Obama, Patrick and the Concern Trolls

Hillary Clinton’s campaign, Fox News, CNN, the Boston Herald, US News, the LA Times and other news organizations are going nuts over this.  Obama the untouchable?  Plagiarizing?  Oh its too good!

Only it isn’t true.

Deval Patrick and Barack Obama have acknowledged working together on their strategy and their speeches, and in fact share a common advisor.

This isn’t news.  Its uncritically repeating the baseless claim of a desperate Clinton campaign.  News organizations should be more diligent in their reporting.

Not that the facts are stopping idiots from weighing in:

“It certainly goes in the face of his squeaky-clean image,” said Republican strategist Holly Robichaud, who writes a weekly blog for the Herald. “It is clear he used the same words – there is no question about it. It will hurt him, but maybe not enough for him to lose ground.”

How will two successful politicians working together on an effective rhetorical strategy hurt Obama?

The critics who have jumped on this have shown they clearly lack a fundamental understanding of politics and rhetoric (Taylor Marsh):

During a conference call this morning, Howard Wolfson had this to say. Via Mark Halperin:

“If you’re going to be talking about the value of words, the words ought to be your own.” – Howard Wolfson

Rhetorical flourishes are inspiring, especially when they’re authentic. The problem comes when they’re canned. Jake Tapper has a good run down on Obama’s convenient oratory. It would be one thing if they came from the heart, or if what he was saying was actually original. Unfortunately, they don’t and they aren’t. They’ve all been said before. “Yes, we can reuse slogans!” says Ben Smith. “You bet your life we can,” quips Deval Patrick. Si Se Puede. The word bamboozled comes to mind.

Words that have meaning do not lose that meaning upon repetition.  If anything, repetition serves to validate and strengthen the power of words.  How ironic to miss that point, when the speech in question is about precisely that: the transcendent power of words to inspire, move, and change the world.

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2 Responses

  1. The person that said the pen is mightier than the sword never tried to kill a samurai with a bic.

  2. […] Obama, Patrick and the Concern Trolls […]

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