Monday, February 18, 2008

It's only words - Updated

By Libby

BigHead DC raises the alert sirens to announce "alarming similarities" in a speech Obama gave a couple of days ago to one given by MA governor Deval Patrick in 06. Watch the videos for yourself. Oh, the horror. They both quoted the same inspirational phrases from well known speeches, given by men who are now dead. I'm sure nobody else in the intervening decades has ever quoted those words before.

So why is this nonsense an issue today? Apparently because the Clinton camp is appalled by Obama's 'thievery.'
Howard Wolfson, the Clinton campaign's communications director, today accused Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) of committing “plagiarism” in a speech in Milwaukee on Saturday night. — Wolfson made the explosive charge in an interview with Politico …
Explosive? Sounds like a dud to me and it just underlines the problem with Clinton's campaign. They're still spinning like it's 1993. Yeah, plagiarism took down Biden once, but this little stick of TNT is going to blow up on Clinton, not Obama.

I remember reading once, a very long time ago, that there are only ten original ideas in the world and everything else is a variation on those themes. That seemed about right to me and besides, people often have the same thought independently. I don't know how many times I've thought I invented a clever turn of phrase for a blog post, only to see it used in some other outlet the next day. Occassionally I'll google it to see if I was first, and discover that someone else entirely used the exact same words three years ago. The dictionary isn't infinite and we probably internalize more of what we hear and see than we realize.

In any event, even if you want to accuse Obama of "stealing" the idea, the fact is that Deval Patrick doesn't mind a bit. As he pointed out, the language doesn't so much matter as the point that is being made. Both were pushing back against their opponent's contention that words don't matter and Obama has a most eloquent comeback to that accusation.
“It’s true that speeches don’t solve all problems,” he said. “But what is also true if we cannot inspire the country to believe again, it doesn’t matter how many policies and plans we have.”
Edison famously said, "Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration." The thing is, without that 1% nothing gets done. If Clinton wants to sell her policy prowess, she should stop sweating over finding every tiny flaw in her opponent and work more on the 1% factor she's been ignoring. Without it, all the voters smell is the stink of desperation.

[Preemptive confession: The title of this post was shamelessly stolen from the BeeGees song.]

Update: Call in the paramedics, the back flash on this 'explosive discovery' has begun.
In a conference call just now the Clinton campaign would not guarantee that Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-NY, has never used someone else's rhetoric without crediting them. [...]

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.
The Clintonites have been praising Jake Tapper's coverage on this story all day. Wonder what they're going to say about this revelation?

[cross-posted to The Reaction]

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Blogger Kathy said...

Geesh. Desperate is right.

3:03:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

All this back biting can do nothing but hurt the Democratic party come November.

3:26:00 PM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

Talk about your tempest in a teapot. It's crazy and yeah rocky, I think the Clinton's are the GOP's new best friend.

3:48:00 PM  
Blogger ThePoliticalCat said...

Hello, Impoliticians,

Dropping by to add you to the blogroll for the Blogroll Amnesty Day celebrations (sheesh, it takes forever!). At any rate, would you mind adding my tiny blog to your roll in return? Thanks!

5:06:00 PM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

Happy to return the favor politicalcat. Nice blog.

5:38:00 PM  

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