What you’ve got to do when you’re in trouble is stick together, keep each other warm, and always keep ridin’ the storm out! -REO Speedwagon
That should be the motto for the John Walsh for senate campaign from here on out. Three major Montana newspapers (Great Falls Tribune, Billings Gazette, and the Missoulian) are calling on him to stop campaigning because he plagiarized a paper at the Army War College seven years ago. Here are my thoughts about the latest information.
Those who report the news and those in academics take plagiarism very seriously. Some bloggers, like me, take it seriously and would never ever knowingly not source a quote or information from some other person or organization.
I just wish those who report the news and those in academics were this hard on judges and county prosecutors who are soft on drunk drivers – especially when the offenders have multiple DUIs and or killed someone. I’d like to see an editorial board call for a judge and county prosecutor to step down or not run for re-election because they were soft on drunk drivers. In Montana it would be almost a weekly occurrence.
Yes, plagiarism from seven years ago is serious, but is it as serious as a U.S. Senator recommending his girlfriend who used to be his state director for U.S. Attorney? I don’t remember any calls for Max Baucus to step aside. Maybe I missed it.
As for the Walsh campaign, on Monday they issued a 133 word response to the Great Falls Tribune’s editorial. Here it is:
“John takes full responsibility for the 2007 Army War College research paper. He’s answered questions from Montanans and from the editorial boards of Montana newspapers. Scrutiny and accountability are important to John Walsh, as they have been from the start of this campaign when he released the nearly 400 pages of his 33-year military career.”
The response should have stopped there, but it continued:
“John will continue to be transparent about his record. We hope Montanans will demand more information about Congressman Steve Daines and his record in Congress. His record includes efforts to privatize Medicare, selling off Montana’s public lands and denying women the freedom of choice — all while protecting tax breaks for fellow millionaires. We hope the Great Falls Tribune will do its part to cover this and all races fairly and accurately, providing the scrutiny and accountability Montanans deserve.”
Maybe I missed it, but in my opinion Walsh should have said something like this from the very beginning:
“I take full responsibility for the plagiarism in my 2007 Army War College research paper. I apologize to my family, the U.S. Army, the Montana National Guard, the state of Montana, and my constituents for this mistake. It was my fault and my fault alone. I am sorry.”
That statement should have been front and center on his campaign and senate websites for a few days.
Although it’s tempting to say Steve Daines is not being scrutinized as much as Walsh has been during this campaign, the response to the Tribune was neither the time nor the place to bring it up. It was a time to be contrite.
Walsh has not been able to get this story off the front page. Now there are web ads popping up about it that will continue to give the story traction.
The storm continues…
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