Assclown of the Ides: Dick Blumenthal

slick dick blumenthal…before he dicks you.

Blumenthal is a politician, so he’s an assclown by default. We could find good reasons, we expect, to put 435 Congressmen and 100 Senators in this position of dishonor. So we usually don’t. But he’s such an excellent and extreme assclown that he deserves it: for his moral and physical cowardice in the Vietnam War, for his life as a poseur since, and for his malignant, militant hoplophobia.

Moral and Physical Cowardice

Like many other moral and physical cowards, Dick is concerned lest something injure his quivering pink body, and shrinks from physical risk. While this is unbecoming in a man, it is the core and essence of his character. And it explains why he made the decisions he did as a young adult.

In his youth, the essential fact of life for men coming of age was the draft and the Vietnam War. In Dick’s upper-middle-class burb, there was little real risk of being drafted to Vietnam as a grunt, and for a weak but intelligent and glib Jewish kid the odds were almost zero — drafted, he’d have been sent to some technical school and done his two years holding a screwdriver or soldering iron, not an M16A1. But even in his teens Dick was contemptuous of the “losers” who went to combat, and felt service beneath him, so he did everything he could to stay out of the service entirely, and was almost successful.

What ended his string of deferments was another assclown, Richard Nixon (making this, at least this part of it, a tale of two Dicks). Nixon made a campaign promise to do something about the unfair draft system, which shuffled poor city and farm kids off to the infantry and gave well-to-do suburban kids numerous escape hatches. So Tricky Dick instituted a lottery for the draft: now, your likelihood of being called to the colors depended not upon how well you could manipulate legalities or how well Daddy could schmooze your local selective service board, but upon the happenstance of your date of birth, times the happenstance of the order of dates drawn from a big wire basket for your year group. Riding a deferment, as Dick had done for five or six years, was no longer an option.

(This is why, by the way, Vietnam war protests exploded on colleges after Nixon’s inauguration, even though many more were killed on Johnson’s watch: Ivy League rich boys like Dick had been content to let the working classes do their dying for them).

Dick was born on February 13th, 1946 (not a Friday — we checked) and was therefore exposed to the 1969 Draft lottery. His number was a seemingly high 152 — but all numbers through 195 were called. Dick talks a lot about “public service” now, but he was never interested in military service, selfless service. This is a guy who’s never done a selfless act in nearly 67 years of relentless self-promotion, and he sure wasn’t going to do anything that might harm his timid little self.

Instead, he joined a Washington-based US Marine Corps Reserve unit that existed, principally, to provide draft deferments for the sons of the connected. The reserves then were not like the reserves now. They were not called up for Vietnam; they became a haven for ambitious men who wanted to rule the chumps who were off taking risks.

Blumenthal went to initial entry training, including boot camp, which was his only exposure to the actual Marine Corps. Then he attended occasional weekend drills. Later, he transferred to a Connecticut unit to finish out his service contract. But he never went overseas, not even for a day, and every time he’s said he did, he’s been stealing the valor of actual veterans.

Life as a Poseur

Like most other physical and moral cowards, Dick couldn’t face the fact that the best of his generation did what he so assiduously avoided.

blumenthal_adFor the free-love generation, the military was an evil thing, and Dick’s compromise, in taking a zero-risk and not-too-miliytary reserve gig that erased his draft risk, was cowardly. But a funny thing happened after the war, as the dodgers like Dick climbed in the ranks of the national political and academic elite. Some of them began to feel shame for their actions (not Dick, of course). Others reassessed the war. It was now not fought by monsters against the noble NLF, as Dick chanted during his protesting era. It was obvious to all that the resulting Communist regimes in Southeast Asia were exactly what Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon deployed American force to prevent.  Far from being a foolish “red scare,” the most grim prognostications of the most embittered anti-communist fell far short of imagining the real nightmares of re-education camps, midnight escapes by leaky sampan, or Cambodia’s systematic murder of the educated.

In the 1970s, it began to dawn on America that our soldiers in Vietnam had been good men in a good cause; that their leaders, not they, were the guilty parties. Even Hollywood began to approach the Vietnam vet, first as a mentally damaged, stressed man who could not relate to his surroundings, or a victim crucified by his country… but in time, they gave the public the Vietnam vet as hero, whether in Vietnam or not (how many of the 70s TV action-show heroes were supposed to be Vietnam veterans? But no actual Vietnam veteran ever broke in to Hollywood. Why?)

In any event, by 1980 or so it was cool to be a Vietnam vet again. So Dick Blumenthal became one. It was easy enough for a man with a very large case of self-regard and a portion of integrity that could fit into a thimble and still leave room for King Kong’s thumb. He started small, putting small USMC chachkas in his office and letting people think what they would think. At some point, he began answering the question, “Were you in Vietnam?” with a “Yes.” Of course, he didn’t want to talk about it.

But time wore through his reticence, and he began to tell war stories. They couldn’t have been his war stories, as he was at all times over 10,000 miles fromVietnam. Only in 2010, as he was closing in on a Senate seat, did he admit to “misspeaking” about Vietnam. He won election handily over an inept opponent (she called him out on his phony veteran shtick,but she wasn’t a veteran either, although she didn’t make any such claims).

Reportedly, he has continued to float Vietnam claims, in private, when alone with constituents, sometimes using the elision-friendly “Vietnam-era veteran” construction and sometimes telling his tale of being spit on on his return from Vietnam. What an assclown.

Malignant, Militant Hoplophobia

Like many other moral and physical cowards, Dick is terrified by guns in general, very troubled by the people who like them, and most troubled of all by the idea that they are permitted to mere subjects, rather than his personal retainers.

As you might expect, Dick was excited by Newtown, offering as it did the opportunity to get his phony mug on the tube. While he never saw an anti-gun bill he didn’t support, an ego like his isn’t going to sign on to just any bill. Instead,he drafted his own, which he modestly named the Blumenthal Ammunition Background Check Act of 2013. It would:

  • Ban all ammo sales by non-FFLs
  • Create a de facto registration by creating a national database of ammunition sales
  • Require sellers to report to law enforcement for investigation, anyone who buys 1,000 rounds or more

Now, that’s not his only initiative. He also wants registration, bans on “assault weapons” and standard-size magazines, and confiscation of same.

But a lot of Congresscritters want that crap, and they’re not Assclown of the Ides. All of them have unhealthily large egos, and they’re not A of the I either. Slick Dick Blumenthal wins the no-prize because of his phony Vietnam claims, and the path of moral and physical cowardice that brought him to the point where he made them.