Tears and flapdoodle: Thoughts on the convention last night

Trump entrance

You might think, “Wow, that Brad Warthen sure is slow on the uptake, just getting to the first night of the Republican National Convention now…”

Except… I wrote and wrote and wrote about it — 25 Tweets or so, plus side interactions here and there — in real time. And when I gave up on it at about 11, staying up to write a blog post saying all that stuff again just didn’t seem sensible to me. A guy can stand only much fun, you know.

But there needs to be a place for us to discuss it on the blog, so here…

Let’s start with this:

That phrase came from the chapter in which the low-rent professional frauds Huck knows as the King and the Duke have assumed the identities of the long-lost brothers of a man who has just died, leaving an estate that they hope to get their hands on. An excerpt:

Well, by and by the king he gets up and comes forward a little, and works himself up and slobbers out a speech, all full of tears and flapdoodle about its being a sore trial for him and his poor brother to lose the diseased, and to miss seeing diseased alive after the long journey of four thousand mile, but it’s a trial that’s sweetened and sanctified to us by this dear sympathy and these holy tears, and so he thanks them out of his heart and out of his brother’s heart, because out of their mouths they can’t, words being too weak and cold, and all that kind of rot and slush, till it was just sickening; and then he blubbers out a pious goody-goody Amen, and turns himself loose and goes to crying fit to bust….

Now here’s where you tell me how heartless I am for dismissing the grief of people who got up before the convention and poured out their hearts before the assemblage. But I’m not. I feel for them. I’m just asking, as I tend to do under such circumstances, what that has to do with public policy.

Take, if you will, the woman whose son died at Benghazi, who blames Hillary Clinton for it even though numerous exhaustive investigations have in no way supported such an accusation.

I’m going to digress now…

I was reminded of a panel I was once asked to participate in, the subject being the Iraq War. This was maybe a dozen years ago. I knew I’d be in a roomful of people who disagreed with me 100 percent, but that comes with the territory. I did NOT know that the organizers had arranged to ambush me with the mother of a soldier who had died in Iraq.

Which, although I was totally polite about it, ticked me off. These folks seemed to think that they had trumped everything I might say by having this poor lady stand up and speak of her grief. I don’t know what they expected me to do in response — toss my notes in the air and cry, I had no idea! Oh my God, obviously, I was wrong all along?

I’m not trying to have another debate about Iraq here. My point is this: If her son had died playing a critical role in a conflict everyone agreed was necessary — say, if he’d been the first guy to set foot on Omaha Beach on June 6, 1944 — then he’d still be dead, and she would still be, quite understandably, inconsolable. She would be every bit as deserving of our sympathy. On the other hand, let’s assume that Bud, Doug, Phillip and Brett Bursey were all right about Iraq and I was completely wrong — that would be still true even if her son had come home alive and whole and was thriving today. Her grief therefore was not proof of anything; it did not constitute an argument. It was just what it was, a horrible, excruciating void.

Back to last night… The terrible pain experienced by that woman, and by the man who said his son was killed by illegal immigrants (he was one of three, I believe), is a real and true thing that we must respect and stand in awe of — and to the extent we can ease their pain, we should do that.

But that pain should not be the basis for making policy decisions. Or deciding for whom to vote. Because the fact that this lady, in her grief, blames Hillary Clinton does not negate the fact that there’s no reason to think she’s right, despite the fervid efforts of Republicans to find such reasons. And the fact that at least one illegal immigrant — or three — was a killer in no way demonstrates that the rest are, or that a wall needs to be built. It seems silly to have to point these things out.

And yet those are the positions that these grieving people’s testimony was there to support. Their testimony was intended to prove the rightness of what Donald Trump says — something that works with people who only think with their emotions.

And that sort of exploitation of honest grief is obscene. It’s deeply wrong to use those people so, and it’s even worse to use such tawdry means to seize supreme executive power in the world’s greatest nation.

Oh, by the way, in case you’re confused — those honest, grieving people are not Huck’s “king” in my comparison. They are the Wilks girls, crying honest tears at the loss of their father. Trump is the “king.” And as Huck says of the scene, “I never see anything so disgusting.”

See, this is why I wasn’t up to elaborating on my Tweets last night. It took me almost 900 words to explain that one.

But let’s touch on some other highlights and lowlights from last night, before we go:

  • Rudy Giuliani was the highlight — an actual Made Man in the GOP, passionately singing Trump’s praises. That did Trump more good than anything, although how a Man of Respect could say such things about such a huckster left me amazed. Of course, as the official Establishment speaker of the night (OK, there was Sessions, too, but he was less impressive), he helped illustrate how far the Establishment has moved in my adult lifetime. Remember him tearing into the media for saying bad things about his boy Donald? Once, that sort of thing would have been left to an outlier like Spiro Agnew, nattering about the nabobs of negativity. Now, it’s mainstream.
  • Poor Melania Trump was so nervous that he had my sympathy, and I was relieved with her when it was over. She had had such a buildup — Corey Lewandowski had told us ahead of time that she was a really intelligent, capable person. After all, he said with a straight face, she had “had a career… as a model.” Others were less sympathetic. You know how those awful media people just ruin everything by citing facts? Nicholas Kristof noted that the assertion that Donald Trump “is intensely loyal… he will never let you down” came from, ahem, his third wife… I’m not even going to go into the plagiarism thing; I’ll leave that to y’all.
  • I missed what had to be the nadir of the night — the soap opera actor/underwear model who shared his expert opinions with the nation. And who later said he’s “absolutely sure” Barack Obama is a Muslim. Of course he is — why else would he be there?

That’s enough. There’s another whole night of this tonight. Tune in on Twitter

39 thoughts on “Tears and flapdoodle: Thoughts on the convention last night

  1. Brad Warthen Post author

    And yes, I’ve used “tears and flapdoodle” before — such as in this column ranting and raving about the Democratic convention back in 2008.

    The phrase made a deep impression on me when I first read it as a kid, and today’s politics offers me ample excuses to trot it out…

  2. Doug Ross

    I only saw a small portion of the convention as it was on the TV while I was on the treadmill at the hotel. Giuliani, in my view, was embarrassing. Yelling and screaming, and at least on what I was watching on CNN, not getting the crowd riled up to match his ranting. If Rudy is for it, I am against it usually. He’s in the John McCain perpetual war camp.

    Then Trump came out to “We Are the Champions” and I knew we were headed toward Idiocracy. Melania did what she had to do with a boring speech that I checked out of about halfway in. I did find it funny that she mentioned something about the struggles of working in the world of high fashion. I feel her pain.

    As for your suggestion that a wall would not have prevented the murders by illegal immigrants, well, we don’t know that for sure. But we do know that had the murderer been deported immediately when discovered in prior arrests, instead of released, it never would have happened. Right? Under what circumstances should that killer have been released back into the public? There are none. And if we go a little bit deeper, if we removed all the incentives for people to enter illegally and punished employers who lure them here more severely, this wouldn’t be as much of an issue. I don’t support Trump’s wall idea but I do support every action that limits illegal entry into this country and any access to any taxpayer funded service. No schools, no food stamps, nothing.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      “But we do know that had the murderer been deported immediately when discovered in prior arrests, instead of released, it never would have happened. Right? Under what circumstances should that killer have been released back into the public? There are none.”

      What I have trouble understanding is what this has to do with immigration. Substitute “locked up” for “deported immediately” and the result is the same. The problem, whether the perp is a native or an immigrant, is the same — letting violent criminals back out on the street. Which is the sort of thing we used to hear about at Republican conventions. But now, we’re only interested if Willie Horton got into the country illegally — like that makes his victim somehow MORE dead, or something…

  3. Brad Warthen Post author

    Oh, on the plagiarism thing — if you want to see what that’s about, check out this graphic from the WashPost to go with this story.

    As someone who has long worked with words professionally, I can tell you that has all the marks of someone taking an existing text, then making minor editing changes and light rewrites as he or she went along. (In mechanical terms, I just did something similar this afternoon for an ADCO client — I took some copy I wrote for the same client several years ago that wasn’t used, and wove it into a new document we’re producing for a slightly different purpose. I liked the old copy, and I’m glad it’s getting a second chance to serve a purpose.)

    But I don’t blame Mrs. Trump; she just read it. (And I don’t see her as the kind of political nerd who would remember the 2008 speech and say, “Hey, wait a minute…”). This is someone else’s fault…

    1. bud

      As someone who has long worked with words professionally, I can tell you that has all the marks of someone taking an existing text, …

      Duh. Not sure why someone has to “work with words professionally” to see this was blatant plagiarism. Whatever. I must say this is a pretty tiny thing to be making such a huge deal out of. If the Democrats pile on too much they’re likely to make her, and by association Donald look sympathetic. On the other hand the various Republicans interviewed today seemed to bend waaay over backwards to try and defend her and keep the story going. Perhaps that was the strategy, keep it going and get the Dems talking in order to create a backlash of sympathy. They are a diabolical bunch.

      I was much more perturbed by Patricia Smith being used as a pawn to suggest Hillary Clinton should be in prison for being directly responsible for her son’s death. OMG the GOP is the most shameless, disgusting bunch of politicizers ever. Nine, count em, 9 separate investigations, some highly partisan, have ALL concluded that Hillary Clinton was NOT directly responsible for her son’s death. And to play on such drummed up pathos to push a very false narrative is very Lee Atwateresk. The Democrats should take note of this and be prepared for some new disgraceful swiftboating attack. Shame on the Republicans for continuing to lie about this settled issue.

      As for Brad’s comments on Rudy Giuliani. He is a member of the war monger klan that has no business ever being in charge of any national security issue. To suggest he is some type of “establishment” anything is an embarrassing misreading of establishment. That neocon bunch is way out on the fringe after being completely and utterly discredited. And Doug is right, his ranting and raving was unnecessarily shrill and pretty pathetic.

        1. Lynn Teague

          Actually some of the folks under this label don’t straddle any kind of middle. I don’t see that the label defines how far right they swung, just that they moved to the conservative side, somewhere.

    2. Scout

      This article would suggest otherwise:


      It basically says she is the one that changed it from what the speechwriters gave her. And nobody checked behind her.

      This, in combination with the New Yorker interview with the ghostwriter of The Art of the Deal is very distressing.


  4. Phillip

    I think you’re giving Giuliani way too much credit for being some kind of respected Republican establishment authority figure. The manner in which his Presidential ambitions fizzled out, the way he squandered his post 9-11 respect…I don’t think he’s viewed very positively by very many today, seems like kind of a caricature…and I think even a lot of Republicans feel that way.

  5. Burl Burlingame

    We were appalled and embarrassed that they trotted out the grieving mother, who has clearly gone round the bend into denial. And then Trump stomped on her by phoning up Fox News to chitchat while she was speaking. He’s not a gentleman.

  6. Bart

    I agree with Burl, Trump is not a gentleman but that is what is attracting so many who are dissatisfied to his camp. In their world, “he tells it like it is”, and that is enough for his supporters. As for the grieving mother, if the initial reports about Hillary’s words when the coffin arrived are accurate, it was my understanding that the claim that her son’s death was due to a video is the basis for her dislike for Clinton. That I can understand because the attack was not in retaliation to an obscure video, it was well planned. But I ask myself what is the difference between her and the mother who camped out at Bush’s home in Texas because she blamed Bush for the death of her son and how Democrats paraded her before the nation and used her for their own political purposes.

    Now, the flap about plagiarizing Michelle’s 2008 speech is really a stretch and demonstrates the lack of objective reporting by the media in general. I didn’t watch the speech or any of the convention but I did take time to watch and listen to the so-called plagiarizing of a few sentences from the 2008 speech which by the way, I didn’t watch it either. If using the same words or similar phrasing in Ms. Trump’s speech is plagiarism, then I can say for certain I know several people who are guilty of plagiarzing Michelle’s speech well before she delivered it in 2008 and that is just in my small circle of friends and family. Heck, during a job interview the same phrases have been delivered by a job seeker when describing what influenced them and what was important in how they lived their life.

    Over the years when listening to speakers, I have heard the exact same phrases in numerous speeches, eulogies, graduations, and various other venues. Plus, I have used the same phrases myself well before Michelle used them in 2008. If Michelle Obama owns the copyright on the phrases or variations thereof, then she is due a lot of revenue from perhaps thousands of individuals not only in this country but from across the world.

    I am not a Trump supporter and will not vote for him or Clinton but in all fairness and civility, is this the best our news organizations can offer? Is it worth the time and effort to show the segments spoken by Michelle and Mrs. Trump on a split screen, ad nauseum, ad infinitum, and to devote so much air time and ink to a non-story? I guess the bar is now so low for the media and news specifically that if Mrs. Trump uses the same beauty and hair products, she will be accused of trying to “plagierize” Michelle Obama’s personal life as well.

    A very diabolical bunch – right bud?

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      “But I ask myself what is the difference between her and the mother who camped out at Bush’s home in Texas because she blamed Bush for the death of her son and how Democrats paraded her before the nation and used her for their own political purposes.”

      None. Except maybe that woman was even more demented by grief. I don’t recall the Democrats giving her a platform like this, though — I identify her more with the extremists at moveon.org.

      As for the plagiarism thing. I think maybe you haven’t seen the actual side-by-side comparison, which you can see here, or — and this is creepy — heard, as I did, clips of both speeches played at the same time, so that you hear Melania and Michelle saying the same sentences together.

      Yeah, it’s plagiarism. Which speaks not so much to the character of the lady herself (which matters little to me, we’re not electing first ladies), but to the amateurishness, disorganization and dishonesty of the campaign. Seriously, if you can’t avoid a scandal over a simple, harmless thing like a speech by the candidate’s wife, how can you be trusted with anything important?

      And to set Bud straight — this is not some case of Democrats and wicked liberal media types looking for something, anything to hit Trump with. For one thing, no one has to LOOK — we’re hit by wave after wave from the candidate himself. Take a look at the column this week by that liberal firebrand David Brooks, dissecting Trumps BIZARRE performance in announcing his running mate.

      And in fact, Melania’s speech was politely received, with commentators saying she did fine, and everyone was about to move on, when someone said “Wait a minute; I’ve heard that before.” (I think it came up overnight — it hadn’t been noticed when I went to bed, but it was a thing when I got up in the morning.) Which took a prodigious memory, but that person was dead right, and now after two days of incredibly ham-handed denials, the campaign has had to own up to what it did

      1. Doug Ross

        It was absolutely plagiarism. Whole sentences in the same order with just an occasional minor tweak to add a modifier. It was third grade level plagiarism…

        I’ll never understand how in these days of Google, anyone would even try to get away with it.

        I’ve dealt with it personally on my own technical blog where I did a search on Google and found whole blocks of text that others had stolen (mostly from India). I’ve also dealt with contractors who have appropriated whole blocks of text from Microsoft documentation and presented it as their own work.

              1. Claus

                Doug, you and I think along the same lines. I posted that exact link yesterday but it got censored because I only get to post if what I have to say meets Brad’s approval.

          1. Doug Ross

            And while the Republican circus is going on, Dr. Rand Paul is treating blind people for free.

            “Libertarian-leaning Republican Sen. Rand Paul decided to skip the slow motion trainwreck that is the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland, and he has a pretty good excuse: he’s in Kentucky, performing pro bono eye surgery on blind patients”

            Such a greedy, self-interested person. A discredit to Libertarianism…

      2. Claus

        Has there ever been a statement said… that someone else hasn’t already said? Are we all just a bunch of plagiarists? Has anything that ever needs saying already been said so there’s no need repeating it? Probably 80% of speeches given to audiences larger than 10 people are snippets of what other people have said to similar groups.

        Did Hillary Clinton plagiarize Bernie Sanders when commenting on Donald Trump? STOP THE PRESSES!!!

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          I don’t think you’re understanding what we mean when we say “plagiarism.”

          Of course you quote other people. As I did in an email today to Bryan:

          “Or as Mark Twain described Guinevere in Connecticut Yankee, she ‘was beautiful, it is true, but take her all around she was pretty slack…'”

          Or you link to where the quote comes from.

          Or, in an informal venue such as this blog, you might just use a famous quote from a movie or something without attribution, assuming everyone gets it. Like, if someone mentions “Breaking Bad,” you might say “I am the one who knocks…” or “Say my name!”

          For instance, if I say, “Is that your final answer?” I think most of you would get the reference. And everyone would understood it was a tribute, not me trying to be original.

          And if, in a speech, you like what the current first lady said, and wish to sound bipartisan, you say, “As First Lady Michelle Obama said in a similar speech 8 years ago…” and quote to your heart’s content.

          But what Melania did? That was plagiarism…

      3. JesseS

        “Yeah, it’s plagiarism. Which speaks not so much to the character of the lady herself (which matters little to me, we’re not electing first ladies), but to the amateurishness, disorganization and dishonesty of the campaign. ”

        Plagiarism? Sounds more like internal staff performing sabotage, because like or not, of all people on the face of the earth, they got Donald Trump for a nominee. Those comparison videos were popping up minutes, not hours, after the speech, and the embittered within GOP were the first ones passing it forward.

        Though I feel like a crazy person saying it, MelaniaGate sounds like an inside job and who could blame them?

  7. Bart

    Brad, I did watch the side by side of the respective speeches. And I still don’t comprehend the uproar over it. I guess in my narrow minded little world, after hearing the same words in almost the exact same order so many times over the years, it just did not register with me that it was so damn important that the media wet their pants over it and it has been dominating the news since it happened.

    I understand your almost out of control dislike for Trump but at some point, some things are out of his control and it is a reasonable conclusion to reach that he was not aware of Michelle’s speech and that his wife and her speechwriter had discussed it and a couple of phrases from the 2008 speech made their way into Mrs. Trump’s speech.

    The other point is that the more critics pile on, more and more voters move into his camp. That is my concern, not a couple of so-called plagiarized phrases from Michelle’s speech in 2008. And, after this flap, you can bet the sympathy factor for Mrs. Trump will play a part in moving more voters into Trump’s camp.

    To address the comments about trusting Trump with anything important, for anyone who can reason and think without being overly emotional, it is an easy conclusion to reach that Trump is a very dangerous person to be sitting in the Oval Office, running this country. But, since the ones who support Trump have been described as mostly old, white men and angry whites, just who do you think WILL vote for Trump? Yes, the mostly old, white men and angry voters will vote for Trump.

    I recall a valuable lesson from someone I admire for his ability to understand the ordinary person. Back when attorneys and lawyers didn’t advertise and they were allowed to do so, in Cleveland, one firm did advertise and the local media interviewed one of the old, established firms. The spokesperson for the old firm eschewed the idea and made a public statement that “only truck drivers and brick layers would respond to an attorney advertising.” Doug Bench, the attorney who was a member of the firm that first aired an ad told us that when he arrived at the offices the next morning, the phone lines were jammed with callers seeking their services. And he then asked us who we thought was calling and the answer was obvious, “truck drivers, brick layers, laborers, blue collar workers, etc.”.

    The more Trump is attacked, the greater his appeal to the “truck drivers, brick layers, laborers, blue collar workers, and “old, white males” who will get out and vote for him. And now, one more reason has been added to the list of grievances that create more anger and dissatisfaction.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      “The other point is that the more critics pile on, more and more voters move into his camp.”

      I think you’re absolutely right. If there’s a demographic in America that would not know what plagiarism is or understand why it’s bad, it would be Trump voters. So their reaction is likely to be to cling to him more fiercely, and have even more resentment toward elites for giving him grief over something they perceive as nothing.

      Can’t be helped. When stuff like this happens, you have to report it. You don’t suppress it out of fear of offending Trump supporters.

      And Bart, nobody’s “wetting their pants” over something. Here’s how it works: The speech is reported. Some hours later, someone points out the plagiarism. The media look at it and go, Wow, we missed that. And they report it. And the Trump campaign comes up with incredibly lame defenses for it, and tries to dismiss it as nothing. And the media go, no, actually, it’s not nothing — look at these things side by side. There’s no sidestepping it.

      And after a day or two of that, the story starts to be about the startling amateurishness of the Trump campaign, which this minor thing put on stark display.

      And after a couple of days of squirming, the campaign offers up a scapegoat, who admits to the plagiarism that the campaign was denying. And the media report THAT. You know why? Because reporting stuff is their JOB.

      I don’t see what this has to do with the wetting of pants, or what you characterize as anyone’s “almost out of control dislike for Trump.” It’s just coverage.

      Which is actually a good thing, and Trump has brought this about. News media are providing coverage of this that reminds me of the way they covered conventions back in the 60s. A good thing…

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        Oh, another thing about my “almost out of control dislike for Trump.”

        You say that like I just willy-nilly decided, whimsically, that I didn’t like his tie or something and decided on the basis of that to be mean to him.

        This is a neofascist who is the focus of an EXTREMELY dangerous trend in this country toward the kind of “strongman” government that I saw in Latin America as a kid, and that the whole world saw in Europe and Asia in the 1930s and 40s.

        A really horrible thing has happened to my country, the world’s first and greatest liberal democracy. Before this election, this country would have done no more than laugh at someone as absurd, as ignorant, as childishly impulsive, as childishly hostile, as nakedly narcissist as this ridiculous braggart Trump. This guy violates everything I THOUGHT most of us were taught before we were in kindergarten about how we should act in public or treat other people. No one who’s made it through grade school should give such a person the time of day; we should all know better.

        This is a crisis that far, FAR exceeds anything I’ve seen in this country’s politics in my life. Nor does it have its equal in my studies of our nation’s history. (The closest parallel would probably be Andrew Jackson in 1828, or William Jennings Bryan in the 1890s.)

        This isn’t about whether someone likes this or that candidate. It’s about saving our country from a very ugly disease that has suddenly come upon it…

        1. Bart

          “You say that like I just willy-nilly decided, whimsically, that I didn’t like his tie or something and decided on the basis of that to be mean to him.”

          Totally wrong conclusion about my remark. My remark was made based on your consistent theme in your numerous comments about Trump. Don’t be so sensitive and if you have read my remarks about Trump, I am no fan and consider him to be extremely dangerous just as you do except I am not as vociferous as you are.

          My comments about the plagiarism by Mrs. Trump were meant to be constructive in a manner and to stop equating her comments with anything meaningful in the overall scheme of things as they are rapidly unfolding and not in a positive manner. In my opinion, the comments by both are more in the public domain than anything considered original thought or commentary because the theme has been used since early biblical times. “Let your yes be yes and your no be no.” I.E. – Let your word be your bond.

          This has become a tiresome exercise because in the end, no matter what you or I think or say, it will not change the minds of the ones who are or will be attracted to Donald Trump’s reality show campaign and the ineptness of his team and advisors.

          You and most who contribute to your blog are well educated, have been exposed to cultures outside the state of South Carolina and influences that have added to, not contracted our world view and understanding of how a civilized society operates outside a vacuum of ignorance and tribalism. Unfortunately, Donald Trump has tapped into the vein of ignorance and tribalism that transcends rationale and critical thinking and the result is to fall prey to the emotion of anger and reason be damned. Therefore, we are facing the possibility of a man being elected to the highest and most powerful office in the free world who is not qualified, fit, or has the emotional stability to be POTUS.

          This is the result of both sides of the aisle refusing to work together and their willful alienation of anyone who does not agree with their ideology and political bent. An example is the comment by Obama addressing potential voters in Pennsylvania when he referred to people clinging to their guns and Bible. No matter if it was taken out of context, it was an ill advised comment and it only served to fuel the fire of discontent with Obama. The same can be said when Romney made reference to the 47% and how it further divided the nation and was perhaps the lynchpin of his defeat in 2012. The list of divisive comments and rhetoric has grown to gigantic proportions over the past few decades and they continue to feed on the resentment and anger on both sides.

          Mrs. Trump’s plagiarism is irrelevant and a non-issue unless one is under the tribalism influence or is subject to it. It is a distraction and should be treated as such. The fate of the world does not rest on what she said but the overreaction by the media and everyone who writes, speaks, or pontificates about her “horrible” crime does provide more unnecessary fuel to a raging fire of anger and unrest.

          When the Civil War was over and slaves were free, instead of seeking common ground and recognizing that freed black men and women should be assimilated into the general population and society, instead our state and most other states, Union and Confederate, failed miserably and today we are witnessing the crop of bitter fruit being harvested before us in ways that produce more division. What is going on now in the United States is comparable in the sense that there is a lack of foresight and civility unleashed by ignorance and self-serving politicians preying on voters with regularity. I see no end to it during my lifetime.

          Okay, I am off my soap box and ending the conversation on my end.

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            Thanks for your thoughtful remarks, Bart. But…

            “You and most who contribute to your blog are well educated…”

            Yes and no. I only have a bachelor’s degree from an unremarkable public university — Memphis State, which doesn’t even call itself that anymore.

            I can’t teach at USC — I can’t even teach journalism, if you can get your head around that — for lack of an advanced degree.

            So, I’m MODERATELY educated…

            1. Brad Warthen Post author

              I DID satisfy the requirements of a second major, in history, while getting that bachelor’s degree. I never declared it, so you fact-checkers who consult the “University of Memphis” will find a discrepancy in my account. What happened was that when I was a semester away from graduating, I saw that I had taken so many history electives that I was 6 hours away from a major. So I took two more courses.

              Anyway, knowing that makes me feel a LITTLE more educated that I otherwise would feel. Because unlike journalism (my official major), history is an actual academic discipline. Journalism is basically just a trade for literate people…

    2. Tex

      I’m confused, is the Republican old rich guys and/or trailer dwelling white trash? I have a hard time thinking that one party fits both demographics. I consider myself an upper-middle class white collar worker, should I be a Democrat? This is so confusing because I really can’t stand anything about Hillary. Think of me as the opposite of bud.

  8. Phillip

    I agree, Bart, that the plagiarism flap is really irrelevant to the larger reasons why Trump should not be President. You gotta admit, though, that at a convention where the over-the-top Obama hatred is on display, it was deliciously comic that of all First Ladies, she took from Michelle’s speech. Not Laura Bush, not Cindy McCain, not Ann Romney. Worthy of savoring, just for a couple days.

    But OK, time to move on, and we will. There will be much, much more to chew on coming from the Donald’s mouth directly in the weeks ahead. And from his inner circle, including the advisor who just said Hillary Clinton should face a firing squad. That’s certainly much more serious than this little plagiarism issue.

    1. Bart

      Phillip, according to the speechwriter, Mrs. Trump admires Michelle Obama and liked her speech. I guess that in itself is the irony of it all. Maybe in Mrs. Trump’s world, “borrowing” a couple of phrases from Michelle’s speech was a compliment and in her own way, giving her honor.

      But, it is time to drop the subject.

      Thanks for the exchange everyone.

  9. Bart

    “Outside politics, the rules are different, according to Kinnock. “Plagiarism is clearly unacceptable in academic work, and it can be questionable in journalism or writing fiction. In politics,” he said, “it’s mainly part of the hurly-burly and people shouldn’t be too pompous about it.” This is from MarketWatch, July 20, 2016. It is in reference to Joe Biden’s “criminal” (sarcasm noted) act of plagiarism when he dropped out of the presidential race years ago.


  10. Bryan Caskey

    It was plagiarism. It also isn’t a big deal, relative to all the other things Trump “brings to the table” so to speak. If I were making a list of things of things I don’t like about Trump, Melania’s speechwriter plagiarizing something wouldn’t make the top 100.

    It’s just another fact that reinforces the narrative that the Trump campaign is amateur hour.

    1. Tex

      Please, Henry McMaster spoke yesterday and does anyone care what he said or bother checking his every word? This is just the media and the Democrats making a mountain of a molehill. Does anyone care what a first lady has to say? The last one was maybe Jackie Kennedy and the only people that listened to her were women who were concerned about fashion.

  11. Harry Harris

    It’s a shame that anybody cares more about a copied speech or even the extremely inflammatory and disrespectful language and tone of the convention than the economic, environmental, health care and social securities the principals in this strange morph of the Republican party are pushing. How can we get toward a civil tone where issues matter? Don’t respond in kind, and ignore the nonsense. Most of us don’t care about your damned plagiarism.

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