Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Blumenthal’s Twin Personas

According to a report in the Hartford Courant, Linda McMahon, Republican candidate for the U.S. congress, has received, on a Freedom of Information request, a copy of Attorney General Richard Blumenthal’s daily calendar.
The calendar entries are sketchy and unencumbered by red meat, reminiscent of the results of an earlier FOIA request made by various parties interested in Governor Jodi Rell’s daily calendar at a time when the governor was being assaulted by her political opponents as a do-nothing figurehead.

Reporter Daniela Altimari notes:

“If last month's entries are typical, the datebook isn't exactly crammed with events.

“In fact, most dates have just one event listed -- and several pages are completely blank. The remainder of the entries involve public events, interviews and the like.

“A sampling:

“Wed., July 14 11:45 a.m.--Interview here w\Fox 61 re: Craigslist

“Thur., July 15 5-8 p.m.--St. Francis Hospital Cancer Center FR @ home of Mark and Barbara Gordon

“Sat., July 17 11 a.m.-- St. Vincent's Park City Regatta 2010 at Fayerweather Yacht Club

“11 a.m.--Deep River Ancient Muster Parade…”

There is a reason for this, according to Mr. Blumenthal’s spokeswoman Tara Downs:

Blumenthal’s attorney general’s calendar, Downs said, "typically has never included any of his daily internal staff meetings or other activities in the office. His calendar generally has recorded invitations, meetings or events involving the general public and others, whether or not he actually attended the events.

"Because many public events may be perceived as political, few -- if any -- are now included on his office schedule [emphasis mine].

"Nothing has changed about Dick's commitment to fighting for Connecticut consumers and taxpayers."

This last claim – that Blumenthal is committed to fighting for Connecticut consumers and taxpayers – a boast made or implied in virtually all the attorney general’s promotions for U.S. Sen. Chris Dodd’s soon to be vacant seat in the congress, surely points back to Mr. Blumenthal’s exhaustively covered 20 year career as attorney general.

Public events perceived as political, the public is now given to understand by Ms. Downs, will be rescinded from the attorney general’s calendar of appearances. It is for this reason that the present purged calendar looks so thin and wispy.

The people in Blumenthal’s joint attorney general-U.S. senatorial campaign must have a fine sense of discrimination to tell which of Blumenthal’s attorney general appearances are “non-political” in the sense urged by his political supporters.

In fact, there is little division between the twin aspects of Blumenthal’s public persona. The melding of the two positions, that of attorney general and prospective U.S. senator, suggest it may be prudent for Mr. Blumenthal to resign his position as attorney general while pursuing Mr. Dodd’s seat in the congress.

Others – significantly, George Gombossy, once a consumer protection watchdog for the Hartford Courant – have called for Mr. Blumenthal’s resignation as attorney general for having intentionally misrepresented his military service, a claim that has leeched into Mr. Blumenthal’s senatorial campaign.

The bulwark Mr. Blumenthal hopes to erect between his twin personas – but only when it suits him -- will not hold back the tide.
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