Following the lead of those dedicated scandal-mongers in the hard-working Wisconsin Capitol press corps, I've scoured Mary Burke's policy document and discovered even more stolen phrases from other candidates. It just gets worse and worse. Here's what I've found.
Mary Burke uses the phrase "as your next Governor" no less than 78 times in her documents. Governor Terry McCauliffe of Virginia uses exactly that same phrase 84 times in his documents and Ward Cammack who ran for governor of Tennessee used it 32 times!
Burke thought she'd get away with copying the phrase "the hard-working people of" by simply adding "Wisconsin" to the end of the sentence. Nice try, Mary. Everybody knows that candidate John Gregg of Indiana coined the phrase "hard working people of Indiana" when he ran for governor there in 2012. Before that nobody had thought to put those words together. Unfortunately, it didn't bring Gregg a victory. Better luck next time, John!
I also found literally hundreds of plagiarized uses of the terms "manufacturing," "farmers," "jobs," and "wages" in Burke's economic development plan! Does this woman know how to think on her own at all? And don’t get me started on the word "the." Burke copied that literally thousands of times!
But seriously folks, this is stupid. This "plagiarism" baloney is a story only because the media keeps covering it, which should stop. There's just no issue here. What happened is that a campaign consultant who writes these things simply used his own language again for a different candidate. In some cases, it's hard to even know how you would write the same thing differently or why you would bother. And it's not news that Democratic candidates for governor share the same ideas.
It would be different if it were a case of real academic cheating (I guess Republicans would call that "legitimate plagiarism") or if there were some idea here that was proven to be folly.
But nobody has bothered to actually look at the ideas in the paragraphs in question. Here's a cribbed list -- WARNING, some of these phrases are copied exactly from the original text -- of the offending points:
- Expand use of the UW Extension to help farmers with new technology such as using GIS to plow their fields more efficiently.
- Matching retiring farmers with new ones.
- Helping farmers become better business managers.
- More funding for start up businesses.
- Making permitting decisions faster and more predictable without compromising on environmental protections.
- Recruiting manufacturers back from foreign soil.
- Creating a smoother path from high school and technical school training to jobs.
- Make transferring credits from technical schools to the UW system even easier.
- Create manufacturing hubs that cluster research, development and production all near one another.
- Support for the Wisconsin Youth Apprenticeship program.
Bloggers and paid spin-meisters can do whatever they want, but professional journalists and editors have an obligation to make decisions about what is newsworthy and what isn't. This isn't.