This isn't exactly news, but it sure is fun. And, given the subject's countless sleazy campaign exploits, his manifest corruption, and his recent
efforts to begin his electoral ascent to the Georgia governorship (taking the same route as Zell Miller, through the Lieutenant Governor's office) and (shudder) beyond, it certainly seems relevant to remind folks about an un-Christian episode from Ralphie's past that he's done a very good job of keeping off the press radar.
Here's a snippet of a column (offline) by Jeannette Walls from the October 1996 Esquire that tells the amusing tale:
Write `Thou Shalt Not Steal' 1,000 Times
THERE'S ONE ETHICAL issue that moral crusader Ralph Reed might want to avoid: ripping off other people's work. The holier-than-thou director of the Christian Coalition was dropped as a columnist from his college newspaper after he was accused of plagiarism.
In 1983, Reed, then a senior at the University of Georgia, wrote a column for the campus paper, The Red and Black, with the headline GANDHI: NINNY OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY. Shortly after Reed's article ran, another student wrote in and made a compelling case that "every assertion, every quote, and several seemingly original Reed phrases may be found directly or in slightly modified form" in a Commentary article by Richard Grenier. Reed then apologized for "not citing my sources, including the article in Commentary," but insisted that his column "was the culmination of two months of exhaustive research.... To imply otherwise is the most shocking, profane form of personal attack I can imagine."
Nevertheless, the paper's editors announced, "Mr. Reed's columns will no longer appear in The Red and Black."
"All these letters came in congratulating us for getting rid of him," says Russell Kaye, who was then a photographer for the paper, "not because of the plagiarism but because people hated his column. He was this sort of creepy, nerdy guy who was always writing about things like blasting some student group for showing a film that he thought was inappropriate."
Reed's office says that he has put the ugly incident behind him. Amen!
(Thanks to an eagle-eyed archivist pal for the tip)
Little Ralph is clearly selling himself short. Being labeled a plagiarist is "the most shocking, profane form of personal attack" he can imagine? The Swift Boat veteran John Kerry, victim of one of Ralph's more recent pathological smears, might beg to differ.