Richard Blumenthal, the Connecticut attorney general and Democratic candidate for Senate, didn't serve in Vietnam. So it is kind of a problem that he implied that he did. In public. On several different occasions.
You know what is a great way to get votes? To talk about the time you served your country as a soldier in Vietnam. There is one catch, though! You have to have actually gone to Vietnam and served as a soldier. Otherwise, it is a great way to lose votes.
Connecticut Attorney General Dick Blumenthal, who used to be "the guy who is definitely going to win the Connecticut Senate seat," spent most of the war getting deferments before serving in the Marine Corps reserve, which "was regarded as a safe harbor for those who did not want to go to war." So he did not go to Vietnam, so much, unless Vietnam is in New Haven, which I am pretty sure it is not.
But that hasn't stopped him from saying things like "We have learned something important since the days that I served in Vietnam," as the The New York Times points out in a front-page story about the Senate candidate:
But what is striking about Mr. Blumenthal's record is the contrast between the many steps he took that allowed him to avoid Vietnam, and the misleading way he often speaks about that period of his life now, especially when he is speaking at veterans' ceremonies or other patriotic events.
Sometimes his remarks have been plainly untrue, as in his speech to the group in Norwalk. At other times, he has used more ambiguous language, but the impression left on audiences can be similar.
The Times only has one example of Blumenthal outright saying he served in Vietnam (he says he "misspoke," which, you better believe it, buddy). But they also have him saying to military familes, "When we returned, we saw nothing like this." Obviously, what he meant was, "When we returned from the Christmas toy drives for children and recycling programs in neighboring communities, we saw nothing like this," because that is what he was doing during the Vietnam war. But you can't blame someone for thinking he meant "When we returned from the country of Vietnam, where I was doing soldier-type things, in the Vietnam war, as a soldier," can you?
Given that Blumenthal has said, at a public debate, that he didn't serve in Vietnam, it seems unlikely that he is really trying to play make-believe veteran. Unless he is just totally incoherent and crazy! Which wouldn't necessarily be out of place in a Senator.
But it's more likely that he thinks it's okay to say some sentences where the word "serve" is near the word "Vietnam" ("I sure love to SERVE this VIETNAMese food," say) and if people want to think he served in Vietnam, he won't, you know, stop them. But: This is a guy who was outperforming his most likely GOP opponent two-to-one. Why even bother? It is crappy of him to imply that he served in Vietnam, when he didn't. But it is also just flat-out dumb.
[NYT; pic via Getty]