Leave Feedback

BLOG: A fake war hero, a fake Indian and Josh Mandel

Tom Jackson • May 17, 2012 at 5:22 PM

Senate Democrats have an exciting prospect ahead of them. They may be able to get a fake Indian in their caucus to keep their fake war hero company!

The fake war hero is U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, who served in the Marine Corps Reserves in the 1970s. During his 2010 Senate campaign, the New York Times revealed that he had given speeches falsely claiming to be a Vietnam veteran. (He told one crowd in 2008, "We have learned something important since the days that I served in Vietnam.") Democrats shrugged off the story and elected Blumenthal by a wide margin.

The fake Native American is Elizabeth Warren, a blue-eyed blonde who is the Democratic nominee for the U.S. Senate in Massachusetts. Warren claimed for years that she was an American Indian, listing herself as a "minority" in a law school directory. At other times she has said she's white. Harvard has touted her as a "minority" hire for its law school. (She may or may not have a very small percentage of Indian heritage, as many people from Oklahoma do.)

James Taranto, on "Best of the Web," took no position on whether Warren is part Indian but noted that flexible ethnicity appeared to be a good career move: "Because she is--or can pass for--white, she was in a position to have the best of both worlds, advancing through affirmative action, then enjoying the white privilege of appearing to have gotten ahead solely on the merits."

Here's a recent story on Warren, and here's a link to her Wikipedia bio, in case you wonder what a "woman of color" looks like.

Conservatives have enjoyed Warren's Indian controversy -- they've dubbed her "Fauxcahontas."

But it's not as if they are sticklers for honesty when their own career politicians are involved. The Republican Party's nominee for the U.S. Senate in Ohio is Josh Mandel, who campaigned for treasurer saying he wanted to serve four years and probably seek re-election for another four year term. As soon as he won, he began running for the Senate. (Mandel, 34, won his first election in 2003. He supported domestic partner benefits for gay people when he was in college but jettisoned the position when it became politically inconvenient).

The world of partisan politics seems to be different from the world the rest of us live in. What is it about politics that rewards people for being dishonest phonies?

Recommended for You