Badly done political plagiarism

Rand Paul gave a terrible political speech for his buddy Ken Cuccinelli, in which he used a dystopian science fiction movie, GATTACA, as an illustration of what liberals aspire to. I would tell him that the operative word there is “fiction” — it’s not real. “Dystopian” is kind of important, too, because it was portraying a nightmarish authoritarian future that we liberal types would oppose. It was not the Democratic Party Platform, quite the opposite.

But the truly hilarious part is that he cribbed the speech from the Wikipedia entry on the movie. He just outright stole whole lines from it.

I’m sorry, Rand, but I’m tearing up your whole speech and giving you an “F” in the course. You know, I tell my students outright that you can’t trust Wikipedia as a source — go ahead, use it to get a quick overview, but everything you say about a subject has to be backed up by a better source, preferably a peer-reviewed primary paper — so Paul was plagiarizing a poor resource. Come on, guy, at least steal from quality!

Now I’m wondering if he’s even seen the movie.


  1. says

    I’ve never met a liberal who aspired to create or live in a world where all reproduction was done by genetic engineering and technocratic mass-production in place of sexual reproduction. (Also, last I checked, liberals tended to OPPOSE discrimination against persons with disabilities.) Wikipedia or no, the mere fact that Randy Paul referred to that movie AT ALL shows how totally disconnected from reality his anti-liberal bigotry really is.

  2. robinjohnson says

    You might as well say that, going by the Wikipedia entry on “Atlas Shrugged”, Libertarians all aspire to a world in which a few rich assholes reject business regulations and screw up the economy for everyone else.

    Wait a minute…

  3. magistramarla says

    He probably came out of a school like the one in which I used to teach.
    There was a huge scary threat made about plagiarism at the beginning of the year, but we teachers could never enforce it. If I attempted to give a child an F because he simply did a cut and paste job on a paper, the parent would complain and I would be called into the AP’s office. She would criticize me for having too many failures in my class and “encourage” me to give the “child” credit for trying.

  4. says

    The irony being that every reasonably well done Wikipedia article has plenty of references to reliable, third party sources: there is absolutely no excuse for using the article itself as a source.

    As for Rand Paul’s speech, well, actual academic ability is strongly frowned upon in the circles he travels. That is why he, his associates and his target audiences tend to be so willfully ignorant.

  5. says

    I just heard the Maddow segment — Randy’s speech didn’t even make sense. As Maddow said, “Poor Ken Cuccinelli” — I guess this is the best endorsement he can get after so many REPUBLICAN mayors in his own state have come out for his opponent.

  6. trucreep says

    That was a good movie though. The part where Vincent (as Jerome) and Irene are hiding under the street, Anton is screaming Vincent’s name, fuuuuck, one of the strongest scenes from ANY movie.

  7. says

    Speaking of Wikipedia references, I went to check on the Gattaca article: 27 references from sources including IMDB, movie review sites, newspaper articles on the movie, a paper on neuroethics from UPenn, and James Hughes’ book Citizen Cyborg.

    But most amusingly is that an editor has already added two references to Paul’s plagiarism, pointing to the Courier-Journal of Louisville, Kentucky, and the Rachel Maddow Show.

  8. says

    I’ve never understood what’s so dystopian about Gattaca.

    People already do in-vitro genetic screening to prevent the births of children with terrible deformities and handicaps. This is a GOOD thing. Why not ensure that your children get the best genes you can give them? Don’t we want the next generation to be better? Don’t we want our children to be smarter, stronger, healthier, happier, and live longer lives than we do?

    And the NASA program in Gattaca was entirely correct to screen out astronauts with faulty hearts that were liable to fail under the pressure of launch and thus risk the lives of everyone on board.

    Yes, it kinda sucks to be the guy born without those benefits in the future, just like it sucks to be the guy born with Down’s Syndrome in the present. But having more healthy people and less sick people doesn’t strike me as dystopic in any way.

  9. raven says

    wikipedia ADA:

    Opposition from religious groups[edit]

    The debate over the Americans with Disabilities Act led some religious groups to take opposite positions.[19] Some religious groups, such as the Association of Christian Schools International, opposed the ADA in its original form.[20] ACSI opposed the Act primarily because the ADA labeled religious institutions public accommodations, and thus would have required churches to make costly structural changes to ensure access for all.[21] The cost argument advanced by ACSI and others prevailed in keeping religious institutions from being labeled as public accommodations, and thus churches were permitted to remain inaccessible if they choose.

    In addition to opposing the ADA on grounds of cost, church groups like the National Association of Evangelicals testified against the ADA’s Title I (employment) provisions on grounds of religious liberty. The NAE felt that the regulation of the internal employment of churches was “… an improper intrusion [of] the federal government.”[19]

    The main anti-discrimination act for the handicapped is the ADA. Authored by a Democrat Harkins D IA. And to be sure signed by Bush the 1st.

    It was opposed by the fundie death cult xians. Rand Paul’s base and his own cult.

  10. trucreep says

    @8 The dystopia is most obvious with the main character. Here is a guy who is more than qualified to be in this program, as he proves, yet is unable to get anything more than janitorial work because he was born “the old way,” and therefore does not have the genetic advantage of others, like his brother.

  11. says

    @10 “Here is a guy who is more than qualified to be in this program, as he proves, yet is unable to get anything more than janitorial work because he was born “the old way,” ”

    Well yeah, but that’s just good ol’ fashioned prejudice. And we all agree that prejudice is bad. We don’t call movies set in the 50’s “dystopias” despite the society-wide racism/sexism. How does one jump from “prejudice is bad” to “genetic screen leads to dystopia”? Seems like an unfounded leap.

  12. brett says

    @10 trucreep

    That’s mostly true, although his heart problem is troubling (but he’s beaten the odds to that point, so maybe not).

    I really liked that movie when I saw it again. I especially love the part where young Vincent is playing there, while the geneticist tells his parents that the next kid “will be the best of you – you could conceive a thousand times and never receive a child this remarkable”. Meanwhile, sitting next to them . . .

    The dystopian aspect is that people have come to expect that their level of success is predetermined by how they were screened/shaped before birth, and that has killed a lot of the desire to push their personal boundaries. You see it with almost all of the characters aside from Vincent:

    1. Charlize Theron’s character, who has more or less resigned herself to the idea that she’ll never fly in space because of a problem with her genetic screening;

    2. The doctor, who mentions that his son “didn’t turn out as promised”, but who mentions that “looking at Vincent, he believes he could do anything”;

    3. The real Jerome, who is messed up and resigned mostly to alcoholism and shut-in status after all of his genetic modifications/screening (the best that are available) left him still as second-place, and after his back injury.

  13. Becca Stareyes says

    @8 There’s a difference between ‘due to your health, we’d rather not send you to a remote place without proper medical care’ and ‘due to your future risk of poor health, we don’t think it’s worth training you to do anything beyond menial labor since you’ll just die young, or hiring you when we’ll have to pay your medical costs’. I got the impression GATTACA was presenting the latter as ‘how society worked’.

    I also suppose giving folks with disabilities the option and support to find their limits. A person with Downs Syndrome will probably not be able to manage a job as an astronaut, but I don’t know what sie can manage as a job unless we give her access to education and support.

  14. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Dystopian? How about having to leave skin cells around to make sure that the ambient DNA matches the expected DNA? How about regular genetic identity screenings to reestablish what has already been established? it’s dystopian as hell.

  15. trucreep says

    @12 Tru tru.

    I think you mean Uma Thurman, not Charlize Theron 8]

    But yeah, definitely a movie you want to go back and watch again. So many great moments, one of which I described above ;] Another one is when the brothers race again as adults…

    “How are you doing this Vincent?! How have you done any of this???”

    “Because I never saved the strength to go back.”

    :’] Fuuuuuuck that’s good stuff

  16. says


    You appear to have missed the point of most of the movie.

    The dystopia is not “When we did an MRI we found a weak spot in your right ventricle, so we’re not willing to risk your pulling high gees one-and-a-half-billion kilometers from the nearest surgeon”.

    The dystopia is “You weren’t gene-scanned? You can’t possibly be qualified to work here.” ; “Your genes are better than mine, so there’s no way you could possibly love me.” ; “No valid would commit murder, so it must have been an in-valid”; and so on.

    And one thing the movie did get relatively correct: people who are gene-scanned aren’t inherently smarter, stronger, or happier than those that aren’t. In reality, while we can and do do screening for genetic diseases, the improvements to health and life expectancy are things like “your sister had cystic fibrosis, but your child will not” and are not “your kid will live to be 140”.

  17. carlie says

    The Big Bad in GATTACA was a government who told people when and how they could have children. Hm, which party is it that wants to control reproduction again?

  18. MarkM1427 says

    @eneaszbrodski #8

    There’s a big fucking difference between saying “You have a genetic risk for heart failure, so you’re disqualified.” and saying “You have a high risk of heart failure, so you’re disqualified.”. The latter can only be said after assessing the risk factors that the person CAN control and the current condition of the person’s heart. Saying the former while ignoring what the person is doing to actually manage that risk is, in fact, discrimination.

    Now if you were talking about someone with an actual genetic disorder like Sickle-Cell Anemia being disqualified from a job that required intense physical labor, you’d be right. A genetic risk alone, however, isn’t legitimate grounds for disqualifying someone from anything. THAT is what makes it dystopian, looking at the person’s genes instead of the actual person.

  19. trucreep says


    Ahh that made me think of another good example too: How they have those routine physicals (which I suppose makes sense for NASA) but then also, every time they enter the building, they have to run their finger over this blood scanning machine or something.

  20. says

    Rand Paul followed up by giving a speech on space exploration whiched turned out to be the screen play for “The Adventures of Pluto Nash.”

  21. Amphiox says

    It’s Paul vs Clinton in the battle of politicians stumping to help an ally.

    The closest analogy I have is this:

  22. busterggi says

    “Now I’m wondering if he’s even seen the movie.”

    Please, Rethugs & Libertarians never read the books they review, do you expect them to watch the films they review?

  23. infraredeyes says

    Self-styled libertarians who are anti-choice have painted themselves into a real corner. Rand Paul, I am pretty sure, is so much opposed to abortion that he thinks it would be reasonable to make women report spontaneous miscarriages to the police. And yet he passes himself off as an extreme supporter of individual liberty. Unless he is prepared to outright add “But not for women…” to all his rants about personal freedom, he’s stuck. “OMG! Eugenics!” may seem like a way out of this bind.

  24. unclefrogy says

    I would not believe anything that guy said no matter what it was.
    He has the smell of a complete authoritarian. regardless of any small government claims to the contrary.
    uncle frogy

  25. Scr... Archivist says

    Of course Gattaca promotes a liberal vision. In the movie, Gore Vidal played the company’s Director. He was in charge of Gattaca, and everyone knows he was a liberal!

  26. says

    Now there are Tea idiots claiming the article was edited after his speech to make it look like he plagiarized, once again being quick to show the world how stupid they are, and how ignorant they are of how things work.

    There’s a revision history on Wiki articles any it is easy enough to see that at the time of the speech the article matched what Rand Paul said. But why let facts and reality get in the way when you need to defend the lying thief you idolize?

  27. Chie Satonaka says

    How the fuck can you be a Libertarian and Anti-Choice?!

    I! Do! Not! Understand!

    I’ve asked Libertarians this and have been told that it’s “ethically consistent” because no one’s liberty can be infringed upon, which includes a fetus. So then I will point out that upholding the liberty of the fetus will then often infringe upon the liberty of the woman, and they say, “No, it doesn’t” and think that’s a sufficient rebuttal and they’ve won the argument.

    At this point, I’m convinced that they simply don’t believe women are people.

  28. leftwingfox says

    The Big Bad in GATTACA was a government who told people when and how they could have children. Hm, which party is it that wants to control reproduction again?

    Was it? I admit it’s been a few years since I saw it, but I recall that the mechanism for oppression was initially private insurance: We won’t accept him into school because he’ll cause our insurance premiums to skyrocket.

  29. duce7999 says

    I really hope Rand gets the GOP nomination in 2016. I also hope someone in the debates asks him if he wishes he would have used IMDB instead.

  30. says

    Don’t say that. I really want the best candidates for both parties. I dread the next presidential election if it’s Rand/Cruz vs. Clinton. I am so tired of elections in which I don’t want to vote for any of the participants.

  31. Alverant says

    #33 @PZ
    What don’t you like about Hillary Clinton when it comes to being President? I’m not making an accusation, I’m just wondering. Personally I think she carries too much baggage from her husband’s terms in office to make her a viable candidate. OTOH I can’t think of anyone off-hand who I’d like to see on the Democratic ticket in 2016 yet. It’s too early. I’m going to wait until after the mid-term elections.

    But then, you’re old enough right?

  32. says

    Too much baggage, and also I don’t like the principle of hereditary leadership.

    But mostly, she’s a goddamn CONSERVATIVE. I want a true liberal to vote for, for a change.

  33. Alverant says

    #8 @eneaszbrodski
    I haven’t seen the movie. I don’t like movies that paint science and scientists as bad things/people. The problem with the screenings you describe are two-fold. People forget that sci-fi doesn’t just include “science gone wrong” but “science gone right”. IMHO we have too much of the former and not enough of the latter.

    1) At the time the movie was made, those tests cost a lot of money. I’m not sure if they’re covered under ACA but I can see such manipulation being used by the wealthy to create better children and leave the rest of us behind.

    2) Where do you draw the line between life-debilitating defect and a livable defect? Many people need to wear glasses, should that justify any kind of gene selection? How about gender selection? We already have issues with future parents choosing to abort daughters due to cultural beliefs. And what about gene manipulation? Where does disease end and customization begin? We can all get behind stopping sickle cell, but what about dwarfism? To go to the extreme, AFAIK cilantro can either taste great or like soap depending on your genes. Should future parents be allowed to make that trivial change in a fetus?

  34. Rey Fox says

    I really want the best candidates for both parties.

    Because if the worst Republican candidate makes it to the general election, there’s at least a 30% chance that he’ll win. No matter how bad he is. This whole “I hope Crummy So and So wins the primary” is the sort of thinking that got us President Dubya.

  35. says

    @ 36 Alverant –

    >Where do you draw the line between life-debilitating defect and a livable defect?

    Personally? I don’t. Why not choose the genes that will prevent your kids from needing glasses, and let them enjoy cilantro? (I’m one of those people who hates it. I wouldn’t mind if a common spice didn’t make me cringe) Is there something wrong with improving someone’s quality of life?

    Sure, I’ll even bite the gender selection bullet. If a certain society makes life for women so drastically worse than life for men that parents can’t raise girls in good conscience, perhaps it’ll start to change its gender attitudes once the imbalance starts to have consequences. Unless you want to *force* parents to raise female children, just so society can exploit them when they grow up. That sounds more dystopic to me.

  36. thascius says

    How can a libertarian be anti-choice? Most libertarians I’ve encountered are fairly selective about what government interventions upset them. Most, for example, are far more offended by a government telling a company they can’t pollute the environment than by a government telling a woman she can’t have an abortion. They’re more upset by government regulating how a company must treat its employees than by government regulating what consenting adults do in the bedroom. It’s limits on corporate power, what the elite can do that truly get them upset, not limits on individual freedom that most (not all perhaps but most that I’ve encountered) that libertarians worry about.

  37. says

    @PZ Myers #33 – And therein lies my biggest problem with the Two Party system: the Democrats do not have to be progressive or actually give a damn about anything except their corporate masters, as long as they are slightly less evil than the Republicans. The last time I felt good about voting for President was 2000, when I voted for Nader. It was a wasted vote, though, as my state went with Gore.

  38. brett says

    @31 Leftwingvox

    Was it? I admit it’s been a few years since I saw it, but I recall that the mechanism for oppression was initially private insurance: We won’t accept him into school because he’ll cause our insurance premiums to skyrocket.

    It’s socially tolerated private discrimination. Vincent mentions that it’s technically illegal to discriminate against someone on the basis of their genome, but nobody really enforces the law, and companies can get away with rampant genetic discrimination by using legal tests (such as urine samples).

    Nobody forces you to get your kids genetically screened, but the vast majority of parents do what they can to get it, because otherwise their children will end up as social outcasts working menial jobs on the margin.

    It’s pretty interesting, and the way they do the screening seems to hold up reasonably well. Basically, the geneticists create a bunch of embryos IVF-style, and then test them for genetic elements that are heavily linked to the expression of traits in the resultant person. So, for example, if an embryo showed versions of genes that were heavily linked to negative traits in the resultant (such as a high risk of heart failure or cancer in adulthood), then they would be dumped. The unrealistic element is probably the degree to which they can predict certain traits’ expression in adulthood, like the predicted 99% chance that Vincent would suffer heart failure (which led to his life expectancy estimate of 30.2 years).

    I think they could do some genetic modification of embryos, but it was not particularly effective and expensive. I can’t remember if it made it into the final film, but I think the geneticist mentions that for $5000 more he could insert some genetic sequences associated with musical and/or mathematical ability, but he seems pretty dubious on how effective they would be.

  39. Gregory Greenwood says

    PZ Myers @ 35;

    Too much baggage, and also I don’t like the principle of hereditary leadership.

    But mostly, she’s a goddamn CONSERVATIVE. I want a true liberal to vote for, for a change.

    If you are waiting for a principled Liberal (still less ‘out’ atheist) candidate with any credible shot at winning – or even being nominated for – a US election then, given how far the Overton window has been skewed rightward over the last haf century, I’m afraid that you will probably be waiting a very long time indeed.

    I don’t know if it will make you feel any better, but you transatlantic, ex-colonial types are far from alone – our own political parties in dear old Blighty are doing all the can to catch up with the mess that is US politics. Why, we already have three major parties that are all really variants of the Conservatve party as it has existed at various points over the last few decades, and the current coalition government has made it painfully obvious that even the laughably entitled ‘Liberal Democrats’ will fall over themselves in their eagerness to throw away everything the ever claimed to stand for at the first whiff of the smallest scrap of mouldy, second-hand power.

    So there’s the bitter comfort of schadenfraude, at least…

  40. brucegee1962 says

    Elizabeth Warren may finally give us someone to vote for, rather than against…

    Also, remember when John Edwards was running in a three-way race with Obama and Clinton and Obama in 2008. If that had been a more sexist racist time, he would have gotten the nomination. Then if his personal life had blown up during the campaign, pretty much anybody the repugs nominated could have beaten him.That could still happen again, so we should indeed want the best from both parties.

    OToH, Paul may be fairly atrocious, but it’s hard to think of anyone LESS atrocious on that side. At least he had his shining moment filibustering the drones, and that’s more than can be said for most of them.

    On yet the other hand, playing “let’s figure out which turd smells the best” isn’t really a very fun game.

  41. imthegenieicandoanything says

    In a way, one must admire how absolutely lazy he is, and how open his utter contempt for the media and the public. Rand takes less after his “gold standard” batshit father and runs more in the Mitt Romney tradition of Republicans.

    And I could say nothing worse of any human being.

  42. moarscienceplz says

    So ironic seeing a righty moan about genetic predeterminism. These people have labored mightily to ensure that billionaires can pass their billions to their children with as little taxation as possible so we will have untold generations of infants with power unimaginable to us mere mortals merely due to the accident of their births.

  43. says

    At least he had his shining moment filibustering the drones, and that’s more than can be said for most of them.

    That moment was hardly great. Grandstanding and pandering to the suckers

  44. marinerachel says

    With Rand Paul and EVERY SINGLE DUGGAR campaigning for him, Ken Cuccinelli’s got it in the bag, yo!

  45. says

    Well, we already knew Rand Paul sees the value of dishonesty:

    From the National Journal:

    Rand Paul was talking with University of Louisville medical students when one of them tossed him a softball. “The majority of med students here today have a comprehensive exam tomorrow. I’m just wondering if you have any last-minute advice.”

    “Actually, I do,” said the ophthalmologist-turned-senator, who stays sharp (and keeps his license) by doing pro bono eye surgeries during congressional breaks. “I never, ever cheated. I don’t condone cheating. But I would sometimes spread misinformation. This is a great tactic. Misinformation can be very important.”

    He went on to describe studying for a pathology test with friends in the library. “We spread the rumor that we knew what was on the test and it was definitely going to be all about the liver,” he said. “We tried to trick all of our competing students into over-studying for the liver” and not studying much else.

    “So, that’s my advice,” he concluded. “Misinformation works.”

    I guess he thought it would work here too.

  46. duce7999 says

    @PZ #33

    I am actually sincere on this because I think Rand will force the dem nominee to put a voice to some issues that they would otherwise not have to, such a marijuana legalization. The civil side of his brand of libertarianism is an area where I think a dem nominee would sense a vulnerability and would be forced to address it. I also happen to believe that he doesn’t have a chance in the general election.

    So I will continue to say that so nyah :P

  47. Ichthyic says

    I want a true liberal to vote for, for a change.

    people in the US who say this, never really mean it.

    why do I say that?

    because NOT A SINGLE FUCKING ONE OF YOU ever bother to push for a real progressive candidate during the democratic primaries.

    it’s not like they haven’t been running… you’re just too fucking lazy to even do the 1 minute it takes to find them. Hell, I’ll even help you.

    start here:

    but it’s not like nobody has posted this before… all you pretend progressives would rather whinge than do fuck all about it though.

  48. Colin J says

    At least you don’t have a senior government minister (the Minister for the Environment, no less) using Wikipedia to “disprove” all those annoying scientists who want to claim that there is a link between climate change and increased frequency and intensity of bushfires.

    Well, after they abolished the Climate Commission (which was set up to provide public information on the effects of climate change) last month, I guess our government has to get its information from somewhere…

  49. ck says

    Considering that other members of his party (i.e. Ted Cruz) can’t even get the story for “Green Eggs and Ham” right, I don’t know why anyone is surprised that Rand Paul gets everything wrong, too.

  50. thewhollynone says

    There was a woman who ran for President last time on the Green Party ticket. Anybody here remember who she was, and what the Green Party platform was? No? All the “progressives” were just too busy voting against Romney because, I’ll grant you, the idea of his presidency coupled with a Republican House was terrifying.

    In American history the purpose and effect of a third party has always been to push one or the other of the two major parties either to the right or to the left. I think we need to support a strong progressive third party, and maybe we’ll get lucky. I mean it’s not like we haven’t tried everything else.

  51. ChasCPeterson says

    people in the US who say this, never really mean it.
    why do I say that?

    because you’re an ignorant asshole blowhard?


    assumes facts not in evidence, you ignorant asshole blowhard.

    ever bother to push for a real progressive candidate during the democratic primaries.

    wtf does that even mean?
    You can “push for” whoever you want, but that doesn’t give you the opportunity to vote for somebody. And in many (most?) states you can’t even vote at all in a primary if you’re not a registered member of the party.
    Is it incumbent on a “true progressive” to register as a Democratic Party member just because we’re stuck with a stupid 2-party system?
    fuck that.

  52. Amphiox says

    Everyone just wait a little longer, and there’s an fair chance the GOP will fracture and you’ll have a three party system. And then it will be a prime opportunity to make a fourth progressive party.

  53. says

    Everyone just wait a little longer, and there’s an fair chance the GOP will fracture and you’ll have a three party system

    that’s not how US politics have ever worked. All splits and party collapses have simply resulted in a new 2-party system.

  54. MarkM1427 says


    What I see as more likely to happen is that the GOP will die off as they go farther and farther to the right and make themselves more and more toxic to moderates, eventually being replaced by two seperate parties for fiscal and social conservatives. Once this happens, the democratic party, which isn’t nearly as cohesive as the GOP, will go supernova and split into a bunch of smaller parties that are more focused on specific issues.

    That’s what I’m hoping for anyway, smaller parties that have to work together to get anything done.

  55. says

    He went on to describe studying for a pathology test with friends in the library. “We spread the rumor that we knew what was on the test and it was definitely going to be all about the liver,” he said. “We tried to trick all of our competing students into over-studying for the liver” and not studying much else.

    I’d like to point out that exams are not a competition but an assessment of your knowledge… but a)it would probably be a point that would go right over this asshole’s head; b)there’s such a thing as grading on a curve, and it’s saved my ass in structural geology a few times; c)for all I know, the medical schools//clinics//hospitals in this country really care more about whether you end up in Xth percentile than whether you actually know your shit.


  56. says

    until the US gets a parliamentary system with proportional representation (IOW never), the U.S. will have a 2-party system. with occasional transition-periods, maybe.

  57. says

    I consider spelling “US” in two different ways in a single sentence to be a clue that I should probably take a break from internetting for a moment :-p

  58. thascius says

    @56-A lot of states (though I don’t know the # offhand) have open primaries, where you can vote in either party’s primary without bothering to register (you just can’t vote in both primaries in the same year). This has it’s own pitfalls though, with Republicans voting in Democratic primaries for the candidate they think is the weakest and Democrats doing the same to Republicans. Then there are “jungle primaries” like Louisiana and California have where the general election is essentially the primary and a runoff is held if no one gets a majority. That too can cause problems. In California a strongly Democratic district wound up with a Republican congressman because too many Democratic candidates split the left of center vote and the top two finishers were the two Republican candidates.

  59. thinkfree83 says

    @thewhollynone: The last Green Party candidate for president was Jill Stein, and I actually voted for her. However, I live in a solid red state, Georgia, where there was never any question about where the electoral votes would go. To me, it seems like the only way to enable third parties to compete in national politics would be to ditch the electoral congress and the “winner takes all” model of allocating votes in favor of proportional voting. However, I have heard from penpals who live in multiparty electoral system that voting for a party like the Greens doesn’t always led to more progressive politics, because the government has to compromise and form “grand coalitions” to get anything done. Some political scientists do consider the GOP and the Democratic Party to be “grand coalitions” of a sort.

    Concerning the original topic: Cutting and pasting from Wikipedia is something a child would do. This is just plain embarrassing. Just like his father (who was either too stupid or too racist to care that his newsletter contained racist, anti-semitic, and homophobic commentary), Rand Paul has shown that he’s too ignorant to be president.

  60. freemage says

    I’ve seen the effect that thascius talks about in local elections here in Chicago. It’s often used by the Democratic Machine to deliberately undermine the opposition. Got a majority PoC district, but the Machine candidate is white as the virgin snow, while the challenger is a member of the majority racial demographic for that ward? No problem–just add several party hacks of the appropriate skin color, to make sure the Hispanic or Black vote gets split three or four ways, and then the white guy wins.

    And of course, when it comes to the presidential elections, everything gets further skewed towards the two-party system by the Electoral College, and the ‘winner take all’ states, wherein voting for a third-party is often literally voting for the main party of the opposite political alignment (so voting for a Green means voting for a Republican).

    Ichthyic: I went to the PDA site. They’ve got some position statements up (yeah, pretty much what I expect) and a bunch of links to articles by other places that talk about the issues. It’s not a bad site for those purposes, but I literally see no evidence of political activity by the PDA. I go to the Illinois-specific site, and I get a guy’s email address, some more pieces taken from The Chicago Reader and HuffPo, a list of candidates with ties to ALEC (which I actually had to look up with Google to find out if this was a good or a bad thing because the website couldn’t be bothered with an informational link to so much as Wikipediawhattheeverlovingfuck), and a list of upcoming events–which was completely empty.

    What there wasn’t was the name of a single person I could vote for, or sign a petition to get onto a ballot, whether in local, statewide or national elections. If PDA is our hope for a liberal candidate, we are well, and truly, and deeply FUCKED.

  61. ahistorian says

    It is ironic and regrettable that neither Rand Paul nor the media nor the blogosphere seems to have noticed the significance of where Rand Paul gave this speech.

    It was Lynchburg, VA, one of the most infamous places in the history of eugenic sterilization, home of the former Lynchburg Colony for Epileptics and Feebleminded, where over 8,000 operations were done, beginning with Carrie Buck, who provided the legal test case of Buck vs Bell in 1926. (Just check the Wikipedia entry for Lynchburg.)

    Especially in Lynchburg, eugenics is not–or not only–a future threat, but a recent reality that did not have to wait for advanced scientific research or legalized abortion.

  62. microraptor says

    How the fuck can you be a Libertarian and Anti-Choice?!

    I! Do! Not! Understand!

    As far as I can tell, mainstream Libertarianism (capitalized L) in the US is all about promoting the idea that rich white men should legally be able to fuck over everyone who differs from them in at least one of those categories.

  63. says

    For once I agree with Chas, #56.

    Shut up Icthyic.

    How nice for you to preach, safe and sound, from your lofty perch in the other hemisphere.

    I’ve organized, I’ve created protests and marches. Since last year, I’ve learned about voter registration and local politics and worked on local campaigns. I learned how to Get Out The Vote. This year I’m doing a bit of it, and next year I’ll be doing more. I’ll be working on the strategy I think will succeed, which is pushing local Dems further to the left by mounting primary challenges and supporting the best candidate once the primaries are over. I may run for office myself in a few years, who knows?

    In any case, at least one of us is not the pathetic loser you assert we all are.

    Fuck you.

  64. says


    eventually being replaced by two seperate parties for fiscal and social conservatives.

    No, it won’t, because there’s no actual difference between them under the hood. They stand for the continuation and enhancement of privilege, and the exploitation, abuse, and demonization of those with less by those with more.

  65. vaiyt says


    How the fuck can you be a Libertarian and Anti-Choice?!

    I! Do! Not! Understand!

    Libertarians are only in favor of choice for themselves.

  66. militantagnostic says

    How the fuck can you be a Libertarian and Anti-Choice?! I! Do! Not! Understand!

    Property rights means a man can do what he wants with his property. It does not mean that his property has rights.