Voters don't seem to notice or mind the routine ghostwriting and de facto plagiarizing; in fact (as I've noted here) they persist in giving politicians and other celebrities, in name only, authors' credit for other people's words. In this culture, why should Brown or his staffers acknowledge that the senator should have articulated his personal values himself? Why shouldn't his staff dismiss the plagiarism charge as "much ado about nothing?" Language should not have been lifted from Dole's website, which his staff acknowledges, blaming the plagiarism on an intern's "human error" -- namely the failure to reword the statement Dole or her ghostwriter drafted. But it seems not to have occurred to the senator or his staff that Brown could have, should have taken a moment to think about the values with which he, not some intern, was allegedly raised, and write or dictate a sentence or two describing them, which staff could have edited.
Voters who take note of this little plagiarism story will surely forget it soon, and many no doubt understand that a statement of values purportedly by a politician is often just part of a marketing campaign, devised by consultants or staff. But ghostwriting and plagiarism are not "nothing." Speaking for yourself, you inevitably reveal yourself, intentionally or not; pretending to speak for yourself, while hiring others to speak for you, you remain in the shadows. Who are these people we send to Washington to run the country? Who knows?
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