Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Left and Blumenthal


Mr. Gregg Levine of FireDogLake has launched several rhetorical missiles at the highly partisan Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat now running for Chris Dodd’s seat in the U.S. Senate:

“Those who know Dick tell me that he is the quintessential finger-in-the-wind politician. Hell, just listening to this short interview on WNYC’s The Brian Lehrer Show, I got the image of some classic Hollywood film caricature of the blowhard, entrenched, do nothing, say anything gasbag. So, what struck me while listening was which way this weathervane thought the wind was blowing.”
Mr. Levine is disappointed both with Blumenthal’s hawkish view on President Barack Obama’s war in Afghanistan and the attorney general’s public disagreement with U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder concerning the proposed trial of terrorist Kahlid Sheik Mohammed in a civilian court.

Mr. Levine quotes an offending passage from Blumenthal’s interview:

“I am determined to chart my own course in Washington, different in many respects from the Administration. I’ve taken the position that the trial of Khalid Sheik Mohammed should be in a military tribunal away from the United States, or, I’m sorry, away from New York and New Haven, and on a number of other issues, for example opposing the reconfirmation of Bernanke as chairman of the Federal Reserve, I have charted my own course, I’m prepared to do it, and issue-by-issue debate either side in what I think is the right thing to do.
“Drivel,” says Mr. Levine.

He then tears into Blumenthal with a meat axe.

Obama, Mr. Levine notes, is still popular in Connecticut, “a very blue state.” And yet in this and other interviews, the Democratic senatorial hopeful has gone to some pains to disavow Obama’s publicly declared position, admittedly now in flux, on no fewer than three important issues: the trial of terrorists in civilian courts; the reappointment of Ben Bernanke as Fed Chair; and the Mirandizing of terrorist suspect Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab.

On the Mirandizing of terrorists, Blumenthal fails to satisfy Mr Levine, who once again quotes Blumenthal in the interview:
“Let’s talk in real terms about what Mirandizing means. It means reading somebody their rights as opposed to simply interrogating them. I think there’s a general consensus now that in that instance there may have been no real need to read Miranda rights before some interrogation took place. And, in my view, with a terrorist, with our nation potentially at risk, interrogation should be pursued, and the consequences may be that some evidence may be inadmissible, but there is obviously in that case, overwhelming evidence without whatever may be gained or gleaned from the interrogation. So, bottom line, interrogation should have been pursued by a specially trained group of agents without necessarily a lawyer being present, and if at some point there was diminished usefulness to the interrogation, other criminal interrogation should have been applied perhaps by other authorities.”
“Utter garbage,” observes Mr. Levine.

And when Blumenthal is not spewing garbage, he is spouting “inaccuracies” and “inanities” such as this:

“Very often the reading of rights diminishes the usefulness of subsequent interrogation, the reason being simply that the defendant chooses to have a lawyer present, or chooses to cease talking. And I would have pursued the interrogation without the Miranda rights because I believe that the usefulness of learning about contacts from Yemen and elsewhere in the world and potential immediate attacks that may be known to this individual outweigh the benefits of having that at the trial.”
Not only are such sentiments “stupid” in Mr. Levine's view but they are “completely counter to the position of the administration of a president still thought popular in Dick’s state.”

On the whole, Mr. Levine’s is not a positive review thus far of Blumenthal’s positions on matters of importance to the left. Indeed, at this rate, it will be difficult for Blumenthal to avoid the charge over at FireDogLake that the attorney general is beginning to sound like his likely Republican opponents or, at worse, Dick Cheney.

Local leftist have not yet weighed in on Mr. Levine’s trenchant analysis.


  1. Speaking a few weeks ago on WNPR's "Where We Live" program, Mr. Blumenthal cemented his position as a "gun-ho" supporter of our Afghan War. Further, he appears to actually support pre-emptive strikes in new countries. In the interview he said, “In Yemen, Somalia, we need to anticipate where the terrorists may be likely to go before they establish footholds and set up shop.”

    Listen at:

    (Afghanistan comes up in the last 10 minutes or so....)

  2. Don, I'm afraid I don't understand the purpose of this blog. Is it just a repository for reposting articles from our own blogs, with no additional commentary or editing for space? Because if that's the case, I'll happily become a contributor and simply copy all my content here. Apparently there's no guidelines in place that prohibit such a practice.

    May I suggest that Jon request at least something original be posted here? Maybe just an overview of the article with a link? Otherwise, we're simply rereading the same stuff we've all seen elsewhere.

  3. At this point I'm willing to accept redundant articles - because we don't all read every other blog. Summary and a link would be preferable, however, especially for longer pieces.

    That's what I have done with my own pieces posted elsewhere.

  4. I may read some of CT's right wing Blogs but I had never even heard of Don Pesci before his posts here. Where do they hide the local uber right wing Blogs?

  5. >>I had never even heard of Don Pesci

    Don's not really a blogger; he's actually a journalist, who is frequently published by various newspapers throughout the state.

  6. It’s important to interrupt the self-referential political narrative every so often with differing points of view, and I thought Mr. Levine’s views were worth presenting here for that reason. Mr. Blumenthal is just emerging as a senatorial candidate. The points stressed by Mr. Levine have not been commented on at length in the rustbelt media, and while people on the left may be acquainted with Mr. Levine’s analysis, it may not be seen by moderates and rightists who do not frequent FireDogLake.

  7. Update: The New Haven Register has reported on the Obama-Blumenthal gap --