Reader Diva4ever sends along this profile of our creepy senatorial candidate, and former Harvard swim team captain (ha ha) Dickie Blumenthal, from American Spectator.
Unfortunately, Dodd’s replacement as the Democratic standard-bearer, state attorney general Richard Blumenthal, is no walk along the Connecticut River either. Blumenthal is an overzealous Eliot Spitzer imitator with a duller social life [so far as we know now – Ed] but a no less acute sense of his office’s activist potential. The Hartford Courant once editorialized that Blumenthal “has elevated activism to an art form, figuratively beating the ambulance to the accident almost every time.” The Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) labeled him the nation’s worst state attorney general.
One might assume that the voters would be repulsed at the sight of a Greenwich limousine liberal chasing ambulances, but the key to successful crusading — Blumenthal has been in office for five four-year terms — is to convince people you are really looking out for the little guy. Blumenthal picks unpopular targets and says he is wielding his considerable power on behalf of the downtrodden. He entered the race with a 40-point net favorable rating and led his nearest Republican rival by a two to one margin in the most recent Quinnipiac poll. His job approval rating hovered near 80 percent.
Blumenthal built his popularity on the backs of such easy prey as tobacco companies. In the 1990s, he negotiated the Master Settlement Agreement by which state attorneys general agreed to drop their litigation against cigarette manufacturers if the coffin nail-makers were willing to pony up. Nobody likes Big Tobacco and everybody loves the anti-smoking efforts the national tobacco deal was supposed to fund. But the end result was a transfer of $14 billion from disproportionately low-income smokers to the bank accounts of wealthy trial lawyers.
WHY IS SOMEONE AS ADEPT at self-promotion as Blumenthal still attorney general after nearly 20 years? State Democrats complain that he has looked out for his own self-preservation first rather than the needs of their party. He has repeatedly taken a pass on races for Senate and governor. “He’s intelligent. He’s a decent guy. He just doesn’t have the fire for a tough run,” New Haven Advocate political columnist Paul Bass memorably observed.
“He wants it to be handed to him, and it never was.”