Now that Rachel Maddow has caught Rand Paul in what appears to be semi-plagiarization of a Wikipedia page about an old sci-fi movie in making his dramatic prophecy of pro-choice tyrants introducing eugenics, it’s time for pols and speechwriters everywhere to internalize once and for all that the days of easy cribbing from obscure sources is over.

There’s this thing called “Google,” you see, and it’s incredibly easy to plug a speech or speech chunk into it and see what pops up. I’m not in the campaign end of the politics biz, but I’d have to assume this has become a standard oppo research function. You’d even figure it’s become a proactive measure in the speech vetting side of campaigns, to make sure a candidate is not inadvertently robbing the rhetorical grave. But any way you slice it, a pol of Rand Paul’s prominence and controversial nature isn’t going to be able to get away with it in the future.

Our ideas can save democracy... But we need your help! Donate Now!

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.