Since Chris Dodd’s announcement that he would be retiring at the end of his current term in the Senate from Connecticut, prospects of a Republican pickup of that seat have dimmed. Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, a left-wing activist and opportunist who has generated high favorability numbers by making high-profile moves against big companies, has been thought to be unbeatable.
“We have learned something important since the days that I served in Vietnam,” Mr. Blumenthal said to the group gathered in Norwalk in March 2008. “And you exemplify it. Whatever we think about the war, whatever we call it — Afghanistan or Iraq — we owe our military men and women unconditional support.”
There was one problem: Mr. Blumenthal, a Democrat now running for the United States Senate, never served in Vietnam. He obtained at least five military deferments from 1965 to 1970 and took repeated steps that enabled him to avoid going to war, according to records.
The deferments allowed Mr. Blumenthal to complete his studies at Harvard; pursue a graduate fellowship in England; serve as a special assistant to The Washington Post’s publisher, Katharine Graham; and ultimately take a job in the Nixon White House.
The Times article goes on to say that Blumenthal has even lied about being the captain of the Harvard swim team when he wasn’t even on it.
Blumenthal first came to our attention when he appeared on the Glenn Beck TV program to defend his actions in attempting to force AIG to publish the identities of their executives receiving bonuses after the federal bailout of that company last year. That appearance went anything but well for the Connecticut Attorney General…
Blumenthal has also taken shots at Craiglist, attempting to assault the online classified service for what he says is its allowance of ads for prostitution and the company’s profiting on it. Of course, as TechDirt.com’s Mike Masnick notes, Craigslist is making money off those ads because Blumenthal bullied them into charging for them. It’s a classic case of runaway headline-grabbing on the part of a politician; as Craigslist CEO Jim Buckmaster noted on his blog…
True to form, CT AG Blumenthal is once again indulging in self-serving publicity at the expense of the truth and his constituents — touting a subpoena on television and telling whoppers about craigslist “reneging” on promises — even before craigslist had been served with a subpoena.
As AG Blumenthal knows full well, craigslist has gone beyond fulfilling its legal obligations, far beyond classifieds industry norms, has more than lived up to any promises it made, and working together with its partners is in fact a leader in the fight against human trafficking and exploitation.
With his senatorial race in full swing however, AG Blumenthal won’t let the facts get in the way of a good photo op. Or as I heard while in his offices 2 years ago — “The most dangerous place on earth is getting caught between Dick Blumenthal and a television camera.”
Actions like those, and Blumenthal’s Eliot Spitzer-esque crusades against vulnerable corporate actors from Big Tobacco to financial services to power companies to HMO’s, have made him something of a lefty folk hero in Connecticut – but at the same time a despised figure in conservative circles. The American Spectator’s Jim Antle penned a devastating piece on Blumenthal two weeks ago, noting that the Hartford Courant once editorialized that Blumenthal “has elevated activism to an art form, figuratively beating the ambulance to the accident almost every time” and that the Competitive Enterprise Institute called him the worst attorney general in the country.
It’s all of a piece with a typical pattern of the lefty media whore/jackpot justice politician, with Spitzer or John Edwards as a template. And in typical fashion, the attention whore who will say or do anything in an effort to grab headlines and generate the adulation of the unwashed is ultimately shown as an empty suit.
The Times has stuck a pin into Blumenthal’s balloon with its revelations about his fraudulent record. The question now is how quickly the air will bleed out of his campaign, and whether the GOP can find a winning candidate from a field including Rob Simmons, Linda McMahon and Peter Schiff to beat him.
But while nothing is assured, and while Republican hopes in a state so demonstrably Democratic as Connecticut can easily be dashed in the best of circumstances, the Nutmeg State is now in play. And if Connecticut’s Senate seat can go Republican this year, then GOP control of that body in January is within reach.
“The New York Times story is an outrageous distortion of Dick Blumenthal’s record of service,” Blumenthal’s campaign manager, Mindy Myers, said in a statement.
“Unlike many of his peers, Dick Blumenthal voluntarily joined the Marine Corps Reserves in 1970 and served for six months in Parris Island, SC and six years in the reserves. He received no special treatment from anyone.”
Previewing a campaign event tomorrow, Myers wrote that “Dick has a long record of standing up for veterans. Tomorrow, veterans will be standing up with Dick.”
Blumenthal will hold a news conference tomorrow. He will be flanked by veterans.