Being a politician means never having to say you're sorry.
Connecticut Attorney General and U.S. Senate candidate Richard Blumenthal repeated for years that his military career included service in the Vietnam War. When it recently came to light that he in fact did not serve in Vietnam, Blumenthal suggested it was nothing more than "a few misplaced words" that were "absolutely unintentional".
It turned out that Blumenthal, the beneficiary of numerous deferments, actually served in Washington, D.C. as part of a Marine Reserve unit that, according to the New York Times, focused on local projects like fixing a campground and organizing a Toys for Tots drive.
While U.S. soldiers in Vietnam were beating back communist forces during the Tet Offensive, Dick Blumenthal was back home winning the Tots Offensive with G.I. Joe action figures and Easy Bake Ovens.
But, hey, what's the difference other than "a few misplaced words"?
If you were left with the impression that Blumenthal was battling to push the Viet Cong north of the 17th Parallel when he was actually narcing on hippies in DuPont Circle, well, Dick wants you to know that, without assigning blame, the misunderstanding was "absolutely unintentional".
Blumenthal is so typical of the phony Sir Galahads who populate public offices. Because they believe they are the standard of purity, politicians like Blumenthal cannot bring themselves to sincerely admit to and repent for bad acts.
Instead they offer feeble, disembodied non-apologies for their actions, "I regret that things turned out the way they did."
Or, like Blumenthal, they make a generic categorical statement followed immediately by self-indulgent puffery, "I take full responsibility for those times that I have misspoken...but I will not allow anyone to take a few misplaced words and impugn my record of service to my country."
People have a vast capacity to rationalize their actions. If, however, Connecticut residents are unable to rationalize voting for Blumenthal, we could be encouraged to believe there is a limit to that capacity.
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