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By now, we've all heard the scandal with Dick Blumenthal in Connecticut. What's clear is that he made some misleading statements ("served during Vietnam"), and told some outright lies ("in Vietnam", "when we returned from Vietnam"), along with some clearer ones ("I did not serve in Vietnam"). What's also clear is that the NYT article was somewhat of a hit piece, with ties to the McMahon campaign.

Also, you should have all by now seen Dale Peterson's Alabama Ag Commissioner ad, along with the even more hillarious Funny or Die parody. If not, go googling and watch them, post-haste.

But one part of the original video caught my interest, and reading comments about the video on various sites, I found I was not the only one to notice it. Peterson says he was "a Marine during Vietnam". He served from 1963-1967, that much is clear. But a quick poke around the internet makes it hard to discover whether he served in combat, or whether he's doing a Blumenthal. Granted, he doesn't say "in", meaning he avoids an outright lie and the worst of the outrage that could be directed at Blumenthal, but I still wonder. If he has being doing this, and there's been no media attention, is this yet more IOKIYAR about military service?

The following page gives more details about Peterson's "linguistic ju-jitsu" with his service, and also notes that some media sources did then mischaracterise his words as "in Vietnam", apparantly without correction from Peterson, which Blumenthal was criticised for when the media did the same with his statements.

http://politipage.com/...

One poster on a site pointed out that a pic of some dog tags appears in first second of the ad, and says "Peterson, K.P" (with religion/blood type obscured by another Marine insignia/badge of some sort, I'm not an expert in such things). According to Wikipedia, there was a Dale K. Peterson who commanded the USS Guadalcanal (launched in 1963), though the ship was in the Atlantic during the war. The names and date might just be coincidence. If not, and it was the same Dale Peterson, then isn't commanding a ship impressive enough, and why risk the wrath of media, post-Blumenthal, with the Vietnam reference?

If he did genuinely serve in Vietnam, and especially if he served in combat there, I apologize profusely to Peterson for questioning his record unfairly. But if not, this concerns me. What Blumenthal said was wrong, but for Peterson to do something similar (if not quite as bad- Peterson never said "in", as I mentioned) is not right either, and is simply downright stupid to do in the wake of the press criticism of Blumenthal, which should of been an example to other candidates.

Moreover, it's mystifying why Blumenthal, Peterson or any other candidate would make misleading statements about their service- not only does it cause them political pain if they are uncovered, the time when everyone thought that military/combat service was a massive political plus should long since have passed. Yes, it can speak to character and patriotism. And yes, some candidates and current office-holders are admired for their service and may have been helped by it as a result; Patrick Murphy and Joe Sestak on our side, for example. But generally, the facts are there. In the last five presidential elections, the candidate with the weaker record on military service won. Even in 2004, when Kerry's Silver Star did have the potential to be a plus-point for him against drug-addled part-time Guardsman Bush, the GOP went Rovian and turned it into a negative. In 2002 in Georgia, Khe Sanh amputee Max Cleland was still smeared by 5-deferments Chambliss. 5-deferments Cheney is still treated by the media, if not quite by the public, as a national security expert. Of 60 "Fighting Dems" with military experience who ran in the 2006 midterms, 5 (Webb, Murphy, Carney, Sestak and Walz) prevailed, and Jon Powers, Charlie Brown, Ashwin Madia and countless others fought the good fight and lost in 2008. If you've got military service, by all means, cite it as experience, and it will sometimes help politically, but by no means is it an instant winner. But if not, or if the service you do have is not quite as "impressive" as you would like it sound, why lie or mislead? All pain, no gain.

Originally posted to Elliot341 on Mon May 24, 2010 at 06:25 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Everybody remembers things in their favor (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Samulayo

    But Blumenthal was over the top. I'm ready to give him a bye on it but he ought to keep his dam mouth shut.
    As a Vietnam Veteran, who lived through quite a bit of scorn, from both sides, Its always amazing that people make political hay out of something we used to keep quiet about for so many years

    Happy just to be alive

    by exlrrp on Mon May 24, 2010 at 07:22:25 AM PDT

    •  I think Blumenthal does not deserve a pass. (0+ / 0-)

      My father and all his brothers save one, my mother's brothers and all my father's and mother's brothers-in-law fought in WWII. Most of them saw action, some in Europe, some in the Pacific. Three of them were wounded.

      My father-in-law fought in WWII and Korea, was a U.S. Army Ranger, never wounded but much decorated, and is in the Ranger Hall of Fame in Fort Benning GA.

      Several of my classmates fought in Vietnam, all returned safely.

      I honor all those who served everywhere.

      I never served in Vietnam, and never wanted to. I was prepared to go when drafted but in my part of Texas lots of young men, upon high school graduation, volunteered for the draft and so the draft quota for my draft board was usually easily filled.

      So I know that it is impossible to mispeak about your service like Blumenthal said he did. No cognizant, sentient being can make such a mistake, but if he did he would know that he would be behaving dishonorably if he did not correct it - immediately.

      Either way Blumenthal knowlingly misled people. But I have no right to judge him because I did not serve. But I do judge him. You just can't lie about serving in wartime. You just can't do it. A man who would do that would be able to do other dishonorable things.

      Might and Right are always fighting, in our youth it seems exciting. Right is always nearly winning, Might can hardly keep from grinning.

      by hestal on Mon May 24, 2010 at 07:36:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I have had a relative in every American War since (0+ / 0-)

        the Revolutionary war, so my creds beat your creds.

        I know everything about Blumenthal and you don't because you lack relatives in the Revolutionary War.  And yes I really do.

        It's time for trains. Money spent on infrastructure is money we get back.

        by 88kathy on Mon May 24, 2010 at 08:20:41 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I have no idea what you are talking about. (0+ / 0-)

          I have no "creds." That is what I was saying. I was the exception in my family. But because I saw what my relatives went through, that I did not go through, I appreciate their sacrifice. Because of the price they paid, to enable me to pay no price, I saw that one must always tell the truth about one's lack of service. If I had done what Blumenthal did then I would have been disrepecting my own relatives -- that would have been an unforgivable sin. No honest man would ever claim to have served in a combat zone when he did not do so. That was no "mistake," Blumenthal did not "misspeak." He lied and he got caught.

          I congragulate on the glorious history of your ancestors, but don't forget that the glory belong to your ancestors. They are the ones who earned it.

          And I hope you were not belittling the service of my ancestors. Surely you would not do that?

          Might and Right are always fighting, in our youth it seems exciting. Right is always nearly winning, Might can hardly keep from grinning.

          by hestal on Mon May 24, 2010 at 09:06:28 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I hope you are not saying I earned my ancestors (0+ / 0-)

            any more than you earned your ancestors.

            This argument is as stupid as the Blumenthal argument which always starts with military creds and then descends into an intrepretation of what has been reported in various venues.  It is ridiculous.  You have no more idea what Blumenthal said or didn't say than anyone else.  

            You have no idea what my ancestors dead these many years are thinking, would have thought, did think or did not think.  Also I might be so bold as to say you have no idea if dead people even think at all.

            And please don't shake your righteous caution finger at me and tell me the proper way to respect my ancestors.

            It's time for trains. Money spent on infrastructure is money we get back.

            by 88kathy on Mon May 24, 2010 at 09:31:28 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I still have no idea what you are talking about. (0+ / 0-)

              I said nothing about what my ancestors think or thought and I said nothing about what your ancestors think or thought. You are the one who talks about communing with the departed.

              My comments were about what I think as a person who, like Blumenthal, did not serve. So in that respect I have a very good idea of what that experience is like. I have a very good idea that one who did not serve never forgets he did not serve.

              And I did not say anything at all about what Blumenthal thinks or thought. I only said what I think about what he said. I did watch the videos in which he said things that make me think he was trying to plant the impression that he actually served in Vietnam. I think he lied. I think that, not my ancestors or yours, but me. I still think it. Your little temper fits means nothing to me. It is not even a fart in the wind. It is nothing.

              Might and Right are always fighting, in our youth it seems exciting. Right is always nearly winning, Might can hardly keep from grinning.

              by hestal on Mon May 24, 2010 at 09:42:12 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  you are a little stinky yourself (0+ / 0-)

                Blumenthal served six years in the Marine Corps Reserves

                It's time for trains. Money spent on infrastructure is money we get back.

                by 88kathy on Mon May 24, 2010 at 09:45:15 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  But, not in Vietnam, as he falsely and publicly (0+ / 0-)

                  claimed.

                  Might and Right are always fighting, in our youth it seems exciting. Right is always nearly winning, Might can hardly keep from grinning.

                  by hestal on Mon May 24, 2010 at 09:47:12 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  You know all about, that you just stated (0+ / 0-)

                    My comments were about what I think as a person who, like Blumenthal, did not serve. So in that respect I have a very good idea of what that experience is like. I have a very good idea that one who did not serve never forgets he did not serve.

                    falsely and publicly ignoring his service and frothing about things you do not know, stuff you might have heard, and making shit up.

                    It's time for trains. Money spent on infrastructure is money we get back.

                    by 88kathy on Mon May 24, 2010 at 09:51:51 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Go read the front page of this DKos. (0+ / 0-)

                      Blumenthan acknowledges that I am right and you are wrong.

                      Might and Right are always fighting, in our youth it seems exciting. Right is always nearly winning, Might can hardly keep from grinning.

                      by hestal on Mon May 24, 2010 at 10:49:10 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Blumenthal did serve (0+ / 0-)

                        you claim he did not.

                        It's time for trains. Money spent on infrastructure is money we get back.

                        by 88kathy on Mon May 24, 2010 at 10:57:11 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Now you are not telling the truth. (0+ / 0-)

                          I said that Blumenthal was lying when he said he served in Vietnam. You lose, and you have less integrity than Blumenthal. At least he finally admitted that he was wrong and he publicly apologized, but you are now accusing me of something I did not do.

                          I have nothing more to say to you.

                          Might and Right are always fighting, in our youth it seems exciting. Right is always nearly winning, Might can hardly keep from grinning.

                          by hestal on Mon May 24, 2010 at 11:06:52 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

          •  So what tale of combat did he tell? (0+ / 0-)

            I think it was a preposition that led to this hell.

            It's time for trains. Money spent on infrastructure is money we get back.

            by 88kathy on Mon May 24, 2010 at 09:36:31 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Watch the videos. You can hear the lies (0+ / 0-)

              emanate from his own mouth.

              Might and Right are always fighting, in our youth it seems exciting. Right is always nearly winning, Might can hardly keep from grinning.

              by hestal on Mon May 24, 2010 at 09:49:55 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  you give no links (0+ / 0-)

                the video you are referencing is probably the one that makes it clear he was never in-country a little further in the same speech.

                It's time for trains. Money spent on infrastructure is money we get back.

                by 88kathy on Mon May 24, 2010 at 09:54:35 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  You never heard of Blumenthal until the NYT (0+ / 0-)

                published their hit piece, now you know all about it.

                This will be up to the CT voters where he has been in public service for decades.  Were those voters under the impression he was an in-country vet.  I don't think so.

                The NYT found misuse of prepositions.  He apologized for that.  Now can you get on with your life.

                It's time for trains. Money spent on infrastructure is money we get back.

                by 88kathy on Mon May 24, 2010 at 11:09:08 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

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