My Facebook friends are incensed. After I posted a link they commented in droves. I am incensed too after tonight’s New York Times revelation about senatorial candidate Richard Blumenthal:
[W]hat 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.
I know Dick Blumenthal a little because he shows up at so many public events I’m at… certainly more than any other politician in Connecticut. No one else even comes close. If there’s such a thing as a ‘retail politician’ it is Richard Blumenthal.
Tall, thin, each remaining hair strand placed for maximum effect, he seems the consummate nerd–a guy too straight to be corrupted by politics. He avoided running for higher office until Chris Dodd announced he’d vacate his seat.
Let’s cut to the quick. We all exaggerate from time-to-time. Blumenthal is accused of lying. There’s no other way to interpret what he said versus what the Times uncovered.
It’s not just the lying. It’s that he lied about service in Vietnam.
Unless you were around you may not realize the level of anger Vietnam produced. Hawks and doves regularly fought it out. Usually it was verbal. Sometimes it was worse.
Returning Viet Vets were harangued and vilified. It must have been difficult for a soldier returning from ‘Nam to admit where he’d been.
When the hate and mistrust diminished and things cooled down it became obvious the soldiers in Vietnam, though the most visible symbol of the war, were not the cause or guilty party. They shouldn’t have been the target of scorn. Many of the soldiers were draftees and in Southeast Asia against their will.
Back then I tried very hard to keep my upset focused on the government. Was I successful in doing that 100% of the time? Hopefully, but I can’t say for sure.
By claiming to be a Vietnam Vet Blumenthal traded on the guilt many of us still feel about that era.
Tonight I feel hurt and cheated. I am disappointed in a man I thought I could trust.