Two congressmen faced two different scandals in two very different ways this week. Congressman Mark Souder served the people of Indiana for eight terms, running on a pro-family platform. The problem is, as he was promoting abstinence education in public schools, he was practicing something quite different with a part-time staffer. To make matters worse, his mistress/aide, Tracy Jackson, also married, appeared with the Congressman in a video promoting sexual discipline.
Not to be outdone by a Hoosier, Connecticut Yankee, Richard Blumenthal, current Attorney General and Senate hopeful, was reported by none other than the New York Times to be claiming—on several occasions—service to the country as a Marine sergeant in Vietnam. “We have learned something important since the days that I served in Vietnam,” said Blumenthal in 2008. “I served during the Vietnam era,” he stated on another occasion. “I remember the taunts, the insults, sometimes even physical abuse.” Newspapers around the state repeated the whopper, each with their own special touch describing him as “a veteran of the Vietnam War … a Vietnam Veteran.” “He enlisted in the Marines rather than duck the Vietnam draft,” reported Slate magazine in a 2000 profile.
Trouble is, not only did Blumenthal never set foot on Vietnamese soil; he escaped active duty service by actively avoiding it at least five times. He finally landed in the Marine Corps Reserves, bravely organizing a “Toys for Tots” campaign.
Souder signaled his own lack of character during the recent primary fight by decrying rumors of his affair as “revenge politics.”
Meanwhile, Blumenthal was riding the wave of public and Democratic favor in his bid to replace retiring Senator Chris Dodd. Few thought it possible he could lose in a heavily blue state while serving as its popular Attorney General. So Blumenthal continued to preen, enjoying public admiration of his fake valor, incredulously oblivious of the fact that lies have a way of being found out. But being found and “outed” by the New York Times must have been especially painful.
“On a few occasions I have misspoken about my service and I regret that,” said Blumenthal in a press conference backed by odd looking military types to an audience responding with the Marine shoutout, “Oorah!” Strange enthusiasm for a “Toys for Tots” campaign and a boldface lie.
“I have sinned against God, my wife and my family by having a mutual relationship with a part-time member of my staff.” said Souder, alone on stage to no one in particular.