Richard Blumenthal's Bogus War Record

As a Connecticut native, let me emphasize what a shock it is that, per this bombshell New York Times story, longtime Attorney General Richard Blumenthal--the presumed Democratic Senate nominee and presumed successor to Chris Dodd--apparently fabricated a Vietnam war record (his campaign is promising to knock down the story, but it reads pretty air tight to me). A lot of the insta-commentary has been to the effect that Blumenthal is just another sleazy politician. But this gets it wrong by a mile--for almost two decades, Blumenthal has been so pure, so revered throughout Connecticut that he has seemed to exist in a realm beyond politics. That's not exaggeration. Everything about Blumenthal seemed to set him apart from the ordinary sleaze and compromise of big-time politics, especially in recent years as Joe Lieberman succumbed to narcissism and Chris Dodd's sweetheart Countrywide mortgage tarnished him beyond redemption (or at least beyond reelection). For as long as I can remember, Blumenthal has been the crusading consumer advocate, humble, modest, unprepossessing, with that guileless Brylcreem haircut that somehow made him seem even more honorable--a throwback to an earlier era. That Blumenthal clearly could have won statewide office if only he hadn't been blocked by Dodd and Lieberman only added to this saintly impression. Or anyway, it appeared that he could have won office. It doesn't appear that way anymore.


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Joshua Green is a former senior editor at The Atlantic.

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