This story about Melania Trump’s convention speech being plagiarized – “Speechgate,” if you will – in part feels like one of those idiotic media catnip campaign stories that sucks up all the oxygen so we don’t talk about the important things.
Like so many aspects of the 2016 presidential campaign, Speechgate is stupid. But discussing this stupid episode is not a waste of time.
Speechgate is important because of two things it tells us about what sort of president Donald Trump would be, and what important mistakes he would make for the same reasons his campaign made this trivial mistake:
Trump lacks much of the knowledge and experience that we would usually expect in a president. Because of this, Trump is supposed to hire “the best people” to advise and support him. Yet his campaign couldn’t even prevent a boneheaded screw-up like this. What would the idiots he hires to staff his presidential administration screw up? The Trumps are apparently so full of it that Melania, or whoever wrote Melania’s speech, needed to steal totally anodyne language about how hard work is good and we should teach our children that. They couldn’t even put those sentiments in their own words! Then, once people noticed the theft, the campaign’s strategy has been to make the obviously false claim that there was no plagiarism, that these are just “common phrases.” This tells us that, as president, Trump won’t just lie – he’ll lie unconvincingly, to anyone, about anything, for any reason or no reason. How will that work out in negotiations with Congress and foreign governments?
If you’re too inept to run a presidential campaign, you’re too inept to run a country. That’s why Speechgate matters.