Plagiarism Scandal Claims Career of Top White House Aide
I'm a little disappointed that multiple instances of plagiarism led to the resignation of a top White House aide yesterday. It's not that Tim Goeglein had a good excuse (he didn't), and it's not that he deserved to keep his job (he didn't), it's just that I'd much prefer to see White House officials resign for some of the Bushies' more serious crimes. This feels like busting Capone for tax evasion.
An aide to President Bush responsible for outreach to conservative and Christian groups resigned Friday after acknowledging that he had plagiarized material for a column he wrote for his hometown paper in Fort Wayne, Ind.
Special assistant Tim Goeglein admitted lifting material from an essay about college education by former Dartmouth professor Jeffrey L. Hart and presenting it as his own in a guest column Thursday for the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel. Other allegations of plagiarism quickly surfaced after Goeglein informed White House officials of the situation Friday morning, and by day's end he said he would step down.
On its Web site Friday, the newspaper said 20 of 38 Goeglein columns between 2000 and 2008 contained "portions copied from other sources without attribution." [...]
"There are no excuses. I am entirely at fault, and you have my sincerest apology. I pray you will forgive me," Goeglein, 44, said in the e-mail to Hart. Neither e-mail alluded to other cases of plagiarism or offered an explanation for the use of the plagiarized material.Once Goeglein was busted on his first instance, it was probably safe to assume there'd be more. And sure enough, once the examples started piling up, his career was over.
But looking back at this White House's record of wrongdoing -- the lies, the cover-ups, the extra-constitutional envelope-pushing -- it's unfulfilling to see Bushies resign in disgrace for relatively minor transgressions. Plenty of top White House officials have been forced from their posts, but for what? Plagiarism? Shoplifting? Given this gang's conduct for the last seven years, it seems like they're skating on the serious stuff, and getting busted for relatively minor mistakes.
That said, there is some irony in seeing Goeglein go down for stealing others' work and claiming it as his own. He was, after, all, largely responsible for maintaining the relationship between the White House and the religious right, and promoting the president's "faith-based" initative.