I’m going to let you in on a secret: The biggest lie in politics is not “I didn’t inhale,” or “I am not a crook,” or even “No new taxes.” No, the biggest lie in politics is this: “I misspoke.” Whenever a politician is confronted by evidence of them contradicting themselves, they immediately back track, apologize, and mumble “I misspoke” or “I was misunderstood.” The newest politician to join the “Club of Misspeaking Political Figures” is Richard Blumenthal, Democratic Attorney General from Connecticut, who on several occasions alluded to his service in the Vietnam War (excuse me – the Vietnam Police Action). He discussed his treatment when he returned from overseas, and he talked in general about his “service in Vietnam.” The reality is that Mr. Blumenthal never went to Vietnam. He was a reservist who received 5 deferments and never set foot in the jungle, though he did join the Marine Corps voluntarily in 1970. After this was brought to light, the shame-faced Attorney General had to back-paddle and stammer out the requisite apology, complete with the obligatory, “I misspoke.” He said that instead of saying “I served IN Vietnam,” he meant to say “I served DURING Vietnam.” There’s a pretty big difference between those two prepositions. The impact of his “misstatement” on his political career will continue to reveal itself over the next few weeks.
Politicians pull this kind of thing all the time – they exaggerate, embellish, and downright lie about their military service to make themselves look more patriotic and more qualified. John Kerry did it, George W. Bush may have done it, and now Richard Blumenthal is doing it. This is not only misleading, it is downright disrespectful to those who DO face real danger and who DO serve overseas. As an army wife whose husband is currently deployed to Afghanistan, I cannot tolerate this kind of disrespect for our service-members from those who are supposed to be upholding our laws and maintaining order. It is a slap in the face to our soldiers and their families that belittles their service and sacrifice. Politicians, from either party, who are found to have “misspoke” about their military service to our country will NOT receive my vote. The simple fact is that Mr. Blumenthal did not “misspeak.” He LIED – and that is a far greater offense.