U.S. Senator Dick Blumenthal has a way of sneaking up on the truth and clubbing it to death with either a half-truth or a persistent, outright lie. And over a period of time, a pattern has begun to develop: The alluring possibility of flooding one's political stage with heroic action is, in Mr. Blumenthal’s case, irresistible. It’s like dangling a pacifier before a non-aborted baby.
NBC Connecticut news is now reporting that “Sen. Richard Blumenthal is facing criticism over claims he lied in a comment he made in an MSNBC interview about being in Newtown when families were being informed about losing their loved ones in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting massacre.”
NBC noted: “Blumenthal asserted during an interview with MSNBC's Chris Matthews last night, ‘I was there when (emphasis mine) those families learned that their 20 beautiful children and six great educators would not be coming home that night’ … The comment was made in response to a television ad in support of presidential candidate and Texas US Senator Ted Cruz, a Republican… Blumenthal arrived at Sandy Hook hours after the tragedy occurred and even longer after most families had been notified that their child had been murdered (emphasis mine).”
Connecticut’s U.S. Senator and former Attorney General was always a glory hound. Most professional politicians are as addicted to fame as any Hollywood starlet, but the temptation to bask in the glory of others is in most cases tempered by a sense of modesty, which is the shameful face braggarts show to reality. Most politicians know they haven’t parted the Red Sea or led the Israelites out of bondage. Sometimes, if modesty is unavailable, the dread suspicion that “someone is looking” serves as a brake on unrestrained ambition, the mother’s milk of politicians on the make. Problem: Very few reporters and commentators in Connecticut’s unquestioning media were looking closely at Mr. Blumenthal. Why should they have done so; was the Attorney General not providing them with daily doses of news?
Mr. Blumenthal, let it be said, has been on the make since graduating from Harvard, where he wrote for the Harvard Crimson and developed a felicity with the language that would serve him in good stead during his twenty odd years as Connecticut’s showboating Attorney General, during the course of which Mr. Blumenthal became the maestro of the pointed adjective. If someone would go through the trouble of collecting in a single book all the pronouncements Mr. Blumenthal had issued in the form of media releases during his two decade tenure as Attorney General, the opus might rival in length the Dodd-Frank omnibus bill that presently serves as an albatross round the neck of entrepreneurial capital in the un-United States.
It was a preceding Attorney General, former U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman, also a showboater, who had turned the office into a consumer protection chop-shop, but Mr. Blumenthal, with a backwind provided by 298 bloviating lawyers, considerably improved the shop’s output. In 2009, the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) rated Mr. Blumenthal the worst attorney general in the United States.
But glory-grabbing is old-hat for Mr. Blumenthal. When he was running for the U.S. Senate in 2010, then Attorney General Blumenthal artfully dodged several similar howitzers. On multiple occasions and in different venues, Mr. Blumenthal had advertised himself as a Vietnam War veteran. The truth, always fungible, was less heroic: Having exhausted his deferments, Mr. Blumenthal served state-side in Washington DC, where he participated in a Toys for Tots program — laudable, but miles from the wounded warrior fields of Vietnam.
At home in Connecticut, some news venues took notice of Mr. Blumenthal’s willful misrepresentations – very briefy. The Australia Broadcasting Company (ABC) took up the matter and produced a documentary on stolen valor – “Heroes, Frauds and Imposters” (hit “play video” on link), that was not shown anywhere in Connecticut during Mr. Blumenthal’s run for the U.S. Senate. Following Mr. Blumenthal’s false Vietnam Veteran assertions, candidate Blumenthal made himself scarce for interviews; the most dangerous spot in Connecticut was no longer that space between Mr. Blumenthal and a television camera. ABC reporter Mark Corcoran’s brief encounter with a ghostly Mr. Blumenthal in “Heroes, Frauds and Imposters” is rib bustingly hilarious.
Fool me once, the old adage goes, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me. In Mr. Blumenthal’s state, shame itself is no longer shameful; it has declared victim status.