Connecticut Dem Frontrunner Likes To Tell Horrible Lies About Vietnam Service

  vetting!

THEY'LL NEVER KNOW!Everyone was so relieved when Chris Dodd announced he wouldn’t seek re-election, because then this attorney general guy Richard “Dick” Blumenthal could run and actually win, easily. He would be the next Barack Obama! And maybe he still will, but this New York Times article is kind of terribly and completely devastating. Seems Dick spent the last decade telling voters — especially veterans groups — about his service in Vietnam. He didn’t tell them, though, that by “service in Vietnam” he meant “working his ass off and using his rich father’s connections to get five deferments and then, when he had no choice, using his father’s connections to get him in a cozy D.C. rich-child’s reserve unit, which did nothing.”

This rest of this story only has about 10 million trillion more examples of Dick Blumenthal telling people he served as a Marine in Vietnam, though, so who knows if it’s true.

At a ceremony honoring veterans and senior citizens who sent presents to soldiers overseas, Attorney General Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut rose and spoke of an earlier time in his life.

“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.

 
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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.

In 1970, with his last deferment in jeopardy, he landed a coveted spot in the Marine Reserve, which virtually guaranteed that he would not be sent to Vietnam. He joined a unit in Washington that conducted drills and other exercises and focused on local projects, like fixing a campground and organizing a Toys for Tots drive.

MAYBE REPUBLICANS WILL MISS THIS STORY.

Jesus. Can the campaign ship this guy over to Vietnam now and get a couple black-and-white photos of him shooting a tree or kidnapping John McCain or whatever? If not… can he just kidnap John McCain anyway, right now?

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Jim Newell is Wonkette's beloved Capitol Hill Typing Demon. He joined Wonkette.com in 2007, left for some other dumb job in 2010, and proudly returned in 2012 as our "Senior Editor at Large." He lives in Washington and also writes for things such as The Guardian, the Manchester paper of liberals.

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95 comments

  1. Mr Blifil

    I served my country as well, working at a variety of fine dining establishments through most of my twenties and thirties…

  2. memzilla

    Ha ha, got ‘im beat. I got the poor man’s deferment: shot in the chest a liquor store holdup, innocent bystander, lilfelong nerve damage, yada yada. “F*** you, draft board, I got shot on this side of the Pacific, you can’t send me over to get shot on that side of the Pacific!”

  3. Down Goes Frazier

    Lay off, the dude organized a “Toys for Tots” campaign for Criminy! Will nobody support our Marine Reserve, gift-bearing, child-centric organizationally adept troops?

  4. obfuscator

    child of privilege takes multiple deferments to avoid vietnam so he can attend an ivy league school? are we sure this bloominthale is a democrat?

  5. HandsomePete

    Maybe he didn’t serve in Vietnam, but I did enjoy him as George McFly in Back to the Future.

  6. Lionel Hutz Esq.

    Actually, in a Republican leaning year, lying about your military record is a brilliant political move. Now if he can only find a few young boys to text the sexy talk to, he would be a clear winner this year.

  7. Joshua Norton

    Organizing a Toys for Tots drive still gives him a more distinguished war record than Chimpy.

  8. chascates

    FIVE AND A HALF MONTHS!!!!! See also Texas National Air Guard, ‘the Champagne Division.”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Champagne_unit

    147th Fighter Group
    The most infamous champagne unit was the Texas Air National Guard 147th Fighter Group, at Ellington Air Base in Houston. During the Vietnam War many well-connected sons landed in this posting, sometimes with the help of politicians such as Ben Barnes.[4]

    Lloyd Bentsen Jr., son of Lloyd Bentsen
    George W. Bush, son of George H. W. Bush
    John Connally III, son of John Connally Jr.
    the son of John Tower
    James R. Bath
    seven members of the Dallas Cowboys

  9. mumblyjoe

    Okay, so this looks pretty bad, but, on the other hand:

    George W. Bush in a flight suit.

    Still, good thing there isn’t some massive double-standard that gives Republicans free passes for similar things, because he’d be in some[i] hot water[/i], boy, if that were the case.

    Why’s everyone looking at me like that?

  10. JMP

    God, are we still arguing about candidates’ Vietnam service, or lack thereof? It’s in the far, far past; the generation that was subject to the draft then may still control the media discourse, but half the ones who are still alive are retired by now. And every reasonable person (note: modern Conservatives are not reasonable) agrees that yes, it was an immoral clusterfuck and there wasn’t really much wrong with avoiding slaughtering the Vietnamese for no particular reason.

    In other words, the sixties are over; long over. Let’s recognize that fact.

  11. gjdodger

    Now, in Viet’s sunny clime
    Where I used t’ spend me time
    A-servin’ of ‘is ‘ighness, LBJ
    Of all that shitfaced crew
    The finest man I knew
    Was that Blumenthal, the Hahvahd boy, OK?

  12. JMP

    [re=579085]mumblyjoe[/re]: Now, if there was some double standard, then a decorated veteran who was a Democrat would have been subjected to slanderous attacks on his military record that were easily proven false, but the media still subjected to the usual “he said/he said” narrative.

    But that could never happen.

  13. chascates

    [re=579088]JMP[/re]: According to Gen. Petraeus’ doctoral thesis, we actually won in Vietnam
    http://www.thenation.com/article/pentagon-book-club

    Final paragraph:
    Drawing too many conclusions from a years-old dissertation is a risky proposition, but Petraeus’s writings then and his efforts since raise serious questions about just who he believes has suffered most because of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, what role he has played in that misery and the lessons he has drawn from the carnage. Given the Crusaders’ cheery (and bizarre) conclusions that Petraeus turned the bloody US war in Iraq into a victory and that his “surge” there offers a template for similar success in Afghanistan, one also worries what dubious lessons the next generation of Crusaders will draw from him and his “better wars.”

  14. SayItWithWookies

    I will be perfectly willing to forgive him if he makes up the service he lied about in Afghanistan at the rank he would’ve been drafted into. And if the Connecticut Democratic party has nothing better to offer than lying, overprivileged assholes, then cut the damn state in two and give half of it to Rhode Island and half of it to New Hampshire. And if it’s not sufficiently humble and douche-free after that we can move it to Arkansas.

  15. Jim89048

    It always surprised me that, even when being a combat veteran in Vietnam was considered uncool, people lied and said they were there. My draft number in 1972 was 74, a sufficiently low number to invoke panic. They drafted up to number 95 that year, but I never got my greetings. I went to San Blas Mexico until it was safe to return home. Left my draft card under a glass tabletop down there, along with dozens of others. Good times.

  16. Escape Goat Nation

    Well he’s got it all wrong.
    “We have learned something important since the days that I served IN Vietnam”

    should be,
    “We have learned something important since the days that I served DURING Vietnam.”

    Jeeze, what an idiot.

  17. WriteyWriterton

    Okay, if he – this delusional dick-blumenthal-wad – were running as a Republican, he’d be a prime candidate for the Presidency, because Democrats only know how to swift-boat themselves. As he has done.

  18. slappypaddy

    [re=579088]JMP[/re]: “God, are we still arguing about candidates’ Vietnam service, or lack thereof?”

    i don’t care if he went or not. i care that he lied about it. it’s a personal thing for me. my dad served and was wounded both in vietnam and in korea. his brother, my uncle whom i never got to meet, died in korea. for a politician — an attorney general, for christ’s sake! — to lie about serving in a war is to stick a knife into anyone who did, or had a loved one who did. that a democratic politician did this is just to twist the knife. thanks a whole fucking lot, democrats. watch out you don’t get your sleazy asses kicked this fall.

  19. Radiotherapy

    [re=579088]JMP[/re]: +2.
    Ho Chi Minh kicked our ass. I can accept that, but the Swift Boater tactic is alive and well, albeit evil and vile, over at Fox. (Or just blame it on the hippies.)

  20. J

    I assume his campaign is calling George W. Bush right about now to figure out how they made W’s time snorting coke off a hooker’s ass in a strip club in Alabama during his “service” in the Vietnam war into somehow becoming Commander-in-Chief.

  21. obfuscator

    [re=579080]Lionel Hutz Esq.[/re]: he should tell the press that he cheated on his wife with his best friend’s wife and then paid a shitload of hush money to keep it quiet.

  22. rambone

    [re=579107]Mad Brahms[/re]: [re=579068]Down Goes Frazier[/re]: [re=579083]Joshua Norton[/re]:
    I believe that it was actually “Toys for Hottentots.”

    Is he brave enough for you now?

  23. chascates

    [re=579097]Jim89048[/re]: I was number 56 in 1973, the last yearof the draft I believe. I actually tried to enlist in the Navy Reserve, at that time a pretty much party atmosphere. My eyesight made me 4-F and I determined them to become a war profitter instead. It never work out.

  24. legalize everything

    “You lied about fighting in the Vietnam War. It’s like – it’s like punching the American Flag in the face, goddammit!”

  25. obfuscator

    [re=579110]J[/re]: rove to blumenthal: get a d.u.i. and fail repeatedly in the private sector jobs your dad’s connections get you!!!1! profit!

  26. JMP

    [re=579108]Radiotherapy[/re]: Exactly; the Vietnamese kicked our asses good and well, and if the idiots who still think we should have kept the war going on had been in charge, it would have just ended in even more people getting killed. We lost, get over it; but I know several nutsoes who actually believe we should have kept on in Vietnam until .. whenever, I guess. They say until we won, but that was never going to happen.

  27. Lionel Hutz Esq.

    [re=579111]obfuscator[/re]: Or, have the diaper sex with prostitutes, but don’t resign (that is what Socialist/Commies do), and have your wife show up at the press conference in a sexy, leopard print dress.

  28. Radiotherapy

    [re=579126]obfuscator[/re]: Make sure you’re gonna cut taxes, embrace our judeo-christian founders, and blame the hippies.

  29. Bearbloke

    [re=579064]rambone[/re]: [re=579088]JMP[/re]: [re=579101]slappypaddy[/re]:
    What ‘Merika needs now is a(nother) candidate with an impeccable military record, unshakable faith in Almighty Gawd, and a bloody bucket-full of nutter-butter in the upper paddock – and I’ve just learnd that I met him back when I did my Overseas in the States….

    An hour ago, I was farting around after lunch wif teh email, & a Mate in California who’s not been very ‘political’ since he helped known KenyIslamik Usurper B. Hoo-sAyn n0bamer illegally sneak into the White Man’s White House – well, he dropped a steaming bomb on me:
    my Mate’s Dad, a sweet old man as I remember, is a FULL-BLOWN 10-ther/Birfer candidate for the Kentucky Senate seat now wasted on that pudding-head Prat Dumbo Bunning!!!!!! He’s even posted his Birth Certificate!

    Check out Mr. Martin’s candidate website for yourself – my Mate says it was mad from the start like a Doc Bronner’s label, but everyone’s past the shame & having a laff, so it’s your turn now… just remember that he’s Extremely! Proud to be American & Nothing Else!

    http://www.gurleylmartin.com/ Vote NOW! Vote MOAR!

  30. obfuscator

    [re=579130]Lionel Hutz Esq.[/re]: if you called on your democratic adultery counterpart to resign, make sure you don’t follow suit, and make sure to martyr your wife in a slow-motion torture/press avail.

  31. ZombieRichardFeynman

    [re=579097]Jim89048[/re]: That matches my experience. When I got back from Vietnam a lot of people said I was a sucker or a sadist; then a few years later it was “I would have served, but…”. This is the logical culmination, and though I don’t care whether or not a person served I do care about whether he lied about it. We, perhaps foolishly, take this stuff seriously; as witness that Navy bigwig who committed suicide after it was disclosed that he was wearing medals he wasn’t entitled to.

  32. obfuscator

    [re=579132]Radiotherapy[/re]: so basically, lobby against your own self-interest as long as the specific polices don’t impact you negatively.

  33. SayItWithWookies

    [re=579128]JMP[/re]: The idea that Vietnam could be controlled by invaders has historically been a bad one. It was dumb enough when the Chinese did it for a thousand years with the Vietnamese peoples fighting them the entire time. It was stupider still when the French tried to reassert control of Vietnam after WWII.

    If I remember correctly, Ho Chi Minh’s guerilla army rose up against their Japanese occupiers after Hirohito’s surrender so they could control the country before the French returned to reoccupy their colony. The Japanese did everything they could to hold out because they were terrified of surrendering to the Vietnamese, whom they had treated savagely, and would rather die fighting or surrender to the French. The fucking Japanese were afraid of the Vietnamese.

    Only a colony of utterly delusional fools would conclude that we lost in Vietnam because we didn’t have the stomach for it. That philosophy spurred a bunch of people who would otherwise have had lucrative careers selling Florida swampland to little old ladies or as tent-show preachers to become politicians and pundits — and thus the neoconservative movement was born.

  34. sati demise

    [re=579138]SayItWithWookies[/re]: this is the exact story Obama is pondering, just replace the word Vietnam with Afghanistan.
    So far not good.

  35. Beanball

    [re=579128]JMP[/re]: [re=579138]SayItWithWookies[/re]: We didn’t win the Vietnam war, but we didn’t lose it either; we flat quit and left.

    The reasons are several, and include massive public opposition, of course, but it’s my contention that it was the Eastern Establishment bankers who controlled the funding of the war who realized that the war was a wash and pulled the plug. You’ll recall that our national economy was getting so flaky that Nixon was driven to take us off the gold standard in order to stabilize the dollar. (Also, I have a theory that it probably didn’t hurt that the sons and daughters of these bankers were coming home from their hippie liberal Ivy league colleges every break and screaming at Daddy for being a warpig. I know that the Daddies in my, ah, *influential* wankcircle were deeply chagrined after Kent State, to say the least.)

  36. zhubajie

    [re=579088]JMP[/re]: Not far enough! Pat Robertson’s shameful Korean War mis-service still haunts him, and rightly.

  37. zhubajie

    [re=579088]JMP[/re]: The issue for me is Oligarchy. I had to go. My brother had to go. How come Richie Richkid doesn’t have to pay the blood tax? It’s a much an issue today as it was then.

    If these rich asswipes want the privileges of citizenship, let them do the duties.

  38. Suds McKenzie

    Damage control:

    A. Buy a Pickup Truck

    B. Demand Nuking Iran\Mexicans

    C. Photo Op asking delightful CT Portuguese children “who let the dogs out”

    D. …..

  39. Charlie Bucket

    [re=579097]Jim89048[/re]: The next step is for politicians not only to lie about being in Vietnam, but to claim that they enjoyed being there immensely.

  40. Papas got a brand new teabag

    isn’t this the exact same thing Bush did, minus the cocaine and the numerous AWOLs?

  41. Papas got a brand new teabag

    he should say he meant to say “serving during vietnam” and that he’s sorry everyone assumed that when he said “in” he actually meant “in”.

    just like when the righties say “sorry everyone assumes I am a racist for forwarding that racist email.”

  42. Limeylizzie

    Apparently the foul wrestling whore, Linda McMahon , has basically admitted that her campaign released this whole story to NYT including videos. What a cunt.

  43. Lazy Media

    Oh, see, that’s no problem at all. By “in Vietnam,” he simply meant “during the Vietnam era.” I’m sure voters will be completely understanding about such a simple mixup.

  44. weejee

    [re=579153]Geogre[/re]: I agree with you on that one, but as a for real Viet Nam vet, there are some tunnels outside of Cu Chi that I’d like to show this REMF.

  45. Lazy Media

    [re=579088]JMP[/re]: Uh, no. Getting a bunch of draft deferments is not the problem. Lying and saying you served in a combat zone when you didn’t? That oughta be the political death penalty, right there. Fuck that guy.

  46. Terry

    “…ultimately take a job in the Nixon White House.”

    This is the part that offends ME.

  47. Lazy Media

    Meh. The Vietnamese aren’t supermen. We killed, like, 2 million of them, and could have occupied South Vietnam as long as we had the political will. If we had used Petraeus-like counterinsurgency tactics, and done the necessary work to create a South Vietnamese government that WASN’T hideously corrupt, the place could easily have ended up like Korea. Instead, the Army tried to refight WWII again, the Air Force blew up anyone who might have wanted us to protect them from the Viet Cong, and the State Department let the South Vietnamese government devolve into a coup factory.

    And we STILL were ahead militarily when we left; the Viet Cong destroyed itself militarily in the Tet Offensive, and the NVA was sort of a giant IED; they could kill our guys in large numbers only by allowing themselves to be destroyed in the process. The South Vietnamese had absolutely no excuse to lose to the North Vietnamese army in a standup fight, the way they did. They had more troops and more stuff.

    Ho Chi Minh was a TERRIBLE military tactician (just generally bad at everything except seizing power, that guy, although he had the sense to drop useless Soviet ideas like collective farming, after he saw how badly they worked in practice). Without Vo Nguyen Giap, Ho would have destroyed his army in frontal attacks long before we got tired of fighting.

    Oh, and the communists didn’t fight the Japanese any more than they did in China. The Vichy French continued to run Vietnam after the Japanese invasion, until March of ’45. The Viet Minh spent their energy on fighting the French and undermining the other patriotic Vietnamese movements.

    Um, other bullshit things hippies say about Vietnam: that Ho Chi Minh was just a patriot who could have been a U.S. rather than Soviet/Chicom ally. Jesus. Ho Chi Minh was a cofounder of the French Communist party, and spent his exile in the ’30s teaching revolutionary communism in fucking Moscow.

    To sum up: Vietnam didn’t have to turn out the way it did, and the main reason it turned out so badly was that it was a proxy war between superpowers. The Soviet Union isn’t arming the Aghan insurgents, and since Al Qaeda went after Saudi Arabia in ’03, there’s not even that much Arab money/arms flowing to them.

    Now, I wouldn’t expect Iraq or Afghanistan to bloom as peaceful flowers of democracy any time soon, but that’s a much, much bigger job than just stomping an insurgency. Great powers have been successfully stomping insurgencies into the dirt at least since Julius Caesar taught the Gauls a thing or two.

  48. Geogre

    [re=579173]weejee[/re]: Draft dodging/serving the Dick

    See, I figure amnesty came, and I reckon that a lot of folks tried to dodge. Some did so with the “Alice’s Restaurant Masacree” tactic, some with dad’s golden Bonesmen. The rich deserve nothing; they owe. So, what does one do with wealth? Dodging the draft to an immoral and illegal war predicated on an illogical premise is low-bad.

    Dodging the draft and then working for the guy who would escalate involvement is a personal betrayal. I.e. he got out. A lot of folks would have. The corruption of the oligarchy made it possible for him, but not for most. However, having those advantages, he decided to “serve his country” by working for Nixon, the man who compounded the illegality of the war with a second invasion, bombing civilians, authorizing more and more assassination, and, of course, increasing the numbers of other poor slobs getting drafted.

    It’s not all alright that he used money to dodge. It’s outright bad that he wants to pose as an action hero. It is the same kind of bad as going to work for the proto-chicken hawk, Nixon.

  49. Traveler

    [re=579119]chascates[/re]: Yuppers, I was like 124 or something in 1974 (they did the lottery but not the draft as best I can recall). I kept the draft card for the longest time but I have no idea where it is anymore. I am not sure what is worse the serving in the Nixon White House or lying about being in Vietnam.

  50. Darkness

    Everyone was so relieved when Chris Dodd announced he wouldn’t seek re-election,

    Under what unholy alignment of overprivileged constellations would his replacement not be your run of the mill financial industry whore?

  51. iburl

    Dodging the Vietnam draft: Smart
    Then lying to veterans on multiple occasions that you served in Vietnam: Fucking Stupid
    This guy deserves to be pelted with rocks and tossed off a bridge.

  52. Carolina

    [re=579088]JMP[/re]: The story here is about the recent lies, not about the ancient deferments.

  53. Darkness

    [re=579162]Papas got a brand new teabag[/re]: It’s not quite the same thing. Bush skipped out six months early on his coushie champagne service. Then lied during the 2000 election saying he had finished it up in Boston. The lazy media did shit to check up on this.

    [re=579189]Lazy Media[/re]:

    Air Force blew up anyone who might have wanted us to protect them from the Viet Cong
    They kept misplacing that crystal ball that distinguished the enemy from the potential friendlies, apparently.

    South Vietnamese government that WASN’T hideously corrupt, the place could easily have ended up like Korea.
    To what end, exactly? Oh yeah, North Korea is such a wonderful stabilizing force in the world. You want to trade half of current Vietnam in for another fucking North Korea?

  54. FlaminYawn

    That’s easy. If you served in Vietnam they automatically gave you a little green and white campaign ribbon (with matching shiny medal!)— even if you had some behind-the-lines pussy-ass job like building swing sets for diplomat’s kids. Ask him to produce it, or the record thereof. I’d loan him mine, but it’s at the cleaners.

  55. stink, but

    To be fair, serving in the Nixon White House was pretty much the same thing as serving in Vietnam.

  56. Mr Blifil

    [re=579214]Buttery1000[/re]: Because it was written by Dan Gerstein, under his latino nom-de-plume.

  57. Mr Blifil

    [re=579167]Limeylizzie[/re]: I’m sure the Times will be running an equally fierce and uncompromising study of her compelling and unusual background. NOT!!11!!!1

  58. What Fresh Hell is This?

    Ah, so that’s how they did it. In Vietnam, Connecticut had half as many troops killed as the much less populous Alabama. My cousin should have used my uncle’s connections at the lumber mill. He was a kind, generous, thoughtful person who would have made a great father and good community leader.

    I’ll take uneducated Alabama morons over Connecticut Ivy vermin.

  59. Botswana Meat Commission FC

    Getting a strong Crispin Glover vibe. Is he going to make any crazy Letterman appearances anytime soon?

  60. norbizness

    Every time we strip away our snark to, say, discuss military history, this place becomes about as educational as a Texas textbook.

  61. arewethereyet

    I was a draft dodger in 1969. Drew a number 8, lucky me. So i said fuck this….and joined the AirForce. so instead of two they got four. Smart huh? at least i’m here to write about it.

  62. Ruhe

    The first time I saw this guy I thought “Crispin Glover”. And now it’s clear that the resemblance is more than skin deep, what with the pathological lying and all.

  63. Terry

    [re=579305]arewethereyet[/re]:

    The Air Force was a good choice. You fly and you’re back at the O Club for Happy Hour. Primary danger? Cirrhosis of the liver.

  64. Lazy Media

    [re=579233]Darkness[/re]:
    To what end, exactly? Oh yeah, North Korea is such a wonderful stabilizing force in the world. You want to trade half of current Vietnam in for another fucking North Korea?</i?

    I bet a shitload of Vietnamese would. I was thinking more of South Vietnam = South Korea.

  65. libwakman

    Fair is fair: I demand the immediate resignation of Eric Cartman for slinging the same The Nam pack’o’lies.

  66. Scottie

    As an actual Vietnam vet, I’ve always said it is OK to tell what you did over there (with improvements!), but, it is not OK to lie about having been there.

    There oughta be a law!

  67. Vaibanez02

    Lying about Vietnam military service can get you lots of things in this country, even the Presidency! Oh wait, he’s a Democrat not a Republican…well it can get you a close first runner up in a Presidential election!

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