On Monday, October 13, the televised debate between Republican incumbent Pat Tiberi, Democratic challenger David Robinson and Libertarian candidate Steve Linnabary began the first of the mud slinging portion of the final stretch of the battle for Ohio’s 12th Congressional seat. What happens next will be anyone’s guess as the two front-runners, Robinson and Tiberi face off tonight in a debate to be broadcast live at 8 p.m. as the proverbial you-know-what hits the fan from the WOSU studios at COSI.
One of the items sure to be of discussion will be Rep. Pat Tiberi’s accusation that Dr. David Robinson plagiarized his Apollo II energy initiative from a piece of legislation introduced by Washington Rep. Jay Inslee in 2005, also called the Apollo Project. In the October 13th debate, Tiberi said,
“Interesting to note, my opponent just mentioned his Apollo II energy project, and I was reading through it over the weekend. I also read–I thought it looked familiar–a bill that was introduced by Jay Inslee in 2005 that is remarkably the same–and I encourage all the reporters here to look at it. Jay Inslee, the Apollo project, that is almost word for word like the Apollo II project.”
After answering Nate Ellis’ question on the war in Iraq, Robinson charged back saying,
“Back to the issue of energy–in fact the Apollo II initiative is a product of my own mind, my own research. I resent the fact that you are implying that that is plagiarism in any sense of the word. I’ve spent the last year and a half of my life giving pro-bono public presentations on the subject of climate change and public policy initiative solutions.
“…Pat, [you say] you tried to do something significant about energy when in fact during your tenure in Congress the price of gasoline has nearly doubled and we are more dependent on foreign oil than when you entered office. Now if you couldn’t do anything in 8 years when your party was in control, then what can we expect from you moving forward?”
Tiberi wasted no time in saying,
“Well David, well there you go again. For four months my opponent has talked more about me than him, but the voters don’t want that. It’s been about distortion. Unfortunately, distortion of my record for the last 6 years–the last 8 years–6 of when we were in the majority.
“When I was in high school, we learned a little bit about civics, and I suggest that maybe not everyone understood, understands about civics up here and how the differences between the two bodies work. I will take full responsibility for my record and for what I voted for and for what I have been for, but I’m not gonna defend what the US Senate has or hasn’t done and particularly on the subject of gasoline, since we lost control of the house gas went up double, double! it went up. So with respect to my opponent, all I said was, I read his energy plan, I happened to read Congressman Jay Inslee’s energy plan. I would encourage all voters to read both plans and decide what they may from reading both of them.”
I don’t know whether David Robinson copied from Jay Inslee’s plan. We never will. I will say, that I have read (or more honestly tried to read) a significant portion of Dr. Robinson’s book, Conscience and Jung’s Moral Vision: From Id to Thou which was written as his doctoral thesis. I mention this because, well…here’s a random excerpt from that 235 page book (with an additional 54 pages of notes and bibliography) and I’ll let you “decide what [you] may from reading [it]:”
“Conscience was traditionally conceived as an interior faculty capable of discerning moral truth and invested with an authority that one was obligated to act on. It was described variously as one’s daemon, genius, guardian angel, heart, spark of celestial fire, or, most potently, the voice of God. Though operating through multitudinous singular expressions, this “traditional conscience” was believed to possess a unity and consistency of purpose directed toward a common good. Yet this traditional conscience, as a “voice” was recognized as often being hard to hear and thus difficult to discern–so much so that intercourse with its promptings was generally recognized as potentially fallible. More precisely, the human nature itself. This fallibility provided something of an “epistemic escape clause” –when confronted with the obvious depravity of the world, as well as the immediate fact of contradictory claims of conscience between two individuals–for those who argued that one’s true conscience was to be the final moral authority.
“It is important to note, however, that although conscience was conceived of in some sense as an internal faculty, its authority and plausibility rested on the belief in a cosmic or natural moral order upon which, and from which, conscience conveyed its promptings. In other words, the claims of conscience were not conceived of as sui generis but were seen as manifesting one’s relationship to this transpersonal moral order. It was this “voice” of conscience that expressed–or revealed– in a most immediate, intimate manner that reality of one’s rapport with this moral source “beyond” one’s own conscious personality. This foundational moral order “outside” the individual could be, and was, conceived in a perplexing plethora of forms by theologians and philosophers throughout history, ranging in orientation from Manicheism to pantheisim…”
Yeah, Dr. Robinson probably has a tough time with high school civics, and wouldn’t think to change the title of a plan that bears such a striking similarity to Rep. Inslee’s bill. He probably also didn’t think of the fact that his opponent would have already seen that very piece of legislation.
If Pat’s education would have gone as far as Dr. Robinson’s, perhaps he could have been capable of discovering that in fact Representative Inslee’s plan could also have been the result of “plagiarism.”
In January of 2004 (long before Rep. Jay Inslee’s bill) The Apollo Alliance created a “New Energy for America.”
This signature Apollo jobs report describes how a massive investment in Apollo’s ten-point plan would lead to over 3 million new green-collar jobs, stimulate $1.4 trillion in new GDP, add billions in personal income and retail sales, and produce $284 billion in net energy savings – all while generating sufficient returns to the U.S. treasury to pay for itself over ten years.”
In other words, the problems are obvious and the plan to solve all of these problems was similarly obvious. Sometimes, big ideas are just a matter of creating solutions whose time has come.