If Harper had knowingly plagiarized, in Parliament, a highly-publicized speech by a sitting Australian Prime Minister, delivered just 36 hours before, it wouldn’t call into question his judgment — it would call into question his sanity. It was crazy enough when Joe Biden did it, a hundred million years ago (I’m estimating). But this was in 2003, well into the age of the internet. Is it really to be imagined, knowing everything we know about Harper, that he would be so foolish as to think he would not get caught?I don't seem to recall anyone saying Harper KNOWINGLY lifted the lines, so Coyne creates a defence that was never necessary.
Since when does Harper need to steal anyone’s words, or thoughts? He’s famously opinionated, and notably articulate. I’ve read his stuff over the years - newspaper articles, magazine pieces, speeches. He has an unmistakeable voice, a clear writing style, analytical sharpness. If he hadn’t been a politician, he’d have been a fine pundit. So if he wrote the speech in question, it would be an odd departure, to say the least, for him to suddently start borrowing whole paragraphs from another person, even ignoring point 1.That's great Andrew, Harper's articulate and well spoken. So what?
But of course, he didn’t write the speech in question, if we believe the confession of poor Owen Lippert. Certainly, it is more persuasive to me to think that as the newly elected opposition leader, with a million other things on his plate, Harper would have started using a speechwriter, rather than write them himself.Harper busy boy, so natural to think he had some help. Got it, again, so what?
Now ignoring the tertiary defences, the only real point. This wasn't just any speech, this was the speech that all the Harperites lauded, his guru Flanagan called "eloquent", so impressive it was copied and sent out to the masses, picked up by publications. In other words, this speech is Harper's supposed SHINING MOMENT, his foreign policy coming out party, the historical MARKER. Maybe Harper is an eloquent man as Coyne states, but isn't it kind of sad that your signature speech was VERBATUM Howard, whether aware or not, surely the least you can say is EMBARRASSING, or lessening in stature. What would Coyne say if the Beatles signature tune Hey Jude was really written by Mick Jagger? McCartney can still sing, remember all those other songs, it was Ringo that actually fed me the lines?
Having a speech writer is one thing, but to say Harper had a million things on his plate, so please understand, is weak. This wasn't some side issue, this was about Canada participating in the Iraq war, if Harper had a full plate, this was the 32 ounce steak, NOTHING was more important, this speech demanded full attention. And yet, we find out Harper's defining moment was nothing more than a copy and paste job, NO INPUT from him at all, just feed the words, here you go, try to look stately. It's one thing to have a collaborative effort, quite another to have a lip sync.
So, nobody thinks Harper is lying here, nobody thinks he's crazy, everybody understands speech writers, everyone gets it. What Coyne doesn't get, Harper's "moment", as described by his supports, was really a shallow, robotic message, crafted by others, taken from someone who could find his own words, on the defining "moment" of that time. At the very least, Harper appears a little smaller, another sign of manufactured messaging, which we see EVERYDAY with this outfit.