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Obama and Plagiarism

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The wolfpack of Neo-Conservative pundits have been circling the Presidential primaries for months now, waiting, as the weaker candidates were slowly weeded out. Apparently now they have decided on their victims and are closing in for the kill. This week they launched their attack on Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle. The indignant horror of said pundits was obvious as they described what they saw as the audacity of plagiarism committed by the Obamas in using lines from speeches given by other people (who happened to be friends of the family).

"Here we go again," I thought. Let's expect a rerun of the Clinton presidency with the Neo-Cons rabidly dissecting the lives of the First Family on a daily basis, salivating over every tiny miscalculation or mistake they make. Maybe this time will be different because the Obamas are different. They seem more like real people. Their mistake in quoting lines from friends without attributing them to their source is something you or I or anyone else might do. A professional speech writer would never make the mistake of doing tha,t so maybe the Obamas are speaking from their own minds and hearts – and that is a big part of their huge appeal with all sorts of Americans. They are a breath of fresh air from the plastic, scripted world of politics that we are so used to and so tired of.

McCain seems to be the Republican candidate this time around and the Neo-Cons are grudgingly accepting him. Their man was Mitt Romney of course but, since the American people appear to think differently, they have been slowly warming to McCain. Especially since he has been seeming to gravitate to their way of thinking.

My first clue of this change in John McCain was something he said during a speech the other day. I don't remember the exact quote, only that he used the word "Evildoers" when referring to the terrorist threat. To me that was just creepy. Why? Because it just isn't a term that is in common usage in America today. Or at least it wasn't before the Neo-Con/Evangelical branch of the Republican Party coined it. In fact, I have heard very few of even that carbon copy bunch use the term. It is undeniably a "Bushism".

This creepy term was used by Nell, a character played by Jodie Foster in the movie of the same name. In that film,  Nell was someone who had been reared in secret by her mother in the backwoods of North Carolina after being conceived due to a rape. She was so backward that she couldn't even speak understandable English. When she said it the word "evildoers" sounded like "eve-duhs".

Every time I heard Bush use the word it called to mind a picture of a semi-retarded backwoods girl, and it was very hard for me to take him seriously. Now we have John McCain using the same word without attributing it to President Bush or to Jodie Foster or to Mark Handley (who wrote the play) or to William Nicholson (who wrote the screenplay). Isn't that a worse sort of plagiarism than what the pundits are accusing Barack and Michelle Obama of?  Either way, when McCain said "Eve-duhs" the other day the same image came to mind and I just grinned and shook my head.

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About Mike Johnston

  • Propagandist

    Wow – what an unbelievably worthless article!
    I don’t think that even the ‘semi-retarded backwoods girl’ could have written something as pointless, ranting, irritating and void of substance.

    Obama..Romney..McCain..neo-cons..Bush..Jodie Foster..semi retarded girls…love the flow of logic here!

    We get it – you love Obama and hate Bush -Congratulations.

    Now can I have the 30 seconds of my life it took to read this crap back?

  • Personally I thought it rather witty. Did you notice my term; “Audacity of Plagiarism”? I was kind of plagiarizing the title of Barak Obama’s book there, wasn’t I?…

    I don’t particularly hate Bush. He is a neocon puppet with about as much individual intelligence as any other block of wood.

    I don’t like the neocons or the lies they have told to people or the deceptions they have pulled off under the name of “right”. Maybe Decepticon would be a better name than Neocon {if it wasn’t already taken by the Transformers).

    I do like Barak Obama because he seems to be genuine.

    No refunds on that 30 seconds tho, sorry 🙁

  • Erm… I’m no fan of the neocons, but wasn’t it the Clinton campaign which accused Obama of plagiarism?

  • Perhaps originally but the right wing radio talk people were all over it yesterday and so it was them I focused on.

  • The Obnoxious American

    I think some lefties like to throw around the term neo-con because of it’s subliminal reference to neo-nazi. Don’t agree? How many other labels for persons with political viewpoints being with the prefix “Neo” in common usage? I can only think of neo-con and neo-nazi. But perhaps that’s just me.

    Wikipedia cites the history of this as:

    “As a term, neoconservative first was used derisively by democratic socialist Michael Harrington to identify a group of people (who described themselves as liberals) as newly stimulated conservative ex-liberals. The idea that liberalism “no longer knew what it was talking about” is neoconservatism’s central theme.[3]”

    It goes on to say:

    “The term ‘Neoconservative’ was originally used as a criticism against liberals that had politically ‘moved to the right’. [6][7]”

    Now, I don’t know many conservatives who were once liberals. So that term probably literally applies to a very small minority of GOP supporters. But you throw it around like stock options in the 90s.

    That said, to my point about Nazism, more from Wikipedia:

    “The term has been used before, and its meaning has changed over time. Writing in The Contemporary Review (London) in 1883, Henry Dunckley used the term to describe factions within the Conservative Party; James Bryce again uses it in his Modern Democracies (1921) to describe British political history of the 1880s. The German authoritarians Carl Schmitt, who became professor at the University of Berlin in 1933, the same year that he entered the Nazi party (NSDAP), and Arthur Moeller van den Bruck were called “neo-conservatives”.[26]”

    I would suggest future articles be a bit less divisive, and use the more common terms of art, i.e. Republican, Democrat. Remember, you may disagree with me, but we are all Americans.

  • Neocon is perhaps the most ridiculously misused term in the current lexicon. Everyone throws it around and no one seems to actually understand what it means or who it applies to.

    As for ‘evildoers’ the word has been around for a long time and I don’t recall it ever going out of fashion. They’re people who do evil. What else would you call them?


  • Irene Wagner

    Why rely on Wikipedia for a definition of Neoconservatism? Why not get it straight from the self-identifying neoconservative horse’s mouth? The mouth of someone like Bill Kristol, for instance, chairman of the Project for a New American Century and author of the book “The Neoconservative Imagination.”.

    As to HRC’s and McCain’s campaigns both spuriously attacking Obama for quoting from well-known speeches–that’s all part of distracting voters’ attention from the REAL issue — the War. Clinton and Obama and McCain have the same Middle East foreign policy objectives that the Neoconservatives do. For all the noise Democrats make about “ending the Iraq war”–that’s what most of the freshmen Dems were elected to do in 2006–the Democrat’s voting records, including Clinton’s and Obama’s have been generally pro-war.

  • Irene Wagner

    Project for a New American Century –that’d be the organization, founded in 1997, advocating war with Iraq FOUR years before 911.

  • JustOneMan

    SO Hillary is a neo-conservative? Gee when did that happen…

    JOM “Neocons for Hillary”

  • JustOneMan

    What does a person who has as “much individual intelligence as any other block of wood” sound like…..

    “Perhaps originally but the right wing radio talk people were all over it yesterday and so it was them I focused on.”

    Pretty funny stuff..more proof that liberalism is a mental disorder

    JOM “Libs…it really doesnt matter if its true or not”

  • Hi Obnoxious,

    I was using the term Neocon in it’s common form wherein it refers to Reagan era conservatives and their descendants. This defenition is verified by the first part of the Wikipedia article from which you quote:

    Neoconservatism is a political philosophy that emerged in the United States from the rejection of social liberalism and the New Left counter-culture of the 1960s. It influenced the Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and the George W. Bush presidential administrations, representing a re-alignment in American politics, and the defection of liberals to the right-hand side of the political spectrum”

    This is the same philosophy most often espoused by conservative pundits and talk show hosts. It seems accurate to me.

    Dave, this use of the word Evildoer and the picture it conjures for me and why, was an insight into how the shenanigans of the Neocon group affects my thoughts. I seldom hear people use the term in relation to bad people in everyday life. Although the possibilities are kind of entertaining:

    Police Officer: C’mon guys, let’s go round up these Evildoers.

    Teacher: Oh my god these little Evildoers are out of control!

    Parent: Get inside this house you Evildoer you!

    Preacher: May God rain his judgment down on the Evildoers.

    Hey wait a minute, that last one works. Ok, maybe that is the problem with the term. I am just waiting for George Bush to finish the sentence like a preacher.

  • JustOneMan

    Isnt anti-neocon the liberal code word for “Jews are those controlled by the Jewish lobby”?

    Sort of a politcally correct anti-semitism..


  • Irene Wagner

    What distinguishes McCain from Obama and Clinton (the latter two being distinguished only by levels of melatonin and bitchiness) are the social issues with which they are pandering to social liberals and social conservatives.

    JOM — Read the Statement of Principles on the above link to the neoconservative’s Project for a New American Century. With which of these objectives would Hillary disagree?

    On the subject of foreign policy, there are no significant differences among McCain, Obama and Clinton, whether they identify themselves as neoconservatives or not. They all march to the drumbeat of AIPAC.

  • Who brought Jews into the discussion? So you are saying that, if someone doesn’t believe in the Neocon philosophies they are anti-semitic? Interesting.

    If you read the comments above you might note that The Obnoxious American said that the term Neocon was used to describe Nazi’s in Hitler’s time and now you are saying that Neocons are controlled by Jews? So if you combine the two then Neocons are Nazis controlled by the Jews? Ok, if that is what you want to think….

    Personally I am not at all anti-semitic. I have Jewish friends and black friends and Asian friends for that matter. I myself am more than a little Native American for whatever that is worth in this discussion. I am probably pretty much a centrist politically too so the “raving liberal” thing just doesn’t apply either.

  • Irene Wagner

    Mike, Judaism isn’t monolithic, any more than Christianity is.

    Antisemitism is a common charge against critics of Neoconservatism, even though many Jews are very much opposed to AIPAC’s policies. If your article had been published 5 years ago, the article’s title alone would have caused those charges to be RAINED down in your comments.

  • JustOneMan

    Mike you did…

    No need to go to the classic defense,”some of my best friends are Jewish, Black, Asian, etc.”

    It is public knowlege that neocon is a liberal word for right-wing Jews and those who they influence..


  • Pablo


    You said:
    “It is public knowlege that neocon is a liberal word for right-wing Jews and those who they influence.”

    Public knowleDge it is not, and upon searching on the internet, I have not come across such public knowledge, unless you were referring to little-known blogs, that make a rare reference to your assertion.

    You said in Post 5:
    “Now, I don’t know many conservatives who were once liberals.”

    How about knowing many Neo-cons that were once communists? How about William Kristol the founder of American neoconservatism?

    My guess is that you dislike liberals even more than communists. Snicker

    I do however like your pen name, you chose a very apt one.

  • I’m a liberal who was once conservative. How’s that?

  • Irene Wagner

    JOM, Jews for the preservation for Firearms Ownership is nothing if not Jewish AND conservative. The JPFO author of the article linked to here is a fan of neither the US Middle Eastern wars nor neoconservatism.

  • Irene Wagner

    It’s new fodder for the endless Second Amendment Rights discussions:


  • No, Irene, they’re anti-semiautomatics…

    (I know, I know…!)

  • Irene Wagner

    I’m going back into pre-vernal-equinox hiding now, Dr. Dread. Not so much to avoid a gun control argument, but to avoid hearing any more bad puns!

  • The Obnoxious American

    Lolll, this thread is sadly hillarious. Let’s see:

    Mike Johnston: “This is the same philosophy most often espoused by conservative pundits and talk show hosts. It seems accurate to me.”

    So you are rejecting my reality and substituting your own eh?

    Irene Wagner: “On the subject of foreign policy, there are no significant differences among McCain, Obama and Clinton, whether they identify themselves as neoconservatives or not. They all march to the drumbeat of AIPAC. “

    Yeah, sure.

    Pablo: “How about knowing many Neo-cons that were once communists? How about William Kristol the founder of American neoconservatism?”

    Uhh you got me there buddy. I guess this whole time I was a commie and I didn’t know it. Thanks for the info!

    Don’t let me confuse you all with the truth now.

  • Clavos

    “bad puns”

    Isn’t that a tautology???

    Notice how it’s always Doc who starts ’em?

  • Irene Wagner

    OB-noxiousameric-AMA: This thread is sadly hilarious, especially with Dr D’s tautologically bad pun.

    Seriously though, Obnoxious American, connecting the dots between Trotsky and modern neoconservatives isn’t difficult, and you don’t have to use sources you might consider to be “out-there” conspiracy theorists to do it. Find for yourself in-context quotes by Irving Kristol (considered to be the “godfather” of Neoconservatism) and then follow through to the writings of his son Bill Kristol to whom he passed the mantle.

    The crux of it is: Communists steeled themselves for perpetual aggressive war, believing that Communism could not be sustained in a world that had mixed political ideologies. Neoconservatives recommend the same militaristic outlook, except with the neoconservatives, the goal is to spread– aggressively–“democracy” throughout the world in the interests of “national security.” The US, of course, is TECHNICALLY (e.g., by the Constitution) a “representative republic” not a “democracy.” “Democracy” is a useful, all-purpose term for the form of government the neoconservatives wish to export. Why in Iraq, it can even mean Sharia Law!

    Whichever of the three, McCain, Clinton, or Obama gets elected, expect US soldiers to be stationed (some of them for third, fourth tours) in Iran possibly Pakistan, and probably still Iraq. That’s why I jokingly called you OBnoxiousamericAMA, because after all the campaign lies about ending the war have been tucked away after inauguration day 2009 (just as they were after the 2006 elections) you might actually find yourself in the position of defending Obama’s (or Clinton’s) foreign policy.

  • Pablo

    Oh and Obnoxious American?

    If you are (which I highly doubt) going to attempt to open your mind just a wee bit, while you are googling William Kristol, you might also google Leo Strauss.

    I am amazed that people who have called themselves “conservatives” for years have been taken in by the neo cons. Here are a few primary examples of the main differences between them, aside from the fact that neocons love despotic forms of government, and hate the US constitution.

    Mainstream conservatives are fiercly for the 2nd amendment. Neocons are not.

    Mainstream consvs are for secure borders, neocons are not.

    Mainstream consvs are for a balanced budget, neocons are for deficit spending for the FED.

    Mainstream consvs are very anti communist, neo cons are not only not particulary anti communists, numerous of their ranks have been involved in communistic endeavors.

    In my opinion what most “conservatives” fail to see is that their whole platform was derailed years ago, by such luminaries as Newt Gingrich, who recently openly called for restrictions on the 1st amendment.

    I however will be the first to admit that the “liberals” have been just as co-opted as their counterparts.

    One last thing Obnoxious, if you are searching for the truth, you are going to need all the help you can get, my hunch is that you think that you already know it, hence your pen name. I do doubt very much that you were aware of William Kristol’s illustrious past, or Leo Strauss. I suspect that you also probably think that the NRA is a pro second amendment group, if you do try checking out
    “Gun Owners of America”. There you will find a true second amendment group, not a shill for the New World Order such as the NRA.

    Good Luck Obnoxious your going to need it. 🙂

  • Pablo’s discussion of the difference between Neocons and traditional conservatives is good, but wrong or incomplete in two areas. First, traditional conservatives are NOT particularly hot over border issues. That’s a recent development and has nothing to do with conservatism. Second, he omitted the key element of neoconservatism, the belief in a stalinist-style expansionist foreign policy. Most traditional conservatives believe in a trade based foreign policy which is generally non-interventionist.


  • Oh, and it’s not a joke about Hillary the neocon. With the rise of McCain at the head of the GOP we may well see the Neocons moving back towards the democratic party where they were firmly ensconced during the Truman era.


  • Irene Wagner

    Bill Kristol and Robert Kagan are foreign policy advisors for McCain. William Kristol and Robert Kagan were COFOUNDERS of the Project of the New American Century. The neoconservatives will find a warm welcome and a cozy home wherever they look for one.

    Until people start waking up.

  • Interesting list, Irene. I’m not sure how large a role an ‘informal adviser’ plays in a campaign or an administration. Sounds like a tag you put on someone just to make them feel like they’re involved. Colin Powell is also on McCain’s list, and he’s certainly no neocon.

    And speaking of Neocons, Obama has Brzezinski father and son on his list, and that’s about as bad as having Bill Kristol, if in a different direction. I’d submit that the neocons are at least marginally less eager to sell out US sovereignty to foreign interests than Brezynski is. Plus, talk about interventionism. He pretty much defined it. Hell, he created Osama bin Laden for all intents and purposes.


  • Irene Wagner

    Max Boot and Randy Scheunemann also advise McCain on foreign policy, and THEIR tags are sans the humiliating “informal” designation. I don’t know Dave Nalle. Maybe McCain wanted to make the PNAC-appointed president of the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq feel EXTRA SPECIALLY involved. If one’s wanting to make neoconservatives feel welcome at a party, what better person to have in attendance than MAX BOOT?

    Yes, McCain may retain some foreign policy advisors who AREN’T neoconservatives. Still, the fact that he’s seeking foreign policy advice from so many neocon luminaries–that lobs the burden of proof that he’s NOT being influenced by neoconservatives SQUARELY into somebody else’s side of the tennis court.

    This may some shed light on the mystery of McCain’s mid-nineties change of heart on foreign policy. It was “let’s get out of Lebanon” and it was “no” to Iraq Part I, but then suddenly, in 1999 McCain’s became gung ho about intervening in Kosovo, and his 100 year plan for Iraq is becoming legendary.

  • I wonder if the Neocons have a mind-control ray or something.

    My theory on the Neocons is that they offer a pool of foreign policy talent and expertise which some find very appealing, and a lot of more mainstream politicians don’t quite grasp the philosophical underpinnings of the movement.

    As for Max Boot, he’s not a pureblood neocon. He’s more of a fellow-traveller. I sympathize with him a lot, because his formative years in the Soviet Union likely skewed his perspective, as my teen years there did for me.


  • Irene Wagner

    #28 With the rise of McCain at the head of the GOP we may well see the Neocons moving back towards the democratic party…

    Why would this be so? Did you not know that Max Boot, Bill Kristol, Robert Kagan and Randy Scheunemann were McCain’s foreign policy advisors before you made that statment?

    #32… a lot of more mainstream politicians don’t quite grasp the philosophical underpinnings of the movement.

    So, is Senator John McCain one of those more mainstream politicians….or….?

    #32 I wonder if the Neocons have a mind-control ray or something.

    Now, Dave Nalle, why would the Neocons need a silly thing like that when they’re already foreign policy advisors to McCain?