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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Tip of the iceberg

Scott Brown may be right that the flap over plagiarized text on his web site is "silly." But we now have a second instance where the senator is pleading ignorance over questionable staff actions -- and that has the makings of a trend.

Brown is blaming a summer intern for lifting whole passages from a speech by former North Carolina Sen. Elizabeth Dole. "We corrected it once we found out," he told reporters, adding “There are people in campaign mode, I’m in problem-solving mode."

Like voting against a jobs bill without offering an alternative? But I digress.

This is the second time in as many months Brown has professed ignorance about the actions of staff "in campaign mode." You may recall he allegedly took Eric Fehrnstrom to the woodshed for being the twit behind the now defunct CrazyKhazei Twitter account.

Plagiarism is a serious issue and comes in all forms. The intern explanation seems plausible and it is far different from the flap that got Joe Biden into heaps of trouble a quarter of a century ago.

What's of greater concern is Brown's attitude. The senator himself was recently a bit fast and loose comparing his "College of Hard Knocks" background in an effort to smear Elizabeth Warren as a Harvard elitist. But private Tufts University and Boston College Law are hardly "hard knocks" compared to the public University of Houston and Rutgers Law School.

Recall too that Brown jumped into that fray with a locker room retort about Warren's appearance and a hefty dose of self-pity that he was the underdog in a race where he still has a far greater cash advantage than Warren.

Brown seems to be looking to trade-in his barn coat for a crying towel. But he should remember a simple rule we all learned in childhood.

People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.

And while we're at it, he should also recall those of the GOP's patron saint, Ronald Reagan.

Trust but verify.

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