U.S. Senator Dick Blumenthal, up for re-election this year, brusquely but effectively brushed aside Hartford Courant reporter Daniela Altimari's timely and legitimate question; after all, it’s still a free country, and refusing to comment on pointed questions is one of the most often used tools in the toolbox of incumbent politicians with high favorability ratings.
Asked to comment on charges that President Barack Obama had paid Iran $400 million in ransom for four American hostages, Mr. Blumenthal waved away the reporter by refusing to comment and then took to his heels.
This is not the first time Mr. Blumenthal hit the mattresses when he found himself face to face during an election period with a reporter who had asked him a legitimate but politically prickly question.
Fresh from having served for twenty years as Connecticut's business thrashing Attorney General, Mr. Blumenthal leapt at an opportunity that arose when besieged U.S. Senator Chris Dodd decided not to run again for office. Such was Mr. Blumenthal’s reputation in the state that he far surpassed all possible Republican contenders for the slot right out of the gate. In polls taken immediately after Mr. Blumenthal had declared he was running for Mr. Dodd’s seat, Mr. Blumenthal led Republicans considering running for the contested seat by at least 30 percent.
As in all campaigns, inconvenient truths soon bubbled to the surface. The New York Times discovered that Mr. Blumenthal had several times declared or strongly intimated he had served as a marine in the Vietnam War. Some of his declarations, along with his congenital disposition to avoid answering questions distasteful to him appeared in an Australian Broadcasting Company (ABC) documentary on stolen valor titled “Heroes, Frauds And Imposters.”
The Australian reporter, Mark Corcoran, expected to meet Mr. Blumenthal, but instead found himself interviewing a phone. Following the Time’s report on his fictitious service as a Marine in Vietnam, Mr. Blumenthal was avoiding media scrutiny – unheard of for the man about whom it was often said that the most dangerous spot in Connecticut was that between Mr. Blumenthal and a television camera – and when Mr. Corcoran identified himself as a journalist with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and asked “How are you?” Mr. Blumenthal responded “I’m fine but I’m not going to answer any questions from the press.” The phone then went dead, a precious and telling moment preserved in the documentary.
Sometimes cowardice is the better part of valor. Republicans, among them Connecticut Republican Party Chairman J. R. Romano and State Rep. Dan Carter, the Republican this year running against glory-hound Blumenthal, insist that the $400 million in laundered money paid to Iran for the release of American hostages is ransom, pure and simple. Democrats insist that the cash delivered in and unidentified cargo plane while hostages waited on the tarmac for its arrival was simply a bill in arrears the US was late in paying. Available data and Henry David Thoreau support the Republican view. Thoreau on circumstantial evidence, as quoted by National Review writer Jonah Goldberg: “Some circumstantial evidence is very strong, as when you find a trout in the milk.”
The Iranian “moderates” – here bracketed in quotes because there are no Iranian moderates, none – with whom President Barack Obama signed a treaty that broke a successful embargo but which, not surprisingly, was never submitted to the U.S. Congress for review and approval insist that the planeload of money they received for the hostages was a ransom payment. And just to assure enemies of the United States in the Middle East that Iran once again had humiliated the “Great Satan,” more Americans were taken as hostages after the plane had disgorged the laundered cash. The ransom was paid in cash, which very soon will make its way into the hands of Islamic soldiers battling the “Great Satan” – Israel and the United States – because laws written by Mr. Blumenthal’s compatriots in the U.S. Congress make money exchanges between “the Great Satan” and Iran illegal.
The Iranian “moderates” sent an additional message of contempt to Mr. Obama and Mr. Blumenthal by hanging a reputed nuclear “spy” who had been exposed by then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in one of those classifiable emails never vetted for clearance by American spooks, which appeared, along with hundreds of other illegal messages on Mrs. Clinton’s unsecured, private server.
Is it any wonder that Mr. Blumenthal, who as Attorney General of Connecticut for twenty years used to sue and threaten to sue businesses for breathing hard, should want to step over these stinking piles on the eve of his re-election.
Immediately following his flight from Courant reporters, Mr. Blumenthal sent around one of his ubiquitous media releases announcing that our state’s first consumer protection U.S. Senator was imploring Delta airlines to give refunds for flight delays.
In the trade, this is called fiddling while U.S. Middle East foreign policy burns.