Political Speechmaking Done Right

… and wrong.

If you’re running for President, don’t plagiarize Wikipedia.

From Newser:

(NEWSER) – If you already thought it was weird that Rand Paul went on a rant about eugenics during a speech in Virginia yesterday, well, the story just got even weirder. Rachel Maddow pointed out last night that parts of the speech were lifted from Wikipedia, Mediaite reports. Specifically, the Wikipedia entry about 1997 sci-fi movieGattaca. Go ahead and compare:

  • Paul: “In the movie Gattaca, in the not-too-distant future, eugenics is common. And DNA plays the primary role in determining your social class. … Due to frequent screenings, Vincent faces genetic discrimination and prejudice. The only way to achieve his dream of being an astronaut is he has to become what’s called a ‘borrowed ladder.’ … He assumes the identity of a Jerome Morrow, a world-class swimming star with a genetic profile said to be secondary to none, but he’s been paralyzed in a car accident. … Jerome buys his identity, uses his DNA—his blood, his hair, his tissue, his urine—to pass the screenings.”
  • Wikipedia: “In the not-too-distant future, liberal eugenics is common and DNA plays the primary role in determining social class. … Due to frequent screening, Vincent faces genetic discrimination and prejudice. The only way he can achieve his dream of becoming an astronaut is to become a ‘borrowed ladder.’ … [Vincent] assumes the identity of Jerome Eugene Morrow, a former swimming star with a genetic profile ‘second to none,’ who had been injured in a car accident, leaving him paralyzed. … Vincent ‘buys’ Jerome’s identity and uses his ‘valid’ DNA in blood, hair, tissue, and urine samples to pass screening.”

“Gattaca was a weird topic for a speech in a governor’s race to begin with,” Maddow said, “but what’s weirder is trying to be a candidate for president, which Rand Paul is trying to do, and thinking that you’re going to get away with lifting your speeches from Wikipedia while you’re doing that.”

For Mr. Paul and all other future presidential candidates, I recommend the following speech, written by  Norton Mockridge, entitled “What’d He Say? What’d He Say?” It’s guaranteed to generate interminable applause, and send your listeners home wiping away tears of gratitude. They may even go out and buy a kitten.

Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, my colleagues and comrades. It is indeed an honor and a rare privilege to address you on this memorable occasion. First, I would like to congratulate heartily each one of your assembled here on the attainment of the objectives for which you have worked so hard.

In this connection, I might add that a very strange thing happened to me on the way to this function, which reminds me at this point of a story. The disturbing feature of all this is, despite all the bitter lessons, we know better.

As that great statesman once said, I need hardly remind this audience without fear of successful contradiction that we hand down to posterity as a matter of policy a few words about your splendid hospitality and this great nation of ours. We view with alarm but under our present wise leadership, and, some may be surprised, for above and beyond we begin to see the sun breaking through. We are counting on your continued support because, as you so well know, money must be forthcoming to our way of life.

As we travel the long road ahead down to the grass roots of America, there are those extremists whose voices cry out in the night. In this worthy cause we must not forsake by rather, with wisdom, recall that there are those who say that tomorrow may be too late. Make no mistake—-in our overall approach no one will dispute this fact—-it is a sobering thought. It is perhaps more than coincidence, and honest demands, whether we desire it or not. that we face up to the issues.

This observation has led me to one conclusion. We demand adequate funds. The world looks to us for leadership and we point with pride in considering the credit side of the ledger.

Keeping always abreast of the times , the record shows that we are a young nation. It is gratifying to hear, like all good Americans and these are simple, hard facts. We have no illusions. This is no dream, but a challenge. History teaches us that the period of greatest crises lies before us, and especially disillusioning has been our experience in this worthy cause. Yet, we must not falter. Where then shall we turn? In our judgement we do not wish to confuse the issue. The primary ain has always been to understand the problems better. I do not pretend to know the answers There are unmistakable sign, I submit to you, and in such view we areperhaps more to be applauded than condemned, as the world may one day see.

Another and wiser man has said it far better, for therein lies the common denominator of a people who will never give up. We should then, pause and reflect. It was gratifying to hear in our over-all approach , and as a matter of fact it is this very spirit of unselshishness which is beyond peradventure of a doubt. Whoever would challenge this words of our founding fathers? I say to you, let’s look at th e record as set forth by them.


Of this we can be assured—as those who have gone before us—-and these splendid men and women in this room whose very presence tonight testifies. With heartfelt thanks, and with undying determination as in the immortal words first uttered by my illustrious colleagues, we hear the hallowed voices—–Blue and Grey—-who made it the great common hertigage of the melting pot, sealed with blood in the spirit of those dauntless pioneers, and in this tradition we must and we will —under God. It has been a distinct honor and privilege, and in conclusion let me reiterate once again what words cannot express.

On that note may I leave you with this parting thought which I know will be taken in the spirit in which it is offered for the die is cast before the bar of justice and world opinion.

The Old Wolf has spoken (but not as well as Norton Mockridge.)

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