Many of Joe Biden’s speeches during the 1988 presidential campaign later turned out to contain language copied from such orators as John F. Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, and Hubert Humphrey. Biden was finally caught plagiarizing speeches when he repeated much of an autobiographical speech that had been given by British Labor Party leader Neil Kinnock. Kinnock’s ancestors, who could recite and write poetry, became Biden’s ancestors, who “wrote poetry and taught me how to sing in verse.” Kinnock’s ancestors, “who could work eight hours underground and then come up and play football,” became Biden’s ancestors, “who worked in the coal mines of Northeast Pennsylvania and would come up after 12 hours and play football for four hours.” For Biden, plagiarism seems to be an addiction: He even flunked a law school class after copying five pages.
Joe Biden is scheduled to speak at the Democratic National Convention immediately before Barack Obama on Thursday night. Here is an advance copy of that speech:
Friends, Romans, countrymen — lend me your ears. I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him. [Suddenly pounding his shoe on the dais.] We will bury you!
Yesterday, December 7, 1941 — a date which will live on in infamy — the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by the Empire of Japan. If the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, “This was their finest hour.” We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills, we shall never surrender, because I have not yet begun to fight and I regret that I have but one life to give to my country — my country, right or wrong. Ask not what your country can do for you. No country for old men.
The work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die because I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. It is dreams from my father. The faith of my fathers. The flags of my fathers. I dream of Genie. Four score and seven years ago, our fathers brought forth the child that is father to the man. Go West, young man. One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind. You shall not crucify mankind on a cross of gold. No man is an island. Islands in the stream — that is what we are. No one in between, how can we be wrong?
War is hell. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. And ain’t I a woman? Look at me! Look at my arm! I have ploughed and planted, and gathered into barns, and no man could head me! And ain’t I a woman? I could work and eat as much as a man — when I could get it. As God is my witness, I’ll never be hungry again. I was hungry and it was your world. Ah, you fake just like a woman, yes, you do. You make love just like a woman, yes, you do. Then you ache just like a woman. But you break just like a little girl. Frailty, thy name is woman!
I knew Jack Kennedy. Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine. You, sir, are no lipstick on a pig. Our little girl — Tricia, the six-year-old — named the pig Checkers. I just want to say this, right now, that regardless of what they say about it, we’re gonna keep it.
It really doesn’t matter with me now, because I’ve been to the mountaintop — top of the morning to you, morning in America — America is a shining city on a hill emitting a thousand points of a light in August. This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine. The Shining. Here’s Johnny. Mr. Johnny-come-lately. Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall! Because, Mr. Gorbachev, you didn’t build that.
I have had the great honor of having played with these great ballplayers, Murderers’ Row, our championship team of 1927. People will say that I’ve had a bad break, but today I consider myself the luckiest man on earth. So give me liberty or give me death or give me one reason to stay here, and I’ll turn right back around. O come all ye faithful, come and listen to a story about a man named Jed, a poor mountaineer, barely kept his family fed.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, is one nation, under God, sinners in the hands of an angry God, a nation of shopkeepers, indivisible, with liberty and a tree of liberty that must be watered from time to time with the blood of tyrants. The only thing we have to fear is fear of flying. Time flies because these are the times that try men’s souls. Old Man Time. Old Man River. He just keeps rolling, rolling along. Rolling, rolling, rolling — rawhide! Last night, I dreamt I went to Manderley again. Play it again, Uncle Sam. There you go again — like sands through the hourglass, so are the days of our lives — but frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn. Workers of the world, unite. You have nothing to lose but your chain, chain, chain, chain of fool me once, shame on me, fool me twice, won’t get fooled again. I pity the fool. To be or not to be, that is the question. If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die? We do not die — old soldiers never die, they just fade away.
We are the change that we have been hopefully waiting to believe in changing into the Man from Hope. And that’s the way it is. But it depends on what the meaning of the word “is” is.
Good night, and good luck, and God bless us, every one!
Geoffrey Sant wrote his first humor column for a local newspaper at the age of sixteen, and began performing stand-up comedy in bars at the age of seventeen. It’s only been downhill from there.