Monday, February 18, 2008

Good, Bad News for Obama

Good news: CNN releases poll for Texas showing Clinton and Obama almost tied, 50%-48%. Bear in mind that Clinton could potentially win the state's popular vote by as much as ten percentiles and lose the delegate race, due to a handful of delegate-heavy districts lying entirely in Obama-strong demographics.

It doesn't speak well for the various polling agencies, though, whose efforts appear about as accurate as birdshot from a sawed-off shotgun.

Bad news: The Clinton camp accuses Obama of plagarizing speeches. Specifically, from plagarizing a certain short bit of speechmaking from Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick in the governor's 2006 election campaign. Obama has responded by calling it "no big deal."

Considering that Deval Patrick is a strong Obama supporter and, incidentally, black, I'd tend to agree with Obama. Considering that Clinton herself tried to appropriate "Yes We Can" for her own just before Tsunami Tuesday, her campaign should not be accusing anyone of plagarism.

But the flat fact is: plagarism in political stump speeches is no big deal. It happens all the time- and sometimes those plagarized from are conveniently dead, and therefore unable to object. How many times have we heard stump speakers repeat the following quotes:

"We have nothing to fear but fear itself." (FDR)

"We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal." (Thomas Jefferson, with edits by Benjamin Franklin and John Adams.)

"The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for men of good will to do nothing." (Edmund Burke)

"Government of the people, by the people, and for the people..." (Abraham Lincoln)

"I have a dream..." (Martin Luther King, Jr.)

"This is not the end; it is not even the beginning of the end; but it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning." (Winston Churchhill)

And even as I type this, MSNBC's Chris Matthews- who the Clinton campaign have tried to get fired, repeatedly, levelling accusations of misogyny at him- Matthews and his guests are basically demonstrating that the Clintons sponge off of each other, to say nothing of others, for speech material. In fact, Obama's senior speechwriter, we're told, just happens to have been Deval Patrick's 2006 senior speechwriter.

But people who don't get the details, who only hear "plagarism" and flinch from Obama... in short, the uneducated, uncritical white voters who form the core of Hillary's voting base... those people will be all the more pushed away from Obama.

It's a petty argument. It probably shows the Clintons as weak, and hurts them.

But it hurts Obama too, a little, so it's bad news.

1 comment:

ty said...

Lincoln paraphrased the "by the people" phrase from a fellow abolitionist, Theodore Parker, without attribution.