Thanks to Dick “Khe Sanh” Blumenthal, we don’t need to agonize here about whether Kirk should drop out of the race in shame for misstating his citations.

The Republican candidate for President Obama’s old Senate seat has admitted to inaccurately claiming he received the U.S. Navy’s Intelligence Officer of the Year award for his service during NATO’s conflict with Serbia in the late 1990s…

Cmdr. Danny Hernandez, the Navy’s assistant chief of information, said for several days last week that he was having trouble finding records to clarify the matter. Then on Friday, he said Kirk, an Appropriations Committee member who co-chairs an electronic warfare working group, had changed his Web site to incorporate a different account of the award…

Kirk was assigned to a unit based in Aviano, Italy, during the conflict.
A professional group, the National Military Intelligence Association, gave the unit an award for outstanding service, according to a revised résumé posted on Kirk’s Web site Saturday…

Kirk, whose campaign has emphasized his military service as a reservist, similarly misstated the award during a House committee hearing in March 2002. In a remark recorded by C-Span, he said, “I was the Navy’s Intelligence Officer of the Year,” an achievement he depicted as providing special qualifications to discuss national security spending.

His campaign blasted out a statement last night noting that he’s described his other citations correctly and that the awards board that chooses “intelligence officer of the year” overlaps significantly with the one with the one that chooses “outstanding service by an intelligence unit.” I.e. they’re roughly equal in prestige, so it’s not like Kirk is trying to overstate his achievements. Which is a fine argument, but it ignores the obvious point that an individual award would speak more directly to Kirk’s individual merit as an officer than a group award would. Simple question here, same as with Blumenthal: What possible excuse can there be for not stating one’s military background with absolute precision? With all the righteous fury over incidents of “stolen valor,” there’s no earthly reason for a candidate not to check and double-check and triple-check that his biography states his commendations exactly as they are. It’s amazing that two guys with a plus on their resume as huge as military service can’t leave well enough alone, and end up pushing their claims so far as to turn it into something of a liability.

The other irony is that Kirk, like Blumenthal, benefits from having an opponent with major biographical issues of his/her own. Sure, Bloomy’s a liar, but he did serve honorably in the Marine Corps Reserve. Who’s a left-wing Connecticut voter more inclined to vote for, him or — as Coulter put it — a pro-wrestling impresario? As for Kirk, he’s been blessed with facing arguably the single shadiest major candidate on either side of the aisle this year. He’ll get beat up for misstating his citation, but what’s worse? Leading an award-winning intelligence unit or cutting loan checks to mobsters? QED.