Vice presidential candidate Joe Biden's speech at the Democratic National Convention was great. As I write, he hasn't given it yet, but these are my favorite parts:
"General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization: Come here to this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!"
"Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth, upon this continent, a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal."
"These Republican leaders have not been content with attacks on me, or my wife, or on my sons. No, not content with that, they now include my little dog, Fala. Well, of course, I don't resent attacks, and my family doesn't resent attacks, but Fala does resent them. You know, Fala is Scotch, and ... his Scotch soul was furious. He has not been the same dog since."
Everyone acts as though Biden's outrageous plagiarism of British Labor Leader Neil Kinnock's speech during the 1988 presidential campaign was just a mistake, a slip of the tongue. Biden, his defenders say, had credited Kinnock in other speeches, but simply forgot to add the attribution one time.
First, Biden had failed to mention Kinnock more than once. Second, it was not just a matter of adding an attribution. On the occasions when Biden failed to credit Kinnock, he also had to alter Kinnock's speech to act as if he were describing the Biden family.
Kinnock said: "Why am I the first Kinnock in a thousand generations to be able to get to university? Why is (my wife) Glenys the first woman in her family in a thousand generations to be able to get to university? Was it because all our predecessors were thick?"
Biden said: "I started thinking as I was coming over here, why is it that Joe Biden is the first in his family ever to go to a university? Why is it that my wife who is sitting out there in the audience is the first in her family to ever go to college? Is it because our fathers and mothers were not bright?"
Kinnock's speech continued: "Those people who could sing and play and recite and write poetry? Those people who could make wonderful, beautiful things with their hands? Those people who could dream dreams, see visions? Why didn't they get it? Was it because they were weak? Those people who could work eight hours underground and then come up and play football? Weak?"