Just Words, But Whose Words?
by susanhu, Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 04:02:12 AM EST
This must be "Barack Obama rebutting Hillary Clinton circa 2008?" At Saturday's night's Wisconsin Democratic party dinner?
The charismatic, brilliant, inspiring black politician came to the stage to address the latest attack from his white female opponent.
"Her dismissive point, and I hear it a lot from her staff, is all I have to offer is words," he said. "Just words.
"'We holds these truths to be self-evident,'" he continued as the crowd began to cheer and applaud, "'that all men are created equal' -- just words. Just words."
The applause increased.
"'We have nothing to fear but fear itself,'" the pol said. "Just words. 'Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.' Just words,'" he said, switching effortlessly from our Founding Fathers to FDR to JFK.
And then, the piece de resistance: "'I have a dream' -- just words," he said. (Report by ABC News' Jake Tapper)
Nope. Not Barack Obama:
On the left: Deval Patrick, ultimately successful Massachusetts gubernatorial candidate, responding to then-Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey in October 2006.
On the right: Barack Obama, speaking Saturday night at the Wisconsin Democratic party dinner following Hillary Clinton. Obama got great applause, although his enthused supporters had no clue he was just reviving a well-honed line not only NOT created by Obama but by another campaign, all engineered by guess who:
What do the 2006 and 2008 mimickers share in their quest to overcome their lack of substance with lofty rhetoric? The man who has the fix for just that kind of problem: "Since last year, observers have been noting that rhetorical similarities between the two candidates with vaguely similar biographies and campaign pitches -- who also share political guru David Axelrod,"writes Jake Tapper in today's ABC News Political Punch. That's right, it's David Axelrod, Obama's campaign manager who in 2006 was Deval's manager.
Who else is copying the lines? Obama disciple and former Sen. Bill Bradley on today's CNN Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer: "I mean, words are central to who we are as a people. I mean, we hold these truths to be self-evident, give me liberty, give me death, the only thing we have to fear is fear itself." (It's darn sure that Bill Bradley got the internal memo on how to counter the charge of lack of specific substance in Obama's droning speeches.)
I guess it's kosher for Axelrod's two guys to lift each other's best material -- but it would have been more proper for Obama, delivering those lines as his own, heard supposedly for the first time as fresh rhetoric fluorishes to a large audience of rapt Democrats, to have acknowledged to his starry-eyed audience -- who thought those were Obama's OWN WORDS -- that they came from Deval Patrick in Massachusetts. Or, as Tapper points out, both lifted from Patrick, who was similarly challenged to show something more substantive than his lofty, empty rhetoric his opponent criticized him for.
And Axelrod says "Yes we can" was Obama's campaign slogan in 2004. (So Obama echoed Patrick who echoed Obama.)
And astute readers at NoQuarterpointed out that one phrase, "we are the ones we have been waiting for" actually was written by Alice Walker. Walker, an Obama supporter, should politely ask Obama to at least credit her by saying, "As Alice Walker wrote, 'We are the ones we have been waiting for'." [But such sourcing of materials apparently is left to lesser humans like bloggers and their readers.]
So that message of hope is pretty much about delivering other people's lines without telling his audience he's doing so? What else is he "cribbing"? Well, we know he cribbed Sen. Clinton's infrastructure plan, then had a hissy fit when she dared to point that out. And there's more more on other such cribbing here.
Taylor Marsh -- who the left used to love until she dared to support Sen. Clinton -- adds some fascinating tidbits, and some very astute insights in "Barack Obama's Presidential Con":
Taylor received an e-mail from a reader in Massachusetts, where Deval is governor:
... I live in Western Massachusetts. 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. ... 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.
Deval did issue a "rambling" statement but, as Taylor points out, "Tapper's comments afterwards are spot on."
Taylor then reflects on what the blind adoration of Obama, and his teleprompter-dependent speechifying.
The traditional media [except a few like ABC's Brian Ross and Jake Tapper, and even NBC Nightly News the other night, as well as the Chicago newspapers], cable talking heads, and quite a few large progressive blogs [ahem] have regurgitated the Obama story like ... 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."
The con job has gotten so bad that, as another NoQuarter reader reported, Obama's besotted followers are even defending Obama with this kind of drivel -- this reportedly comes from David Lindal, via ThirdWorldState blog, run by a group of journalists:
I think it is ridiculous not to acknowledge that a black candidate at this level is fundamentally different from all white candidates who have come before or who are now competing. the more so a black candidate who has risked jail by doing drugs, and who has relatives TODAY living in the Third World (Kenya).
I leave you with this from New York magazine: "A Second Obama Plagiarism Scandal?"
Except to add this: When Obama goes "off script" or doesn't have a teleprompter, he gets in trouble.
At that same Wisconsin Saturday night speech, although his written remarks stated that he'd talked to "auto makers" about changing their ways, in his speech he said he'd talked to "auto workers about changing their ways." (Time's Halperin The Page blog has the written remarks provided to journalists before Obama spoke; C-Span has the actual video of what Obama said.) Nobody in the media picked up on that. But it'd be priceless to pass that quote around, and let the auto workers react! Update [2008-2-18 9:9:15 by SusanHu]: I'm willing to give Sen. Obama the benefit of the doubt -- I HOPE he was misspeaking.
Mr. Obama, keep that teleprompter in front of you at ALL times! And try to credit those from whom you "lift" your "inspiring" lines.