Recent claims of plagiarism against Joe Biden reveal the hollowness of the former vice president’s candidacy as much as they show his indifference to accuracy and professional standards.
The former vice president is facing accusations of plagiarism after it was noticed that numerous sections of his policy proposal had been lifted wholesale from materials produced by environmental groups, liberal media outlets, and other sources. Apparently, Biden couldn’t be bothered to have his staff paraphrase the work of climate activists when they copied-and-pasted it into his new climate plan.
Considering that plagiarism charges forced Biden to withdraw from the 1988 presidential race after reporters uncovered that he had copied whole sections of his speeches from British politician Neil Kinnock, he really should have known better. This was around the same time Biden acknowledged that he had plagiarized an article he wrote during law school in 1968, and tried to defuse the scandal by claiming that his offense was not “malevolent.” Like he’s doing now in response to criticism of the plagiarism in his climate plan, Biden contended that he had merely been a little sloppy with his citations because he didn’t understand the importance of citing his sources carefully.
After all the pain his plagiarism has caused him over the years, how could Biden still be making the same supposed mistake a full half-century later?
Biden’s campaign is trying to write the incident off as a minor oversight, claiming it was just a matter of some citations that “were inadvertently left out of the final version.” They want to turn this into an academic debate over the definition of plagiarism, because if people stop to reflect on its real significance, they’ll realize that the problem has less to do with the plagiarism itself than what it reveals about Biden’s utter lack of vision, thoughtfulness, or leadership.
When Biden ripped off Kinnock’s speech, he did it blatantly and deliberately, probably on the assumption that Americans wouldn’t be familiar with a British politician’s stump speech. This didn’t just show contempt for the intelligence of the American people; it revealed a lack of vision in his 1988 presidential race.
Now, 30 years later, Biden’s latest act of plagiarism confirms he is still utterly devoid of original, new, or forward-thinking ideas.
On one of the most important issues to Democrat primary voters, Biden not only had to pilfer policy ideas from other people, but he apparently didn’t even understand those ideas well enough to restate them in his own words.
It’s no wonder that President Obama’s Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, wrote in his 2014 memoir that Joe Biden had been “wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades.”
Biden’s response in a New Yorker profile? “Bob Gates has been wrong about everything.” He even plagiarized Robert Gates’ insult.
Of course, being unoriginal has its advantages for a politician. It’s easy to flip-flop on major issues when it's politically convenient if your ideas aren’t your own. You have no real attachment to them. That’s why the Biden campaign’s other recent piece of bad news so perfectly dovetails the charges of plagiarism.
After stumbling for days trying to explain his longstanding support for the Hyde Amendment, a bipartisan provision that prevents taxpayer money from being used to fund abortions, the former vice president flip-flopped and announced he now opposes it.
Expect more of his positions to change as Biden attempts to navigate the Democratic Party’s revived enthusiasm for socialism and cultural radicalism.
The problem Joe Biden will face as he meekly echoes the hard-left positions of his fellow candidates is that each new flip-flop will further expose that he doesn’t really stand for anything but getting elected.
Newt Gingrich, a Republican, served as House speaker from 1995 to 1999 and ran as a presidential candidate in 2012.