Monday, May 24, 2010

A Bloomin' Liar

Wayne Barrett has a hilarious piece in the Village Voice on the prevarications of Connecticut's Attorney General Richard Blumenthal about his alleged service in Vietnam: “Richard Blumenthal, the Connecticut attorney general running for senate, has been channeling our own David Paterson, blasting the Times rather than owning up to his own blunders. The only "Vietnam vet" to confuse Da Nang with the Harvard Swim Club, Blumenthal either actively or passively abetted a spellbinding memoir of his early days, a bio so false it would have led to material misrepresentation charges had he been investigating it rather than encouraging it.”

An excellent point, one that Salon has also hit upon in a scathing expose of the AG’s hypocrisy: “Richard Blumenthal, the attorney general of Connecticut, has a problem. He's running for the U.S. Senate, and he's been caught on video implying falsely that he served in Vietnam. He'd like your understanding as he explains that he simply "misspoke" about his service. He'd like you to give him a break. But Blumenthal has never given anyone a break. He has made a career out of holding others to the strictest standards of truth—and mercilessly prosecuting them when they fall short.”

In short, aside from being a bully, he is also a stone phony-holding everyone but himself to the highest standards: “Last fall, Blumenthal launched an investigation of food companies that put a "Smart Choices" logo on their products. He called the labels "potentially misleading" and decried marketing gimmicks that "blur or block the truth." Though the labels made no explicit claims, he protested that they "misguided" the public and sowed "confusion." He pledged to teach companies, through his investigation, that "labeling must be completely truthful and accurate without hype or spin." And he depicted the industry in the harshest terms: "Big Food has been feeding big lies to consumers about nutritional value." Today, Blumenthal said he merely "misspoke" about his service, using the wrong preposition in a small and "unintentional" oversight.”

And in the, “no misrepresentation is too small to prosecute,” category: “Last fall, Blumenthal threatened legal action against a hotel and a musical performance company for calling their tribute show "An Evening With the Platters." He said it was "unclear" whether the company owned the rights to the Platters' name. After the hotel backed down and renamed its show "A Tribute to the Platters," Blumenthal declared victory but warned, "I will continue fighting to enforce Connecticut's truth-in-music law." Today, Blumenthal accused his critics of nitpicking his record and missing the big picture.”

And on and on (read the entire story). But back to Barrett-an equal opportunity basher who holds no partisan water for dirtbags: “In addition to his own occasional public claims that he "served in Vietnam" or "returned" from it, Blumenthal has been inaptly depicted as a war vet in eight profiles over the last six years, and captain of the swim team in two.

The AG with a steel-trap mind can't recall if anyone ever attempted to correct his own pulsating narrative. I tried to determine if Blumenthal's obvious failure to napalm this convoy of lies was simply a reflection of his deep first-amendment respect for the right of almost every newspaper in his state to get it wrong. So I called the press office to ask co-director Chris Hoffman if it had ever contacted a news organization about any reporting it regarded as inaccurate about the actual work of the office. Two days of haggling produced no answer.”

And Barrett also mines the hypocrisy theme: “A brief search of the really extraordinary Blumenthal record (it takes an afternoon to scroll through the press releases) uncovered a few cases that cut so close to Blumenthal's own failings as to suggest that he might have put a target on his own back. He's brought cases against lawnmower companies for mislabeling tractor horsepower, travel scammers, and even an "imposter pastor" who "with unconscionable and unprecedented gall" claimed to run a church he didn't.”

Hello, Reverend Blumenthal! But the good AG is the gift that keeps on giving-and as folks who hate prosecutorial nannies, we are thrilled at the AG being hoisted on his own petard. And the Times, responding to the gauntlet that Blumenthal laid down, responds with yet another zinger: “Broader newspaper archival searches continue to turn up instances in which Attorney General Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut portrayed himself as a Vietnam War veteran even though he did not serve in the war. The most recent article unearthed is one published in The Milford Mirror, a weekly, describing an appearance he made at a May 2007 Memorial Day Parade in Milford, Conn., attended by local officials, military people and the relatives of a local man killed while serving in Iraq. As people gathered around a bandstand to give praise to fallen veterans, the article said, Mr. Blumenthal recalled his days during the Vietnam War. “In Vietnam,” Mr. Blumenthal said, according to the article, “we had to endure taunts and insults, and no one said, ‘Welcome home.’ I say welcome home.”

Oy vey! But why do Connecticut Dems continue to support this lame candidate? There are plenty of others more worthy and less damaged. In our view, if they circle the wagons around Richard Blumenthal, it will soon be General Armstrong Custer time for the Connecticut Democratic Party