Change and Originality:

"It’s not change you can believe in, it’s change you can Xerox," Hillary Clinton said, referring to Obama's copying material from Deval Patrick.

Well, that sounds like a cute dig — but does it make sense? People can believe in something just fine even if it's copied from someone else. The merits or the rhetorical power of a speech are not dependent on its originality. (True, if something is so often repeated that it becomes cliché, it may become less inspirational, but there's a big gulf between entirely original and cliché.) In fact, when an idea or a line has been tested by someone else first, that can sometimes help demonstrate its substantive or rhetorical quality.

Dan Drezner also points out that some of Hillary's own rhetoric seems to be closely borrowed from others. (Thanks to Megan McArdle, guest-blogging at InstaPundit for the pointer.) The inconsistency is telling, and amusing — but the more important point is that even when we want change from politicians, we shouldn't demand originality, a virtue in scholars and novelists but generally not in political leaders.