Melania Trump — or her speechwriters — stand accused of plagiarizing several lines from First Lady Michelle Obama’s 2008 Democratic National Convention speech (which was itself accused of lifting lines from Saul Alinsky).
When Democrats do the same — or worse — the political damage tends to be far worse, since a significant proportion of the media can be counted upon to distill the “larger truth” of whatever it was they are trying to say.
Even for Democrats, however, excuses do run out.
Here are the top 10 most serious cases of Democratic plagiarism, among contemporary political figures:
1. Michelle Obama. Though the accusation never found traction in the mainstream media, the aspiring First Lady appeared to have lifted phrases from Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radical
— a classic primer on community organizing — and attributed them to her
husband. It is conceivable that Obama, an accused plagiarizer himself
(see below), passed them off as his own.
2. Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE). Biden’s 1988 presidential
aspirations were destroyed after it emerged that he borrowed heavily
from British Labour Party politician Neal Kinnock — not just Kinnock’s
words, but his biographical details. He was also found to have
plagiarized in law school. Biden still made it to the top — or near the
top — on charm and sheer perseverance.
3. Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY). The 2008 and 2016 presidential candidate was accused, both times, of plagiarizing others’ lines — and her own. Most recently, she was accused by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) of stealing
his talking points, partly in an effort to convince left-wing voters
that there was no distance between the two. Her effort inspired a
4. Barack Obama. The supposedly great orator was caught lifting the major refrain, “Don’t tell me words don’t matter,”
from Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, his friend and fellow Harvard
Law graduate. The irony of arguing for the importance of words, and then
borrowing those words without attribution, was a sign of just how empty
so many of those words really were.