Monday, May 04, 2009

Republican Operative Says Cady No Plagiarist

A local blog picked up on my post about the similarities between letters sent to supporters by two local Republican candidates. The letters were sent six years apart.

The president of the Ozark Region Young Republicans who currently runs a communications and media consulting business made these comments:

If that constitutes plagiarism, then the vast majority of all fundraising letters, political or not, are plagiarized.

Scientific studies are done to try to find the perfect wording for fundraising letters. Good consultants know exactly what to do to get people to donate more money and if you’re trying to raise money you’d be silly not to follow those formulas. For example, the reason these letters are 3-4 pages is not because the candidates had a lot to get off their chests. It’s because it’s a proven fact that a 3-5 page letter will raise more money than a one page letter. If it were the other way around, you can be sure each candidate would have sent out a one page letter “to respect your busy schedule”.

This is really only plagiarism if Mr. Cady tried or tries to pretend these are his original thoughts. These letters weren’t designed to be original or put forth new ideas, but rather to trumpet ideas that will resonate with the audience. So if you think any candidate is trying to be original when sending out a fundraising letter, you don’t understand fundraising letters. People only want to give money to people who think the same way they do, and if you’re thinking the same way as all the people who are donating to you, those thoughts must not be very original.

The rest of the world works the same way. The AP runs a successful business off a model that is much more close to plagiarism than this case, in my opinion. Businessmen sign off on letters written by other people every day. If this were a paper for a History 121 class, sure, Mr. Cady would have some issues. But for a letter asking people to donate to a campaign, we’d be silly to expect any different. The sitting members of council all had to raise money for their campaigns for those seats, so I doubt this raises many or their eyebrows.

I may be silly but I kind of like the idea of elected and appointed officials who have original thoughts. I also expect those seeking elective or appointed office to be held to a higher standard than those writing a paper for a History 121 class.


Matthew Block said...

By they way, Jim, I gave the exact same arguments in support of Barack Obama when he was accused of lifting lines from a colleague's speech for his "Just Words" statements. Because I have a lot of faith in democracy, I'd rather have a leader that is good at compiling others' ideas than rather than at trumpeting his own. Our citizens have plenty of good ideas; the best politicians and leaders are good at aggregating those ideas. That's the reason I don't expect all their ideas to be original.

I noticed that there was no citation as to where my comments originally ran. Since you're so passionate about plagiarism, I'm sure this was an accident.
The comment was orignally left at
I apologize for my lack of any MLA or APA style.

bus rider said...

"I noticed that there was no citation as to where my comments originally ran. Since you're so passionate about plagiarism, I'm sure this was an accident."

He wasn't claiming your comments as his own.