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Montana Sen. John Walsh (D) has a problem

Montana Sen. John Walsh (D) has a problem

Skeleton comes out of the closet.

Democrats had high hopes of holding the Senate seat in Montana after Max Baucus resigned to become U.S. Ambassador to China.

Emphasis on past tense, “had”.

The NY Times reports, Montana Democrat’s Thesis Presented Others’ Work as His Own:

Democrats were thrilled when John Walsh of Montana was appointed to the United States Senate in February. A decorated veteran of the Iraq war and former adjutant general of his state’s National Guard, Mr. Walsh offered the Democratic Party something it frequently lacks: a seasoned military man.

On the campaign trail this year, Mr. Walsh, 53, has made his military service a main selling point. Still wearing his hair close-cropped, he notes he was targeted for killing by Iraqi militants and says his time in uniform informs his views on a range of issues.

But one of the highest-profile credentials of Mr. Walsh’s 33-year military career appears to have been improperly attained. An examination of the final paper required for Mr. Walsh’s master’s degree from the United States Army War College indicates the senator appropriated at least a quarter of his thesis on American Middle East policy from other authors’ works, with no attribution.

The Times includes some nifty graphics:

Senator John Walsh NY Times Graphic Plagiarism

Senator John Walsh NY Times Graphic Plagiarism 2

Walsh’s response?

It wasn’t intentional.

As of July 18, The Cook Political Report rated the Senate race as “Leans Republican.” I’m expecting an upgrade to “Likely Republican” in 3, 2, 1 ….

Update: This made me laugh:

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Comments

This is a plus for democrats, just ask Biden.

filiusdextris | July 23, 2014 at 4:45 pm

I’ve taught classes for several years – expect more of this, not less. The only saving grace about the ease of copy/paste is Google searching suspicious passages.

    One of my professors in Law School told us explicitly at the beginning of the semester that there would be 3 major papers over the course of a seminar research class (25+ pages each plus footnotes/endnotes), and that he had written a custom piece of software that, once the paper was scanned, would automatically search the internet for each sentence in the paper. Further, that software was sufficiently fault tolerant that it could find phrasing that was up to approximately 10% variant. He said “don’t plagiarize. I WILL know.”

    Anyone caught plagiarizing in the class would be failed. No if’s, and’s or but’s.

    It was not an idle threat. There was a student in the semester immediately following mine who was both failed from the class for plagiarism by that professor and disciplined by the College for unethical behavior.

I would expect that, since this is a service-related college, this dummy violated his oath and honor code.

Damn sure is not an officer and gentleman.

I’m pretty sure the Army War college frowns upon plagiarism.

I’m amazed that a 14-page paper qualified as a master’s thesis.

Well, on the plus side, I’m sure he knows there are 50 states, and not 57.

A true Democrat. A fraud and a liar. His star is rising in Democrat circles.

Given his age and position when he did this, I’d lay money that he assigned his research work to underlings to do and it didn’t occur to him that they would just swipe and copy stuff.

They managed to take a swipe at Rand Paul on the way. But there’s no comparison. There is nothing wrong with copying someone else’s work in an opinion piece, any more than there is in a sermon. When someone submits an opinion piece for publication he makes no claim that it’s original work. He presents it for its content, and its persuasive language, not to claim credit for what a wonderful and original writer he is. The same is true when a preacher gives a sermon; not only is it OK to copy large portions, it’s even OK to deliver someone else’s sermon verbatim, and there are books of sermons published for this purpose! There is no implied claim of originality. An academic paper is very different. The point of the paper is not to persuade anyone of its message, but to demonstrate the author’s talents as a researcher and a writer. For this reason there is an explicit expectation that the work is original. Walsh knew this and violated that expectation, as Biden and MLK did.

By the way, the real Biden plagiarism story was in college, not the Kinnock thing. Once again, there is nothing wrong with a politician’s stump speech lifting lines from some other speaker. Nothing wrong at all. If Biden’s own family history had paralleled Kinnock’s, he’d have been well within his rights to borrow Kinnock’s language to describe it. The problem was not that he borrowed Kinnock’s words, but that he borrowed his history. He didn’t plagiarise, he lied. He told a story about his family that just wasn’t true. That was what sank his presidential campaign.

    JackRussellTerrierist in reply to Milhouse. | July 24, 2014 at 2:27 am

    Elizabeth Warren stole her family history as well. Now some ‘rats want her to run for the oval office. She was elected to a U.S. senate seat over a good and decent man.

    We usually just shake our heads about this because, after all, we’re talking about Massachusetts that has more morons per square mile than even New York has.

    But this won’t sit well in Montana.

I think Walsh’s problem here is twofold. One, the amount of plagiarism suggests academic dishonesty rather than academic sloppiness. Two, even if you consider this sloppiness, there is insufficient original content for a grad school term paper, let alone a master’s thesis.

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