Monday, June 08, 2009

Sarah Palin, Newt-hungry plagiarist

By Michael J.W. Stickings

Did Sarah rip off Newt? Well, yes, so it would seem. HuffPo's Geoffrey Dunn does an admirable job comparing her speech last week in Anchorage with his co-written article from 2005, "Republicans Need to Relearn Lessons of the Reagan Revolution."

Now, to be fair, Sarah did reference that article in her speech: "Recently, Newt Gingrich, he had written a good article about Reagan..."

Though it wasn't "recent" (except in geological terms), Newt didn't write it alone (Sarah didn't bother to mention co-author Craig Shirley), and Sarah expressed herself, as usual, poorly (and, in grammatical terms, incorrectly), but at least she mentioned it. (The speech reminds us that Sarah's English is horrible.)

The problem, as Dunn explains, is that, following the initial citation (she mentions the article one again, later in the speech, but then gets it wrong, quoting a line that isn't there), "Palin continued on with her speech, using her own words while seamlessly quoting almost verbatim from the Gingrich/Shirley piece, multiple times, without citing it."

And it's pretty obvious -- and not just a line or two here and there.

So there is little doubt, if any, that Sarah plagiarized Newt.

I'd say it's appalling (and it clearly is), but this is Sarah Palin we're talking about, and I'm just not sure we should expect any more from her than this. She's not exactly a deep thinker with anything new to say, so it should come as no surprise that she steals from her right-wing ilk. This is just an obvious example of it.

The thing is, even when there isn't such obvious plagiarism, most conservatives drink from the same shallow pool of stagnant ideology anyway, which is why it always sounds so familiar, and so canned.

Newt praised Reagan? Sarah praised Reagan? No kidding. This is a movement that has run out of ideas, a party that continues to run on failure.

This was just Sarah being Sarah. Typical for her, and typical for conservatives generally. I'd say she's worse than most, but she probably isn't.

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