Sullivan Sullied

The other day I slammed the generic content on the issues page of Michael Sullivan's new web site. Today in the Globe, Eric Moskowitz reveals that it's even worse than I thought -- it's pretty much all lifted from the web site of the last campaign Paul Moore managed, for congressional candidate Richard Tisei.

Let's put aside the question of whether or not this is plagiarism, in either a legal or ethical sense. (And for what it's worth, I don't particularly blame Moore for losing the unlosable race -- but I couldn't blame anyone for rolling their eyes over Sullivan plucking from that campaign.)

This is just stupid, lame, and pathetic.

Look, I get that the campaigns are under the gun to ramp up quickly. And I realize that the candidate does not actually sit down and write the campaign literature.

But, first of all, it IS campaign literature. The issues page of the campaign web site is not just a "placeholder," as Moore defends it to Moskowitz; it's a piece of literature you are, in effect, mailing on demand to interested voters. I'm constantly baffled by how many campaigns treat it with roughly 1/100th of the care they pay to the content and design of a piece of physical literature.

Secondly, lifting your issues copy -- and from such an easily identifiable source -- makes it quite likely that your candidate will look like Sullivan does today: like a guy who has no actual thoughts or beliefs of his own. I mean, seriously. There appears to have been essentially zero input of Sullivan opinions, beliefs, or priorities into this presentation of Sullivan's opinions, beliefs, and priorities. That's a mystery you don't want people to find out.

And worse, it turns out that the guy who claims to be the one true conservative in the race lifted his entire opening platform from the guy who just campaigned as the state's most moderate/liberal Republican. 

At least this solves the mystery of why Sullivan's web site was so silent on the many issues -- abortion, same-sex-marriage, criminal justice, etc. -- where Sullivan most stands out to conservative primary voters. It wasn't a strategy; there just wasn't anything usable on Tisei's web site on those issues.

I realize I'm making a big deal out of something fairly small, that will most likely soon be forgotten.

But Michael Sullivan is a serious political figure, whose run for high office has been expected for years. He has an impressive and energetic core of supporters. And yet so far, everything about the campaign suggests a guy who's running for no particular reason, with no particular purpose.

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