Friday, May 21, 2010

Nam Droppers

It's been a few days now, but I've thought a little more about the revelation that long-serving Connecticut Attorney General, and now candidate for the US Senate, Democrat Richard Blumenthal did not in fact serve in Viet Nam as he had claimed or implied on numerous occasions. As I thought about it, I couldn't help but remember Massachusetts Senator, and 2004 Democrat Party Presidential nominee, John Kerry's story about his participation in a secret mission into Cambodia over Christmas of 1968. An event that he insisted was, "seared--seared--in me." Like Blumenthal's claim, that one was also untrue.

I call it an untruth rather than a lie because I think it reveals something about these two men, and the kind of men they represent, that is even more troubling than the fact that they are liars. That is, they're weird.

If you're old enough you'll remember comedian Jon Lovitz's Saturday Night Live character who pathologically told lies about, among other things, being in the CIA, being married to the attractive actress Morgan Fairchild, and therefore seeing her naked, etc. "Yeahhh! That's the ticket!" What made the character funny was not so much that he was a liar, and that the lies were so transparent, but that he was so strange.

Remove the exaggerated aspects played for laughs and ask yourself, does Lovitz's character in any way describe Kerry and Blumenthal? Sadly, I think it does. But it's actually worse than that. Lovitz's character was a loser who, to impress people, had few options available to him besides lying. Not so Kerry and Blumenthal. They are both otherwise accomplished men, wealthy, and with long records of public service. So what's the point of their lies? What's more, did they really think they would never be found out when finding out was so relatively easy?

As strange as Blumenthal and Kerry are, the larger question for us is this: Are they representative? That is, are they in any way indicative of the kind of people currently motivated to pursue high public office? People who lie unnecessarily and foolishly. If so, does our future increasingly include government by the weird?

C'mon America! We can do better than this.

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