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About Michelle Obama/Melania Trump’s 'Values': Their Husbands Don’t Really Live By Them

But they are bromides typical of vacuous mainstream politics.

Ron Sachs/CNP/AdMedia/SIPA/NewscomRon Sachs/CNP/AdMedia/SIPA/NewscomThere's an important point missed in all the pearl-clutching by partisans on both sides about the allegations that a portion of Melania Trump's speech was plagiarized from a speech by Michelle Obama. The Trump campaign has denied the speech was plagiarized. They might as well have asked what difference, at this point, does it make.

The portion of the speech was about the "values" Obama (or Trump) share with their spouse: working hard for what you want, keeping your word, and treating people with respect (in Obama's case, clarified to include those you don't know or disagree with).

Both President Obama and Donald Trump have shown through their actions that these values don't mean all that much to them, illustrating an important lesson on the meaninglessness of politicians' words.

Obama ran for re-election in part on the idea that if you owned something you were proud of (something, even, that you might have worked hard to get because you wanted it), "you didn't build that."

Even liberal fact-checkers have lists of Obama's broken promises. Most prominently perhaps, Gitmo is still open. There was also all the obfuscation over what the Affordable Care Act actually was (with the Supreme Court eventually saving the legislation by ruling, more or less, that it was a tax, the opposite of what its supporters claimed it to be)

As for the line about "treating people with respect," as David Harsanyi noted in a column last week that Obama has a tendency of framing his ideological opponents not merely as well-intentioned people who disagree with him but as people with problematic moral compasses, whatever the issue. He consistently belittles opposition. His vice president gleefully called Republicans terrorists.

Donald Trump's hardly a living example of the values Michelle and Melania articulated either. Trump has yet to be in charge of any government tax bureau, but he has used and supported eminent domain (greasing political palms, which Trump happily admits to, is hardly hard work) to take property he wants from people who have worked hard to get what they wanted and don't want to sell it to him.

Is his word his bond? Trump has managed to give his word and go back on it in the span of a few minutes numerous times. He's been on both sides of many issues, sometimes at the same time.

And Trump has made a brand of treating people disrespectfully. Perhaps he reserves that to people he agrees with, but that doesn't make much of a "value."

Photo Credit: Ron Sachs/CNP/AdMedia/SIPA/Newscom

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  • Brochettaward||

    Stop the presses! Ed has a hot take!

  • FreeSpeechMatters||

    He's closer to the mark than Damon Root, since there was no plagiarism here, only a lack of originality.

    The concepts in the speech were too banal, and universal, to be plagiarized. Melania Trump didn't use the exact sentences of Michelle Obama. And the concepts did not originate with Obama; similar lines from other speakers can be found on the internet from earlier speeches. So there was no plagiarism to begin with.

    If concepts are very commonplace, speakers who use them will sound similar even if they did not copy each other.

    It's not like Joe Biden, who committed plagiarism by lifting whole sentences (and virtually whole paragraphs) word for word from Neil Kinnock, right down to odd word choices (like omitting definite or indefinite articles).

    Biden, by contrast, clearly committed plagiarism.

  • Certified Public Asshat||

    since there was no plagiarism here, only a lack of originality.

    How was there no plagiarism?

  • Hamster of Doom||

    You can't plagiarize common sayings. Only original phrasings.

    "Read my lips: no new taxes". This is an original phrasing. This phrase can still be used for satire, but using it in seriousness as your own words without attributing it would be plagiarism.

    "Your word is your bond." Unoriginal. Cliched, even. Free game.

  • commoditous||

    "I am not a crook."

  • Trigger Warning||

    "This has never happened before."

  • Hamster of Doom||

    "This is a day which will live in infamy."

  • Quixote||

    These "plagiarism" accusations really do have to stop. Has anyone stopped to consider the serious harm they cause to civil discourse? Fortunately, the former German defense minister's allegedly inappropriate borrowings have not stopped him from being appointed Distinguished Statesman at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington,

    http://www.worldcrunch.com/eye...../c5s11132/

    but he was forced to resign from his post in Germany in "disgrace." How much good did that do for Europe and the world?

    In academics, we know exactly how to deal with individuals who go around making such accusations, especially if they cross the line. For one example, see the documentation of America's leading criminal "satire" case at:

    http://raphaelgolbtrial.wordpress.com/

  • Quixote||

    These "plagiarism" accusations really have to stop. Has anyone stopped to consider the serious harm they cause to civil discourse? Fortunately, the former German defense minister's allegedly inappropriate borrowings have not stopped him from being appointed Distinguished Statesman at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington,

    http://www.worldcrunch.com/eye...../c5s11132/

    but he was forced to resign from his post in Germany in "disgrace." How much good did that do for Europe and the world?

  • NYC2AZ||

    "At this point, what difference does it make?"

  • commoditous||

    Can you plagiarize a recipe for making a basic birthday cake? The syntax and sequence and grammar are going to be virtually identical. Even if you copied it nearly verbatim with a few corrections or strategic adjustments, nothing imparted by the words are novel or original to the source. Michelle's original remarks are the basic birthday cake of FLOTUS speeches: We were raised to have values. We worked hard. We stand by our word. We respect people. She's hardly going to say that they failed upward for years before grafting themselves wholly undeservedly onto a populist movement, lying outrageously, and exhibiting nothing but contempt for their voters. And that applies to both the Obamas and the Trumps.

  • commoditous||

    (I realize the example risks blurring the lines between copyright and patent or trade secret or whatever.)

  • Tony||

    Dude, the speech was plagiarized. Do you not understand the definition of the word or what?

  • commoditous||

    Okay, let me rephrase what I asked.

    Can you plagiarize a recipe for making a basic birthday cake, or a content-free string of self-congratulatory platitudes wholly expected of you given your station and the position you're trying to lie your husband's way into, and anyone is going to give two shits except vapid partisan shills?

    Tell me again how this is supposed to be the crowning cherry on the shit sundae that is Trump's candidacy. Or Obama's legacy, for that matter.

  • commoditous||

    (Trick question, the crowning cherry is Pence's interviews alongside Trump in which he tries desperately to make Trump seem sane and rational. It's like he's playing defense against actual soccer players using a foosball table.)

  • Hamster of Doom||

    Oh, very good.

  • Tony||

    People in this society take plagiarism seriously. Kids are flunked for it. The wife of a candidate for president should get... what? Does it matter if she's hot?

  • commoditous||

    She should get unceremoniously booted from the limelight when her husband crashes and burns in November.

  • MJBinAL||

    If it was plagiarized, a point that has been refuted fairly well, then Michelle Obama also plagiarized it. Perhaps you can find the first person to say those phrases, and claim that THEY were plagiarized. But as was explained, when the phrases become common usage, we generally cease to call them plagiarized.

    Save your outrage for something important. There is no shortage of things to be outraged about.

  • commoditous||

    A damning censure from the FBI director isn't going to sweep itself under the rug. This is how desperate he is, he'll show up in low-rent threads like this to avoid having to come to terms with his candidate's flagrant political gangsterism.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    If it was, it was plagiarized by Melania Trump's speechwriter from Michelle Obama's speechwriter.

    Michelle Obama sure as hell didn't writer her own speech any more than Melania Trump did.

  • Tony||

    Unbelievable. And to think all my past accusations of this site being a hangout for moron Republican shills who think they're getting away with something used to be conjecture.

  • Atanarjuat||

    She's a Republican?

  • DarrenM||

    it was plagiarized by Melania Trump's speechwriter from Michelle Obama's speechwriter.

    They are probably both close friends just out of college. Since it's become common practice to copy each other's essays in college, that just naturally carried over.

  • CatoTheChipper||

    Tony just plagiarized somebody when he wrote, "Dude, the speech was plagarized." and "Do you not understand the definition of the word or what?"

    It is simply unacceptable that he would write such sentences without attribution.

  • Tony||

    Maybe you spent the same four years in college that Melania did, but, dude, that was plagiarism. You only make yourself look like an idiot trying to claim it wasn't.

  • Res ipsa loquitur||

    Coherence, try it motherfucker !

  • Calidissident||

    Trump said essentially the exact same 4 things Obama did in the same order (and there's a pretty good stretch where it's word for word the same, although the entire thing isn't). It seems very unlikely that's a coincidence.

  • paranoid android||

    I heard a clip this morning on the radio where audio from the two speeches was played simultaneously. It's well beyond just using the same trite phrases/ideas, it's an almost verbatim copy-paste job. I don't think it's a big deal except insofar as it confirms what everyone knows about these speeches being pointless babble made up of interchangeable empty platitudes, but the fact of the plagiarism is blatant and undeniable.

  • Certified Public Asshat||

    This.

  • MJBinAL||

    Yes, pointless babble repeated again and again

  • Certified Public Asshat||

    It was pointless babble arranged in the same manner as pointless babble from 8 years ago.

  • DarrenM||

    I'd attribute it to a lazy speechwriter. I wonder if he (or she) still has a job?

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Let's be honest. How many things can a First Lady say? When you've seen one, you've seen them all.

  • bassjoe||

    So you're telling us we need a First Husband to add some variety?

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    What do hot, lipstick porn lesbians call their significant other? Let's have a First one of those.

  • Idle Hands||

    Unicorns?

  • Ted S.||

    Scott Shackford for President!

  • Trigger Warning||

    No orifice will be safe from First Husband Bill.

  • Brochettaward||

    The real question no one here is asking is what are the odds that anyone actually remembered what Michelle Obama said at the 2008 DNC. Especially those milquetoast lines. I smell a conspiracy. Some of out of work TV journalist hack or whatever just happens to recall those of all lines?

  • bassjoe||

    It's the Internet, dude; the masses may not be smart but they're knowledgeable. All it takes is one person with a photographic memory or who might have recently listened to the 2008 speech for whatever reason comparing the ilnes and posting it on Twitter or Facebook or something.

    I mean, it might have been an inside job conspiracy to make the Trumps look incompetent. It wouldn't take THAT many people to pull it off.

  • Ed||

    Is this for real? I don't want to hear about how it's only the left that politicizes everything. Plagiarism has a clear definition, it's not something fluid based on your feels. My God.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    If the good, old fashioned ideals based on a solid foundation of American family values that were touted by those two great ladies are considered plagiarizable, then by God I don't want to live in a world where my very U. S. of A. red-blooded exceptionalism is considered someone else's intellectual property. Next you'll be wanting me to pay Sean Hannity royalties every time I sing the goddamn Star Spangled Banner with a tear of pride running down my fucking cheek.

    Also, only journalists and college professors care about plagiarism. Everyone else just wants to get through this shit with a minimal amount of effort.

  • Ship of Theseus||

    It's one thing to argue that plagiarism doesn't matter. It's another thing to argue it wasn't plagiarism at all.

    It was plagiarism AND it doesn't matter.

  • Hamster of Doom||

    If we can't hold a foreign-born woman who avoids the spotlight accountable for speaking trite platitudes common in everyday speech, then the world itself has gone mad.

  • SugarFree||

    No, they watched it ahead of time so they could do compare and contrast thinkpieces for huffpost and affiliated rags.

  • Atanarjuat||

    That is the most plausible reason I've heard.

  • You Sound Like a Prog (MJG)||

    Some writer wanted to compare Trump's speech with past wives' speeches, particularly Obama's, perhaps to show why Obama's speech was so much better.

    Someone googled a string of Trump's words and came upon a transcript of Obama's speech in 2008.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    They might as well have asked what difference, at this point, does it makes.

    I would love to see that being shoved at the press every time they have something on the Trump people, although I imagine equating meaningless speeches to the response to the death of an ambassador and security officers might backfire. Well, backfire as much as anything can backfire on Trump.

  • Brochettaward||

    I mean, who is going to call them out for it? The media that's waled non-story and then phony scandal for years?

  • Drake||

    Will Trump promise to treat Federal Employees disrespectfully? Maybe a weekly "you're fired" game with annoying bureaucrats and regulators?

  • MJBinAL||

    Too much to hope for ..... sigh!

  • ||

    Most prominently perhaps, Gitmo is still open.

    I'd say that runs a very distant third to troops in Afghanistan and Iraq, and "the most transparent administration ever."

  • hpearce||

    "a portion of Melania Trump's speech was plagiarized"

    Does reason have proof she CLAIMED all of the speech she made was from her words only ? If not then Reason's claim she plagarized is a LIE ! Probably made for libertarian propaganda purposes - something Reason has tended to do more recently in its articles which I am tired of.

  • Ed||

    Like I said above, plagiarism is not some fluid word you get to define based on your feelings. The right adopts leftist tactics with such glee it's almost as if they're not as different as they insist.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Only fucking race-traitor cuckolds kobolds like Ed believe that it's not ok to not cite one's sources if one doesn't specifically claim one's speech is composed of one's own original thoughts.

  • commoditous||

    race-traitor cuckolds kobolds

    YOU NO TAKE CANDLE

  • Heroic Mulatto||

  • ||

    Alliance is bad M'kay?

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    I never choose an Ed class in MOBAs for that reason.

  • commoditous||

    Why would you? Ed wades down into the comments and tries to reason with us. It's like bringing water pistols to hammer party.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    WHO EFFED UP THE WEBSITE? Welch and Gillespie trying to livestream from Cleveland again?

  • Hamster of Doom||

    They might as well have asked what difference, at this point, does it makes.


    Clever, but writers would just start shrieking that they plagiarized again.

  • ||

    I can't believe this is news.

    I rarely, if ever, believe a single word that politicians spew about their families.

    Politicians can't have values. Not the game they play.

  • ||

    I always thought the Clintons married because they were deeply in love. It is clearly one of the few marriages of politicians that was not arranged and agreed upon for political or economic advantage.

  • MJBinAL||

    Hmmm,

    Or perhaps they both needed a cover spouse. Bill, so cover for hitting on, having affairs with, and raping women his entire life, and Hillary, to cover for her lesbian lovers.

    I mean, haven't you noticed that Huma seems to not be any more offended by Carlos Danger's behavior than Hillary is by Bill's? Did it not occur to you there might be a similar reason?

  • Hugh Akston||

    I must say the level of butthurt demonstrated by Trumplings over this issue is a little surprising.

  • colorblindkid||

    The level of criticism and media coverage is also completely absurd.

  • Hugh Akston||

    It's an amusing story about a featured speaker at a major political event. It will last one news cycle and then go away. How is that absurd?

  • bassjoe||

    Sorry, it isn't out of control. If we're still talking about it on Friday - - or even tomorrow - - then it gets to the level of absurd.

    Like Hugh said, she was a featured speaker at one of the biggest political spectacles that regularly takes place in the country.

    As such, every line of her speech was going to be scrutinized. The campaign should have known that and prepared for it. That they couldn't run the damn thing through Google search is amazing.

  • Ship of Theseus||

    It's never surprising to me how butthurt those people get.

  • Hugh Akston||

    I guess I'm just not clear why, of all the things to get defensive about, they pick Donald Trump.

  • Ship of Theseus||

    It's all apologetics. If they don't defend the messiah, their whole worldview collapses around them.

  • MJBinAL||

    Yeah, because they never do this with the other candidates they get into the boat with. LOL

  • SugarFree||

    Because Trump's popularity runs on emotion. There's no rational reason to think he would make a good president.

  • commoditous||

    The low-hanging fruit is tempting for everyone. And my God is this hanging low. Lower than the vulgarian septuagenarian's sagging manfruit.

  • SugarFree||

    I feel sorry for Melania. All she wanted to do was marry a rich dude, spend his money and wait around for him to eat himself to death... instead, she gets dragged into the circus of dumbfuck that is American politics and expected to do all this nonsense.

  • Tundra||

    I'd be willing to comfort her.

  • ||

    You truly are a credit to Minnesotans everywhere.

  • Tundra||

    What can I say? I'm a giver.

  • Hamster of Doom||

    It's as if you expect Krayewski to live by the values he mouths.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    David Harsanyi noted in a column last week that Obama has a tendency of framing his ideological opponents not merely as well-intentioned people who disagree with him but as people with problematic moral compasses, whatever the issue. He consistently belittles opposition. His vice president gleefully called Republicans terrorists.

    Let's just say there's a lot of that going around.

    It's disturbing just how many people on both sides are willing to attribute difference of opinion not merely to gross mental defects, but malevolent evil.

  • John||

    And Trump has made a brand of treating people disrespectfully. Perhaps he reserves that to people he agrees with, but that doesn't make much of a "value."

    How is this any different than "RESPECT MY AUTHORITAH!!" There seems to be this idea that act of treating someone disrespectfully is automatically bad. No its not. Some people deserve contempt. Respect should be earned not just accorded. If Trump has wrongly disrespected people, then make that case. That, however, isn't the case that is being made here. It seems that Trump is somehow wrong for even daring to disrespect anyone.

  • wareagle||

    the case has been made by the staff here that Trump is wrong simply for being. It's long past tedious. Yes, I get it; lots of reasons to oppose him. No reasons at all to support Trump. And the libertarian moment has given us an adult Spicoli.

  • John||

    That to me is the most disappointing aspect of their response to Trump. I understand and expect them to oppose Trump. Trump isn't a Libertarian. The problem is they seem to oppose him as much as anything for being a vulgar hell raiser who doesn't give a shit about the norms of politics.

    Libertarians more than anyone are victimized by the media and the conventional norms of US politics. Most Libertarian ideas are dismissed out of hand for being not in the mainstream. The one thing Libertarians should love Trump for is the fact that he is breaking the norms. Someone needs to. The only way Libertarian ideas are ever going to get a fair hearing is if the norms of US politics are overturned and people are able to look at something new. By attacking those norms, Trump is doing Libertarians an enormous favor. And a Libertarian magazine seems to hate him most for doing that.

  • wareagle||

    starts to make you wonder just how libertarian the magazine is. All that inside the Beltway time can't be good. It's happened to numerous politicians who talked the talked and then promptly stumbled.

  • MJBinAL||

    A fair number of folks claiming to be libertarian, are anarchists. Most of the writers for Reason are just plain nuts in my opinion.

  • John||

    I think they are cultural lefties with a libertarian bent. Where they run into problems is when reality splits with their cultural biases and forces them to make a choice. They nearly always choose their cultural biases. That is all that is happening with Trump. As Libertarians they should be happy to see someone tear down the media and the power of conventional wisdom. But their lefty cultural instincts are too strong to allow them to see that.

  • Tony||

    I'm glad we agree that "lefty cultural instincts" are fairly synonymous with "not being a fucking idiot."

    Read the interview of his ghostwriter just for a taste of what kind of mentally ill disaster Trump is. Why does anyone need to give him a chance?

  • commoditous||

    What chance? He's running a sham campaign. He's handing the election to your felonious mistress. He's the greatest thing for the left since Perot. Losing to Hillary is the worst case scenario for you bumpkins. You don't seem to understand how toxic this generic big-gov Dem would be for conservatism. You could wipe it out for a generation within four years under the buffoon. But it's moot since his game is running interference for the Clintons.

  • Tony||

    I didn't buy the "you can win in politics by losing" argument from Bernie fanboys and I'm still not buying it.

  • commoditous||

    Christ, man. Get out onto the quad, throw down a lawn chair, put on some Tay Sway, and enjoy yourself for a change. Your part in this election is done. You can show up in November if you like, but whoever wins, your victory is sealed. The GOP has collapsed in on itself under the density of millions of blockheaded wannabe nationalists. It's a black hole where political aspirations go to die. It's set adrift a generation of laudable conservatives who now have no home. And the LP has made no effort to capture them. That Dem supermajority your people have always threatened is coming about. You should be thrilled: the coming days of state corporatism, single-payer, European-style welfare, colleges at last irreversibly baked into the free shit cake, professors like you enjoying a permanent sinecure on the backs of productive Americans. It's a brave new world to behold.

  • You Sound Like a Prog (MJG)||

    Trump has called you a foolish person, John. Do you think you're not worthy of respect?

  • John||

    I have never Trump in my life. So I seriously doubt he has ever called me a fool, since he has no idea who I am.

  • MJBinAL||

    ^This is a good point^

    Are all ideas equal? Should they get the same respect?

    Are all behaviors equal and worthy of respect?

  • ||

    "Trump has yet to be in charge of any government tax bureau, but he has used and supported eminent domain (greasing political palms, which Trump happily admits to, is hardly hard work) to take property he wants from people who have worked hard to get what they wanted and don't want to sell it to him."

    Me from yesterday: All you have to do is tell the truth about Hillary to show her for the evil bitch she is. Cant we have the same for Trump? Stop telling lies and just tell the fucking truth.

    Thank you for taking my advice Ed. Seriously.

  • John||

    No one ever gets ahead in business by being totally clean. That is a myth people tell themselves. Business is a nasty business. People are always looking to fuck you and if you are not willing to do the same at some point, they will do it. This is made even worse by the prevalence of government in the business world.

    Eminent domain used for private gain stinks. The fact remains, however, it happens and will continue to happen. So anyone in the real estate business and a lot of other businesses has to either be willing to use it or be at a competitive disadvantage to those who will. That is just the way the world works.

    If you want to elect someone with some kind of morally superior life, we should look into electing a minister or a monk or someone who has never worked anything except a nine to five job.

  • Calidissident||

    Even if you bought that, Trump has supported it as a politician, so that is irrelevant.

  • John||

    That makes his position wrong. And saying that he is wrong, assuming that is what he thinks, is legitimate criticism. My point is people who act like the fact that he used it is legitimate criticism. It is not.

  • MJBinAL||

    Based on the ministers I know, and the fellow who is currently the Pope, I think we can pretty much pass on that being the choice for a "morally superior life".

  • ||

    You have a good point John, however Trump didn't just concede that he had to use ED. He specified that he thought it was a good thing, that it allowed a lot of big things to get done (proggie mentality).

    Most of the rest of his bluster about unconstitutional crap is just that. He won't have the power to do much of any of it.

    I am pretty confident that under a President Trump the economy will improve, maybe in very dramatic ways.

  • ||

    Contrast this with Hillary who will appoint at least two SC Justices. They will certainly be left wing hacks along the lines of Ginsberg and allow her to have CU overturned, the 2A gutted, and worse of all, climate deniers and all manner of dissenters prosecuted, fined and jailed.

    Electing her scares the shit out of me as it will be the final step paving the way for one party rule and turning the country into a true banana republic.

  • John||

    I don't like ED any better than the rest of the people here. But it is not really a federal issue. Most of the ED abuses happen at the local level. So, I don't think a Presidential candidate's opinion of it is that relevant.

    The other thing is that the only thing a President could do to end ED would be to appoint enough justices to overturn Kelo. I don't know that Trump would do that and if he did it would be by accident. I do know however that any justice Hillary appoints will support ED and Kelo.

  • You Sound Like a Prog (MJG)||

    but he has used and supported eminent domain

    This is Sad!

  • John||

    Are you capable of making an argument or giving any kind of explanation? Just wondering, because you seem incapable of doing it. Did you just never learn in school?

  • The Late P Brooks||

    The concepts in the speech were too banal, and universal, to be plagiarized.

    That would be my take. I refuse to read or listen to either; vacuous platitudes are as common as dirt.

  • wareagle||

    When this becomes a "story," the headlong path the Idiocracy is assured.

  • John||

    Unless they are a criminal or shown to be agents of a foreign government, I really don't understand why anyone cares about the President's wife. They shouldn't be mean to her or anything. But who she is doesn't really matter or at least it shouldn't.

  • Tundra||

    People are obsessed with them. I blame Jackie-O.

  • John||

    That is why I always liked Barbara Bush. She was just a nice old lady. Not even the worse sycophants could pretend she was glamorous and try to force a bunch of bullshit about her down the country's throats.

  • Tundra||

    Crusty would, too.

  • ||

    She was just a nice old lady.

    That was the public persona. People I know who interacted with her daily when she was in the White House told a rather different tale.

  • John||

    I know multiple Secret Service Agents who worked in the Bush White House and they all loved them. The first Bushes are absolutely beloved by the Secret Service. I don't know where you heard that story or who from but having worked closely with the Secret Service and knowing several agents, I have heard exactly the opposite.

  • MJBinAL||

    I like it best when first ladies look nice, act nice, and generally stay out of policy. They are not elected, are not paid, and have no policy or administrative responsibilities.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    You don't remember when Hillary acted like a co-president during the Clinton administration?

    Or that she was "put in charge" of the Democrats health care proposal?

  • MJBinAL||

    Yes, I remember, it should never have happened.

  • R C Dean||

    Yesterday I think I said nothing could be more meaningless than a plank in a political platform that could not be enacted no matter what.

    I was wrong. A speech by a politician's wife at a political convention is more meaningless. A "controversy" that a speech by a politician's wife plagiarizing another speech by another politician's wife at another political convention is even more meaningless than that.

    Ladies and gentlemen - your ruling class. Exploring new frontiers in pointlessness.

  • John||

    And Matt Welch was on here last night talking about how the ruling class is all about Ideas and not emotion. I can't figure out if he actually believes that or has just decided to be a comedy act now.

  • ||

    Holy shit, really?

    *wipes coffee off of screen

    I missed that.

  • commoditous||

    the ruling class is all about Ideas and not emotion

    Not sure I see the problem with that. They have tremendous emotional distance from the effects of their heinous ideas.

  • CE||

    Yeah, I don't care what President Obama said last month. Why would I care what his wife said 4 years ago?

  • You Sound Like a Prog (MJG)||

    It's amazing, isn't it? People are talking about this issue for entire hours!

  • The Late P Brooks||

    My suspicion is that there was some dopey Obama fanboi out there all primed and ready to do some hard-hitting journalism about how much smarter and classier Michelle is, what with her hoity toity Princeton degree and all, and was all teed up for a line by line contrast-and-compare.

    From there it's not far to, "WAITAMINNIT! This sounds awfully familiar."

  • Marshall Gill||

    how much smarter and classier Michelle is, what with her hoity toity Princeton degree and all

    I wouldn't call Warty a "Obama fanboi".

  • Marshall Gill||

    So it is exactly like many "libertarians" and their "principles"? They claim that wealth transfers are wrong but will take as many as they can because they are taxed? Claim that the government shouldn't do this or that and then go and work for that very department?

    How many of the reason writers send their children to public schools? The lack of self-awareness is simply fantastic. If I didn't know better, and I don't, I might think that Reason was nothing but Leftards posing as Libertarians to confuse them. They certainly do not lead by example. I wonder why that is?

  • Tony||

    Because it's impossible to live up to a standard of near-anarchy from within a modern civilized society with all its existing public services? Presumably you use roads. I heartily endorse the idea of libertarians finding some place governed by libertarian principles and seeing just how much they like it.

  • MJBinAL||

    Me too.

    The main problem would be they would insist on open borders ... the YOU would show up!

  • Tony||

    A society built on maximum freedom... with a big wall around it. Taxpayer-funded, no doubt.

  • CE||

    Vacuous platitudes sound like other vacuous platitudes. More at 11.

  • Tony||

    Why is this about Obama? Can the preeminent libertarian site give at least a small effort to being neutral on the parties? Melania fucked up bad. If she had been a Democrat's spouse you'd be the one clutching pearls.

  • R C Dean||

    Melania fucked up bad.

    She read was what given her to read? That's fucking up bad? Whoever fucked this up, it wasn't her.

    Here's what I guess happened: The speechwriter assigned to drafting her speech looked at old speeches by candidate's wives at the convention, to get the flavor. This particular string of banalities, for whatever reason, stuck in his/her/xir head, and came out close to verbatim.

    To call this a tempest in a teapot assumes there is a teapot that small.

  • Tony||

    She said that she wrote it. So are you claiming she's a liar?

    You don't write such a copy without doing it deliberately. My theory is that she actually did write it after googling "first lady convention speeches" and simply didn't understand that it's wrong to copy someone's direct words.

    And we both know, and everyone reading this knows, that if Michelle Obama had plagiarized Laura Bush, you'd be setting your fucking pants on fire in outrage. So save it. It's Donald Trump for Christ's sake. He is not a good choice for president. No need to bend over backward defending him and his people.

  • R C Dean||

    She said that she wrote it.

    She did?

    if Michelle Obama had plagiarized Laura Bush, you'd be setting your fucking pants on fire in outrage.

    See my post above, on new frontiers of pointlessness.

    The fact is, Tony, your allies in the media screwed up yesterday's news cycle. They flipped from a story damaging to Repubs, to one that can only help the Trump campaign.

  • Tony||

    She said to Matt Lauer on TV that she wrote it.

    I guess time will tell whether you're right about a public backlash to this news story, but it is a news story. It's ludicrous to claim that the media shouldn't have reported it (once that random internet guy did the actual journalism and found the plagiarism).

  • Tony||

    And if my narrative is wrong, then some speechwriter was sabotaging her. No one employed to write speeches, even by Donald Trump, would plagiarize this flagrantly.

  • wareagle||

    Joe Biden disagrees.

  • Tony||

    Joe Biden was forced out of the race for president and had his reputation tarnished forever for his plagiarism incident.

  • ||

    his reputation tarnished forever for his plagiarism incident.

    Joe Biden was running for President, not First Lady. I know you have incredibly low standards but he has been VP for the last 8 years and is still mentioned as a Democrat savior in 2016. If that is a tarnished reputation what does a venerated Democrat look like?

  • Calidissident||

    Even if she did write it herself, I can't believe no one on Trump's team checked it to make sure there weren't any egregious things in it. And if they did, they fucked up.

  • ||

    It was better in the original Slovenian.

  • commoditous||

    That's where she fucked up. She thought she could play the google translate telephone game from English to Slovenian to Chinese to Aramaic and back into English, but the original speech was so trite and hackneyed it translated perfectly.

  • Calidissident||

    I find it hilarious how we simultaneously have people on opposite sides of the spectrum using this article as proof of Reason's bias in favor of the other party.

  • John||

    Reason's failure to sufficiently trash a candidate's wife strikes me as an odd thing to pin your case upon. Really?

  • Calidissident||

    I didn't say I agreed with Tony. I don't think Reason was been too easy on Melania here. I'm just saying I find it funny that people from each side think this article confirms their belief in Reason's bias in favor of the other side.

  • Calidissident||

    *has

  • Tony||

    I could have missed the article that's about the day's big news story, Melania Trump's plagiarized speech, that doesn't find a way to blame Obama for it.

  • Calidissident||

    This article didn't blame Obama for it happening, it just says both wives were full of it when describing their husbands' values.

    Regardless, the story below describes what happened, and doesn't in any way criticize either Obama.

    http://reason.com/blog/2016/07.....bama-plagi

  • John||

    I didn't think you did. I was just remarking about what a sad hill this is for him to choose to die on.

  • Calidissident||

    Oh, ok. I wasn't sure if that was just referring to Tony or not. Given that this happened at a national convention, I think it's newsworthy, but in the long-run it's below about 10,000 other things on the list of things Donald Trump should get attacked for, as well as the number of more important issues in this election.

  • You Sound Like a Prog (MJG)||

    In an article largely about how Obama's a hypocrite, I was expecting a bunch of people to complain about how mean they are being to Trump. For Tony to come here and argue the opposite makes the whole thing even better.

  • Calidissident||

    And if Michelle Obama had plagiarized Laura Bush in 2008, the opposite would have happened. Tony would have condemned them for criticizing Obama based off something his wife said, and the people complaining about how this article is mean to Trump would have lost their shit and accused Reason of trying to make an Obama scandal about Bush because they're closet Democrats.

  • John||

    Exactly that. Lots of Republicans have been nasty to Michelle Obama. Some of that was justified. She has made some pretty obnoxious statements over the years. But most of it wasn't. Most of it was just general nastiness about her looks or other superficial bullshit as a way to vent rage that should properly be directed at her husband. And people like Tony objected to that. And they should have. Now of course, the Tony's of the world will engage in the most crass, shallow and nasty criticism of Trump's wife and the people who called Michelle Obama a wookie will play the "have you no shame!!" card.

    The whole thing is ridiculous. Leave the spouses out of it.

  • Tony||

    Do you cry in your pillow every night contemplating your soulless, empty political cynicism? She plagiarized a speech by the first lady at the same venue. It's noteworthy to say the least. I haven't said anything that's unfair or mean. Furthermore you will find that liberals on the Internet who are mean about Melania Trump are practically nonexistent compared to the near-universal mainstream conservative contingent that never wastes a moment to comment on the First Lady's looks, usually in a grossly racist manner.

  • MJBinAL||

    I don't think this is evidence of bias. Stupidity, Vacuousness, and "gotcha" "journalism", oh yes.

  • R C Dean||

    One more:

    The DemOp media/Juicevox crowd screwed the pooch on this new cycle. Instead of it being about the nascent rebellion on the floor, it became about attacking a candidate's wife. Thus putting the focus on Melania Trump, which is not a bad place for it to be, for the Trump campaign.

    And, its attacking his wife. Only the most morally damaged hyperpartisans don't see how that rebounds to Trump's favor.

  • Tony||

    Pundits are barely concealing their boners for Melania, reflexively blaming the staff before any evidence is in. The plagiarism is newsworthy. It always is in politics. It's not the media's fault that she plagiarized.

  • commoditous||

    You act as though beautiful trophy wives aren't meant to be ogled. You think we're supposed to take her seriously?

  • Tony||

    On the contrary nobody should take anything about the Trump campaign or family seriously... except for the unfortunate fact that he actually could become president.

  • commoditous||

    I wouldn't worry about that. I'm not, anyway.

  • R C Dean||

    Plagiarism by politicians is newsworthy.

    Plagiarism by politician's wives? Only if you're trying to help the politician by creating a backlash against attacking his wife.

  • Tony||

    There's no accounting for how Americans will choose to react, but this is newsworthy. It was her first major speech. It was at the convention. Come on man. There are surely more ambiguous things to mount a feeble, transparently partisan defense about.

  • R C Dean||

    I am sure Tony will show us that there are, in fact more ambiguous things to mount a feeble, transparently partisan attack about.

  • CatoTheChipper||

    If the Trumpetarians were smart, they'd say that, if Melania's speech had similarities to Michele's, it was only because they both had good parents. But, in any case, Melania has been proud to be an American ever since she became an American, whereas Michele has said such only since Americans heaped accolades upon her and her husband.

  • commoditous||

    Competent political spin from a thoughtful man; therefore, anathema to the Trump campaign.

  • John||

    The other thing about this post is that it assumes that a candidates' "values" necessarily translate into them being a good President. And the fact is they don't. Carter was one of the worst Presidents of the 20th Century. He was also by all accounts a very good man who lived by a very good set of values. Some men, Eisenhower or Coolidge for example seem to have had great personal values and been great Presidents. But one does not necessarily follow the other. Moreover, there is a fine line between "you have bad values" and "you just disagree with me and I want to pretend you are a bad person for it".

    I think Obama is a terrible President. Even I, however, am loath to say he has "bad values" whatever that means. To say he has bad values is to say that he means the country harm. And I don't believe that. I think Obama is causing a lot of harm because he believes a lot of stupid and counterfactual things. I do not, however, believes he means harm. To say he does is to sink to the level of conspiracy theorists.

  • Eman||

    This is the "fraud" part I think. That kind of division of labor is so hetero normative though.

  • Dennis, Constitutional Peasant||

    TRUMP HAS PROMISED TO HAVE THE MOST TRANSPARENT ADMINISTRATION EVER, PEOPLE

  • DOOMco||

    0 fucks.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    No one is going to care. For fuck sake, there are one hundred and thirteen other things that should have sunk - sank? - no, sunk Donald Trump, from the last month alone. They've all been brought up by various journalists and Trump's opposition. None of it has made a dent, no matter how substantial the infraction. This won't make a dent.

  • SugarFree||

    "would have sunken" you, retread.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    That comma placement has me even more grammatically discombobulated!

  • R C Dean||

    i was thinking "sunktified".

  • SugarFree||

    will to be sankeden?

  • R C Dean||

    Ensunkened?

  • SugarFree||

    If you aren't going to take this seriously I don't see the point in even bothering to do it.

  • Azathoth!!||

    Okay, I'm kinda leaning towards the rickroll--

    He will never, ever, give up.

    And, most importantly, he will never, ever, let you down.

    Those lines--right there? next to each other like that?

    Come on.

    It's almost as good as when Astley live-rolled the Thanksgiving parade.

  • ant1sthenes||

    So, am I to understand that if we elect Donald Trump, we will have the elites jumping through hoops to make asses of themselves for our amusement like this on a daily basis? The grave seriousness with which they treat whether some would-be pol's brainless supermodel wife ripped off some other pol's brainless grifter wife. Comedy fucking gold.

  • fdog50||

    Melania's speech shows what happens when you just copy someone else's empty cliche's.

  • AD-RtR/OS!||

    "Just Say NO!".......Oh, wait .... That's something a First Lady said.

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