“Senate Hopeful Misspoke About Service” headlines the Daily Beast. “Candidate’s Words on Vietnam Service Differ From History,” announces the New York Times, which broke the story. In a case like this, such delicate phrasing amounts to journalistic deceit. Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, the Democratic candidate for the open Senate seat soon to be vacated by Chris Dodd, has been lying his head off, claiming that he served in Vietnam when he did not. He didn’t “misspeak,” and there isn’t any controversy about differing versions of history. He is a lair, and his lies have been deliberate, calculated, and despicable.
This is a true ethics test for the Democratic Party and voters. A man who would do this, regardless of his other accomplishments and talents, and Blumenthal has many, should not get one single vote for the U.S. Senate or any other position of public trust. As documented in the Times story, the candidate has been routinely implying, and sometimes saying directly, that he participated in combat during the Vietnam War, when in fact he spent the war years undertaking every maneuver imaginable to avoid service. His misrepresentations on the matter of his personal history is an insult to every American who fought in that war, the moral equivalent of wearing a Silver Star thatwas never awarded to him, which would be a Federal crime. Candidates for jobs who falsify their resumes are disqualified. Managers who are found to have lied on their CV’s get fired. Lawyers who put material falsehood on their resumes get disbarred. Blumenthal should not be allowed to stay in the race as a Democrat, and if he is, any Connecticut citizen voting for him is endorsing dishonesty, and willing to put a fraud in the U.S. Senate. If the Democrats allow him to stay in the race, it will tell us all we need to know about the Party’s true values.
Now Blumenthal is explaining his multiple instances of dishonesty by saying that he “misspoke.” Euphemisms won’t wash in this situation, and no one, least of all the news media, should tolerate them. The record is inescapable. The best that can be said of Blumenthal is that he hasn’t lied every single time he has mentioned his military service. That is a small virtue indeed.
Why did he do this, when such a lie is so easy to uncover, and so likely to be discovered in a high profile political race? It does not matter. Maybe he is ill. Maybe he is deluded. Maybe, like Tiger Woods, Mark Sanford, and Bill Clinton, he thinks he can get away with anything. The reasons don’t change to central fact. He is a liar, and his lie cannot be and must not be excused.
He should not get one single vote.