Rand Paul apparently really likes Wikipedia

Rand Paul gave a speech on Monday in support of Ken Cuccinelli (the Republican nominee in the Virginia governor’s race); in Paul’s speech, he apparently freely lifted entire passages from Wikipedia’s description of the plot of the movie Gattaca.

Once the story surfaced this last night (Rachel Maddow broke it on her MSNBC show), some more digging uncovered a speech that he gave in June, to a Hispanic group, in which he did the same thing, lifting lines from Wikipedia’s article on the movie Stand and Deliver. At this point, his office is unwilling to comment.

Not good, for a guy who pretty clearly wants to run for president. ISTR that Joe Biden’s presidential bid in '88 was torpedoed when it was discovered that he was lifting speech lines from a Scottish politician.

As Stephen Colbert just asked, how do we know it’s plagiarism? How do we know Paul didn’t write that Wikipedia article?

Don’t bother me he likes Wikipedia. But Gattaca? Da fuk?

I still like Herman Kaine’s plagiarism of pokemon.

I wonder who figured that out. The intersection of people who are pokemon fans and people who listen to Herman Kaine’s speeches can’t be that large.

Or isn’t re-writing it now.

Heck, how do we know he didn’t write Gattaca in the first place?

Doesn’t believe in genetics. Guess I wouldn’t either if I had Ru Paul for a Dad.

Politician uses Wikipedia for researching a speech. Hold the presses! :rolleyes:

Clearly politicians should not be allowed to cite facts that they have not discovered through their own research using primary sources.
If this were the worst thing about Rand Paul, he would be the most admirable politician in America, maybe the world!

Your post helps me understand Rand Paul supporters. Thank you.

Are you under the very mistaken impression that I am one of them?

I think he is an awful person. The fact that he uses Wikipedia to research his speeches, and does not rewrite every bit of information he finds there into his own words, is, however, about as relevant to his awfulness as is the fact that he breathes air.

If he had described Gattaca in more original prose, would that make his policies any better?

Criticizing Biden (if it was Biden) for borrowing some phrases from a British politician was stupid and quite irrelevant to whether he deserved anyone’s vote. Criticizing Paul for borrowing phrases from Wikipedia is also stupid and irrelevant to (and, worse, a distraction from) anything of any political importance.

Cutting and pasting someone else’s work is not “research.”

Are there to be no intellectual property rights in Libertopia?

Quite fortunately, it is far from the worst thing about Rand Paul. There’s the vote to shut down the government and default on the debt. There’s the non-support of the Civil Rights Act, whining that private businesses should be free to discriminate against minorities. To top if off, he’s just another empty-headed libertarian.

Well, Wikipedia does run on a Creative Commons license. So, as long as he properly attributed the parts of his speech to Wikipedia, he’s not really committing plagiarism.

No, it’s actually quite unfortunate that plagiarism is among the least of his issues.

I mainly just like the story for how lazy it makes Paul look. He goes into way more plot detail on the movie then is necessary to get his point across, and I can’t imagine his audience is super-interested in an extended synopsis of twenty year-old sci-fi films. It’s obvious its just filler to pad his speech out to whatever length it needed to be.

The fact that they couldn’t be bothered to re-phrase the wording from wikipedia just makes it funnier. I like to think that if he wasn’t caught, Paul’s 2016 nomination acceptance speech would’ve just consisted of him reading the President’s speech from “Independence Day”, and then pad out the end with the text from wikipedia’s article on a Japanese Anime character.

But I agree with njtt that as far as “outrage” goes, this is pretty weak tea.

The major irony here is that both Ron and Rand Paul have already gotten in a lot of trouble for failing to scrutinize the words staffers were attributing to them (and not checking the background of their staffers). And yet here is Rand Paul doing the same thing again. This time it’s basic plagiarism instead of hate speech, so I guess it’s an improvement.

Copying and pasting paragraphs from a Wikipedia entry is not research. Taking is taking stuff from Wikipedia and changing two words isn’t research either. That’s the kind of thing you get penalized for in elementary school.

Of course not.

He didn’t borrow phrases. Whether it was through laziness or error or dishonesty, Biden wound up saying that some things that really happened to Neil Kinnock happened to Biden himself.

Yeah, as I think about it, that’s where I’m landing (not that I was about to vote for Rand Paul, anyway). It makes him look lazy, and sloppy, and intellectually a little dishonest. I’d guess that some staff member or speechwriter will take the fall for it, but, as Bob’s Zombie notes, it seems to be a family trait, to not keep much of a close eye on what one’s staff is doing (or, to plead ignorance to it).

Considering Neil Kinnock was a sub-par speaker who managed to blow the 1992 election almost entirely through his own hubris, at least Biden could be accused of not stealing from a better source.

Information wants to be free!

If I remember the Biden story correctly, he told that anecdote many times on stump speeches and almost always attributed it to the correct politician. But evidently he screwed up once or twice without giving it proper attribution, and making it seem like the story applied to him. You can check the record though and see he gave proper attribution at least once though, and meant to keep doing it, but he claims he screwed up and was tired or inattentive and accidentally forgot to attribute it properly, and got caught.

I think the fact that Biden was on the record as having properly attributed at least once gives some credence to his assertion that not attributing it later on was a sincere accident, but who knows.

And yeah, as much as I hate Rand Paul (and it is a lot, believe me), this is a silly criticism. So he included paragraphs of wikipedia in his speeches. Is that even plagiarism if he’s not claiming that he himself wrote it?

I mean, if I get up and give a speech that is word for word identical to the “I have a dream” speech, but I never claim it as my own words, I don’t think that’s plagiarism, even if I don’t properly attribute it. Maybe I’m wrong about this though. If Rand actually claimed “let me give you a synopsis that I came up with and wrote myself” and then went on to repeat verbatim a wikipedia article, yeah, that’s plagiarism.