talking points. It would be interesting to know just what medals he has received and those he wears or has worn. Surely the good folks of Ct will not send this wannabe to the U.S. Senate altho he would fit right in with those other "misspeakers" with the forked tongue

Posted by: theo1 | May 18, 2010 4:13 PM | Report abuse

@Gasman: Much respect to you for your stand here. It is unfortunate that you (and Greg I would wager) appear to be outnumbered by the other commentors here at the Plum Line...Where's CTVoter? (Whatever happened to my fav tena?)

Posted by: sbj3 | May 18, 2010 4:15 PM | Report abuse

It was really pitiful seeing that group of brain-addled ex-marines chanting "ooh-rah" like a bunch of morons.

Unfortunately, this is what we've come to in American politics. A draft-evader can lie through his teeth right up until he gets caught...then take offense at being caught and indignantly say "I will not allow..."

Poor pitiful citizens of Connecticut. You're stuck with this liar or the other clown...what's his party? The Lieberman Party?

Posted by: peacenik4 | May 18, 2010 4:15 PM | Report abuse

If he survives, he deserves to lose big time.

Shame on the democrap party and elites making excuses for Blumenthal -- they deserve to be ousted as well.

Look what happened when they (Obama & the machine of the democrap party elites & insiders) all got behind lyin' Lieberman instead of the people's choice: Ned Lamont -- who would have been there as a true democrat and true representative for citizens in favor of health care etc instead of the self serving liar Lieberscum.

CT and the USA have been paying for it ever since by the lies antics and self-serving arrogance of the traitor Lieberscum.

Blumenthal ought to be totally and completely ashamed but his pathetic press conference proved he has no shame and is unwilling to own up to his lies --"misplaced words" my foot.

I'm a progressive (former dem, now independent) and I'm completely disgusted by his lies and now by his dodges and unwillingness to say he lied and explain why he lied. (to further his political career by bamboozling the citizens, of course).

My prediction: Blumenthal is going down -- and deserves to. He should drop out of the race NOW to allow a dem with credibility and honor to take the reins.

His arrogance, self-serving lies, elitism, privilege and hubris are part of the reasons that people in this country are furious with ALL elected officials. And in his case, it was absolutely unnecessary, simply proof of hubris and arrogance -- he is a LIAR and if he lied about this, what else?

Time for the liar to drop out -- time to get rid of both Lying Lieberscum and Lyin Blumenthal !

voters take back the power

Where the hell is Ned Lamont?

Both the democrap and rethuglicon parties are mainly in it for enriching themselves and their corporate masters and cronies-- they prove it every day.

PS: I hope that Specter goes down in flames too. time to take back our govt from the out of touch self-serving self-enriching insiders.

I am sick of it and everyone else I know is too.

Blumenthal should finally have a spine and drop out immediately.

Posted by: demsRwimps | May 18, 2010 4:21 PM | Report abuse

"Tricky Dick Jr." SDJeff? Come on. If he did intentionally misrepresent his own service he did so as he was protecting the name of the troops. OH THE HORROR.

Here, for example the first bit of evidence in the original NYT story, from a speech in 2008:

“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.”

Oh the horror. Oh the shame. "We owe our military men and women unconditional support."

Like BG said, nobody died. It wasn't to promote a policy that would hurt the troops. He is, in fact, an advocate for better treatment of the troops.

This story is done. There's no THERE there.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | May 18, 2010 4:23 PM | Report abuse

"A draft-evader can lie through his teeth right up until he gets caught"--In all fairness, he did correct the record, during the march debate.

He did serve in the reserves, unlike say Cheney, an avid war supporter who couldn't be bothered to actually fight in the war he supported.

He did in fact volunteer and was not drafted after his deferments. Not a saint (he certainly has to work on message discipline), not that great a sinner. Again, he came totally clean and set the record straight.

Posted by: srw3 | May 18, 2010 4:24 PM | Report abuse

Let's get a candidate who has never lied. That way we'll be sure to beat wrestling queen in November. Or, if we lose, we'll be able to suffer self-righteously.

Look, if we want to condemn this guy IN CONTEXT, let's look at his record. For example, I don't care if Ben Nelson has told the god's honest truth every single day he's been in office. He's TERRIBLE because of what he DOES as a Senator.

If this is a symptom of Blumenthal's character on the way to the Senate, then I'll judge him on all the horrible decisions he's made. What are they?

Posted by: BGinCHI | May 18, 2010 4:30 PM | Report abuse

I would cut Blumenthal lose. Notwithstanding the fine show, this will be a problem for him and for Dems generally. It really is time we began insisting on some measure of integrity in our politicians. My guess is Blumenthal wanted to wrap himself around the flag and got carried away. He should just admit and, yes, apologize. Apologizing when you've made a mistake isn't a sign of weakness it's a sign of strength and character. But it looks like Blumenthal isn't going anywhere which goes to show, yet again, that what I think doesn't matter.

Posted by: wbgonne | May 18, 2010 4:31 PM | Report abuse

You left out the fact that he uttered these words too: “We have learned something important since the days that I served in Vietnam.....”

Mr. Blumenthal said that to a group gathered in Norwalk in March 2008.

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.

The deferments allowed Mr. Blumenthal to complete his studies at Harvard; pursue a graduate fellowship in England; serve as a special assistant to The Washington Post’s publisher, Katharine Graham; and ultimately take a job in the Nixon White House.

In 1970, with his last deferment in jeopardy, he landed a coveted spot in the Marine Reserve, which virtually guaranteed that he would not be sent to Vietnam. He joined a unit in Washington that conducted drills and other exercises and focused on local projects, like fixing a campground and organizing a Toys for Tots drive.

what is striking about Mr. Blumenthal’s record is the contrast between the many steps he took that allowed him to avoid Vietnam, and the misleading way he often speaks about that period of his life now, especially when he is speaking at veterans’ ceremonies or other patriotic events.

Sometimes his remarks have been plainly untrue, as in his speech to the group in Norwalk. At other times, he has used more ambiguous language, but the impression left on audiences can be similar.

In an interview on Monday, the attorney general said that he had misspoken about his service during the Norwalk event and might have misspoken on other occasions. “My intention has always been to be completely clear and accurate and straightforward, out of respect to the veterans who served in Vietnam,” he said.

But an examination of his remarks at the ceremonies shows that he does not volunteer that his service never took him overseas. And he describes the hostile reaction directed at veterans coming back from Vietnam, intimating that he was among them.

He is liar with no credibility and he has no one to blame but himself. He should finally have some honor and drop out of the primary race NOW so a real democrat can take his place and get elected. Otherwise, he deserves to lose in the primary and/or in November.

Posted by: demsRwimps | May 18, 2010 4:35 PM | Report abuse

"He is liar with no credibility and he has no one to blame but himself. He should finally have some honor and drop out of the primary race NOW so a real democrat can take his place and get elected. Otherwise, he deserves to lose in the primary and/or in November."

Gee, demsRwimps, speaking of a lack of credibility . . . .

Posted by: wbgonne | May 18, 2010 4:37 PM | Report abuse

If I were in his shoes, I'd step aside and let someone else take the chance on winning the Senate Seat. I'm not overly fond of liars or exaggeraters, but I guess it's up to the voters to decide if it's worth voting for him or not if he stays in the race. I do think the Party bosses are playing this wrong though, it makes them look like a bunch of hypocrites IMO. Eeeeks, this is the seedy side of politics I'm not particularly fond of.

Posted by: lmsinca | May 18, 2010 4:39 PM | Report abuse

"If I were in his shoes, I'd step aside and let someone else take the chance on winning the Senate Seat."

Imsinca: You believe in honor. So do I. We are quaint.

Posted by: wbgonne | May 18, 2010 4:42 PM | Report abuse

Jeez. What's with this "Dems have to be pure" thing when the opposition is as it is and as it has been for decades? It's a BS and self-destructive acceptance of assymetrical morality. What this guy did here is minor in consequence and in terms of feal moral failing in comparison to what Boehner gets up to every frigging day.

I'll begin accepting criticism from conservatives when they begin to show any tendency to police their own.

Posted by: bernielatham | May 18, 2010 4:43 PM | Report abuse

It's well known that those who heard, but did not see, the Nixon/Kennedy debate had a different impression from the one formed by those who saw the same debate on television. Perhaps in this sense you watched the "apology" and determined he "Blumenthal will survive."

But as one who does not watch TV and is bored with the inane spectacle of media-staged mea culpas the only words regarding this matter that continue to impress me are the precisely laid-out arguments (bolstered by a damningly detailed list of examples) presented in the original New York Times piece. Other voters would be wise to arrange their priorities similarly.

Posted by: kingpigeon | May 18, 2010 4:44 PM | Report abuse

Ethan, he may be fighting for the troops now but he didn't want to serve with them then. The wealthy draft dodgers placed a heavy burden on the rest of the men over there and it's a difficult thing to forget for many veterans of that war. It was a horrible time in our history and the guys with the connections took the easy way out, hard to respect that. And then to pretend you're one of them just adds insult to injury. I asked my husband, a Vietnam Vet, about it, and he wouldn't vote for him.

Posted by: lmsinca | May 18, 2010 4:51 PM | Report abuse

I have only followed this today from the sidelines, have not seen the video of the presser, but I have a question:

How is what Blumenthal said about Vietnam different than what Hillary said about landing in Bosnia?

Posted by: suekzoo1 | May 18, 2010 4:53 PM | Report abuse

"I sure hope that you are wrong. The guy is a sniveling liar who knew damn well that he was fluffing up his military record. I am doing what I can to at least register that there will be a cost to the DSCC for supporting this hack. The Dems have no footing to criticize the mendacity of the GOP as long as they are supporting Blumenthal."

my little naif.


the dems have a HISTORY of doing this.

would be no surprise if they are in consultation with Harkin staff on the best way to minimize damage.

yes the gop does it as well. acting all shocked and embarrassed demonstrates a very limited knowledge base.

Nihil sub sole novum.

seriously, if you've found 'religion' on this topic, you really should include tom harkin with blumenthal.

Posted by: owenmagoo | May 18, 2010 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Bernie, can't we take the moral high ground sometimes? I can't stand this kind of thing from Republicans, but just because they're a bunch of liars and fabricators do we have to stoop to the same level? I think we'll have to disagree on this one, although I do think it's up to the voters in CT to make the decision by weighing the good against the bad.

Posted by: lmsinca | May 18, 2010 4:57 PM | Report abuse

Ims - for any individual who decides this behavior means no vote or support from that individual, fine. As it ought to be. But sanctions past that, no.

Look, a big part of what is going on here is an internalization of decades of rightwing attack strategies. Perhaps not for you but for many. Thus it seems ok for one Pres to be up for impeachment for a blow job and another one who begins an illegal war retires happily in Dallas (not to mention those other examples I gave).

Thus Spitzer MUST step down but Vitter, Sanford etc etc etc, no problem.

It's a BS double standard which, frankly, I'm bloody sick of.

Posted by: bernielatham | May 18, 2010 5:01 PM | Report abuse

Majority Party Status means "never having to say you're sorry." Time to throw more bums out. We'll just keep switching parties until we purge enough of these yahoos that someone gets the message.

Posted by: mwcob | May 18, 2010 5:02 PM | Report abuse

lms, I agree about wealthy draft dodgers completely, but I'd add that things are only different now by degree. Who serves in the military now? Predominantly middle to lower class folks. Do you think the right, who applauds war constantly, feels bad that someone else's kids have to fight it?

Posted by: BGinCHI | May 18, 2010 5:06 PM | Report abuse

@greg: "Whatever the truth, he insisted with a great deal of conviction that his lapses weren't intentional. And the evidence so far suggests that in other settings, he didn't intend to mislead."

If he did not intend to mislead (on serving in vs during Vietnam), why should he apologize, aside from apologizing for not choosing his words carefully on the stump (misspeaking)?

I can't believe that he would intentionally lie about something that is so easy to check through FOIA or other means. It just doesn't make sense.

Posted by: srw3 | May 18, 2010 5:07 PM | Report abuse

lms, I think we should try for the moral high ground, but that has to be set into CONTEXT.

The GOP cares NOTHING for such a standard, and so if we try for purity at the cost of ceding governance to them, we're going to be pure and living in a lousy, broken-down country.

Let's judge politicians on what they DO. I don't like what Blumenthal did here, but it's his record in governance (or at AG) that concerns me.

Posted by: BGinCHI | May 18, 2010 5:09 PM | Report abuse

You're right that it's a double standard, isn't it always? IOKIYAR. Whatever, since he appears to be staying in the race, the voters will decide his fate I guess. It's difficult for me to come to his defense though, so I won't. And to be truthful, I was ashamed of Clinton's behavior as well, not the act so much as the lies and if I were Hillary I'd have been out the door in a heartbeat.

Posted by: lmsinca | May 18, 2010 5:10 PM | Report abuse

"Look, a big part of what is going on here is an internalization of decades of rightwing attack strategies."

or more simply stated:

the republicans made him do it.

Posted by: owenmagoo | May 18, 2010 5:10 PM | Report abuse

lmsinca, I don't begrudge anyone for opposing him on principle. Particularly if they have served in armed conflict. But like I said, I am willing to give Blumenthal the benefit of the doubt because I believe he stands for the right things. Howard Dean didn't want to serve in Vietnam either and I think he is a fine representative of policies to which I align myself substantively. Frankly, I wouldn't want to serve in conflict either. And I'm not excusing his misstatements. If they were intentional "lies" for political effect, then yes that is obviously unfavorable. But imho it doesn't take away from his decades of public service nor his good intentions of standing by and for the veterans who have served.

If nothing else, this episode shows how the Left is willing to oppose a favored candidate who is in position to win an important Senate seat; while the Right will cheat, lie, and steal any and every opportunity for the same seat. We don't win any bonus points for that. But despite my opposition to Blumenthal's stepping aside; the fact that you, Gasman, etc, are willing to take that stand against him and that view is supported by members of our community makes me proud to be a Democrat.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | May 18, 2010 5:13 PM | Report abuse

Ims - It's a matter of magnitude of failing. Start chewing up your own for something like this while the other side plays by commpletely different rules and that has real consequences for who your rulers will be (as we've seen).

owenmagoo said: "the republicans made him do it."

Of course not. He's responsible. But when the folks over on your side even BEGIN to demonstrate some moral and ethical standards, then and only then will your plaints have even the slightest moral weight.

Posted by: bernielatham | May 18, 2010 5:21 PM | Report abuse

I am a Democrat. I am also a Vietnam veteran. Blumenthal does not deserve to hold public office. Shame on those veterans who stood behind him.

Posted by: alamo2 | May 18, 2010 5:22 PM | Report abuse

As usual I'm in my constant state of conundrum. Good discussion though and I get all your points Ethan, Bernie and BG. Looks like the party big wigs agree and hopefully he has the kind of record that voters will weight the good against the bad and decide he's better than something a whole lot worse. I can't count how many elections I voted for the lesser of two evils rather than concede my vote.

Posted by: lmsinca | May 18, 2010 5:26 PM | Report abuse

Let me make the moral argument here in a different or more explicit way.

Of course we have moral obligations to ensure that those we support are themselves and behave themselves in a moral and ethical manner. But we have a moral obligation as well to ensure that the people who end up as our rulers do not have worse standards than those of us who we take to task or, as here, perhaps work to remove from candidacy.

Who wasn't pissed at Clinton? Who didn't think his behavior a moral failing? Who didn't want to slap him upside the head? But would it have been a superior moral consequence to work for his removal with, say, Gingrich replacing him?

There's two aspects here and with the right having evolved into what it has evolved into, some assymetrical purity standard applied by ourselves (if severely assymetrical) which has the consequence or possible consequence of these guys gaining power again is itself immoral.

Posted by: bernielatham | May 18, 2010 5:29 PM | Report abuse

alamo 2 said: "I am a Democrat. I am also a Vietnam veteran. Blumenthal does not deserve to hold public office. Shame on those veterans who stood behind him."

I'd be really interested in hearing your opinion of George W Bush, in that case. Or John Bolton, for another. Or Dick Cheney, for another. Please, let fly.

Posted by: bernielatham | May 18, 2010 5:31 PM | Report abuse

"But when the folks over on your side..."

i bear no love for the gop. I guess it is inherent to assume that anyone who dares criticize libs is from the opposite affliation.

heard it before, only that one went:
"either you are with us, or you are aginst us."

don't for one instant assume you are better than the gop. both of these group feed off of ignorance, they just draw upon different elements of society.

Posted by: owenmagoo | May 18, 2010 5:33 PM | Report abuse

Okay Bernie, you win this one, because you have to know by now I have no intention of doing anything to put them back in power. I'll try to go for semi-moral, LOL.

Posted by: lmsinca | May 18, 2010 5:34 PM | Report abuse

"In 1970, with his last deferment in jeopardy, he landed a coveted spot in the Marine Reserve, which virtually guaranteed that he would not be sent to Vietnam."

I read somewhere that he went to his local recruiter and didn't receive special treatment. The article implies that he got his post through other than regular channels.

Which is it?

Posted by: srw3 | May 18, 2010 5:41 PM | Report abuse

"Who wasn't pissed at Clinton? Who didn't think his behavior a moral failing? Who didn't want to slap him upside the head? But would it have been a superior moral consequence to work for his removal with, say, Gingrich replacing him?"


I hate to go down this Clinton path which is one of the reasons I wish Blumenthal would disappear. But I think the Dems cost themselves a great deal by defending Bill Clinton (and he was happy to have them pay that price for him, but that's another discussion). Just like the GOP has cost itself dearly by following Bush off the cliff. And before anyone says it, no I am not equating lying about a bl*wjob with lying us into war. Clinton was surely dishonorable but that wasn't enough to merit his removal; Clinton's crime -- and that's what it was -- was committing perjury, for which he was cited by a Federal judge (and also obstructing justice, of which I am certain). The Dems twisted themselves into knots justifying and minimizing and distinguishing Clinton's actions but not everyone could abide that, including VP Gore. To me there is little doubt that Gore would have won comfortably (no hanging chads needed) but for Clinton. Instead we got Bush.

It means nothing to me that GOP leaders are craven liars and that sc*mbags run freely throughout the Republican Party. Each person must take responsibility for his or her own judgments; allowing your opponents to make you compromise your principles is self-defeating, as we have just witnessed in our frantic and disgraceful "War on Terror" under Bush.

I hope not to discuss this any further but I'll read any responses.

Posted by: wbgonne | May 18, 2010 5:49 PM | Report abuse

"Okay Bernie, you win this one, because you have to know by now I have no intention of doing anything to put them back in power."

there you go.

rule #1 in politics:

(all other rules are subordinate to rule #1.)

both gop and the dems adhere to this dictate.

to pretend we exist in a world other than this, is not reality based.

trust me...
there isn't a single ethical or moral code, by EITHER side that keep them from keeping or gaining an advantage.

it looks like crabs in the bucket, when you actually stop to look down at the bucket. maybe if someone painted them red and blue, i could tell them apart.

if I were keeping score on the party most inclined to eat their own, the gop wins, hands down. lately though, they look indsicernable from the dems.

Posted by: owenmagoo | May 18, 2010 5:51 PM | Report abuse

All, happy hour roundup posted:

Posted by: Greg Sargent | May 18, 2010 6:06 PM | Report abuse

Blumenthal is another typical scumbag democrat. If you leftist want to make excuses for this miserable liar knock yourself out.

All that it needed is an ad showing him say "when I served in Vietnam" with the word "Liar" after it.

Posted by: robtr | May 18, 2010 6:07 PM | Report abuse

"I'll begin accepting criticism from conservatives when they begin to show any tendency to police their own."

Quite a creed: The corruption of my enemies whom despise and condemn is the excuse for my own. You give hypocrisy a bad name.

Who will stand to hear more about principles and intellectual integrity from Bernie after this?

Posted by: quarterback1 | May 18, 2010 6:27 PM | Report abuse

So much also for those valiant claims Ethan was making to me not long ago to be equally critical of Dems as of Reps and free of double standards.

That didn't last long.

Posted by: quarterback1 | May 18, 2010 6:47 PM | Report abuse

Here's an interesting phenomenon. Note how active this particular thread became. It's the smell of blood in the water.

And that's the dynamic at work here. Attack a weakness (or try and create one to attack). The attack itself will not merely draw attention but draw on our human response to follow along with the direction of attack. It's an understanding of this dynamic and this human response which the Cheneys, for example, utilize as a standard policy. Never defend, always attack.

We really need to get our heads around how this works and how it has been used so successfully against us.

It is ugly as sin, indeed. But it's the game and it's the field of play. And until some semblance of sanity, ethics and actual community responsibility returns to the conservative movement, we simply can't allow them to win at this...the consequences are likely to be too significant. More wars? Of course. More oil spills? Of course. More hunger and destitution while those with mega-stuff get more? Yes. Guaranteed. More bigotry and new history text-books? That too.

Posted by: bernielatham | May 18, 2010 6:56 PM | Report abuse

@Ims - "semi-moral" it has to be.

Posted by: bernielatham | May 18, 2010 7:03 PM | Report abuse

Blumenthal will constantly be the candidate who has stepped in dog crap and hasn't been able to scrape it completely off his shoe. Wherever and whenever he appears there will be the stench of his lies wafting from him. Anybody who believes this sorry, lying phony is a fool.

Posted by: RFN8143 | May 18, 2010 7:06 PM | Report abuse

"Never defend, always attack."

The very code of Obama and his teacher Alinsky.

My how he daily practices it.

This is a brilliant ongoing moral analysis by Bernie: I must be wicked because (I perceive) my opponents are wicked; otherwise, wickedness will triumph.

Only, perhaps they perceive you just the same.

Posted by: quarterback1 | May 18, 2010 7:19 PM | Report abuse

Blumenthal has shown that he is not only a LIAR, but that he attempted to steal the honor, bravery, and loyalty of those who served during Vietnam -- IN VIETNAM. He displayed the colors of the liberal democrat -- 'do as I say, not as I do'.

Of greater import to us voters, this guy has also shown that HE IS A COWARD -- given all of his deferments!


Really feel for those veterans who were used as a stage prop this afternoon. Lost every ounce of respect for a liar who will use veterans who were brave enough to serve as a PROP to save his sorry rump! He has ZERO ETHICS – glad we found it out now!!

Like way too many in Washington already, Blumenthal suffers from a Narcissistic Personality Disorder. We do not need anymore in DC!! Already, he is assuming that the folks from Conn will buy his garbage -- well let us see! Hope he is watching returns tonight!

MACV - '69 - '70!

Posted by: wheeljc | May 18, 2010 7:23 PM | Report abuse

Blumenthal is typical of the elitist, Obama supporting phony politician. Someone who is arrogant enough to lie to Americans about his Military service is a creep who has no place in the Senate. We just said goodbye to a loser, Chris Dodd, and after his seat is disinfected, someone other than Blumenthal should occupy it. These types believe they are above the truth and are important enough to say anything that will enhance their career (Obama is a classic example). His biggest mistake was not getting an "Obama info scrubber" to get rid of all his lies (from print and the Internet) before the campaign. I hope Linda McMahon pins his sorry butt to the canvas in November.

Posted by: waybackantiquesaolcom | May 18, 2010 7:42 PM | Report abuse

Just another liar. What does it mean to say "I take responsibility?" Absolute nothing. Keep your head up, continue to parse, lie, and yes indeed you'll probably survive. No integrity to speak of, but what does that matter?

Posted by: lstrauss2 | May 18, 2010 8:08 PM | Report abuse

maritza1 ~ astute veterans have discovered that when he made his statement today the guy had a fellow second from his left (second from the right in the picture) who misrepresents his own Viet Nam service.

He was a Marine, but, alas, an enlisted man, not a 2nd Lt. as he has claimed. The rest flows from that ~ true, he had some awards, but he claims the full John Kerry load as well.

Blumenthal was doing good and then he appeared with at least one professional liar.

I think that turned him into toast!

Posted by: muawiyah | May 18, 2010 8:10 PM | Report abuse

Who is supporting this liar?


This is 100% what we don't need.

What is "is", remember this crap?

Are we buying it again?

Are you buying this crap?

Posted by: docwhocuts | May 18, 2010 8:10 PM | Report abuse

Just another damned liar!

Posted by: anonthistime | May 18, 2010 8:11 PM | Report abuse

Of course his "lapses" were intentional. Don't play the fool.

Posted by: SukieTawdry | May 18, 2010 8:24 PM | Report abuse

Getting a deferment seems rather a less bad thing if, later on, you don't become the dude who sends other kids off to be blown to poop (Cheney) do rah rah for war (Limbaugh) and just be a general warmongering arse (Bolton). Don't ya think?

Posted by: bernielatham | May 18, 2010 8:35 PM | Report abuse

He needs to rent a tent with a gigantic electric cross (nonsectarian), sweat and beg his wife, sons, daughters, and Jesus Christ to forgive him his vanity.

Let us pray. (Or prey.)

Posted by: Farnaz1Mansouri1 | May 18, 2010 9:03 PM | Report abuse

I don't know much about Blumenthal accept he is a popular AG in Conn and the dems have big hopes for him.
Seeing how this is a state race, even if it is with national implications, I certainly do not think it's something that will sink him.
I have to look at senators like Vitter and his most likely being re-elected and able to push the moral righteous act in spite of it, then, something like this is fairly minor.

Posted by: vwcat | May 18, 2010 9:36 PM | Report abuse

I'm astonished by some of these comments. You don't think that lying two times about being a Marine in Vietnam is enough for the GOP to string Blumenthal up? The man is quoted saying he was spit on when he came home from Vietnam! He never came home and he was never spit upon. No one is going to believe that these were not out and out lies.

People need to be looking for a replacement for this fool before June 3, not wasting time on a sure loser. And if his opponent is a decorated Marine who was in Vietnam, what then?

Posted by: nrglaw | May 18, 2010 9:56 PM | Report abuse

I agree that he should be prosecuted for the Stolen Valor Act, even more so than the man who dressed up in a decorated war uniform to attend his high school reunion picnic. Blumenthal is a lawyer and he tweaked what he said to imply valor IN Vietnam. I have other examples of his lying. Blumenthal said he would crack down on crooked CT lawyers and stated that the Statewide Grievance Committee was flawed. Blumenthal said he would seek "immediate intervention to secure clients' money, or to expedite action where there is a clear and present danger of continuing misconduct" on the part of a CT attorney. However, when I had a matter before the Grievance Committee, they assigned atty. James Quinn to review the ethics, and Quinn had an associate, James Aspell, an attorney arrested for soliciting sex with UMass college students. I could not get my matter re-assigned for ethical review to a firm that I was more comfortable with, and the attorney I was complaining about was completely exonerated by Quinn. This atty. lied under oath that my mother was competent after suffering a stroke, to change beneficiaries on her Trust. This attorney's partner had stated in another legal document that my mother "lacked the requisite testamentary capacity". This impeached the atty. who lied about my mother under oath, and all my inheritance from my mother was misdirected. I lost it. I contacted Richard Blumenthal and he sternly advised me he could do nothing about this. I would love to give the complete details of this and share my letters from Blumenthal.

Posted by: tarsier8 | May 18, 2010 10:28 PM | Report abuse

There is not a single veteran I know, including myself, who doesn't know exactly where,when and how he served. Politicians, most of them, are such practiced ballet dancers with the truth that they will say and do anything at any time for a vote. It makes zero differnce to them if they lie or distort. If Connecticut elects this creep, they own the result.

Posted by: Rodin | May 18, 2010 11:11 PM | Report abuse

Sargent is a total DNC robot, and would have excused Blumenthal had he done anything short of using obscenities to back up his claim.

Sargent is simply wrong and the MSM is not coming to this sad-sack Blumenthal's rescue again, after he lied about gambiing, etc. It seems Sargent is the only commentator who bought Blumenthal's BS, but every single other chattering-class columnist is dismissing Bloomie as dead meat rotting in the noonday sun.

Posted by: djman1141 | May 19, 2010 12:16 AM | Report abuse

Blumenthal needs to go. His lies about his service are signs of a major character flaw. At least Dick Cheney was open about his intention not to serve in Vietnam.

There's a state senator who is running in the Democrat Primary. Being a state senator provides a candidate with the background to be a good senator. It worked with President Obama and with Scott Brown.

We don't need to give away ANOTHER New England congress seat to a Republican.

Posted by: HylasBrook | May 19, 2010 9:01 AM | Report abuse

"Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal just wrapped up his damage control presser,..."

...followed quickly by your damage control column.

Posted by: EPUnum | May 20, 2010 11:01 AM | Report abuse

I hear my Republican friends's comments above, but as a service connected, disabled Korean war veteran I can tell you that you are completely overreacting...and that's no lie.

Posted by: rdsetc | May 22, 2010 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Blumenthal shouldn't even be Attorney-General for such an
obvious condoning of his lies. He and his buddy Spitzer
would hang any one falling back on such a justification. Why is
it that these people who did everything they could to avoid service
(Vietnam) now feel that they can capitalize on the sacrifices others
made who were not lucky or smart enough to avoid the service
they now claim. Isn't odd that these people should be drawn to
"Public Service" when the shooting stops. This guy should be forced into retirement and scorned for the coward he is.

Posted by: seisan1 | May 25, 2010 7:52 PM | Report abuse

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