NEWT GINGRICH, PLAGIARIZED PLAGIARIZER
(updated with a lot of Palin nonsense)
"Obama Stole His SOTU Slogan from Newt Gingrich," reads a headline at Fox Nation. FN is quoting a post that's far less inflammatory from The Washington Post's political-book blogger, Stephen Lowman, who notes that a recurring phrase in the State of the Union address, "winning the future," was the title of a 2005 book by Newt Gingrich.
"To Win the Future" was the title of the 1992 inaugural address of Philippine president Fidel Ramos. "Australia's Task: To Win the Future" was the title of a speech by opposition leader Bob Hawke at the Sydney Opera House in February 1983. In 1991, Colin Powell wrote a letter to some Bronx schoolkids that urged them, "work hard and prepare yourselves to win the future." "Winning the Future" was the title of Michigan governor James Blanchard's 1987 State of the State message. And here's a 1941 article about the Atlantic Charter titled "Words Won't Win the Future."
Do I really need to go on with this? No, President Obama didn't coin this phrase. But neither did Newt.
UPDATE, THURSDAY: In the immediate of the State of the Union, Sarah Palin didn't say much, in any medium, and a lot of people were wondering whether her recent poorly received forays into the public arena had made her reconsider her standard approach to attention-getting. Not to worry -- she's back, and her long day or so of silence can apparently be attributed to the fact that it apparently took her and her writers an entire day to come up with this:
Former Alaska GOP Gov. Sarah Palin said Wednesday night that President Barack Obama's call for “winning the future” during his State of the Union address is best framed by the acronym it shares with a much different phrase -- "wtf."
"That was a tough speech to sit through and try to stomach," Palin said during an interview with Fox News's Greta Van Susteren.
"His theme last night was wtf, winning the future," she continued. "I thought, okay, that acronym -- spot on. There were a lot of wtf moments throughout that speech."
Palin, seemingly pleased with her joke, repeated the line later in the interview while poking Obama for referencing Sputnik in another section of his address.
"That was another wtf moment," she said....
Sarah, how dare you insult Fidel Ramos and Governor James Blanchard that way!
This is sure to be followed by the usual tut-tutting about Palin's lack of "gravitas" and how it ought to compel her not to seek the presidency. But, as I said yesterday, the search for gotchas that will rally voters is the entire purpose of the GOP these days -- it's all campaigning and demonizing of the opposition, never governing. Isn't Palin just doing that in the most, um, elemental way? Saying "WTF! WTF! Ha-ha-ha! Your stupid slogan is WTF!" isn't as subtle as Paul Ryan prattling on earnestly for eleven minutes about "limited government" without ever offering a detailed policy proposal, but it's the same thing at a different tone level -- soundbite-slinging as an end in itself, not as a means to try to advance and ultimately enact actual policy ideas. Palin is just more obvious about the fact that her sole interest is campaigning and winning, not governing.
And as for Palin's assertion, at another point in the Van Susteren interview, that what America needs is not a "Sputnik moment" but a "Spudnut moment" ... well, I'm speechless. It's a word I'd never encountered until now, but I gather Palin's talking about entrepreneurialism, because Spudnut is the name of a chain of doughnut shops.
A chain about which Wikipedia tells us:
By 1948, over 200 Spudnut Shops had sprung up across the country. Spudnuts were advertised widely, with the slogan "Coast to coast...Alaska to Mexico". The cartoon character "Mr. Spudnut" frequently appeared in ads, restaurants, and even in parades.
By the 1980s, however, the parent company closed, leaving all the franchisees to fend for themselves. The Spudnuts brand lost significant popularity, but it did not disappear completely; some 35 Spudnut Shops in 9 states exist today.
WHY DOES SARAH PALIN METAPHORICALLY SEEK THE DECLINE OF AMERICA?!!!
OH, AND: One more thing about Palin.
Sarah Palin thinks President Barack Obama needs a history lesson on the space race between the U.S. and the former Soviet Union.
"He needs to remember that, uh, what happened back then with the communist U.S.S.R. and their victory in that race to space," the Fox News contributor said Wednesday night, reacting to Obama's reference to Sputnik in his State of the Union speech....
"Yeah, they won but they also incurred so much debt at the time that it resulted in the inevitable collapse of the Soviet Union," Palin said.
Not quite. Yes, the Soviet Union won many of the early contests in the space race (including putting the first man in orbit, which may have been what Palin meant by "race to space"). But it was the U.S. that walked away with the biggest trophy in the space race when it put a man on the moon.
While the Soviet Union did eventually collapse, that wasn't until 1991 -- a full 22 years after the U.S. put a man on the moon, and the collapse came amid stagnant economic growth after years of unsustainable Soviet defense spending of which its space program was a relatively small part....
What's interesting to me about this is that Palin has now imbibed so much anti-government-spending Kool-Aid that she's arguing against government space programs -- which means that, by implication, she's saying the American government shouldn't have developed a space program. This is where right-wing rhetoric leads now? I'm hardly a big advocate of space exploration, but I thought all this time that was because I was a frou-frou, non-macho Eastern liberal elitist who hated America and its manly exploratory triumphs. Now it turns out I was a teabagger all along?
I'd love to watch Palin time-travel back to 1961 and try to argue that we shouldn't go to the moon because the Framers believed in limited government. That would be profoundly entertaining.