A candidate for national office should already have his views and policies on the issues of the day fully formed, and shouldn't be scrambling to arrive at them after the race has begun. If that is not the case, it can lead to the embarrassment suffered by former U.S. attorney Michael J. Sullivan, a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in the April 30 primary.
The Boston Globe reported Tuesday that Mr. Sullivan's website borrows heavily from the website of Richard Tisei, a failed candidate for U.S. representative in northeastern Massachusetts last fall. Many of the policy statements are cut and pasted from the Tisei website, with in some cases modest editing and tweaking. Most egregious is the passage stating "After traveling to Israel several years ago, I've seen firsthand how truly precarious is her mere existence," which was lifted word for word from the Tisei website.
Pittsfield Democrat Andrea Nuciforo ran into the same problem last fall when it emerged that position statements on his website were similar and in some cases identical to statements by former presidential candidate John Edwards and former Massachusetts U.S. Senate candidate Alan Khazei. The problem was compounded when Mr. Nuciforo criticized fellow U.S. representative candidate Bill Shein for drawing attention to the evident plagiarism, before taking responsibility for what was the work of a past staffer.
The Sullivan campaign owned up to the similarities, but its defense was weak. Sullivan campaign manager Paul Moore was also Tisei's campaign manager, so he was cutting and pasting his own work, but Mr. Moore is not the candidate, Mr. Sullivan is, and he is presumably not a clone of Mr. Tisei. The short campaign season is no excuse either, as Mr. Sullivan presumably knows the issues of the day and doesn't have to construct policies from the ground up. If he does have to invent himself on the fly he shouldn't be running.
The website cribbing by the Sullivan campaign is, as UMass-Boston political science chairman Paul Watanabe told The Globe, "lazy and lame." It is the product of a campaign and candidate who don't appear to be ready for prime time.