A bit of candy to chew on while we await Benedict Arlen’s fate. I think Blumenthal went out there today figuring that a confrontational, rather than contrite, posture — let no one impugn my service! — was the fastest way to the lefty base’s hearts. Which, in fairness, is normally a safe bet: The fightin’ nutroots loves a fighter. (Strange, then, that he didn’t emphasize how Linda McMahon’s campaign fed the Times yesterday’s bombshell, huh?) But in this case it’s a miscalculation. So repulsive is stolen valor, and so heavy a political liability is it, that there’s really no incentive for them to support him. There are plenty of qualified Democrats in Connecticut capable of holding Dodd’s seat. Why double down on a guy capable of something as scummy as this? The NYT cringes:
In an unsatisfying news conference on Tuesday, Mr. Blumenthal said he had meant to say that he served “during” the Vietnam War, not “in” Vietnam. He was surrounded by veterans who said he had repeatedly used that construction over the years. But even that phrase seems intended to suggest to inattentive voters that he had a greater link to the war than he actually did.
There is nothing wrong with having received multiple military deferments during the Vietnam period, as Mr. Blumenthal did, and neither those deferments nor the details of his service in the reserve have any bearing on his fitness to become a senator.
But his embellishments do. Mr. Blumenthal, who has an exemplary record as attorney general, has only a few months to demonstrate that they are an aberration and not a disqualifying character trait.
They’re not prepared to throw him under the bus yet. William Saletan, of the reliably lefty Slate, is:
Blumenthal has never given anyone a break. He has made a career out of holding others to the strictest standards of truth—and mercilessly prosecuting them when they fall short…
Last year, Blumenthal denounced “exploitive, poorly managed or even fraudulent fundraisers” who raise money in the name of veterans. He warned the public to donate only “to well-known organizations with a history of helping veterans.”
Today, to dispel the allegations against him, Blumenthal stood in front of veterans at a press conference and boasted: “They’ve heard me again and again and again stand up for justice and fairness to our veterans.”
Follow the link for a long, long list of ways in which Blumenthal has put the screws to defendants who aren’t quite the moral exemplars that he is. It’s like Spitzer redux. Oh — and a detail I forgot to mention in this afternoon’s post: This tool actually had the stones to hold today’s presser at a VFW post, much to the irritation of Connecticut’s VFW commander. Quote: “Blumenthal is not a member of the VFW, and national leaders noted that he wouldn’t meet the eligibility requirement if he tried to join because he didn’t actually serve in a theatre of combat.”
Here’s Chris Matthews laying into him this afternoon on “Hardball” with no disagreement from either of his guests. Like Smerconish says, this guy is done.