Enough Dickiegate Already

It's time to put Dickiegate behind us. Richard Blumenthal is a politician. Period. Did we expect virtue? Did we expect him to be any different than all the other members of the political class who subscribe to the credo that spin is everything? Did we expect this Dick to be any different than all the other dicks wandering around Washington?

I enjoyed the spectacle this past week as much as anyone: Blumenthal lied about his Vietnam War record. Then he blamed others for pointing it out. His spin doctors went into overdrive, and a counter-offensive was launched. It felt like the moral equivalent of the Wall Street bailout: Expensive games played by folks who live inside a bubble where nothing matters so much as wealth, power and the perception of goodness.

Let's just vet it and say it loud and clear: Richard Blumenthal is a two-faced shit head, a trust fund baby lip-synching Bruce Springsteen and trying to be one of the guys. He's got the swagger of a well-kept momma's boy. Not an ounce of fat to spare, he works 24-7 at cultivating a flawless image of perfection. His compulsion to make himself daily into the epigone of some private version of virtue is a sure sign of a character flaw drawing its energy from some dark star. He's a prig, a man without qualities, a blue-blooded buffoon. He is all these things and more.

But he is still my candidate for the U.S. Senate.

I would have trusted Blumenthal more if he could simply admit that he exaggerated. We've all sinned and fallen short of the glory of whatever god or goddess we serve. In his great zeal to serve veterans he over-identified with them. I get that. It does not make him a moral criminal. It simply makes him weak. A simple "I'm sorry" would have sufficed. Can there really be an excess of love and regard for those who serve at risk of death and disfigurement?

But instead of honesty, we got the predictable behavior of a member of the political class: lies, spin, casting blame, silly posturing. Blumenthal looked like a clown this week. In this regard, he looked no different than his Republican candidate for the seat, Linda McMahon, the madonna of steroid swigging wrestlers in the Worldwide Wrestling Federation. And I would rather share a foxhole, even an imaginary foxhole, with Blumenthal than with Robert Simmons, the ex-CIA spy whose trade craft for a decade or more was lies, deception and a two-dimensional embrace of orders.

Who do you want casting votes on the larger issues of the day: A wealthy wrestling promoter with the moral sense of a drug-dealing pornographer? Or a man with decades of experience in public service who, despite his flawed character, has devoted a lifetime to understanding public policy issues and leadership?

We were reminded of a painful lesson last week. The folks who often seek office do so for reasons that most of us would regard as pathological. Harold Lasswell wrote a classic about those who seek powers in the 1930s, Psychopathology and Politics. He explored what quirks compelled a person to make the largely irrational choice to serve in office. Politicians, we know, but refuse to acknowledge, typically don't seek office because they are good people at peace with themselves. They seek office because inner demons drive them outside the comfort zones most of us accept as the norm. Blumenthal is a politician. Last week, he took his demon out for a walk. It wasn't pretty.

I did not vote for many years. The candidates seemed then all the same: Vainglorious nabobs squabbling over issues that rarely mattered. It seemed a continuation of the sort of games that the cool kids played in high school. Some of them really wanted to be president of the senior class. They worked at it. They went to the same school I attended, but their concerns were otherworldly. I happily let them waste their time seeking to sit atop a heap I could not wait to flee.

But public office is different, I learned. Refusing to vote doesn't mean that the office will go unfilled. The people who play the game get the spoils. Their voices are the ones that are heard. A few years back, and with reluctance, I started to vote again. I learned that selecting a candidate was a lot like buying a used car. I rarely love any of the models on the lot. I buy what I can afford and hope it will take me where I want to go.

It delights me that Blumenthal's imaginary moral engine blew this week. He's not the Porsche he thinks he is. It's fun to rant at him and remind him of his hypocrisy. But at the end of the day, we still will elect a Senator to replace Chris Dodd in November. I'd happily put Blumenthal in the Senate with my vote. He's the best candidate for the job. He's the most capable politician of the lot, whatever that says. So I will send him to the Senate without reservation.

I just won't invite the man to dinner.

Comments: (6)

  • Mike
    Politics is odd. I dislike a lot about Blume...
    Politics is odd. I dislike a lot about Blumenthal but I still have no sense that McMahom has principles I can identify much less support. You're all over the robber barons of Wall Street. She looks like another robber baron, but this time of steroids. Let's see what she can between now and November other than spend money.
    Posted on May 23, 2010 at 8:34 pm by Norm Pattis
  • But McMahon has to show me something other than we...
    But McMahon has to show me something other than wealth. She has no record.
    She created her wealth.
    She was broke. Almost bankrupt. All of the challenges you write about with your law practice...She lived them.
    WWE is huge today, but it wasn't always the case. It was a small-time business when I was a fan during my pre-teens. McMahon created enterprise value.
    The reference to "A Fractured Mind" is indeed amusing. On your pages you mention the value of struggle. When someone struggles to build a huge business, you dismiss that struggle and the life lessons struggling teaches.
    Your criticize the service of the power elite. Yet that's been Blumenthal's entire life.
    When did Blumenthal ever struggle in his entire life? Other than bumping people who got into the way of a camera, what's been his fight? What's his vision? Power, power, and more power. That's it. That's his life.
    He also sacrificed innocent people in his quest for power:
    Politics is odd stuff, and your post is a reminder why I don't talk politics with most people - especially friends.
    Posted on May 23, 2010 at 12:03 pm by Mike
  • If after all that you have written on this blogsit...
    If after all that you have written on this blogsite, you could support BloominTall as the default candidate for Senator, I FIND ASTONISHING, if not a$$inine. I just went thru my library looking for a couple of books you might want to read, apropos of this extraordinary kerfuffle in the unkonstitution state. (I know you like to read books late into the nite, in the vain hope that they will lull you to sleep. I feel your pain?)
    This is what I found: A Fractured Mind: My Life with Multiple Personality Disorder, by Robert B. Oxnam, Hyperion, New York, 2005 and The Paranoia Switch: How Terror Rewires our Brains and Reshapes our Behavior--and How we can Reclaim our Courage, Marta Stout, Ph.D. (author of the Sociopath Next Door), Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York, 2007.
    Oh, here's another one: Not Above the Law: The Battle of Watergate Prosecutors Cox and Jaworski, by James Doyle, William Morrow & Co., Inc., New York, 1977. Stay tuned, maybe I can find a couple of other books you may have missed.
    P.S., 'The Bloom is off the Rose'. As far as I'm concerned, it has been off the rose for a veeeery looong time. Watch out, SubRosa DeLauro, you are next!?! (No love lost between me and either Bloomy or SubRosa.) My motion is sublime is that Mr. AG resign and promise never to run for political office again,... in any jurisdiction. Just enjoy your unearned, and grossly undeserved, retirement for godsakes and don't bother me or any number of good CT residents anymore ever again!
    Oh, you misspoke? That's not what we hired you for when we [mistakenly] voted for you!?! Can U say Impeachment? I can.
    Posted on May 23, 2010 at 11:38 am by William Doriss
  • Pattis's laborious rationalization for apparently ...
    Pattis's laborious rationalization for apparently guiltily siding with Blumenthal for U. S. senator may work for him in accommodation to current worrisome and worsening conditions. But it is hardly persuasive, definitely not heartening, and contains not a tincture of hope. I would describe it as jesuitical tawdriness--much like deciding which smells worse, a dead fish or a dead cat; or perhaps more apropos, which is the better candidate, Al Capone or John Gotti.
    But to get to the positive part of my post: Blumenthal is a creature of the government, by the government, and for the government. In short, no one anyone with any sense of balance such as myself would want in the government at this time. At Huffington Post, I wrote recently I do not know much about McMahon. but I do know one thing about her--namely that she is not Blumenthal, and from what I know about him, that is virtue enough. Yet I am not that political, so I don't endorse candidates; but rather take readings of things.
    My own posture at this time of government incompetence and folly which no politicians or officials seem adequate to beginning to deal with is roughly that of the French partisans in the Nazi occupation of their country. I hope to find time for study of this in the coming months. From what I know at this time however, I see that the activity of the partisans--also known as the French Resistance--in opposing the German war machine and totalitarian occupation of their country (something like how the major financial institutions in league with government proxies largely control this country) have lessons for the present circumstances.
    Posted on May 23, 2010 at 2:41 am by Henry Berry
  • Mike:
    I take your point on Dick. Not sure I would...
    I take your point on Dick. Not sure I would use the word bigoted to describe my reaction to McMahon: snobbish, certainly.
    In general, I don't trust politicians. Period. And that does extend to Dick. It certainly extends to McMahon. I will reconsider my sopport. But McMahon has to show me something other than wealth. She has no record.
    My default position is Blumenthal. The fact that he is a liar does not separate him from the pack. It just makes him part of the pack. Let's see what McMahon has got.
    Posted on May 23, 2010 at 1:40 am by Norm Pattis
  • Blumenthal sounds a lot like Kagan. His whole lif...
    Blumenthal sounds a lot like Kagan. His whole life has been one calculation after another to Power.
    How can you oppose Kagan while supporting Blumenthal? They are the same people, cut from the same cloth, with the same interest - serving the power elite.
    I think you're being bigoted about pro westling. Since it's a low-brow sport, you view the people who provide the entertainment as being beneath you.
    Yet Linda McMahon and her husband built a billion-dollar company.
    What'd Dick do? Get born into wealth; never have to worry about paying a bill; never have to sweat over payroll? Then this man - who never need worry about money - devotes his life to seeking power.
    How many pro bono cases did he take? How many people did he help when it wouldn't lead to a press release? What did he ever do that did not bring him closer to power?
    Even without knowing anything about McMahon's political views, my intuition is that you're way off, and should reconsider your support.
    Posted on May 22, 2010 at 7:42 pm by Mike

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