Because Rand Paul decided that he didn't want to answer questions about his extreme and misbegotten political philosophy, it was left to professional partisan hack Sen. John Cornyn to defend him, while simultaneously distancing him and his party from the aforementioned extremist views. The result was a spectacular balancing act, made only that much more partisan by contrasting Cornyn's words this week on Connecticut Senate candidate Richard Blumenthal.
Note that Paul--who advocated on multiple outlets that privately-owned businesses should be allowed to discriminate and that the Americans with Disabilities Act was "over-reaching" on the part of the federal government was simply a stumble by a novice candidate.
Well, Dr. Paul’s new to running for public office, and I think it’s Bob’s experience, I’m sure my experience, that you see novice candidates occasionally stumble on questions. I think he’s clarified his position. But I think he’s done the right thing.
Isn't that generous and understanding of Cornyn? So Cornyn believes the same "stumble" multiple times with different outlets should be considered excusable? Especially since Rand walked back from his statements after a day's news cycle of being stung by
various outlets pointing out that at the very least, Rand supports policies that enable racism.
However, Cornyn exhibits no similar generosity of spirit when it comes to Richard Blumenthal.
Senator John Cornyn, head of the committee to elect Republicans to the chamber, said the report that Democrat Richard Blumenthal misstated his military service is a “game changer” for the Connecticut Senate race.
“Character, credibility, personal integrity is very important, and he has hurt himself badly,” Cornyn said of Blumenthal, the state attorney general, in an interview on Bloomberg Television’s “Political Capital with Al Hunt,” airing this weekend; he said the seat now “is in play” for the Republicans.
Cornyn also said he expects Kentucky Republican Rand Paul to improve as a candidate and overcome mistakes such as questioning parts of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. “Rand Paul, like every new candidate, is going to get better,” Cornyn said. Candidates “make mistakes and they misspeak.”
Now, of course, official Washington Beltway Bubble stenographer David Gregory won't challenge Cornyn with this hypocrisy, but it's important to note that Blumenthal's misstatement occurred ONCE in a speech where he correctly referred to his service as well.
1. The AP now has the full video of the Norwalk speech. Elsewhere in that 2008 speech, writes Susan Haigh, Blumenthal describes his past accurately, saying he "served in the military during the Vietnam era." At minimum, New York Times reporter Raymond Hernandez should have included that detail in his story. This is, as I say, the big smoking gun in the story, and the Times failed to disclose that in that same speech, Blumenthal gave a more complete and accurate description of his service.
2. Jean Risley, the woman from the Connecticut Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the source of the Times quote about Blumenthal claiming to have been spat upon, says she was misquoted and that Blumenthal never made false claims to her about Vietnam. She appeared at Blumenthal's event yesterday.
3. The Times needs to resolve the discrepancy between the claim by the Linda McMahon campaign that they are the source of the Times story and Hernandez's repeated denials that this is true. It's an odd situation: to have someone claiming to be a journalistic source while the reporter tries to avoid talking about it. It usually cuts the other way. This issue tracks back to issue #1. Did Hernandez fail to include the full context of Blumenthal's 2008 remarks because he had only the video provided by the McMahon campaign -- they say they're the ones who gave it to him -- and therefore saw only what they wanted him to see?
4.The Times did not merely claim that Blumenthal was trafficking in falsehoods. The original story said that Blumenthal has been so consistently misleading that the idea of his service in Vietnam had become a widely accepted part of his public persona.
So a hatchet job instigated by Blumenthal's Republican rival and wildly exaggerated by the NY Times and echoed by the Villagers (I'm looking at you, Tweety) of a SINGLE misstatement by Blumenthal gives Republicans a boost, according to Cornyn. inconsistent, much? Cornyn is also similarly unfazed by his own candidate, Mark Kirk's inflation of his record:
Mark Kirk was claiming on his campaign site to be "the only member of Congress to serve stateside during Operation Iraqi Freedom," which was true, but on his official web site he claimed to be "the only member of Congress to serve in Operation Iraqi Freedom." To say you have served in a campaign is precisely the sort of falsehood for which Richard Blumenthal has been castigated for the past few days.
Yet, whereas Blumenthal repeatedly pointed out in speeches that he had served "during" Vietnam--with that noteable slip-up--and then corrected the record when the mistake was pointed out, Kirk's office refused to address the falsehood on his web site for more than 50 days after I first contacted him, despite the fact the Navy's Office of Information agreed that, because Kirk had never served in Iraq during Iraqi Freedom, he had no right to claim to be an Iraqi Freedom veteran.
Hypocrisy, thy name is Republican.