This is something rather worse than plagiarism, because it cuts directly to the heart of what The Golden One's claim to fame is - being a great orator who articulates our shared hopes and channels them into change.
As a number of other bloggers have noted, the people to whom The Precious is compared because of his mad oratoratin' skillz were not merely or even primarily great public speakers. They were actors whose words have become sacred to us because of what they did, the context in which their way of being in the world inbued their words with substance. King's dream was so powerful because we saw on our TV screens King's nightmare - the dogs, the fire hoses, the beatings and, finally, the funeral. Or think of Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address:
Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said 'the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether'.
I know of no other statement that can, with such power and economy, simultaneously explain, justify and mourn the Civil War. Lincoln spoke as the Commander in Chief who pursued war when much of the nation would have refused it, not counting the "bondman's toil" to be worth the blood of Union soldiers.
These are words that matter because of the what the speaker had already done and because the words referred to issues so profound they were fracturing the nation to its foundations. King and Lincoln were participating in fights worth having. They weren't just gussying up a little campaign rhetoric, or borrowing a couple of lines like someone might borrow a cup of sugar or a neat turn of phrase. Would JFK's "Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country," line be so resonant today if not for the things he actually did for his country? FDR's admonition about not fearing anything save fear itself, was backed by his administration's proven track record of taking on enormous and terrifying challenges facing the nation as a result of the Great Depression and succeeding. Rural electrification, Social Security, WPA and a host of other bureaus, departments and measures that improved the lives of Americans.
Words that matter. Fights that matter. The words that come out of a candidate's mouth should be grounded in the substance of what she intends to do if given the public's trust. They may be awkward and overly wonky (thus boring the Kewl Kidz to sleep), but words spoken out of deep conviction in and committment to actions that better the lives of citizens are what partisans want to hear. When Obama supporters flatly say they don't expect him to achieve anything of substance if he gets elected, but, hey, at least he won't be trashed quite so much as HRC, they've just given me the ultimate reason to not vote for the guy. After all, all he's offering is "just words."
The reason why Golden Boy Barry's words are so offensive to me is not that he borrowed them from Gov. Patrick, but that he had to borrow them at all.