Connecticut Democratic senatorial candidate Richard Blumenthal has lied about serving in Vietnam. He said he did, he didn't, and now what was a very safe Democratic seat is quite open for Republican taking. Of course, Republicans would be a whole lot stronger if they had someone more creditable than Linda McMahon, wife of WWE founder Vince McMahon, as their likely candidate.
As I've argued time and time again, while national issues matter in local elections, we have to examine the local in order to understand why individual candidates win and lose. Lying about service in Vietnam is exactly the way to lose an election, even in a Democratic stalwart state like Connecticut.
Moreover, why would you lie about Vietnam in 2010? Who cares anymore? I know this is still a hot button issue for Baby Boomers, but it's only a problem in a Connecticut election if you make it a problem.
The only thing for Blumenthal to do is quit the campaign. He's now risking a safe seat. He needs to do what Chris Dodd did when it became clear he could not hold the seat--announce he will not run. Blumenthal was the savior for that mess. Luckily, Connecticut has a very deep Democratic bench. I'd say they should turn to Ned Lamont, who should be a senator from the state now, who has huge name recognition, and who has not a single black mark against his character. Of course, Blumenthal didn't either until yesterday, so that could always change.
God, politicians are weird and unpleasant people for the most part.
Finally, I know the big scandal story today is Indiana right-wing Representative Mark Souder resigning over an affair he had while defending marriage, etc. That's a good laugh. But it also has no bearing on the political landscape except to take a powerful and experienced Republican from the House. He'll be replaced by another hypocritical right-winger. Blumenthal's lapse of judgment is the lesser crime but will have far greater impact.
Tuesday, May 18, 2010