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'I Have a Dream' Becomes Obama's 'I Have a Con'
Posted February 18, 2008 | 12:34 PM (EST)
Read More: 2008, Accusations Of Plagiarism, Barack Obama, Clinton And Borrowed Words, Clinton And Language, Democrats, Deval Patrick, Devall Patrick Speech, Obama And Borrowed Words, Obama And Devall Patrick, Obama And Language, Obama And Plagiarism, Breaking Politics News
When Senator Joe Biden was found to have lifted pieces of someone else's speech he was politically humiliated. One wonders what the reaction to Senator Obama will be, now that we find out that those all important words he's been spouting are not his own. Will the standard be different for him?
During a conference call this morning, Howard Wolfson had this to say. Via Mark Halperin:
"If you're going to be talking about the value of words, the words ought to be your own." - Howard Wolfson
Rhetorical flourishes are inspiring, especially when they're authentic. The problem comes when they're canned. Jake Tapper has a good run down on Obama's convenient oratory. It would be one thing if they came from the heart, or if what he was saying was actually original. Unfortunately, they don't and they aren't. They've all been said before. "Yes, we can reuse slogans!" says Ben Smith. "You bet your life we can," quips Deval Patrick. Si Se Puede. The word bamboozled comes to mind.
Deval Patrick in October, 2006:
" ... All I have to offer is words, just words. 'We hold these truths to be self evident. That all men are created equal.' Just words. Just words. 'We have nothing to fear but fear itself.' Just words. 'Ask not what your county can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.' Just words. 'I have a dream.' Just words."
Barack Obama in Wisconsin, February 16th, this past Saturday, as he tries to con Wisconsin voters in preparation for Tuesday's primary:
"Don't tell me words don't matter. '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."
A reader from Massachusetts emailed me this last night:
... Guess what the lead-off story was on the local broadcast news tonight? Yes, "Plagiarism?" It was all about how Obama's "just words" riff was strikingly similar to Deval Patrick's speech from 2006. The story included a grainy video of Patrick delivering his speech, and then the clip from Obama's speech the other night. The reporter mentioned that the two shared campaign strategist, and that borrowing from others' campaigns wasn't that uncommon. However, it could cause a problem for Obama because it raises the idea that he may be just reading from a script. Then cut to the Hillary Clinton saying it's going to take more than speeches, it will take hard work.
It's what the New York Observer wrote about earlier in January. Via writer Steve Kornacki:
One small Obama-related detail from last night: The "Yes we can!" refrain that Barack Obama trumpeted in his concession speech was actually the campaign theme adopted by Deval Patrick, a top Obama supporter who rode the slogan to the Massachusetts governorship in 2006.
Oh, but wait! Before the bleachers come crashing down, Governor Deval Patrick issued a statement on the mutual mission of Patrick and Obama, which also just happens to include mirrored language and speeches that are exactly alike. Patrick's statement comes complete with... wait a minute. Excuse me, but the word gypsy must have run all out. Tapper offered Patrick's ramblings in an update:
UPDATE: The Obama campaign has issued a statement from Gov. Patrick: "Sen. Obama and I are long-time friends and allies. We often share ideas about politics, policy and language. The argument in question, on the value of words in the public square, is one about which he and I have spoken frequently before. Given the recent attacks from Sen. Clinton, I applaud him responding in just the way he did."
Tapper's comments afterwards are spot on.
The Boston Globe joined Deval Patrick with Barack Obama back in April of 2007. That was two months after I reported on Obama's flyover to skip the first issues debate in Carson City, Nevada, which was followed by his subsequent phone in presentation, as he showed up unprepared for the first health care debate. (This all happened long before I became a partisan for Clinton.) Now it's all these months later and all we've got today is a gullible traditional media sharing the same hope soda, while aiding and abetting a political con job that's sucked in independents by the droves in a DEMOCRATIC primary race.
Cons eventually catch up with you. Obama's played his supporters for suckers. They bought into the hope hype, sucking up this stuff with a straw, only to find out Obama's not an original, he's a knock off, of a governor, no less. Siphoning off of a winning campaign to try to win the presidency with a formula. Hey, it's politics. One campaign model fits 'em all. Put your twenty bucks in the bucket and shut the hell up!
The traditional media, cable talking heads, and quite a few large progressive blogs have regurgitated the Obama story like a pack of nomads wandering in the political desert in search of sustenance; people bankrupt of political or factual integrity looking for the answer and refusing to see what was in front of their faces all along. The question is whether the journalists who bought into the Obama hype, along with the cable talking heads who propped his campaign up, and the Obama blogs who didn't care one whit about the facts or his record but were only interested in spreading their Hillary hatred, have got so much invested they won't have the honesty, the integrity, and the moral courage to back peddle on their craven cave in before it's not only too late for them, but too late for the Democratic party.
Barack Obama isn't an original. He's the first 21st century L. Ron Hubbard of politics, Elmer Gantry, name your huckster.
"I have a dream" just became "I have a con."