Rand Paul’s Plagiarism, and the Weird Man's Burden

I dunno, she probably has the longer reach. |||There are two scandals regarding a national politician's veracity this week. One is about a president lying about his signature, transformative legislative achievement, while his administration lies and prevaricates some more in the face of being caught selling the American public a bill of goods. The second initially centered around a senator lifting movie-description passages from Wikipedia in his speeches. You could almost see the thought bubble around Rand Paul's head–how could they possibly be nitpicking me in this of all weeks? But that is exactly the wrong response, both externally and internally, as new revelations make even more clear.

First came word Sunday that a whole 1,318-word section of Paul's book Government Bullies was lifted from a Heritage Foundation study (the think tank just shrugged). The latest is that a September Washington Times op-ed the senator wrote on mandatory minimums, and also testimony he gave on the subject to the Senate Judiciary Committee, was lifted from a recent piece by Dan Stewart in The Week.

Taken together, these sloppy, undergraduate-level infractions suggest strongly that Sen. Paul is running a loose ship, one not currently ready for the prime time of winning a national election.

"GATTACA! GATTACA! GATTACA!" Oh wait, wrong movie. |||"There are technicalities to this, but nothing I said was not given attribution to where it came from," Paul said prematurely last week, in response to the first wave of Wikipedia discoveries. "[People are] making a mountain out of a molehill....It's a disagreement about how you footnote things." By "people" he especially meant MSNBC host Rachel Maddow, who (along with Buzzfeed) has been stoking this controversy: "She's been spreading hate on me for about three years now," he complained. On ABC's This Week on Sunday, Paul even wished out loud he could challenge his critics to a duel.

There are two fundamental problems to this kind of defensive response. The first is managerial–what kind of message do you send staff by waving off such juvenile, 100% avoidable unforced errors as "technicalities"? That's like putting up a sign in the office saying "substandard work welcome here." In a world of free plagiarism-detection services, the time to begin scrubbing old speeches for possible problems was last week, when the senator was busy lashing out at his critics.

The second problem, which cuts straight to the heart of the difference between Rand Paul and his dad, is that he's actually trying to win the presidency. If your goal is to genuinely compete in a general election with your once-marginalized ideas, instead of building a revolutionary movement at the margins, then you don't need to be as clean as the competition–you need to be cleaner. Why? Call it The Weird Man's Burden.

They'll beat you and they'll treat you like a carnival clown. |||Rand Paul, like his father, has a lot of "weird" ideas, at least in the cramped context of how "responsible" two-party politics and governance has played out over the past several decades. He thinks the drug war is a failure and has introduced ways to peel it back. He wants to balance the budget in five years, and slash several federal departments. He believes in the Fourth Amendment. He is anti-interventionist to the point that when I asked him repeatedly earlier this summer to name American military conflicts during his lifetime he would have retroactively supported, the only he came up with was deposing the Taliban after 9/11. You and I may think those positions are within the bands of normality, but libertarians are still less than one-quarter of the population

The Weird Man (and Woman, bien sur), very crudely speaking, has two broad avenues available for changing the system: from within, and from without. Since us weirdos are often, well, weird, there's a natural attraction toward hopeless, beautiful, philosophically pure fires on the sidelines. (This isn't libertarian-specific—it's true of any group whose issue or issues have been consistently disregarded over time.) Henry David Thoreau wasn't trying to fix slavery and imperialistic war from within Washington, he simply refused to pay his taxes and headed off into the woods to write. It is emotionally satisfying to give the finger to The Man, and out there on the margins it is an affirmation, not an occasion for self-reflection, when the mainstream and its apologists attack you, whatever the reason. 

Aaaaaaaaand SCENE! |||The other avenue for Weird Man change-making goes not into the woods, but into the streets, television screens, and halls of power. It is an inherently compromising approach–even Martin Luther King was dismissed in his lifetime as a sellout. As King and many of the most effective Inside-Gamers have learned, however, it can be an incredibly effective tactic to present your claims with more dignity, decorum, and "self-purification" than the mainstream you aim to change. Think about it–gay rights at first was the stuff of revolutionaries and outrage-generating paraders, but the gay marriage debate really took off with a bullet when those two sweet old ladies got married in San Francisco. The movement to legalize marijuana by necessity began with the gray-ponytail crowd, and will end with square-jawed businessmen in suits. This is not to state a preference for one of the two main avenues of change–Rand wouldn't be a national politician without Ron's rEVOLution–but rather to identify the characteristics of the path that Rand has very obviously chosen. 

So what does that mean in this instance? If he wants to run for president, he needs to be better, not worse, and not merely as good, as the competition when it comes to the most seemingly trivial matters of comportment. Journalists, particularly (though not only) from those outlets sensitive to the allure that libertarian ideas have on some progressive voters, will be gunning for every possible gaffe, glitch, error of judgment, and stated deviance. He should consider it an honor to be challenged, instead of a challenge to get huffy about.

Get used to it, Rook. |||People who choose the Inside Game know, or at least should know, that the deck is stacked against them, and that they will be judged more harshly. Those were always the rules. On the upside, being the first real truth-teller inside an empire of lies carries with it enormous galvanizing potential. Whining about being picked on in this context is like complaining about getting fouled when you drive to the hoop against Bill Laimbeer and Rick Mahorn. The answer is to dunk the damned basketball, not bitch to the refs. And for god's sake, make sure your shoes are tied.

It's actually helpful for Rand Paul's presidential ambitions to be having these mini-kerfuffles in November 2013. It's doubtful that they will have any impact on the 2016 race, and he could clearly use the practice. 

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • ||

    This is the dumbest scandal since dumb went to dumbtown.

  • Smilin' Joe Fission||

    Dumbgate?

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Yes, I agree. We are in the age of fake scandals.

    We need a good bribery scandal (Duke Cunningham or a good sex scandal David Vitter, Bill Clinton, or the Toe Tapping Senator).

  • BakedPenguin||

    True, but I think Matt is right in that Paul should use it as an invitation to step up his game.

  • Simon9_1956||

    Yep, totally agree.

    Rand has been sloppy, and the Left, who normally don't give a rat's ass about facts when presenting their arguments, will passionately cite any usable facts to try to tear down their opponents and repeat those attacks tirelessly.

    Rand needs to stop lifting copy for his speeches and op-eds.

  • Quixote||

    The foolishness of this "scandal" is demonstrated by the fact that alleged academic plagiarists are frequently showered with honors in this country. The former German defense minister, who resigned from his post following allegations that he plagiarized his doctoral dissertation, currently holds the position of "distinguished statesman" at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. In New York, allegations of plagiarism perpetrated in satirical form against a well-connected academic department chairman are being treated as identity theft, harassment, forgery, "unauthorized access to a computer" (for violating NYU library code of conduct), and "criminal impersonation." See the case documentation at:

    http://raphaelgolbtrial.wordpress.com/

    This case, incidentally, is still awaiting appellate review from New York's highest court in Albany, but it seems pretty clear that there's a consensus in the legal and academic communities that the charges were perfectly appropriate. We obviously can't have allegations of "plagiarism" disrupting the dignity of professors and department chairs on our campuses.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    ...Sen. Paul is running a loose ship, one not currently ready for the prime time of winning a national election.

    Won't running a tight ship mean bringing in party people? Once he gets earnest about campaigning then he will become a lot less interesting.

    But he never should have addressed Maddow at all. That was Obama's problem, constantly elevating Rush Limbaugh to the president's level. It was petty and stupid.

  • RightNut||

    I don't think its the "weird man's burden" I think its the non-Democrat burden. Compare this tiny really insignificant scandal with say, campaign donors flying Senator Menendez to go fuck underage girls in foreign countries. Which scandal is getting more press, and which is a bigger deal?

    Democrats and liberals in general get a free pass from the media. Everyone else does not.

  • RBS||

    I don't think its the "weird man's burden" I think its the non-Democrat burden

    Same thing.

  • John||

    Exactly. Obama can go to a black supremacist church for 25 years and it is a phony scandal. But this is somehow a big deal.

    This is what the media does. Talk up every possible thing that can be used against a Republican as a "scandal" or a "gaffe" so that most people who are not paying close attention conclude that there must be something wrong otherwise so many people wouldn't be talking about it.

    It is disgusting and Paul needs to tell the media to go fuck themselves, I am not playing this game.

  • John||

    And don't forget, everything involving a non Democrat is labeled a "scandal" or a "gaffe". Everything involving a Democrat is labeled a "controversy" or a "partisan issue". That way all Democratic scandals are viewed by the public as just another political fight and all Republican scandals are serious issues that reflect on the person's character and fitness for office.

  • sarcasmic||

    To be fair, Democrats aren't expected to have any character. They are expected to say whatever it takes to win. Republicans are the ones who preach morality and integrity, so they're hypocrites when they slip up.

  • Doctor Whom||

    Everything involving a Democrat is labeled a "controversy" or a "partisan issue".

    And if you point it out, no matter how accurately, you're engaged in a smear campaign.

  • Swiss Servator, Sail Genfersee||

    Republican dirty tricks!

    /Hillary

  • Citizen Nothing||

    So wait, John. You say you understand the different standards that Democrats and Republicans (much less libertarians) are held to, but then take exception to an article that says Paul has to be super careful because he'll be held to higher standards? What am I missing?

  • John||

    but then take exception to an article that says Paul has to be super careful because he'll be held to higher standards? What am I missing?

    The assumption that Paul can somehow be so good and so careful that the media will not be able to do this. It doesn't matter how careful he is, the media is going to do this. So, better to not worry about being careful and worry more about going after the media.

  • Zeb||

    But he should still try to avoid easy shit like this. If it was just using wikipedia in a few speeches, that would be one thing, but copying stuff in published work is a legitimate thing to criticize.
    What do you do otherwise? Just give up?

  • Zeb||

    I should have read more carefully. You said going after the media, which seems like a good idea. But I still say it helps to avoid easy to avoid sloppiness like this.

  • prolefeed||

    No, if he hasn't already, Rand needs to tell his speechwriters and staff that anything that's purported to be in his name that could remotely be construed as plagiarism is a fireable offense.

    It also would have been helpful to use a bit of verbal jujitsu on Maddow -- "Thanks for pointing that out and helping my campaign, Rachel -- I've made sure my staff knows not to do that again."

    Acknowledge that your political enemies are human beings with at least some valid criticisms which you've taken to heart, and you pick up votes from the other Team. Makes it harder for them to dehumanize you and make you out to be a monster.

    There's an excuse for this the first time -- after that, it's stupid carelessness.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Was the Menendez scandal actually substantiated?

  • John||

    Yes. What was not substantiated was his being with under age hookers. But there was no doubt he was flying all over the Caribbean in a donor's private jet.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Sure, but the part that kept being reported was the underage hookers part.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    (I hope I don't need to insert the standard disclaimer that I don't agree with M's politics)

  • RightNut||

    was just an example, but here is another.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Sure, but adultery with, er, an adult, while a Bad Thing, isn't the same as screwing underage hookers, which it seems said hookers lied about.

  • RightNut||

    Its more of a scandal than Paul not footnoting his sources correctly.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Yes, but the fact the hookers falsely accused him of statutory rape is worse than adultery.

    I'm not a fan of going on Caribbean vacations with another man's wife, but the lying hookers, and whoever put them up to it, did worse.

  • Zeb||

    Yeah, falsely accusing someone of a serious crime is fucked, not matter what kind of shitweasel the guy is.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    Administration gives guns to Mexican drug cartels at best because of incompetence, at worst to undermine 2A.

    President allows Murikens to be killed in Benghazi and then outright lies about it just before a presidential election.

    President uses IRS to give advantage to allies and penalize opponents.

    NSA spying on Muriken citizens...

    ...PLAGIARISMGATE!

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Menendez was a non-scandal planted by the ratfuckers at the Daily Caller to win an election.

  • KDN||

    A nonscandal that came to light several weeks after an election was used to win an election?

    Oh shreek, don't ever change.

  • RBS||

    Matt, why do you hate Rand Paul?

  • Caleb Turberville||

    Weird Man's Burden, Lloyd. Weird Man's Burden.

  • Fluffy||

    The op-ed shows exactly how lame this "plagiarism hunt" has gotten.

    The op-ed as written contains exactly the kind of tedious "change a word here and there, and switch up the clause structure and tenses" total bullshit you're supposed to do to avoid being accused of plagiarism.

    But even though he went through the motions and did that, he's still getting the accusation.

    Because people like Welch are incredible assholes.

  • ||

    Look, buddy, you have no idea how well-mixed the cocktails at MSNBC parties are. They'd blow your little mind.

  • Swiss Servator, Sail Genfersee||

    +1 Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster

  • Citizen Nothing||

    Nice column that puts the challenge into perspective. And I'm totally stealing "Weird man's burden."

  • Caleb Turberville||

    Here's to 10 miserable years on the libertarian wagon, and all the irreparable harm that it's caused me.

  • BoscoH||

    He not only needs to be better, and not make these rookie mistakes. He needs to know how to effectively deal with them and publicly learn from them as he is caught making them. Because he will be caught making such mistakes. They are low hanging fruit which will be picked when it's politically expedient for opponents to pick them. An apology such as "yes, we were caught buggering goats, but we've had a discussion about that, and you're not going to catch us buggering goats again because we will no longer bugger goats." Really, if he's sincere about it, people will see that he's trying to polish up the weird things that weird people out a little.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    And I'm also surprised it's Fluffy, who usually has a good perspective on things, who's calling "Welch" an asshole here.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    er, that should read -...calling Welch an "asshole" here --. My quote marks have a mind of their own.

  • Spiny Norman||

    It's okay. We "understand."

  • RBS||

    I'm surprised it was Fluffy, but you had to know it was coming.

  • Fluffy||

    Welch has been concern-trolling on this story for weeks, to purposefully keep churning it up.

  • Fluffy||

    Or a week, anyway.

    I guess it just seems like weeks.

    He concern trolled about it on TV, he concern trolled about it here.

    Matt Welch, concern troll.

  • John||

    Yes he has. What is up with that? Why the hell is Reason enabling the media on this? This is not a story. It is just bullshit and fodder for idiots like Madow.

  • Fluffy||

    BTW, what do we have to do to get Reason to drive Welch out of here?

    Seriously. Can we put Chapman and Welch together in a horse costume (you can be the front, Welch) and have Warty ride their asses the fuck out of town?

  • Cytotoxic||

    Throw in Suderman and Richman too.

  • sarcasmic||

    A guy who wears horn-rims is lecturing about being weird. That's rich.

  • Zeb||

    Well, he does speak from experience, I guess.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    Better that Reason call out Paul for "rookie" mistakes now than to turn a blind eye to them, let them slide, and see them get repeated at a more crucial time.

  • John||

    It is not a rookie mistake. It is the media doing what it does against all non Democrats. If it wasn't this it would be something else. They are going to try to do to Paul the same thing they did to Palin; throw up as much bullshit as possible on the hope that people will conclude that there must be something wrong with him or everyone wouldn't be going so crazy. And Reason is helping them do that by even talking about this.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    All the more reason to keep his nose clean. He can easily survive this if he avoids committing rookie mistakes in the future.

  • John||

    No amount of keeping your nose clean will help. Hell, if nothing else, the media can just have someone on Saturday Night Live play Paul and say something and then report that as truth like they did with the "I can see Russia" line.

    If Paul doesn't say something wrong, they can just take something he did say totally out of context and pretend it is wrong. They can wait until he does misspeak, and he will because everyone does eventually, and report that as a "gaffe". Get two or three of those and then Paul is "gaffe prone". You stop reporting on the individual stories and just report on the group of stories and the narrative it creates. That way the veracity of each story is no longer at issue.

    This is the way the media operates with someone they want to destroy. And they are going to want to destroy Paul. The only way to win is to go after the media and not worry about the bullshit they are putting out.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    Well, hell. In that case, if none of his actions matter, I suggest that Paul adopt the campaign slogan "Hookers and blow all around, boys!"

  • John||

    In some ways yes. And by that I mean someone like Paul needs to be fearless and not worry about what the media says. The more he acts like these things are a big deal and responds to them, the more he reinforces their narrative that there must be something there. The best thing to do is either laugh at them or ignore them.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    I think he needs to save his fearlessness for policy issues, where he's really gonna need it, rather than for stupid procedural mistakes, which can be avoided.

  • sarcasmic||

    If he goes after the media he'll be portrayed as a crybaby.

  • John||

    True. That is why the best thing to do is laugh at them or ignore them. When someone asks him about this, make a joke. Remember Reagan with the "there you go again"? That was brutally effective because it didn't even dignify Carter's charge that he was going to destroy Social Security with an answer. That prevented Carter and the media from picking apart his answer and using the fact that he had to answer it as evidence that it was true. That sort of dismissive "yeah whatever" attitude when done with some humor is the one thing the media can't handle.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Good point.

    Though he probably shouldn't use the exact phrase "there you go again."

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    It's like he has to swim against the current while Christie and Hillary (or Biden or whoever) will get to float with the current. It's unfair, so he can either curse the darkness or light himself a candle.

  • Warty||

    STRANGE GAME
    THE ONLY WAY TO WIN IS NOT TO PLAY

  • Simon9_1956||

    I think it's a matter of do both.

    Keep your nose as clean as possible (to deprive the media enemy of verifiable ammunition against you) AND deal firmly and intelligently with the twits of the media and make damned sure in every exchange with them, the libertarian comes out the smartest most reasonable person in the room.

    Given what a pack of weasels most of them are, that really shouldn't be too tough.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    No. Reason is hammering the stupid son-of-a-bitch, who is also our best current prospect, in hopes that he might become a less stupid son-of-a-bitch.
    Welch's whole goddammed point is that Paul has to be super squeaky clean and that sloppy mistakes will get him crucified.
    Yes -- its a stupid issue, but it needs to be aired completely -- now.

  • Brett L||

    The Heritage Foundation said, "apology accepted." (Perhaps even before one was offered.) What else shall Rand do?

  • RBS||

    Not do it again.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    What else shall Rand do?
    Oh, I don't know? Be more fucking careful next time? Like, you know, Welch's article suggests?

  • Brett L||

    For the fifth time. We get it, you're credibly calling out your own. Cool. Except, nobody who is going to vote for him cares. Nobody who could be convinced to vote for him cares. Why spend a week on it?

  • Citizen Nothing||

    Er, because he's gonna need more votes than those he's got now?

  • Jordan||

    Except, nobody who is going to vote for him cares. Nobody who could be convinced to vote for him cares.

    I don't think that's a given. Voters can be fickle and shallow.

    Why spend a week on it?

    Because others are spending a week on it. Welch is trying to help Rand out here.

  • Jordan||

    The point is to get Rand to be more careful, because even if this particular story does not hurt him, there will be more. Lots more.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    Exactly. Rand's gonna have to become a lot more adept with dealing with this kind of shit than he apparently is now.

  • John||

    No. Reason is hammering a stupid story and assisting the media in creating its narrative that there is something wrong with Paul. This is the first of many stories they are going to tell with the goal of creating a narrative in the public mind. It won't matter what the truth of any of those stories are. Before anyone realizes each of them are either a lie or totally insignificant, the media will have created the narrative and that, rather than the lies themselves, will be the story.

    Reason is not helping here. I see your point. But your point is only valid if there is some way that Paul can be so good that the media won't be able to do this. And that is impossible since the media can just lie and make up a gaffe or a scandal if they have to.

  • Jeff||

    AQUA BUDDHA!

  • Gran||

    Kids have been kicked out of college for plagiarizing in this fashion. So no, I don't think it is "bullshit."

  • Ama-Gi Anarchist||

    Except this is not college and Paul was supposedly not being paid. The Heritage Foundation doesn't give a rat's ass, in fact they want people to quote them MORE! This whole thing is much ado about nothing. The ObamaMessiah could shoot a Pakistani child in the head, live on national Tv, and the stupid Talking Heads would shrug and say "Ah well, brat had it coming. They were probably related to a terrorist".

  • BakedPenguin||

    I never got that in school. You could rip whole chunks of text, format them so they took up more space, and all you had to do was put a little number down, and then write where you got it from at the end of the paper. Plus, the more notes you had, the more work it looked like you did even if you only grabbed the book to skim through to find useful quotes.

  • BakedPenguin||

    "I never got that..." - I never got why people would plagiarize. It was marginal extra work to note things, and it made your paper look better.

  • Robert||

    I know why: because they can't write. I stopped assigning papers after a while, because over a few years it went from an occasional problem to where I'd have to flunk almost the entire class. I assigned oral present'ns instead.

  • Brett L||

    Just so I'm clear: Using the Biden example, he's eligible, nay well-qualified to be a Senator or a Veep, but we require proper citation from our Presidents? I am confused, especially as the "injured party" claims that he has done them no injury. To whom shall he abase himself to be made clean?

  • sarcasmic||

    Biden, being a Democrat, is not held to any moral standards.
    Republicans claim to have moral standards.
    So when a Democrat lies and cheats, it's to be expected. I mean, they're a Democrat. Lying and cheating is what they do.
    When a Republican does something like that it's a big deal, because Republicans claim to have morals and integrity.

    It's not what a person does that matters, it's who the person is.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Not true. Weiner was kicked out of the House by Democrats for texting his junk - hardly a crime.

    Also Eric Massa - for "wrestling too friendly" with a male aide.

  • sarcasmic||

    Texting his junk was not lying or cheating. Thank you for playing. Now please go hang yourself.

  • ||

    Weiner shouldn't have lied and tried to blame al-Qaeda for hacking his Twitter. Because that's a real sign of integrity right there--a bogus claim that might end up redirecting resources from people who actually need them.

    I also didn't notice any couch-fainting editorials about how Weiner was exploiting anti-Islam sentiments in an attempt to save his bacon, etc.

  • Biden's Scroteplugs||

    who is more of a 'Weird Man", Paul or Maddow?

  • Anomalous||

    Paul is weirder, but Maddow is manlier.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    This article is true, what are you all going on about? The author is the best kind of friend Rand can have - the kind who tells him the truth about how to be President.

    He'll have to work twice as hard to do half as good, so he better get cracking, and he needs to lay the smackdown on whatever staffers put out this inadequately-sourced crap. That way, in 2016, he can say, "why are you bringing up old, minor staff problem that I already corrected? What about Obama saying you can keep your health plan? Unlike me, Obama didn't correct the problem, but I will - by getting rid of Obamacare altogether!"

  • johnl||

    Is Rand pushing to get a job editing reason? Because Welsh is obviously better at magazine editing than Rand. Why is this even a topic?

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Even outside the magazine or academic worlds, you need to give props to the people whose writings helped you.

  • Brett L||

    Frankly, the Heritage Foundation got way more attention and credit this way.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    But as St. Paul could have said, "do not do a jerk move that good may come of it."

  • Gran||

    You and I may think those positions are within the bands of normality, but libertarians are still less than one-quarter of the population.

    A lot less than that even. That on quarter number comes from asking people vague things like "do you want to reduce the power of government in economic and personal affairs." That would be like concluding that a fourth of the country is communist because they agree that "society should be made more fair."

  • sarcasmic||

    I'd bet that more than a quarter of the country, if asked if society should be organized from each according to ability and to each according to need, would say that sounds like a great idea.

  • Robert||

    Society is already organized that way. People do the things they're able to do, and people get their needs taken care of. Would you rather people do things they're incompetent at, and not get their needs serviced? If you just state it as above, it's a "Well, duh!" Actually the only people who tried to run things other than that way were communists!

  • Jesus H. Christ||

    Rand Paul should have just admitted the technical errors and promised to be a good boy in the future. Instead, he's acting like every other politician and not taking responsibility for even a minor issue.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    See -- THIS is why I worship you.

  • Jesus H. Christ||

    We know you have a choice when you worship and we thank you for choosing Jesus. Come back and pray again soon.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Jesus, who would win in a fight, you, or Aqua Buddha?

  • Jesus H. Christ||

    Aqua Buddha is just a shorter, chubbier version of Aqua Man. Seeing as I can walk on water etc. I'd say I'd have A.B. doing my math homework inside of 10 minutes.

  • Jordan||

    Indeed. Yes, this is a ginned up non-controversy. Yes, the media is unfair to non-Democrats. But those defenses aren't going to fly if Rand wants to be President. That's all Welch is saying. Say "I was sloppy; I'm sorry" and then be more careful in the future. That's all he had to do.

  • Ted Levy||

    To anyone familiar with Joe Biden's record, this merely shows Rand Paul is perfectly fit to be Vice-President.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    But Biden gets to float with the media current; Paul has to swim against it, so he needs to be more careful.

    Plus if Biden runs against Hill, let's see whether the media suddenly remembers his plagiarism.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    That's like putting up a sign in the office saying "substandard work welcome here."

    They already have one of those signs hanging up in front of the White House, written beautifully by one of the non-essential White House calligraphers.

  • prolefeed||

    This is a misread of Obama's sociopathy -- he thinks he can do no wrong, and that they are doing great work with a few minor glitches.

    Try it -- try to find even ONE online where Obama says "I was wrong" about even the most inconsequential thing. I doubt you can, because sociopaths like him think they are the center of the universe, and critics need to be heeded about as much as a potted plant needs to be heeded.

  • LiberTarHeel||

    LOL. I followed the article's link to an advert for "Grammarly" and plugged in Reason's FB page 'teaser' for this article: "If your goal is to genuinely compete in a general election with your once-marginalized ideas, instead of building a revolutionary movement at the margins, then you don't need to be as clean as the competition–you need to be cleaner. Why? Call it The Weird Man's Burden."

    --
    Score: 57 of 100
    (weak, needs revision)

    Plagiarism
    The text in this document is original

    Grammar
    1 issue
    Confusing modifiers (1)

    Style and Word Choice
    2 issues
    Writing style (2)
    --
    Sorry, but had to be done!

  • OldMexican||

    You could almost see the thought bubble around Rand Paul's head – how could they possibly be nitpicking me in this of all weeks? But that is exactly the wrong response, both externally and internally, as new revelations make even more clear


    The best response is to say: The media is so affraid of the Obamacare debacle and how it could set back their agenda for decades to come, that they're desperate to find scandals everywhere else on anybody who is not a Democrat. It is nothing more than distraction and quite pathetic.

  • OldMexican||

    There are two fundamental problems to this kind of defensive response. The first is managerial – what kind of message do you send staff by waving off such juvenile, 100% avoidable unforced errors as "technicalities"?


    "See? He said that we can do whatever we want! He said so on Tee Vee! Hurr durr!"

    Please.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    He needs to tell his staff that he wants them to write decent, properly sourced, original material. He can't be like his dad and let anyone in the movement work with him.

  • Skip||

    "It's doubtful that they will have any impact on the 2016 race, and he could clearly use the practice."

    Demtards were able to convince the media that Romney's vacation 30 years ago was "very important" because he wasn't nice to his dog or something. There is no time limit on this garbage when its a Republican.

  • ||

    Looks like Rand is already taking some of Matt's Advice. From Reason 24/7 Rand Paul to clean up speeches, writings:

    Sen. Rand Paul responded Tuesday to fresh accusations of plagiarism in an op-ed he wrote in September, saying material from staff and advisers wasn’t adequately vetted and pledging a new process moving forward.

    “In the thousands of speeches and op-eds Sen. Paul has produced, he has always presented his own ideas, opinions and conclusions. Sen. Paul also relies on a large number of staff and advisers to provide supporting facts and anecdotes – some of which were not clearly sourced or vetted properly,” Paul senior adviser Doug Stafford said in a statement Tuesday. “Footnotes presenting supporting facts were not always used.”
  • Andrew Jackson||

    Who gives a flying shit about alleged plagiarism?

    Are we in high school now?

  • Westmiller||

    The proper response, as soon as the issue was presented, was for Rand to select a staff writer, hold a press conference, and have him/her admit that they had made a mistake.
    Rand could have said the oversight was totally improper, but forgivable, and suspended the staff member - WITH pay - for two weeks. End of story.

  • Eeyore Rifkin||

    Rand Paul has no honor. He's a liar, a thief, a hypocrite, a hothead, an incompetent and a fool. The rest is noise.

  • JeremyR||

    Time to support Ted Cruz...

    Yeah, yeah, he's not the libertarian Chris Christie is, but then again, who is?

  • MegaRog||

    Seems I recall Biden being a plagiarist, look where he is!

  • MegaRog||

    Seems Biden did a bit of plagiarism....

  • MegaRog||

    I apologize for posting two comments, I couldn't find the first , so I posted the second. Then I found both! :-)

  • Jerry Baustian||

    Joe Biden's plagiarism of a Neil Kinnock speech is still remembered, decades later, and is one of the factors which guarantees that Biden is never elected president.

  • Michael Hihn||

    Rand Paul is becoming a major shipwreck. It's time for libertarians to walk away. His first response to Rachel Maddow was that his speeches didn't claim authorship this are not plagiarism - which is valid. This led to the nonsense about footnotes.

    Then we learned of the book and op-ed, where he had indeed claimed authorship. We demand an apology from Obama, but make excuses for Paul?

    Rand's anti-eugenics was a shameful appeal to the wackier elements of the pro-life extremists, for which eugenics is a buzz word for Margaret Sanger, as reported by Reason.

    And Rand promoting a total ban on abortions, if he was to gain the GOP nomination, would severely damage the libertarian movement by association. Since when do libertarians reject the entire concept of unalienable rights? The woman's right to Liberty is precisely equal to the fetal child's right to Life (which is what "unalienable" means). If it were otherwise, government would have the power to deny my Liberty to save the life of another person, a moral atrocity.

    Libertarians are uniquely positioned to resolve the more destructive partisan divides between left and right. Rand Paul is not that person. And neither is his father. The last time I checked, being a fiscal conservative alone was NOT libertarian, not when combined with social conservatism.

    How long before the news media notices that Rand Paul's excuse for plagiarism is identical to his father's excuse for racism?

    Walk away.

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