Most of you have probably heard that GOP Senator Roy Blunt hasn’t been entirely forthcoming about his relationship to the draft during the Vietnam years of his youth. Here’s what Steve Benen has to say about this little Missouri contretemps:
Blunt, up for re-election this year, is facing Jason Kander, widely seen as a rising star in Democratic politics, and an Army veteran who volunteered to serve in the war in Afghanistan. This dynamic prompted local media to take a fresh look at the Republican incumbent’s background when it came to military service.When the Kansas City Star specifically asked last year about Blunt’s draft history, the senator’s office last year talked about his low draft number, but failed to mention the three draft deferments.There’s no evidence that Blunt ever lied about his record, but for the Republican’s critics, it’s a sin of omission.“As someone who volunteered to serve in Afghanistan, it’s personally disappointing to me that, according to today’s report, a United States’ senator would spend decades misleading his state and country about his draft record,” Kander said in a press statement. “I don’t sit in judgment of anyone who chose not to serve in Vietnam, but hiding three deferments and saying you couldn’t remember them is completely inexcusable.”Making matters slightly worse, VoteVets.org chairman and Iraq War veteran Jon Soltz took the opportunity to emphasize Blunt’s less-than-stellar voting record on veterans’ issues.
But the business about Blunt’s less-than-stellar voting record on veterans’ issues is what is really important. While Blunt has not been forthcoming with support where it matters – in the budget, he’s been more than willing to talk up his supposed efforts for vets. The famous Karl Rove $800,000 ad buy on Blunt’s behalf tried to present him as a fearless supporter of veterans, claiming that “Senator Roy Blunt fought to provide jobs for veterans when they returned from service. Now Senator Blunt is fighting for more military family support.” Sadly for Blunt, the Missouri Democratic Party did a fact check that documented no such thing, but simply confirmed the many ways in which Blunt has been less than a friend to returning vets.
This is a recurring pattern for Blunt. Take Medicare for example. I wrote this on the topic back in November:
So last Thursday (11/19) readers of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch were treated to a quarter-page ad that proclaimed in large letters “thank You Senator Blunt for protecting access to patient care.” The ad was paid for by the Federation of American Hospitals, a for-profit hospital lobbying group.
As near as I can make out Blunt’s service to the group consisted of advocacy against cutting down the federal subsidy that compensates for Medicare “bad debt.” This is the debt that occurs when Medicare beneficiaries cannot manage co-pays or other Republican-sponsored (and Blunt endorsed) outlays designed to make sure that our elderly have “got skin in the game.”
Laudable, right? But bear in mind that this is the same Senator Blunt who just a few years ago proclaimed that, “We’ve had Medicare since 1965, and Medicare has never done anything to make people more healthy.” It’s also the same Roy Blunt who has voted against just about any expansion of healthcare that hasn’t involved a subsidy to healthcare industry beneficiaries – folks who, incidentally, have done quite a lot of good for ol’ Roy in their turn. Healthcare industries and Big Pharma account for quite a sizable chunk of Blunt’s campaign dosh.
Carefully parsed announcements and actions that are intended to obscure past actions – it’s nothing new. In fact it’s Blunt’s modus operandi. There are endless examples. Blunt moans about poor folks who he claims will be hurt when big coal contributors will be the ones taking it on the chin if Obama’s EPA rules are ever enacted. He went on the war path against net neutrality in defense of his pals and campaign supporters at AT&T – which is, in addition a client of Blunt’s lobbyist son, Andy. But, get this, he did it to save jobs, not thay any were actually threatened, but as I indicated in the title, Blunt is a master of finesse and never blunt about what he’s really up to. – which is collecting the campaign dough that feeds his ambitions.
So, I’m not surprised about the fact that he has tiptoed around the issue of his activities during the Vietnam war as well as the actual facts of his non-support of veterans. And it’ll probably work. Pavlovian conditioning will kick in and the VFW boys will refuse to believe that a Republican an be any thing other than a muscular kicker of backsides.