Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Blumenthal, Simmons and Vietnam… Again

“Some people wonder all their lives if they’ve made a difference. The Marines don’t have that problem’ – Ronald Reagan

If there is anybody in the state of Connecticut who does not know that current Senator Richard Blumenthal has a Vietnam problem, his or her voting rights should be taken away for chronic inattention.

During Mr. Blumenthal’s senatorial race against various Republicans, among them former U.S. Rep Rob Simmons and former CEO of World Wide Wrestling Linda McMahon, it was revealed that Mr. Blumenthal had told some stretchers about his service in the U.S. Marines. Mr. Blumenthal, then hanging on to his attorney general position as if he were a drowning man grasping for a straw and assiduously avoiding media exposure, said several times that he had served in Vietnam when in fact he remained stateside during the war. And any lipstick put on that pig during his campaign did not help to restore the honor marines so value.

Mr. Blumenthal was one of two U.S. congressmen featured in a documentary on stolen valor made by the Australian Broadcasting Company (ABC) called “Heroes, Frauds and Imposters”.(To see video, hit “play video”) Then Republican congressman Mark Kirk, who falsely claimed he had received an Intelligence Officer of the Year award, was featured in the same documentary. Mr. Kirk was running for Barack Obama’s old senate seat at the time.

“Congressman Mark Kirk, a Republican candidate for Senate in Illinois,” noted New York  magazine, “is starting to out-Blumenthal Richard Blumenthal, after it was discovered last week that he'd never won the Navy's Intelligence Officer of the Year award in 1999 as he'd claimed over and over through the years.”
The documentary, which places in its proper context Mr. Blumenthal’s self serving lies about his non-service in Vietnam, was not widely distributed in his home state. Both frauds were successful in their senatorial bids, and in June 2010 a Medal of Honor recipient was trotted out to deem Senator Kirk’s apologies “adequate.”

“To me, in my opinion,” said Medal of Honor winner Alan Lynch, “it’s just a bunch of nit picking. Plus, he's done a Christ ton for veterans. So I think this is being blown way out of proportion.”

It now appears that former Republican Rep. Rob Simmons will play the role of Mr. Lynch to Mr. Blumenthal, and the alarming stupidity of it all has well respected Connecticut reporter Mark Pazniokas of CTMirror scratching his head in wonderment.

During the senatorial campaign a year ago, Pazniokas noted, Simmons said, “I am unsatisfied with Attorney General Blumenthal's comments. While I'm not surprised that he 'regrets' that his misstatements have been called to the public's attention, what he owes is an apology to the veterans, who served and sacrificed in Vietnam."

That was then. Now, Mr. Simmons, whose Vietnam creds are unimpeachable, has offered to “help U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal reach out to Vietnam veterans.”

Mr. Pazniokas is not at all certain that Mr. Blumenthal any longer has such a problem. Political wounds heal quickly in the forgive-me state. It seems only yesterday that former Republican Governor John Rowland was cooling his heels in jail for “conspiring to defraud Connecticut citizens of the intangible right to the honest services of its Governor and defrauding the I.R.S. of tax revenue by failing to report gratuities,” the single charge to which Mr. Rowland pleaded guilty in a plea arrangement. Having been suitably punished, the remorseful Mr. Rowland is now a well respected radio talk show host. Former state Senator Ernest Newton appears to be making something of a political comeback after his time in jail, and some commentators worry that former Mayor Joe Ganim, also a jailbird, may reenter Bridgeport politics.

Of course, neither Mr. Blumenthal nor Mr. Kirk can be said to have been punished, unless one regards service in the U.S. Senate as a penalty for errant behavior. But no matter. In this most liberal of states the absence of punishment or fitting repentance is no bar to the political success of the frauds and liars who crowd the benches of national and state legislatures.

During his senatorial campaign it was thought buy some political analysts that Mr. Simmons would be the more successful Republican candidate to oppose the Blumenthal juggernaught, far better than wrestling impresario Linda McMahon, precisely because of his impeccable war record.

But for ill or good, war records have many uses. Mr. Pazniokas reads Mr. Simmons’ intervention on Mr. Blumenthal’s behalf as an indication that Mr. Simmons, whose relationship with some moderate averse elements in his own party has been strained, may not be interested in running for U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman’s soon to be vacant seat.

On the other hand…
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