Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.
Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Over the past several months, Tea Party groups have actively searched for a conservative Republican to mount a primary challenge against incumbent U.S. senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN). Many thought they had found their man in state representative Joe Carr, whose platform reads like a Tea Partier’s letter to Santa Claus.

As it turns out, that may be because Carr stole it directly from the Tea Party.

The Tennessean reports:

Responding to a questionnaire by the Coalition for a Constitutional Senate, which includes more than 60 Tennessee Tea Party and far-right groups and a political action committee known as Beat Lamar, Carr copied lengthy phrases and complete sentences from four articles on The Heritage Foundation’s website. Coalition member James Gann highlighted the similarities in an email obtained by The Tennessean and other media outlets.

In response, Carr did not deny that he had lifted answers from Heritage, but did deny that it constituted plagiarism.

“When we were crafting our answers, I went to various sources — not just Heritage, but a number of resources — to do the research,” he told The Tennessean. “I certainly would never imply that my thoughts or ideas or views are exclusively my own, and I certainly didn’t represent them in the questionnaire that way.”

“I don’t make any apologies for my answer,” he added. “I think the only thing I regret is that I didn’t have the foresight to say, ‘You know, here’s a list of sources that I got to illustrate my point of view.’ But it certainly wasn’t intentional.”

While Carr’s direct copying from The Heritage Foundation is certainly a step over the line, he’d hardly be the first politician to crib language from an outside actor (for another example, look no further than North Carolina’s ALEC-themed dash to the right). Carr’s platform does offer a good view of the Heritage Foundation’s intellectual decline. Had Carr plagiarized from The Heritage Foundation a few decades ago, he could have wound up supporting a platform of detailed policies (including, perhaps, an individual mandate for health insurance). Now, under the leadership of former Senator Jim DeMint, Heritage tends to favor Tea Party-flavored plans like shutting down the government to defund Obamacare (a substantively empty charade that Carr has used to attack Senator Alexander in recent weeks).

This is not the first incident to suggest that Carr could use an editor; the announcement of his campaign in late August featured a graphic that misspelled the word “Senate.”
Carr For Sentate

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Carr’s candidacy is struggling to gain traction against Alexander. Although a mid-August Triton Polling survey found that a generic “credible conservative candidate” leads Alexander 50 to 45 percent — suggesting that Alexander would definitely be vulnerable to a strong challenge — North Star Opinion Research finds that Carr may not be the right challenger. Their August 28 poll found that Alexander is ahead of Carr by a whopping 64 to 22 percent margin.

Photo: J. Stephen Conn via

Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2013 The National Memo
  • Lynda Groom

    That is OK since Obama plagiarized the Heritage Foundation for ObamaCare. (Please note snark)

    • drdroad

      And RomneyCare.

  • John Pigg

    Why make your own positions on policy when the Heritage Foundation and ALEC can just tell you what to think. I like it.

    (Note: this post is intended to be read sarcastically)

  • disqus_ivSI3ByGmh

    So this makes Carr a “non-credible” candidate. I realize we are talking about Tennessee here, but even they know they shouldn’t vote for someone for Senate who cannot spell the word.

    • LotusJoan

      It is bad enough that he cannot spell but apparently he cannot
      use spell check. Nor has his job creation focused on a much needed job
      “fact checker for his own campaign.”

    • RobertCHastings

      He didn’t have to know how to spell, just how to save and copy.

  • Rick2101

    I do not believe this rises to the level of plagiarism, but it does show Carr can not form his own clear view of what he wants to accomplish. Of course he is a politician.

  • darkagesbegin

    I hereby declair my candiddacy for that there Sentate, too. Please send contribushuns to my PAC: numbskullforSentate

    • Sand_Cat

      They have enough morons there already;>)

    • RobertCHastings

      I think that is a copyright infringement. That name has, apparently, already been taken.

  • Bear A Woods

    I say pluck all Republicans and send them to the slaughter house.

  • RobertCHastings

    I don’t understand the problem here, folks. If you want to define yourself as a Tea Partier, where better to find the correct definition that your creator?