Posts Tagged ‘Vietnam’

The three types of apologies and Illinois Senate Candidate Mark Kirk (R)

June 30, 2010

Apologies fall into three categories. Category 1 is the defiant apology: “I’m sorry if you think I did something wrong.”

Category 2 is the evasive apology: “I may have made an innocent mistake, and I’m sorry for it—if I actually did it.”

And there’s Category 3, the apology that’s so rare in politics it doesn’t yet have a name: “I did something wrong, and I’m sorry for it.” This used to be just called an apology, but the other types of apology make the old name inadequate. Just as technology made us replace “phone” with “dial phone,” and mail with “snail mail,” politics makes us put an adjective in front of “apology.” Call it the real apology.

Republican Senate candidate Mark Kirk of Illinois had a lot to apologize for. A month ago he apologized to the Chicago Tribune for a pile of whoppers about his 21-year record as a Navy Reserve intelligence officer: He had not come under fire in Iraq as claimed; had not participated in Operation Desert Storm; had not won the Navy’s award for intelligence officer of the year; had not commanded the Pentagon war room, and had not served in Operation Iraqi Freedom, the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

His apology was Category 2: “I am sorry, absolutely. You should speak with utter precision. You should stand on the documented military record. In public discourse, for high office, you should make sure that there is a degree of complete rigorous precession.” (more…)

Two follow-ups: Muslims near Ground Zero in New York City, and Connecticut voter reaction to Blumenthal’s lies

May 27, 2010

First the good news: The New York Times reports that a Manhattan community board voted 29-1, with ten abstentions, to approve a proposed Muslin community center two blocks from Ground Zero. The board’s vote is advisory, but the Times notes that the vote is a measure of community sentiment. Score one for New Yorkers and one for tolerance.

And the bad news: A Quinnipiac poll of Connecticut voters showed only 33 percent were less likely to vote for Richard Blumenthal after he lied about serving as a Marine in Vietnam. Sixty-one percent said it doesn’t make a difference. And some indecipherable four percent said they were more likely to vote for him because of his lie. Sadly, 54 percent bought Blumenthal’s claim that he merely misspoke about his military service, while only 38 percent said he lied. Thumbs down for Connecticut.

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Democrats have spoken: Lying is not disqualifying for the U.S. Senate

May 23, 2010

Connecticut Democrats took a stand Friday: they nominated Attorney General Richard Blumenthal by voice vote as their candidate for the U. S. Senate. Lying about having served in Vietnam. No problem.


Is Blumenthal sorry? Not on your life. Instead of apologizing he said, “I may have misspoken—I did misspeak on a few occasions out of hundreds, and I will not allow anyone to take a few of those misplaced words and impugn my record of service.”


Misspoken? Misspeaking is calling one grandchild by another grandchild’s name. Misspeaking is saying 2009 when you mean 2010. Misspeaking is NOT saying he served in Vietnam when he didn’t, or saying “When we came back, we were spat on; we couldn’t wear our uniforms. Those are lies.

Not a big problem for his party, however. From White House spokesman Robert Gibbs:

I have not heard anything from the (White House) political shop that would lead me to believe anything other than our continued support.” (more…)

Which is worse: Lying or jumping to the defense of liars? Time for Connecticut Democrats to be counted.

May 18, 2010

The Democrats had the Connecticut Senate seat sewed up, the one being vacated by Chris Dodd. Nate Silver’s authoritative website,  http://fivethirtyeight.com, rated the seat at greater than 95 percent likely to remain Democratic. Until this morning’s New York Times ran a front-page piece headlined, “Candidate’s Words on Vietnam Service Differ From History.”

And how!

Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, Democratic candidate, has been running 13-25 points ahead of possible Republican opponents. But he’s been claiming that he served in Vietnam, and that, “When we came back, we were spat on; we couldn’t wear our uniforms.” But Blumenthal never served in Vietnam. He got five deferments from the draft, and when they ran out he did the only thing that would save him from having to go to Vietnam: he joined the Marine Corps Reserve, where his most intense action was the Christmas time Toys for Tots” program. (more…)