2.19.2008

Just Words.

So, here's the deal for those of you who don't watch the news.

Hillary and Barack are fighting. Don't panic, it's going to be fine. One will land the nomination and the other will line up behind the winner like a good soldier, but for the moment, they're fighting.

I'm oversimplifying here, but Hillary is a policy wonk. She loves policy and precedent and closed door meetings. Barack, on the other hand, isn't so much a policy wonk as he is a prose wonk. She can draft a plan, but this dude can craft a sentence like nobody's business. Like him or not, I can't think of anyone who'd rather listen to Hillary than Barack.

Enter the crisis. Hillary accused Barack's campaign of being primarily 'just words', or lacking substance. Of course, he jumped on that like ugly on an ape and launched into a genius defense of 'just words' that went something like this....

Obama said "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?"

This was brilliant. In one fell swoop he cast Hillary as against Martin Luther King, the framers of the constitution, and JFK...and lopped his own ideas in with those sages. "Just (my) words....", but just brilliant words, by inference.

Only one problem. That little speech snippet? Those weren't his words. Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, a friend of Obamas, gave the same punchy, sing song presentation...in 2006. Turns out Barack's 'just words' were 'just not original'.

Pardon my ignorance, but are you a little dissapointed that - at least on THIS point - they didn't have the sense to make sure they answered originally? I'll admit - I've seen the video, and Barack's version of it is more compelling than Governor Patrick's. Barack borrows material and presents it better than the original...but has his team ever heard of the internet? Did they really think this wouldn't get caught? I'm guessing that if he so much as burps at Chick Filet, Hillary's campaign googles it to see if anyone else burped at Chick Filet.

I'm not all that upset about him borrowing the phrases. They're only about six lines; albeit powerful ones. He's not doing anything any preacher hasn't done before...it's that he didn't have the sense to know he wouldn't get away with it that worries me.

I'm not concerned that he borrowed a few words. I'm more concerned that he thinks we're all dunces.

7 comments:

Steeno said...

I read a story about this yesterday and could not figure out why it was that big of a deal. BUT your little rant here helped me understand. I do think they (politicians) think we voters are a bit slow to catch on to things. I mean it is like I have always said, "The best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter."

Randy Bohlender said...

OK, that made me laugh! Brent Steeno wins the Exemplary Comment Award! Ha!

chuck said...

I feel manipulated and confused...And amused (you must admit that negative campaigning is better entertainment than Springer)

Must be election year....

Randy Bohlender said...

Manipulated? Confused? Heck, you might already be a Super Delegate!

tnhuck said...

It is a rare thing for a politician to use his own inspiring words in a speech; they typically use speech writers. Therefore, it's entirely possible that Obama was simply reading a speech that was written for him by his writers completely unaware that said writers borrowed language from another candidate.

Heck, it's also entirely possible that the same speech writer was responsible for both Patrick's and Obama's speech.

What this instance indicates to me is not that Obama can craft a sentence like nobody's business, but rather that he can read/deliver an already crafted sentence like nobody's business.

chuck said...

Does it make me eligible for the carcasses?

Solepsis said...

"nothing to fear..." is Roosevelt, during the Depression, not JFK. Oh, now I feel like they guy in today's xkcd! :)