Republican Senator Scott Brown of Massachusetts has been taking a lot of flak these past few days after a Democratic organization, American Bridge, found evidence that the Brown campaign plagiarized Brown’s personal values statement on his website off of a speech excerpt from former North Carolina Senator Elizabeth Dole‘s website. Always the one to display attributes of leadership and responsibility, Senator Brown dismissed it as a “non-issue” and blamed his staff, telling the Boston Globe that, “It was a summer intern that put together the site, we corrected it once we found out.” Dole’s former Chief of Staff, when asked to respond to the criticism leveled against Brown, said,
“It’s pretty low on the totem pole of things to go after Senator Brown on. It’s desperation on some politico’s part. Hopefully they’ll talk about the issues that are more important.”
I’m going to go out on a limb to say that a candidates Personal Values Statement is pretty high on the totem pole of a candidates image and what matters most to voters. Sure, things such as personal value statements are usually just a list of obligatory and generic freedom-loving and hard-working expressions that don’t mean anything. But a flub like copying another candidates speech word-for-word shows a serious lack of discipline. I know Brown might not think that he has to be as rigorous in citing original thoughts and ideas as his Professor-opponent Elizabeth Warren, but it’s little inconsistencies like this that will eventually build up and weigh on Massachusetts’ voters minds when they go to the polls next year.
Update October 15th, 2011: The Boston Globe notes that Marcie Kinzel, Brown’s spokeswoman, alleged that the plagiarized material which was supposedly an “oversight” was originally posted in February 2010. This makes it highly unlikely that a summer intern would be the one putting together the campaign website (assuming that the Brown Campaign isn’t operating in the southern hemisphere).