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Thursday, May 20, 2010


I attended the Hartford Democratic Town Committee/Nominating Convention tonight only to once again be schooled in the fine art of total chaos, DTC style. For anyone who wants to see how democracy should not be conducted, you missed it.

I'm too tired to go into all the fine details right now, but a couple of the most prominent events were involving the candidates for US Senate. The first was the loud applause upon the entrance of Attorney General Richard Blumenthal as he entered the function room to address the DTC members present. The warm welcome and applause reminded me of the reception for a war hero returning home from Vietnam or Iraq. Oh, wait, I misspoke, I meant a war hero that served during the Vietnam war.

Blumenthal was allowed special consideration since he was unable to attend the previous candidates forum when it was scheduled. Another Senate candidate, Merrick Alpert was also in attendance and requested to address the meeting, but he wasn't allowed the opportunity to speak. And then a change of plans, yes he can speak. Oh wait, maybe we misspoke, you cant speak, you had your turn last week. Ok, sorry, we misspoke again, you can speak, but it will be at the end of the meeting, just hang around.

Oh, sorry again, another mistake, we misspoke. We are adjourning and as you know we misspoke so you can't speak.

And then, like a scene from "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington", Merrick Alpert parts the crowd, goes to the center of the room and suddenly over a loud and obnoxious crowd, you hear a clear and concise announcement. "MY NAME IS MERRICK ALPERT AND I'M RUNNING FOR US SENATE". The room suddenly became quiet, and Merrick Alpert began a speech outlining why he was running, introduced his wife and then detailed a factual military career.

Alpert explained his military service and described how he actually served on a peace keeping force in Bosnia. Not that he was in the Guard during operations in Bosnia, he was actually there on the ground, bombs, bullets and all the rest.

I have never heard Alpert speak before, but I have to say, I was impressed. He made the perfect example of why we need new blood in the political process, rather than the recycling bin of career politicians the system has become.

And for those that believe that Blumenthal's tale of "returning from Vietnam" was a one time mistake when he "misspoke", check out Kevin Rennie's blog "Daily Ructions" where he reports on an article in the Stamford Advocate where another instance of Blumenthal "misspeaking" is detailed. According to Rennie "The Advocate reported Wednesday that on November 2, 2008, Blumenthal declared at the Stamford Veterans Day parade, “I wore the uniform in Vietnam and many came back to all kinds of disrespect. Whatever we think of war, we owe the men and women of the armed forces our unconditional support.”

To view the full blog entry, click here


Rich Wareing said...

Kevin, you've once again scooped the Courant, except this time on a national story. As far as I can tell the Washington Post broke the story about the Stamford parade at about 11 AM yesterday on its web page. The WSJ and NY Post also ran stories, and it was featured on the CBS News website. I know the Greenwich weekly paper ran the story (it is quoted on Linda McMahon's website) but I think Kevin Rennie is the only person at the Courant to have mentioned it and he, of course, is a columnist, not a reporter.

Anonymous said...

In fairness Kevin, Merrick Alpert did address the town committee the last time we met, and since no other candidates were given two chances to address us, I think it was only fair that he was only given the chance to speak after our normal business. Also, it should be noted that Merrick's speech was exactly the same as the last time, with only one small paragraph address Blumenthal's embelishments.

Anonymous said...

Kevin...its good to see Mayor Perez working closely with Minnie,Ramon,Carbone and others to press the cause for Lamont for Governor.I was wondering why these people have been so silent about reform and cleaning up city hall since their candidate Holloway won the town chair race...and now I know.In addition they are closely linked with Mayor Perez in helping Senator Fonfara overcome the challenge to him in 2008 and now...i guess its one big happy family now.

Anonymous said...

Mr Mallarkey and Kennelly have or are setting up a seperate PAC in the City to raise money for candidates in direct conflict with the town committee fundraising operation.Mr Mallarkey the Hartford Party Treasurer and long time Federle for Governor Supporter sees no conflict of interest in all this.They are having a fundraiser in june/july at the Chowderpot to raise money for their PAC, some of which will go to Federle for Governor.

Anonymous said...

Mr Anonymous...about 15 years ago Ramon Aroyyo was caught patronizing a prostitute...and 15 years later he, Minnie and Carbone are patronizing Mayor Perez...I hope they at least have new kneepads.I never trusted their advocacy for reform and Minnie has a few "issues" to explain to the prosecutors very soon.

Rich Wareing said...

Back to Blumenthal. NY Times is reporting that in 2007 the Milford Mirror (weekly) quoted Blumenthal as saying at the Milford Memorial Day Parade “[i]n Vietnam . . . we had to endure taunts and insults, and no one said, ‘Welcome home.’ I say welcome home."

This one is perhaps closer to a true mis-speak than some of the others (i.e. "during Vietnam . . ." would have been accurate), but still an interesting pattern. Kevin, I don't know whether you say Colin McEnroe's blg. He invited area reports to say whether Blumenthal had ever mis-stated his record to them. All the "big guns" said no, but Bob MacDonald said "I'm a former Hartford Courant photographer (1999-2009) and covered several of the many homecoming ceremonies for Connecticut troops deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan. At each ceremony, Blumenthal gave essentially the same speech, recalling his negative experience after returning from Vietnam and being abandoned by the government and the public and then committing all manner of support to today's returning veterans and their families. While I cannot recall his exact words, my sense was he definitely implied that he served in Vietnam. I was very familiar with the AG, and like many news photogs, often worked very hard to get a photo that he did not appear in, but I was surprised to learn ... that he had not served in Vietnam based on what I heard him say at these events."

What is interesting is that all the "mis-speaks" seem to have occurred at low profile events - local parades, unit deployment ceremonies, speaches at senior centers. Is it that Blumethnal is less careful at these events or is that he thinks he can push the proverbial envelope b/c none of the "big name" reporters (if there is such a thing in CT) care not there? In any event, this blog is the only place where this story is getting space in CT. The Courant seems to have declared the issue over and can get back to printing press releases from the AG's office and his campaign HQ.

Bruce Rubenstein said...

Rich....Blumie probably has given hundreds of talks to vet groups in his time as AG and all the press has dug up is a few mispeaks.In all the other event instances that McMahon's op research people have dug up and the press as well,he stated the correct position.Given that he appeared to mispeak at low attendance events and given he is known to be a smart politician it would be very out of character for him to lie and believe he could get away with it.I rather believe that given his empathy for vets and the intensity of the moment,he simply mispoke without an intention to deceive.For which he handled it properly at his corrective press conference by saying he regretted his mispoken words.

Rich Wareing said...

Bruce - we have to agree to disagree about this.