Obama and Deval Patrick's Shared Language: Issue or Not?

Update: New thread on this is here. Comments on this one are over 200 and closing. Thanks for your thoughts.

I'm just getting online today and I see there's a big to-do in the media over Barack Obama's use of Mass. Gov. Deval Patrick's words in his speeches.

The Clinton campaign says it's plagiarism. The Obama campaign says Obama should have credited Patrick but the two are friends and share ideas. Patrick says he doesn't mind Obama's use of his words.

Obama's oratory has been an issue in this campaign. There's been a plethora of media articles about Obama's speeches being inspirational while Hillary's are not.

I've often reminded readers that speeches are written by speechwriters and I'm not impressed that Obama has the ability, with a teleprompter, to inspirationally deliver a speech written by someone else. Not long ago, the New York Times ran a profile of his chief speechwriter. [More...]

Jake Tapper at ABC News says this is really an issue between Obama and his supporters:

Thousands, if not millions, of Americans are inspired by Obama's words. They do not think they are "just words." But many of them also likely think they are at least somewhat original.

Dan Balz at The Washington Post says:

Words do matter, as do their origins. Ask Joe Biden, who took words from a British politician in 1988 without attribution and paid a high price.

You Tube has all the videos. Here's one with Patrick and Obama's on Saturday night in Wisconsin. Here's a side by side comparison.

I say we should decide the nominee based on their record not their promises. Speeches are just that, speeches. I've been suggesting we ignore Obama's scripted speeches for months. This is just more evidence of that proposition to me.

Ignore the speeches. Who has the best and strongest record, the most experience and the ability, once elected, to get their agenda through Congress? Who will be a better and more electable candidate against the Republicans in November?

Let's not get sidetracked.

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    Sharing ideas is one thing, Plagiarism is another (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by felizarte on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 02:56:25 PM EST
    In your post of Hillary's and Jimmy Carter's words, the ideas are similar, but about the only words that are the same are "I see an America . . . " which are not copyrightable.  No one can lay claim to "I see an America."

    I agree with Jeralyn (5.00 / 4) (#20)
    by BluestBlue on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 03:05:16 PM EST
    that the candidates should be judged on their record. The problem with Obama is that he hasn't DONE anything. On the national stage he has only been in the Senate for a short time, just about a year before he started running for president.

    He has sponsored just TWO bills that became law. ONE of these was to NAME a Post Office. Some record.

    When you have no record, you only have the candidate's words to judge him on. Personally, I don't think that is enough to elect a president on, but if I set aside my concerns here, I am left with the fact that they aren't even his words!

    AND that his words (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by Virginian on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 03:11:02 PM EST
    don't add up to a hill of beans...

    Being for change...isn't specific enough to have any meaning, outside of what logically (customarily according to Hume) occurs between today and tomorrow...change.


    Bing (none / 0) (#24)
    by white n az on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 03:09:11 PM EST

    At least get the facts straight (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by Virginian on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 03:08:44 PM EST
    "Don't tell me words don't matter," Mr. Obama said, to applause. " `I have a dream' -- just words? `We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal' -- just words? `We have nothing to fear but fear itself' -- just words? Just speeches?"

    (Emphasis added, and take from the NY Time article linked above)

    I don't think the Declaration of Independence really is the same as a speech, nor does it help the point he's trying to make, "just words?"

    Although a bit tangential, I find his logic confusing...in one case we're talking about speeches/words that were moving, on the other hand we're talking about a letter sent to the British crown that was an actual action (not just words).

    You forgot one thing: (5.00 / 1) (#136)
    by felizarte on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 04:23:22 PM EST
    Those words were spoken by people who actually DID something to make their words come true.  He repeats those statements, and of course they are uplifting, but what is he really proposing to make those words have meaning in action to benefit the PEOPLE?

    His healthcare is short of addressing the whole problem.  One of the candidates (I just don't recall who) actually said, that by designing his healthcare proposal short of making it universal, he has already capitulated to the insurance companies.  Now we are told that his adviser that was mainly responsible for crafting it actually was highly responsible for the failure of the first universal health care proposal of Hillary.  Now we know why his proposal is the way it is.


    It's hard for him to have ringing phrases (none / 0) (#146)
    by Cream City on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 04:30:25 PM EST
    about his bill to name a post office, half of his  proposals in Congress.

    a little dose of reality please? (none / 0) (#213)
    by A DC Wonk on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 05:17:42 PM EST
    bill to name a post office, half of his  proposals in Congress.

    You don't do your cause any good when you exaggerate so out of proportion that it becomes divorced from reality.

    See here for some counter-examples.  (Please note, the above was written while he had been in the Senate less than two years, and before he announced he was a candidate)


    VA, I might be wrong, (none / 0) (#27)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 03:13:33 PM EST
    but the idea is that BO stole the concept, execution and much of the actual phrasing from a Gov. Patrick speech, not that he stole them from the DoI. No?

    Thats not at all what I am saying (5.00 / 1) (#35)
    by Virginian on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 03:16:59 PM EST
    I am saying, if you're going to lift someone else's speech, at least fix the issues with the logic already there...

    Right on, I get it now. (none / 0) (#48)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 03:23:46 PM EST
    Words is words. Written or spoken. (none / 0) (#49)
    by echinopsia on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 03:25:20 PM EST
    yes, words are words (none / 0) (#53)
    by A DC Wonk on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 03:29:10 PM EST
    ... and words matter.

    We agree (none / 0) (#60)
    by echinopsia on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 03:31:13 PM EST
    I'm saying words is words whether written or spoken, and they do matter.

    Is that what you said (none / 0) (#61)
    by Firefly4625 on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 03:31:44 PM EST
    when Ann Coulter did it? Tell the truth...

    ????????? Explain please. (none / 0) (#82)
    by echinopsia on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 03:41:40 PM EST
    There is a difference between (none / 0) (#111)
    by Virginian on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 03:56:37 PM EST
    the words of a speech and the words of the DOI

    What you're saying is tantamount to "laws are words, and a speech is words, so a law and a speech are the same thing"

    which isn't so.


    Nitpick (none / 0) (#138)
    by echinopsia on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 04:24:11 PM EST
    DoI is not a law.

    True (none / 0) (#143)
    by Virginian on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 04:27:51 PM EST
    but the analogy is what applies...

    No, sorry (none / 0) (#166)
    by echinopsia on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 04:41:03 PM EST
    The analogy should be between a speech and a declaration - which are pretty much the same thing.

    thats not so at all (none / 0) (#174)
    by Virginian on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 04:44:02 PM EST
    and it is very clearly so, without extraneous discussions...

    so by your thinking (none / 0) (#177)
    by Virginian on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 04:45:44 PM EST
    The state of the union and a DECLARATION of war are the same thing? why? because they are both words...i mean really...

    And to be more clear (none / 0) (#163)
    by Virginian on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 04:38:23 PM EST
    I am using laws as a substitute, for ease of the analogy...the DoI is somewhat unto its own, and harder to make a CLEAR analogy...

    DoI is less of a rhetorical work and more of an action...so in some sense, it is like sending the crown a "cease and desist"...an action on the part of the sender...where as the famous "I have a dream" speech was had no "doing" of its own...not an action...

    words are not always just words...sometimes they are also actions...

    Another example would be a contract, marriage vows, etc...they are more than just words, whether that be sentimental, or actual, words aren't always "just words"...


    A few issues (none / 0) (#157)
    by solon on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 04:36:34 PM EST
    There seem to be a few issues within this "controversy."

    (1) Should Senator Obama cite the Gov. of Mass? Absolutely, and he may lose a few votes because he did not do this. I don't think it is a major issue or a major act of plagiarism because of the connections of the two speakers and Senator Obama's remarks were impromptu and not in his manuscript.

    (2)The philosophical point is that words are constitutive as they create meaning. The Declaration is the same as a speech since, in accordance with Speech Act Theory, language creates and shapes meaning. A speech, in general, and the Declaration, in particular, may not have the same power, but all discourse is constitutive.

    (3) There is an interesting aspect of "invention." When writing the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson did not "invent" his argument since his discourse is modeled after an obscure Declaration, which was available to him while writing, (See the work of
    Stephen Lucas on the development of the Declaration of Independence.) In Jefferson's case, his theory of invention centered on using the available and known arguments of the time. It was not about creating new arguments.

    This would matter if Senator Obama received some rhetorical training (I am do not know this). His speech writers, who most likely have received an education in classical rhetoric as most have, may have given him this information.


    Bleah... (none / 0) (#200)
    by Virginian on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 05:08:45 PM EST
    bad interpretation of the applicability of speech act/illocutionary theory

    You're confusing the the "action"

    Thomas Jefferson (actor) writes the DoI. Thus by writing, he is acting...thus all writing/speaking is action...that is what you're arguing...all speech is action That is true, only in the sense of making the action be of that which is done by the author.

    What I am saying is that the DoI was in effect an "actor"...much the same way a contract is an "actor"...in the case of a contract, its action is the binding of two parties for performance and consideration...in the case of the DoI, it does just that, makes our independence official (baring war)...above, I make reference to a declaration of war, an ACTION beyond the author construction...


    Say what? (5.00 / 3) (#34)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 03:16:57 PM EST
    My gawd. Have you NO heard the things Obama has said about Clinton?


    It's very hard to be objective about this (none / 0) (#54)
    by AF on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 03:29:11 PM EST
    But the exit polls in MD and VA (p. 5) asked which candidates attacked more unfairly.  Virtually nobody (4-5%) thought it was Obama.

    When all he has are words he should at least (5.00 / 1) (#36)
    by LatinoVoter on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 03:17:30 PM EST
    have some that are his own. I love refried beans as much as he next Mexican but I don't think that one should repackaging a campaign that someone just ran on a couple of years ago. If you see the YouTube video with both clips played next to each other you see it is just a national roll out of a marketing campaign Davide Axelrod tried on Mass.

    again and again (none / 0) (#43)
    by jdj on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 03:21:31 PM EST
    the no substance arguement that has ... well no substance to it.

    You know how they say a "picture is worth a (none / 0) (#62)
    by LatinoVoter on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 03:31:46 PM EST
    thousand workd"?

    This one speaks for itself.


    I assume that cartoonist (none / 0) (#101)
    by jdj on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 03:50:47 PM EST
    could read. Obama's wesite has as much if not more policey details than any canidates.

    could not (none / 0) (#102)
    by jdj on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 03:51:19 PM EST
    could not read. and I can't type.

    loved it (none / 0) (#117)
    by white n az on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 04:06:09 PM EST

    I like (none / 0) (#126)
    by echinopsia on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 04:15:30 PM EST
    I liked the other one better (none / 0) (#139)
    by white n az on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 04:25:23 PM EST
    I won't say that Barack Obama is an empty box. I'm sure he's a bright guy. I just don't know what he actually is for because he has demonstrated a skill of the non-position.

    if you actually care at all... (none / 0) (#221)
    by A DC Wonk on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 05:28:14 PM EST
    ...about "what he actually is for", then just take a look at his web site.

    As some op-ed columnist said (I'm paraphrazing): "anyone who doesn't know his policy positions doesn't know how to use google."

    So, you say you don't know.  All you need to do is look it up if you want to know, right?


    Yes we can (none / 0) (#236)
    by lilburro on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 05:57:28 PM EST
    look it up.  That's true of any candidate.  But it concerns me a little bit that Obama's campaign drift is my policy positions have been published, I'm not hiding anything...but he continues to frequently talk and project an image that focuses on believing, change, inspiration, etc.  His campaign to me has almost made a distinction between motivating people and implementing policy.  It doesn't go far enough to bring the two messages together in a way that convinces me the energy for change will be harnessed directly to policy, and that people are signing on for the policy.  It's one of the things that I don't understand about Republicans supporting Obama - his positions are much to the left of people you have previously supported.  How does this not bother you?  And when will it begin to?  

    Plus, there are plenty of people who don't know how to use google in this country.  


    Replace (5.00 / 1) (#46)
    by Firefly4625 on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 03:23:03 PM EST
    Clinton with Obama and I could say the same exact thing - and yes, I could state it just as emphatically, as if it were stone-hard fact.

    Guess it depends upon who you believe in and who you support.

    Of course, it's just your opinion - and my opinion -  with no basis in anything.

    I will vote for either (none / 0) (#57)
    by jdj on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 03:30:18 PM EST
    as they are close on almost everything I care about.

    Obama rules (5.00 / 1) (#55)
    by echinopsia on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 03:29:30 PM EST
    You always have to be nice to Obama, no matter what he does or says.

    An inspirational leader (5.00 / 1) (#67)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 03:34:37 PM EST
    should have his own words, not borrowed words.

    Is Obama an inspirational leader?

    No, I think he is an inspirational character. (none / 0) (#142)
    by my opinion on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 04:27:00 PM EST
    Is that what we want? Sure he has other good characteristics, but that is his big selling point.

    Sure, (5.00 / 1) (#71)
    by hvs on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 03:37:44 PM EST
    "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself," is pretty good, but I'm thinking about Churchill. ...That guy truly changed history with words. The British populace had every right to break during the Blitz and after a series of debacles, but he talked them into doing the right thing. (And in the British Parliamentary system, he could have actually lost control of the government if the population turned against him.)

    Excuse me but (5.00 / 1) (#78)
    by kenoshaMarge on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 03:40:09 PM EST
    isn't it Swift-boating when what is said isn't true? And isn't it true that Obama used much of a Patrick speech as his own? What's Swift-boating about that? I personally thought it was called plagiarism and that most people of integrity thought it was a bad thing. What am I missing here? (Oh, I forgot, Obama Rules.)


    I think it is particularly egregious (5.00 / 6) (#97)
    by BluestBlue on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 03:47:38 PM EST
    When in a speech about why words matter, neither the construct, the words, nor the ideas are Obama's.

    It's wonderfully ironic (none / 0) (#123)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 04:13:00 PM EST
    to someone, like me, who enjoys irony.

    All he would have had to say, was "in the words of my good friend, Governor Deval Patrick"...nobody would have had a deal.

    Creativity is important in a president.  When that president is about "change" and can't even figure out how to state original thoughts is a campaign that is known for its "simplicity," shall we say, then it's pretty easy to speculate that creativity isn't something he's going to bring to Washington.


    Bluest (none / 0) (#176)
    by Kathy on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 04:44:59 PM EST

    "Standing on the shoulders of great men who came before him"


    Right (none / 0) (#181)
    by Virginian on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 04:51:22 PM EST
    This is somewhat of a non-issue, but if we apply the same test of the Obama-Patrick speech to any other, this would clearly be outrageous (although, not some disqualifier)

    Say for example, if Obama were to try to pass off MLK's dream speech...people would call it plagiarism...so when applied against other speeches if it is plagiarism or phoniness...it is here too...but it is no bigger of an issue than Biden doing the same...


    Or! (5.00 / 1) (#99)
    by echinopsia on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 03:48:58 PM EST
    We'll win and have a Democratic president! Yay!

    Or is that what you're really worried about?

    And about "shared language" -- (5.00 / 2) (#116)
    by Cream City on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 04:04:42 PM EST
    I really hope I don't get that excuse from students who plagiarize.  "No, no, I was just, like, sharing language!"  

    Ugh.  I also grade down for such euphemisms.

    What do you think about (5.00 / 1) (#120)
    by AF on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 04:10:27 PM EST
    students turning in papers written by somebody else?  

    it's not as if (none / 0) (#125)
    by white n az on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 04:14:23 PM EST
    they had the approval of the people whose papers they copied matters...it's still dishonest

    Yes, but (none / 0) (#128)
    by AF on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 04:16:26 PM EST
    all politicians have speechwriters.  What counts as plagiarism is different for political speeches versus term papers.

    Wow....good one. (none / 0) (#140)
    by Stellaaa on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 04:25:34 PM EST
    I've been a speechwriter, too (none / 0) (#153)
    by Cream City on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 04:35:04 PM EST
    and I got paid for it.  Did Obama pay Chavez, the Hopi chief, Deval Patrick, and anyone else I missed whose language he has, um, shared?

    And in speechwriting for a good candidate, client, etc., a lot of time is spent to get their ideas first, reading their materials, then suggesting ways to put it, then getting their feedback for revisions -- they're very involved.  And that way, the end result doesn't come out as someone else's words, and word for word -- not the speechwriter's and certainly not the words of others with the same campaign manager.


    also (none / 0) (#178)
    by Kathy on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 04:47:11 PM EST
    if this skinny white guy who is writing Obama's stuff is such a master...then why does he have to crib?  For that matter, why can't he take what Deval said and make it better?

    I'm 1000% certain college aged voters will have no problem with this.  Anyone who works in education knows that plagiarism is a huge problem, mostly because the internet makes it so easy.


    despite the fact that you are losing (none / 0) (#156)
    by white n az on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 04:36:22 PM EST
    the argument on this blog, your candidate is getting creamed on CNN and ABC and I bet elsewhere on this issue.

    The blogs aren't your problem at the moment...only symptomatic of a much larger problem going on.


    What do you think I think? (none / 0) (#149)
    by Cream City on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 04:32:09 PM EST
    It's an automatic F -- not just on the paper but in the course.  Was there more to this question, which seems so incredibly simple?

    But it is not an automatic F (none / 0) (#193)
    by AF on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 05:05:09 PM EST
    when a politician delivers a speech written by a speechwriter. That which is plagiarism for students is not necessarily plagiarism for politicians.  Analogies drawn from student papers do not apply.

    That was not your question (none / 0) (#202)
    by Cream City on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 05:10:26 PM EST
    and I would give a different answer on this one.  But I'm done playing Karnak, having to come up with the questions to fit the new answers given here to avoid the perils of focus on a candidate's problems.

    It was a rhetorical question (none / 0) (#209)
    by AF on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 05:14:24 PM EST
    refuting your false analogy between students and politicians with respect to plagiarism.  I didn't think I was going to have to spell out the point, but apparently I did.

    In journalism (none / 0) (#208)
    by echinopsia on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 05:14:02 PM EST
    It's expulsion from the program. Sometimes expulsion from the school.

    Not a good thing for a role model to do.


    Plagiarism ... (5.00 / 1) (#119)
    by Robot Porter on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 04:09:55 PM EST
    just a word ... ethics ... just a word ... lying ... just a word ...

    Issue or Non-Issue (5.00 / 1) (#122)
    by stillife on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 04:12:53 PM EST
    They're making a fairly big deal about it on CNN. The plagiarism issue could be crucial because it strike at the heart of Obama's candidacy - the eloquent orator who is unsullied by the dirt of politics.  

    I know I'm coming late to this (5.00 / 1) (#124)
    by Kathy on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 04:13:54 PM EST
    but I've actually had to (sigh) work lately:

    If Obama delivered, verbatim, MLK's "I have a dream" speech, would you say that it doesn't matter.

    I am a person who works with words for a living, and where I come from, if you are going to quote someone, you cite the source.  This is right up there with Obama stealing Clinton's healthcare and economic recovery plan.

    There has to come a point in this process where someone asks exactly what Obama stands for and who he is.  He takes others' words, their speeches, their positions...even "change" is unoriginal.  "Yes, we can!"  "Fired up and ready to go!"

    If, in fact, he is going to so radically "change" the way Washington works, he's going to need some original ideas to get the ball rolling.

    Every gameplay he is stealing comes from the Book of Status Quo.

    Commodity (5.00 / 2) (#137)
    by Stellaaa on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 04:24:08 PM EST
    It's not the plagiarism, it's that his campaign is marketing of a commodity. The strategy, theme and language worked in Mass, so they just apply it here. They are lazy. I have read so many talk about his authenticity. To me, that shows how inauthentic and actually how bad he is to just copy the strategy so blatantly and then claim that it was from Patrick. The worse part is all the sad followers who try to clean up after him and justify it. Imagine when he is President, you guys better start the clean up campaign.

    new media meme (5.00 / 1) (#159)
    by pedagog on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 04:36:50 PM EST
    For those of you who support Obama and feel that this is a nothing issue, think again.  

    Besides the plagiarism charge, that the media is sensitive to [for the reasons already posted above], it adds to the growing meme that Obama IS an empty suit--he hasn't passed any serious legislation in the Senate, always speaks in generalities, hates debates because he HAS to speak in some specificity, and now can't even give an original speech.  

    People are beginning to see that his "inspiration" and "charisma" are built on a shallow and vapid foundation.

    oh, please (none / 0) (#196)
    by A DC Wonk on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 05:06:29 PM EST
    "he hasn't passed any serious legislation in the Senate, always speaks in generalities..."

    both demonstrably untrue.

    Can we stick to reality here, please?


    TWO BILLS (none / 0) (#207)
    by pedagog on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 05:13:00 PM EST
    He passed two bills in the one+ year that he actively participated in the U. S. Senate, and one was to rename a post office.  Can we all agree that this is not a great resume???

    During the campaigning this past year, Hillary has pushed through FIVE major pieces of legislation --McCain and Obama NONE!!!!

    Check out their Senate web sites for confirmation.


    Senate voting (none / 0) (#211)
    by pedagog on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 05:14:57 PM EST
    Also, Hillary throughout the campaigning came back to vote on over 50% of the bills up for vote during this year, Obama voted less than 37% of the time, and McCain less than 30%, so who takes their role of Senator more seriously??????

    Issue. Because said issue could've been (5.00 / 1) (#179)
    by BrandingIron on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 04:50:29 PM EST
    sidestepped by a simple "To paraphrase a long-standing friend of mine about the topic, "words"..." and then gone on to pull his own Just Words? spiel.

    Yeah.... (none / 0) (#201)
    by Stellaaa on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 05:10:26 PM EST
    that requires common sense.

    Plagiarism is not "nothing"..... (5.00 / 2) (#205)
    by miriam on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 05:11:24 PM EST
    Individual words are common property.  It's the way they're put together that gives a phrase its value and power.  Example: the words "best" and "time" and "worst".  If someone says to you "This was the best time ever, but some might say it was the very worst" you would nod your head, shrug, and forget what was said.  But, if someone says 'It was the best of times, it was the worst of times," that is far more memorable and it conveys something a shade different than the first sentence.  My name is Ishmael is definitive and pedestrian. "Call me Ishmael" is not the same, although it may sound that way at first.  Some of the difference is stylistic, some of it is contextual.  But both the Dickens and the Melville quotes reveal the creative processes of the authors and they are unique.  We all recognize them and would laugh if someone else tried to claim them as original.  

    Some of us make our living putting words together and hoping the result is unique.  Plagiarism is stealing. Using another's creative process and presenting it as one's own is robbery. I don't care who does it or for what reason.  It is dishonorable, dishonest, and deceptive.    


    It's all about ethics, people (5.00 / 1) (#220)
    by mexboy on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 05:27:56 PM EST
    When you claim to be a different kind of politician, that you will bring in a new era of civility and service to America. That you are the uniter and that you ethics are above reproach (no special interests, no lobbying money, etc.) then you better demonstrate that integrity with your actions.

    Someone who can read words and give them life is called an actor. An actor does not necessarily originate those ideas but can move us by his interpretation. Maybe that's why he likes Ronald Reagan so much. They are both acting out a script written by someone else.

    To  claim someone elses ideas and words as your own is egregious, it is unethical, and this is why it matters. It goes to the heart of what Obama says he is against.

    Perhaps he should learn the second part of Si se puede (yes we can) the chant he bit  from the Mexicans in the west coast...No se pudo!
    No, we couldn't!...that, is chanted after failure.

    IMO (none / 0) (#1)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 02:43:32 PM EST

    The Media seems to be disagreeing with me ferociously.

    Given that Obama's electoral strength is based on his status as Media Darling, it becomes an issue now.

    And don't forget that a Hopi chief (5.00 / 5) (#3)
    by Cream City on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 02:48:44 PM EST
    was the one who first said "We are the ones we've been waiting for" -- in addition to the more recognized co-opting of Hispanics' "Yes, we can."

    As one of the "creative class" who has been plagiarized, I consider it unconscionable.  But I don't count, of course, because everyone in the "creative class" is for Obama.  I know that because his supporters say so . . . or maybe it was Deval Patrick or some 26-year-old speechwriter who said so.  It's hard to know, huh?


    Me too (5.00 / 1) (#38)
    by echinopsia on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 03:19:05 PM EST
    Scroll past first para to get to the meat:

    "Creative class" for Clinton, also an author who's been plagiarized. I found a full page of an article I wrote lifted verbatim and posted as original work at several websites (for one example). At one of them, when I emailed to ask that they take it down or at least give me attribution, they told me they paid a consultant big $$$ to write it for them. Another website not only took it down, but added an "echinopsia sucks" page because I "falsely" accused them of stealing it when they really wrote it themselves, and it was cr*appy writing anyway.;-)

    Anyway. I agree that it's something. The media are going with it because they get hammered for committing plagiarism. Careers have been ruined in recent years over plagiarism (see The Disgraced Journalist's Club) It's a very touchy subject in JRN these days.


    Yeh, I found my work on several (5.00 / 1) (#100)
    by Cream City on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 03:49:51 PM EST
    websites recently and raised some heck, was told a consultant (actually a prof, but not in a field that respects these rules) was paid $20,000 to lift my work and others' works, word for word for word.  And I don't get paid for my work.  So my ire went up and I called in some troops, that website went down.

    I decided to not let it go anymore after seeing my work used, word for word, on a tv documentary, too.    So I empathize with what happened to you -- and I suggest that we all keep fighting the good fight.

    This will resonate with a lot of voters, I think.  Even if they aren't writers, they have seen credit that ought to go to them go to others in their workplaces, in their families, etc.


    BTD (5.00 / 1) (#180)
    by Kathy on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 04:50:36 PM EST
    I think what we are seeing is two-fold: the "sexist" remark from Obama, where what he has said in the past ("claws out") has been much more overt, combined with this plagiarism thing, lead me to believe that what you were predicting might happen a week ago is starting to come to pass:  With McCain in the front on the other side, the media has decided to switch horses.

    Now, I'll add my own bit, which is that I've heard all over the place (and from friends covering the elections on the ground--the ones you never hear from who do all the grunt work so the "real" writers can tell the story) that the Obama camp has stopped giving the press preferential treatment.  They've cut off access, they've stopped feeding good stories and I think the biggest thing is that the press have now heard these speeches so many times, and see so many people crying and fainting, etc, that they've become jaded about it.

    But, we'll see.  I don't think it ever matters if it's really a story or not.  The thing that makes it a "story" is when the story keeps getting told...


    Shall we start posting (none / 0) (#2)
    by jdj on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 02:48:32 PM EST
    lines Hillary has borrowed without crediting?Pretty easy to do, if need be.

    Then do it (none / 0) (#5)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 02:50:38 PM EST
    I would call it a nonissue too.

    The difference here is Hillary is no Media Darling, quite the opposite.

    Obama NEEDS the soft touch from the Media. I thought he would get it on this. He has not.

    Incredible how the stupidest things spur the Media.


    she is mocking Obama (5.00 / 2) (#9)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 02:56:35 PM EST
    when she borrows his phrases and turns them into something else, like when she turns "yes, we can" into "yes, we will."

    Apples and oranges.


    There is a difference (5.00 / 2) (#14)
    by ajain on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 03:01:26 PM EST
    She is not running on the strength of her oratory. Her argument is different.
    He is supposedly a breath of fresh air with these visions that will bring us together. Instead he is just ripping off speeches from others. And with limited improv.

    I guess he stole his (none / 0) (#72)
    by jdj on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 03:38:02 PM EST
    charisma as well.

    This is a loser meme for Clinton. It comes off as desperate. Hillary goes negative about Obama's speaches, is not a headline she needs right now.


    Wow (none / 0) (#104)
    by echinopsia on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 03:51:49 PM EST
    You should seriously contact her campaign. I'll bet they'd love some advice from an Obama supporter who wants her to lose.

    She was mocking him? (none / 0) (#19)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 03:04:58 PM EST
    How presidential.

    You coulda been a contender after all. (none / 0) (#29)
    by oculus on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 03:14:35 PM EST
    And Obama doesn't mock? n/t (none / 0) (#52)
    by hellskitchen on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 03:28:28 PM EST
    Probably, I have no idea. (none / 0) (#74)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 03:38:45 PM EST
    I pay very little attention to him.

    Well the truth is (none / 0) (#84)
    by hellskitchen on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 03:43:12 PM EST
    the garbage comes around from all directions

    I disagree with that conclusion (none / 0) (#59)
    by independent voter on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 03:31:11 PM EST
    it certainly appears that when a slogan starts to catch on for Obama it is quickly repeated in similar form by the Clinton campaign.

    but not (none / 0) (#76)
    by jdj on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 03:39:01 PM EST
    the other way around.

    I honestly can't think (none / 0) (#87)
    by independent voter on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 03:43:37 PM EST
    of a slogan that did catch on for Clinton. It seems to me the message has changed weekly.

    Ready to lead on day one (5.00 / 1) (#108)
    by echinopsia on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 03:53:31 PM EST
    was stolen. By an Obama supporter, for one example, who repeated it here until he was banned for chattering.

    Sorry, stolen by a supporter (none / 0) (#132)
    by independent voter on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 04:18:37 PM EST
    doesn't count. The initial complaint here is that Obama "stole" words.

    This is a common fallacy (none / 0) (#134)
    by echinopsia on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 04:20:52 PM EST
    Equating intellectual property with real property.

    They aren't equivalent.


    Exactly. And once Obama "borrowed" (5.00 / 1) (#160)
    by Cream City on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 04:38:00 PM EST
    the words and ideas of others, was he planning to give them back?  No, it only works if he gives credit -- and up-front.

    The fallacy operative here so often also seems to be that if it's legal, it's ethical.  That someone does not land in jail for this does not mean it gets them into heaven.


    Wrong on so many counts that (none / 0) (#231)
    by Cream City on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 05:44:32 PM EST
    you apparently are neither a writer nor a lawyer.  

    I and others have addressed all of these points at length here.  Please read the thread.


    But does that work both ways? (none / 0) (#165)
    by BarnBabe on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 04:39:54 PM EST
    They routinely discuss and share ideas, language, rhetoric, and advice.

    In all fairness, isn't Hillary criticized for doing the same with Bill?


    parody (none / 0) (#188)
    by Kathy on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 04:57:48 PM EST
    is allowed under copyright law...

    It is an issue because media has decided it is (5.00 / 2) (#13)
    by felizarte on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 03:01:23 PM EST
    and I am curious as to why?  Are they beginning to think that Obama might not be that easy for the Republicans to beat once the whole democratic party gets behind him? Or that if Hillary is being beaten by Obama, maybe they are boosting the wrong democratic nominee.

    Are they beginning to hedge just a little?  If the media becomes "nice" to Hillary, would you then switch your support to Hillary at this time?


    Said it before (5.00 / 3) (#68)
    by herb the verb on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 03:35:48 PM EST
    there can be only one Media Darling, and it won't be Obama.

    I said that first! (5.00 / 3) (#109)
    by echinopsia on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 03:54:11 PM EST
    Really? (none / 0) (#197)
    by herb the verb on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 05:06:57 PM EST
    Great minds think alike then.

    But did you say it with Queen's anthem from "The Highlander" booming in the background and starring Christopher Lambert as Duncan McCloud? Ho ho!


    It has been said... (none / 0) (#21)
    by white n az on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 03:06:45 PM EST
    The art of creativity is concealing ones' sources.

    If that is true, Obama is gonna take a big hit here, at least from the media because one thing that they don't give free passes on...that is stealing someone else's lines


    Yep, it is an issue for media (none / 0) (#37)
    by Cream City on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 03:18:44 PM EST
    as I said in the other thread.  They jumped all over Doris Kearns Goodwin, Stephen Ambrose, the Washington Post -- they have seen colleagues fired since then in newsrooms across the country for plagiarism, etc.

    Words matter to media, many of them plagiarized often, and they don't like it at all.


    his strength (none / 0) (#32)
    by jdj on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 03:15:56 PM EST
    is a lot more that the MSM liking him.

    True but that has been... (none / 0) (#47)
    by Marvin42 on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 03:23:13 PM EST
    ...a big aid to his rise, the fact that MSM pummels his opponent and gives him plenty of positive stories and constant momentum stories.

    Hillary Clinton: (none / 0) (#4)
    by SpindleCityDem on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 02:49:40 PM EST
    I see an America where we stand up to the oil companies...

    I see an America where we say that 47 million people uninsured...

    I see an America where we have schools worthy...

    I see an America where college is affordable again

    Jimmy Carter:

    I see an America poised not only at the brink of a new century, but at the dawn of a new era of honest, compassionate, responsive government.

    I see an America with a tax system that does not steal from the poor and give to the rich.

    I see an America with a job for every man and woman who can work, and a decent standard of living for those who cannot.

    I see an America in which my child and your child and every child receives an education second to none in the world.

    I see an America in which Martin Luther King's dream is our national dream.

    I see an America on the move again, united, its wounds healed, its head high, a diverse and vital nation, moving into its third century with confidence and competence and compassion, an America that lives up to the majesty of its Constitution and the simple decency of its people.

    How lame (5.00 / 2) (#15)
    by Shawn on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 03:01:50 PM EST
    The "I see an America" formulation has been around forever. Here's an old William Safire article that gives several examples from long before Carter:

    I SEE . . . : A rosy-visioned device most recently revived by Richard Nixon at Miami Beach. An early halcyon-evoker was Robert G. Ingersoll, who orated in 1876 on behalf of James G. Blaine: "I see our country filled with happy homes . . . I see a world without a slave." F.D.R., in 1940: "I see an America where factory workers are not discarded after they reach their prime . . . I see an America of great cultural and educational opportunity for all its people." Adlai Stevenson, in 1952: "I see an America where no man fears to think as he pleases, or say what he thinks . . . I see an America as the horizon of human hopes."


    Nonissues (none / 0) (#6)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 02:51:16 PM EST
    you agree no?

    After all that work? (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by oculus on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 02:55:30 PM EST
    Man, the Obama camp is quick.

    Not same thing (none / 0) (#12)
    by Virginian on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 03:01:23 PM EST
    not apples and apples...

    Hillary's sound similar, but is different...

    Obama's sounds similar and is the same...

    Although, with that said, I agree with BTD...non-issue...but hey, what do I know, a lot of "non-issues" have been big issues this primary season...


    And many prior years too (none / 0) (#183)
    by BarnBabe on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 04:51:57 PM EST
    Howard shouting to the excited crowd over the noise.
    He got slammed....

    Dukakis taking a tank ride...

    Kerry telling jokes badly....

    Gary Hart...well we will not go there

    But the point is, our two candidates had played pretty nice during the primary and are not that far apart on ideas. The media is looking for way to separate them other than the Black Guy and the Woman who in their words, is despised. BTW, I do not hate her and my Democratic friends do not hate her. They don't hate either of them.


    "Speeches are just that, speeches." (none / 0) (#11)
    by A DC Wonk on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 03:00:16 PM EST
    Words matter, don't they?  Was "I have a dream" just words?  Was "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself" just words?  

    A leader leads by his/her actions and his/her words.  Words and speeches are not irrelevant.  If they have the ability to help people overcome fear, or help inspire them to do something good, then they accomplish a great deal.  Bush was able to whip up a lot of enthusiasm for invading Iraq -- he did it, in part, with words and speeches.  FDR was able to help calm a nation in the depression, and again during the early part of WW-II when the US was losing a lot of battles in the Pacific.

    We need words and actions.  But to say that words are irrelevant is overstating the case.

    Both Patrick and Obama... (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by Jerrymcl89 on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 03:04:41 PM EST
    ...are implicitly comparing themselves to the men who made those famous speeches. And I can't say it wouldn't change my opinion of MLK, FDR, JFK, and Thomas Jefferson if I knew they had lifted those words out of someone else's work.

    I for one (5.00 / 1) (#42)
    by Virginian on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 03:21:27 PM EST
    find the comparisons they try to make absurd and in some cases insulting...MLK? I mean really! MLK is untouchable, its like comparing yourself to Jesus...

    hold on a minute.... (none / 0) (#51)
    by A DC Wonk on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 03:27:30 PM EST
    Please look at what I wrote.

    I am arguing the point of whether "speeches are just that, speeches", as if speeches are nothing but air coming out of one's mouth.

    I contend they are not -- speeches can inspire, instill fear, etc.

    Words matter.  That's all my point was.

    Can we calm down a bit?


    I don't think this is a huge deal... (none / 0) (#89)
    by Jerrymcl89 on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 03:43:51 PM EST
    ... but Obama's eloquence is a big part of his image and appeal, and I do think this diminishes that a bit. It's certainly no silver bullet that should destroy his candidacy or anything.

    Whoa whoa whoa (none / 0) (#110)
    by Virginian on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 03:54:49 PM EST
    I'm not hyperventilating...just saying I get offended by the comparisons...particularly the MLK one

    just adding my 2 cents, misreading you at all...


    Plus, it's eerily reminiscent (none / 0) (#56)
    by Firefly4625 on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 03:30:08 PM EST
    of George W. Bush implicitly comparing himself the FDR, Saint Ronnie - and comparing Iraq to WWII, etc. - as he and his minions have frequently done.

    I resent it when the Bush cabal does it and I resent it when Obama does it. Watching somebody try to take on the mantle of greatness by association is just insulting, imo.


    I think the Clintons (none / 0) (#16)
    by Tano on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 03:02:39 PM EST
    are opening themselves up to a lot of ridicule on this. Its like an open invitation to every professional and amateur snarkist out there to investigate the origins of every cliched phrase that she uses.

    oh please (5.00 / 4) (#18)
    by ajain on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 03:04:54 PM EST
    Firstly, stop refering to Hillary Clinton as 'The Clintons'.
    Secondly - What a shock you feel that way.

    Uh (5.00 / 3) (#22)
    by Shawn on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 03:07:55 PM EST
    I agree with BTD that this is basically a non-issue, but the story isn't about using "cliched phrases"; it's about using the exact same phrases to rebut criticism as a previous candidate with the same campaign manager.

    So those for whom (none / 0) (#25)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 03:10:06 PM EST
    his application of "the sincerest form of flattery" actually matters will continue to not support him, and for those whom it does not matter will continue to support him.

    And, as is pointed out above, Hillary better be dam sure she's without sin in this particular stone throwing contest...

    It's the plagiarizer who always says (5.00 / 3) (#44)
    by Cream City on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 03:21:54 PM EST
    that "imitation is flattery" line, never the one plagiarized.  I can attest to that.  And it didn't appease me one darn bit.

    Well, in this specific instance, (none / 0) (#58)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 03:30:22 PM EST
    the plageree seems to be unbothered, but I agree in general with you about plagiarism.

    My point is that, generally, if you already dig BO you'll likely continue to dig him after this, but if you didn't already dig him you likely continue not to.

    iow, I don't think this'll be relevant in the long run.


    Don't be too sure (5.00 / 2) (#64)
    by echinopsia on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 03:32:34 PM EST
    Those "creative class" people can get VERY testy about plagiarism.

    That's the specific case I refer to. Please re-read my comment to understand the rest.

    Please don't call me "ech." (none / 0) (#90)
    by echinopsia on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 03:44:17 PM EST
    I read. I understood. YOU read.

    I'm saying the "creative class" finds plagiarism in and of itself anathema. It doesn't have to be your own words being plagiarized.



    What is the derivation behind your moniker?

    You may be right about the "creative class," do you think enough of them will be offended to make a significant difference?


    Yes, I do (5.00 / 1) (#118)
    by echinopsia on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 04:08:32 PM EST
    echinopsia is my own invention, a feminized variant of a botanical term that means "prickly."

    echinops = from Greek echinos for 'hedgehog' or 'sea urchin'

    See echinops ritro or globe thistle


    Clever, nicely done. (none / 0) (#129)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 04:16:31 PM EST
    Yes. It's coming up in listservs (none / 0) (#169)
    by Cream City on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 04:41:36 PM EST
    of writers today.  I agree with echoetc. :-) -- we're offended when any of us is plagiarized.  We stand up for each other, because we could be next.

    Above all, we know from sad experience that if somebody has plagiarized once or twice, they've done it a lot.  This could have significant ramifications if a body of work is being investigated now -- i.e., see Biden, Goodwin, Ambrose, et al., and even MLK.


    I think in most cases... (none / 0) (#152)
    by Jerrymcl89 on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 04:34:20 PM EST
    ... in which plagiarism is alleged, the consent of the plaigiaree is no defense.

    Not my point. (none / 0) (#170)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 04:41:37 PM EST
    I do agree with your general point. (none / 0) (#185)
    by Jerrymcl89 on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 04:54:11 PM EST
    It's kind of like how Yankees fans have already forgiven Andy Pettitte.

    Fair enough. (none / 0) (#189)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 04:57:54 PM EST
    dam sure she's without sin (none / 0) (#77)
    by A DC Wonk on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 03:39:09 PM EST
    Better be sure she's without sin on this?  Her staff doesn't even agree with that.  They don't even care if she's "sinned" on this.

    From the article written by Jake Tapper on this:

    I asked Clinton communications director Howard Wolfson and Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass, if they could assure the public that neither Clinton nor McGovern has ever done what Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, did when he used the rhetoric of Gov. Deval Patrick without footnoting him.

    They would not.

    In fact, Wolfson seemed to say it wouldn't be as big a deal if it were discovered that Clinton had "lifted" such language.

    "Sen. Clinton is not running on the strength of her rhetoric," Wolfson said.

    So, according to them, it seems, a potential double standard is warrentad.


    Interesting to see if that idea plays (none / 0) (#85)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 03:43:27 PM EST
    among voters.

    Since the new math (none / 0) (#98)
    by jdj on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 03:48:31 PM EST
    didn't work and all states/votes do count, new hoops for Obama must be made. Can't repeat words of other past politicians, even if they don't mind.

    Like all the other hoops Hillary gets a complete pass.


    You are hilarious. (5.00 / 1) (#121)
    by echinopsia on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 04:12:33 PM EST
    Like the "too cold""too emotional" hoop?

    Or the "too aggressive"too weak" hoop?

    How about the "she didn't really win because she didn't win by a big enough margin" hoop?

    Or "she's being hammered with sexist attacks"/"she's complaining to get attention" hoop?


    of course you forgot (5.00 / 1) (#130)
    by white n az on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 04:16:35 PM EST
    that the only reason she won New Hampshire and of course her Senate seat was because her husband cheated on her...never discount the tweety factor

    That's not what plagiarism is about (none / 0) (#168)
    by felizarte on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 04:41:20 PM EST
    of course you can repeat any one's words.  Just say it's somebody else's and don't make anyone believe they are yours and be adored for saying those 'inspirational transcendent things.

    It would be a double standard (none / 0) (#222)
    by jen on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 05:33:22 PM EST
    if Hillary was "running on the strength of her rhetoric." She's not, so it's not.

    It was a slip-up (none / 0) (#31)
    by AF on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 03:14:46 PM EST
    I'll admit it.  

    But I don't think it's going to turn out to be a big deal.  I've been clicking through the links that allegedly demonstrate the media "ferociously" making a "big to-do" about this and I don't see it, at least on the Internet.  I would call it a small to-do.  

    We'll have to see (none / 0) (#187)
    by rebecca on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 04:57:34 PM EST
    I put Obama plagiarism into google news this morning when I first read about this.  There were 47 results.  I'm back from shopping and tried it again there are 402 results.  That's in just a few hours.  Now I'm waiting to see if Obama's media darling status will hold through this.  It could and Hillary could be the one who loses on this as the media follows the Clinton rules again and focus on her rather than him or it could just be a flurry of stories that come and go with little notice or it could become a chink in his fabled teflon.  It's too early to say.  

    Now begins the swift-boating... (none / 0) (#41)
    by tek on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 03:20:37 PM EST
    Let the games begin.

    I always find it amusing when Obama people say "I was planning on voting for Hillary but after this..."

    If you were going to vote for another candidate to help the Dems, none of this stuff--which pales in comparison to the stuff Obama is doing--would change your mind.

    jdj (none / 0) (#91)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 03:44:51 PM EST
    you are chattering and shilling for Obama. Please limit your comments to when there is something of substance to say. Please don't reply to every comment here. You are trying to dominate the thread and I will limit your comments.

    To be fair (none / 0) (#127)
    by hvs on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 04:15:37 PM EST
    I count 12 posts on this thread from jdj and 12 from at least one other commenter.

    several of his (none / 0) (#225)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 05:35:27 PM EST
    have already been deleted.

    Talk radio I heard (none / 0) (#92)
    by cannondaddy on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 03:45:33 PM EST
    was mocking Hillary on this.

    I can write the GOP attack ad. (none / 0) (#93)
    by liminal on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 03:46:10 PM EST
    I could take an hour and write the GOP attack ad that should air in swing states:

    "They said he was different."

    (cue black and white picture of Obama, speaking, in slow-motion, from some irreverant and exaggerated angle.  A snippet from the speech, one that sounds most like Patrick's speech.)

    " - but they sold you a bill of goods."  

    (another black and white picture, from Patrick's speech, in 2006, with a byline and date.)


    Of course, the GOP will be able to come up with crazy, black and white, scary attack ads about either Clinton or Obama, so that doesn't move me much.  I suppose the revelation about the shared language helps to feed the "empty suit" theory about Obama's detractors, and his partisans will be unmoved (or start complaining about Clinton's language, which has never been as important to her campaign as Obama's language).  Do voters care about plagiarism?  I don't know; I think Biden was forced out in 1988 by the press and by Democratic donors deserting him over the shared language, more than by voters.  

    Most Americans haven't heard of Deval Patrick, though - so the echoed speech probably won't have great impact.  It doesn't much bother me either, since I'm not relying on speech-making to make my decision about which candidate to support.  In fact, in all of it, I think I'm almost more offended by Patrick's defense - can't they just admit that they share a campaign manager and speechwriter and campaign style?

    The problem is that this little stuff, (none / 0) (#115)
    by RalphB on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 04:01:29 PM EST
    and I'm not sure it's really little, is what gets used by the GOP to set a narrative time and again.  Once they get one hook in, it just gets hammered to death until voters can recite it in their sleep.

    Exactly my point! (none / 0) (#133)
    by robertearl on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 04:19:53 PM EST
    That's why I said his campaign is over. I'm an Obama supporter and It's a sad day for me.
    I can't see how he is going to over come this.

    The Clintons were looking for something and they go it.

    Now...they better when the win the general. Which I don't think she can.


    Don't have a clue if this will make a difference (none / 0) (#186)
    by RalphB on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 04:55:11 PM EST
    in the primary, but it could be a really bad start for a general election.  The smallest things can bite so hard when pushed by the spin machine!

    Please stay on topic (none / 0) (#96)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 03:47:19 PM EST
    and don't keep repeating the same point. It makes for a boring thread. If you have something to contribute, by all means, please do so. But don't comment just to comment.

    Note to Obama supporters: Don't shill for Obama here. Stay on topic. Don't chatter. Make your point and move on.

    is that a universal rule (none / 0) (#144)
    by Jgarza on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 04:29:31 PM EST
    Note to Obama supporters: Don't shill for Obama here. Stay on topic. Don't chatter. Make your point and move on.

    Or only for Obama supporters?  Does chatter mean defend your point it is attacked?  Do people saying something sympathetic to Obama now have new rules?

    Or is this in reference to a couple of dumb comments that have already been deleted so I'm missing the context?


    The Comment Policy explicitly (5.00 / 1) (#206)
    by AF on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 05:11:43 PM EST
    defines "chatterer" as
    as one who both holds opposing views from those expressed by TalkLeft and :
    Posts numerous times a day with the intent of dominating, re-directing or hijacking the thread; or
    Posts numerous times a day and insults or calls other commenters names or repeatedly makes the same point with the effect of annoying other commenters.

    So you can't accuse anyone of hypocrisy.  It's their policy; it's their blog.

    As an Obama supporter myself, I appreciate the courtesy shown by Jeralyn and BTD toward Obama supporters.  The fact that we're not allowed to shill just keeps us honest.


    Thank you (none / 0) (#226)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 05:37:02 PM EST
    that is very much appreciated.

    I think you're a little late (none / 0) (#147)
    by Democratic Cat on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 04:32:06 PM EST
    There was a lot of chattering that was deleted.

    Jeralyn can speak for herself (none / 0) (#150)
    by white n az on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 04:32:54 PM EST
    but the impact of having a number of Obama supporters land on this site and change the tenor of the discussion that occurred about 4 days ago is obvious.

    I'm embarrassed that the Obama supporters are so blind to the impact which is clearly negative and counter-productive...I think that is what Jeralyn is dancing around


    actually, (none / 0) (#192)
    by A DC Wonk on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 05:03:37 PM EST
    I've been hanging around this site for a while (since the Scooter Libby trial), and, further, I think it unproductive to lump all the supporters of one candidate or another into some monolithic group.

    Actually (none / 0) (#230)
    by echinopsia on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 05:43:45 PM EST
    a number of Obama supporters land on this site and change the tenor of the discussion

    white n az was obviously referring to a number of Obama supporters who landed on this site and changed the tenor of the discussion a few days ago (it says so right there).

    They were so disruptive and obnoxious that they were quickly booted off. Which is why I and others appreciate this blog so much, as compared to DK and others where they're allowed to completely dominate and cheapen the discussion.

    If that's not you, there's no need to self-identify and take offense.


    Do you think it has to do with (none / 0) (#218)
    by BarnBabe on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 05:24:12 PM EST
    having no one to argue the same points with and branching out to find more sites to take over? I have watched this site since BTD came on over but just lurked. I am really enjoying it here as discussion and arguments are interesting, intelligent, on topic and fun. And I do not get hammered to the wall if I say something positive about Hillary.

    chattering is defined in the (none / 0) (#198)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 05:07:37 PM EST
    Interesting point (none / 0) (#112)
    by Democratic Cat on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 03:57:05 PM EST
    This is a non-issue for me as I don't put much stock in speechifying, and I assumed it would not matter to others either. But your point B is interesting. I guess to the extent that his support is based on people beleiving that his rhetoric demonstrates exceptionalism, then this could be a problem for him.

    Again, based on what I know right now, it's not a problem for me, but I wouldn't be surprised if it matters to others.

    non issue (none / 0) (#131)
    by Jgarza on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 04:17:38 PM EST
    but i do invite the Hillary Clinton campaign to keep bringing it up.  It looks petty.

    too late (none / 0) (#145)
    by white n az on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 04:30:16 PM EST
    the media is crawling all over it

    non-issue? As Jim Jones said...drink up


    "Si se puede" (none / 0) (#141)
    by Saul on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 04:25:59 PM EST
    if I am not mistaken was coined by Chavez the famous champion of the Mexican workers in the agriculture industry.  One of the literal translation of this saying is "Yes we can"  Or  "It can be done"  If either of the nominees use this saying they need to give credit to Chavez for the coinage of this saying.

    I'm trying to think (none / 0) (#148)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 04:32:07 PM EST
    how the Republicans will boil this down...

    Remember Kerry and the purple heart bandaids?

    It'll be something like a photocopied message?
    Or worse, yet, a mimeograph?

    Or maybe even a ... parrot? or some other mimicking bird.

    Please help me, I'm not feeling very creative today.

    Off to steal someone else's words!


    It's (none / 0) (#184)
    by BrandingIron on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 04:54:11 PM EST
    Sí. se puede, and Chavez came up with it with Dolores Huerta, who (along with Chavez's son) are outspoken CLinton supporters.

    Delores Huerte (none / 0) (#190)
    by RalphB on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 04:58:16 PM EST
    who led the chant at UFW rallies for Cesar Chavez is a Clinton supporter.  She was in Austin Saturday at the opening of the local office and canvassed for her in San Antonio.

    Obama ought to be paying her a royalty for it.


    Not sure if this matters... (none / 0) (#155)
    by Lefty Bag on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 04:35:26 PM EST
    As a strong HRC advocate, this is another recent move by her campaign that I just don't get.

    The phrase "grasping at straws" is what immediately comes to mind.

    It's clear they are getting desperate.  Do I care that BO appropriated someone else's words/thoughts/content in a speech? Not in the slightest.  I believe that all politicians borrow from each other in their speeches.  Most of them use speechwriters.

    Frankly, I worry that this makes HRC look very childish - (picture her pointing at BO and saying "but, but, but....he stole someone's words!")

    I hope the HRC campaign is able to move away from their recent silliness (plagiarism claims, accusing BO of being a Reaganomaniac, etc) - it's really making her look bad because, frankly, none of it will stick.  At least when the race-baiting nonsense incident occured (MLK vs. LBJ), the media seemed to be making the fuss which allowed BO to appear above the fray.  When these come direct from the campaign, HRC can't rise above any of it.

    BO is such a helpless pol, it seems very easy to find reasons why he is a weak candidate.  This is getting a bit nit-picky.  

    Sorry for the long-ness, I have been reading this site for a few months now - I found it a welcome respite from the TPM/Huff/DKOS pro-Obama faction.  Nice to have my first post today!

    here's a thought (none / 0) (#171)
    by white n az on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 04:43:29 PM EST
    I think Hillary's campaign has been entirely frustrated that in their view (which I share), Obama's campaign has had their messages transmitted without inspection by the media whereas Hillary's messages have continually been met with skepticism if not derision. Here is proof that Obama's message is repetitive, rehearsed, unoriginal and uninspiring. It completely knocks him off message, off kilter and calls his entire campaign into question.

    It's a much bigger deal than you realize and the fact that the main stream media has picked this story up in such a large way is clearly indicative that Obama's days in the sun are rapidly coming to an end.


    Hey, y'all (none / 0) (#164)
    by Kathy on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 04:39:15 PM EST
    Did you know that MLK copyrighted all of his speeches?  He did this so that he could not be quoted out of context, and the family has basically lived off granting copyrights in the ensuing years since his death.

    So, every time you see an MLK speech in a textbook or elsewhere, the family has been paid a royalty.  I wonder what Barbara King, whom I've seen at many Clinton fundraisers, would think of this usage?

    I suppose since you can copyright a speech that it is intellectual property, in which case the arguments upthread about how the words are just "ideas" should be re-examined.

    Funny (none / 0) (#172)
    by Edgar08 on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 04:43:31 PM EST
    This isn't going to change the Democratic Primary at this point, and the General Election kicks off with the Dem Candidate being caught plagiarizing.

    Actually, it's not funny.

    Doesn't seem that big a deal to me, but (none / 0) (#175)
    by vj on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 04:44:44 PM EST
    The media could make it a big deal if they choose too.  I've heard it called "The Freak Show".  Are they turning on Obama already?

    The descriptions from the participants make it sound like Obama and Duval developed this language together.  In that case, I guess they sort of have joint authorship.

    This could get tricky.  People do use familiar rhetorical devices in speeches (such as the "I see" example above.)  If we start analyzing these speeches, we'll probably find a lot of this sort of "plagiarism".

    Character Matters (none / 0) (#191)
    by lily15 on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 05:00:22 PM EST
    It is absurd to take the position you suggest. Joe Biden was dismissed as a serious Presidential aspirant because of this character issue.  And character is important.  Words do matter and they especially matter to the Obama campaign, which used them without regard to fact or inference.  

    Second, electability is a critical factor in determining our nominee...and without Obama's great orator, great vision meme, he is exposed as an empty suit who cannot even uphold the standards of the Harvard Law Review, when it comes to journalistic and ivy league standards for plagiarism...People get thrown out of school for this type of behavior...and have their reputations destroyed.  Plus, for those of us who have children...what does this say?  It's cool to follow Obama's lead and take shortcuts now and then?  He lifted the speech and did not attribute it to Deval Patrick..the entire theme is listed as well..to say nothing of the yes we can, originated by Patrick.  Diminishing the value of character is a mistake.

    agree with you, except (none / 0) (#224)
    by mexboy on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 05:34:46 PM EST
    Yes we can, was not originated by Patrick. It was originated by Cesar Chavez and the Mexican field workers. Si se puede, they just translated it and bit it.

    "Yes we can" matters because it encompasses a movement and ideas about a people. The reason it was lifted by Obama was to try and shortcut a relationship with Latinos. It didn't work because we know the history.


    Obama's speeches (none / 0) (#194)
    by chemoelectric on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 05:05:35 PM EST
    Obama's speeches are mostly of a sort that should have no effect on a person. An inspired reaction indicates susceptibility to propaganda techniques. It is possible to train oneself not to respond. Now, I'm not saying Obama is doing a "bad" thing--I think it is mostly indicative of the youthfulness and thus lack of life experience of his speechwriters--but the habit of responding to this sort of very "abstract" language is exploitable by "bad" people and so should not be encouraged. So, yes, ignore Obama's speeches. :)

    "should" have no effect? (none / 0) (#204)
    by A DC Wonk on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 05:10:57 PM EST
    Obama's speeches are mostly of a sort that should have no effect on a person.

    And why is that?  Is America so cynical that we should not think about big ideas?

    An inspired reaction indicates susceptibility to propaganda techniques

    Do you realize how cynical and/or insulting that is?

    Have none of us ever been inspired by a speech?


    Two orators that inspire me (5.00 / 1) (#234)
    by Democratic Cat on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 05:50:46 PM EST
    MLK (but that's too easy) and Barbara Jordan.  Not only did they put words together in a pleasang order, they had a view that I thought correctly spoke to the problems of their day.  To hear Rep. Jordan's statement before the House Judiciary Committee regarding Nixon's impeachment is to be inspired. "My faith in the Constitution is whole, it is complete, it is total.  I am not going to sit here and be an idle spectator to the diminution, the subversion, the destruction of the Constitution."

    It's not just about saying something in a pleasing way. The message matters. When I listen to Sen. Obama, what I hear is that Democrats and Republicans alike are to blame for the bad feeling in Washington, and that partisanship is bad. In my view, he is dead wrong; he has misdiagnosed the problem. I don't buy his message and so I find his speeches uninspiring.


    what big ideas? (none / 0) (#228)
    by white n az on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 05:39:20 PM EST
    There wouldn't be a discussion at all if there was actually evidence that the loft of his speeches had any foundation for accomplishing anything at all.

    My own observation is that he wasn't in the Senate the day they took the vote for AUMF and if we simply go by Durbin's vote, he probably would have voted against it too but he did dance on the opposite side of the issue on 2004 which somewhat mitigates his non-vote.

    My own observation is that he wasn't there the day the Senate voted on Kyl/Lieberman and yet, felt empowered to criticize Hillary's vote as if he felt it important enough to criticize but not important enough to show up and vote.

    My own observation is that he voted 'Present' on the vote for censure for 'Move-On.org' because of their 'Petreus/Betray Us' ad when Hillary voted against the measure.

    I think he is a hypocritical coward and missing in action when it counts. Clearly not a man of big ideas at all.


    And the Republicans will use this to smear the (none / 0) (#195)
    by lily15 on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 05:05:46 PM EST
    entire Democratic party if they don't use this opportunity to resoundingly reject candidates who have a problem with the truth.

    Another GWB??? (none / 0) (#203)
    by pedagog on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 05:10:37 PM EST
    The more I think about it and the more I see and hear Barack Obama, the more his campaign reminds me of Bush in 2000--the ultimate packaging of a flawed and substance-less candidate. Both are personally lazy [neither liked to get into the nitty gritty of legislating--doing the water-carrying that is often necessary to get things done].

    I feel that we should all step back a bit and really think this campaign through. There are so many similarities in the personalities of those two men that it is really scary!  As former drug addicts [yes, alcohol is a drug] they seem to exhibit a redemptive personality that feels that they are the only ones who know what's right for the rest of us.  They are petulant when their ideas are challenged, and they both ran [or are running] on change.

    Yes, they are very much alike. It would (none / 0) (#214)
    by tigercourse on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 05:17:46 PM EST
    seem that this country isn't so much interested in a complete break from Bush as in just getting a Democratic version of him. Inexprienced? Check. Faith based? Check. Uninerested in the process of government? Check.

    Meet the new boss...


    Duval & Barack (none / 0) (#212)
    by pedagog on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 05:17:36 PM EST
    Another interesting thing about these two men is that the voters in MA bought Patrick's CHANGE meme, but look at his approval numbers now.  There's a lot of buyer's regret in MA.  Perhaps that is why Hillary won that primary so handily.


    Mass. voters saw what Deval Patrick didn't deliver (none / 0) (#238)
    by BluestBlue on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 06:14:53 PM EST
    and didn't fall twice for the same game.

    After the Deval Patrick campaign was over, the time came to deliver on Patrick's pretty rhetoric; Mass. voters found that Deval Patrick couldn't deliver.

    They hear the same words from Barack Obama, see the same inexperience and lack of accomplishments and pass. Despite the much vaunted endorsements of both Mass. Senators, Teddy Kennedy and John Kerry, and the daughter of JFK, Carolyn Kennedy.

    You'd hope that this would at least give pause the rest of the country, that the national media would pick up on what the Mass. media has been saying.

    I'm not holding my breath, Mr. Free-Ride-with-the-MSM skates on down his glossy path with nary a bump.

    Link is here if you want to see the story:
    Bay State voters know their limits

    From the 12 February 2008 Boston Globe article:

    In 2006, Deval Patrick ran for governor of Massachusetts on what his consultant, David Axelrod, called "the politics of aspiration." Patrick talked about hope - a lot. And when people said they were just words, he quoted the Declaration of Independence to upbraid those who think words don't matter. He told voters "Yes, we can," and later, more broadly, "Together, we can."

    These words had a lot of power, as it turned out, propelling Patrick to a landslide. They echoed words that had been used by Barack Obama - also advised by Axelrod - in his record-setting Senate race in Illinois in 2004.

    Last week, many voters in Massachusetts heard some of those words again at a massive rally for Obama's presidential campaign, joined by Patrick and the state's two senators, John Kerry and Ted Kennedy. But the next day, the people of Massachusetts went out and voted for the candidate of experience.


    Not to pile on (none / 0) (#215)
    by NJDem on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 05:19:32 PM EST
    but as I wrote in an earlier thread about this issue, it's not just the speeches--Patrick's campaign commercial(s) from 2006 (on YouTube) could be BO's from today--they are that similar!  

    Plus the Axelrod factor, and that Patrick has, in the minds of MA voters, proved to be all words and no action, does not bode well for Obama.

    And and of his supporters who act like they would also think this is a non-issue if HRC did this are, IMO, being disigenous.

    I'm at work with no TV--has Tweety chimed in on this yet?  Does he still have that tingle in the leg :)  

    Moral Turpitude (none / 0) (#216)
    by lily15 on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 05:22:21 PM EST
    As lawyers know, some things can be criminal and some things can be unethical.  But for a lawyer, unethical conduct can also rise to the level of moral turpitude.  Obama is a lawyer, and former law professor.  Plagiarism is moral turpitude.  You do in school, and you can be expelled...certainly severely punished.  It is just not OK.  Obama's character should be seriously questioned.  He is no longer an equally good Democratic candidate.  He is a liability at this juncture.  He is the plagiarist.
    Joe Biden did the same thing with a political speech and paid a big price.  We cannot condone this behavior and be able to have the high ground in a general election.  This will not go away if Obama's the nominee..it will stalk him...and it will have resonance because it is true (unlike the Swift Boat attacks)  Democrats cannot be seen to be OK with this.  And can you imagine the impact of character on foreign policy matters.

    DEval not DUval (none / 0) (#223)
    by AF on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 05:34:12 PM EST
    thanks, I just fixed it in my post (none / 0) (#229)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 05:42:47 PM EST
    again, much appreciated.

    If we've learned anything in the last decade (none / 0) (#235)
    by s5 on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 05:52:57 PM EST
    it's that there are very few original ideas. It's about who can present those ideas with sincerity and in the right context, and remix it all in the right way to inspire the public.

    Anyway, it's already a non-issue. The partisans are siding with their candidates, and the press is presenting it as a passing "he said / she said" story. I don't know about you, but I don't think too many voters are going to be making up their minds based on what the "Clinton camp blasts Obama" for doing, or whether or not "Obama's campaign hits back" sharply enough.

    Comments closing, new thread (none / 0) (#237)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 05:58:57 PM EST
    is here.

    commeter jdj (none / 0) (#239)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 07:47:12 PM EST
    DJ has been warned to stop chattering. He didn't listen. He is now banned from this site.  There are 65 of his comments from today alone still on the site -- Big Tent Democrat and I deleted many more. I'll be going through them to delete more of them.