Awkward. Jabbing at Sen. John Walsh (D-Mont.) for his plagiarism scandal, the National Republican Senate Committee sent around a memo entitled. “Theft: A Plagiarist Cannot Be Trusted.” The email hastens to add that the issue is a matter of quantity: “There is no excuse for plagiarism as serious as Senator Walsh is guilty of.” Can a little plagiarism then be excused, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.)?

Russian President Vladimir Putin and President Obama during the G20 summit. (Guneev Sergey/Getty Images) Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and President Obama (Guneev Sergey/Getty Images)

Outward appearances Obama actually might do something about Russian aggression in Ukraine quickly fade. So Vladimir Putin presses on: “The U.S. believes Russia is firing artillery across its border at Ukrainian military positions, the State Department said on Thursday, an assertion that Moscow is playing a more direct role in the Ukrainian conflict.” I’m sure the president will get right on it.

Backward. “Democratic operatives and progressive activists are questioning this training program launched by Obama campaign architects Mitch Stewart and Jeremy Bird. The $5,000 program promises access to the wizardry of Obama’s presidential bids — and a five-week, unpaid gig on an ”important Democratic campaign.'” I guess no one saw this as exploitative or as a wealth transfer from young people starting out in life to a jumbo political machine.

Henceforward I think we can dispense with the notion that this is a pro-Israel group. Alan Dershowitz observes, “Any pretense that J Street is a pro-Israel organization has been destroyed by that organization’s refusal to participate in a solidarity rally for Israel during the recent crisis in Gaza.”

Leftward-looking Israelis have woken up as well. The very liberal Ari Shavit writes, “What the Israel Air Force pilots are doing right now is allowing the only Jewish state to exist. What Golani, Paratroopers, and Nahal soldiers are doing right now is ensuring that the only democracy in the Middle East will survive. Israelis living in the south are currently facing a diabolical effort to bring our house down over our heads. Even as the images coming out of Gaza are extremely difficult, we cannot forget this. We are not Goliath. We were David, we remain David, and as David, we defend ourselves. Are we justified? Clearly. We’ve made terrible mistakes – politically, strategically and militarily. We were complacent and arrogant, and walked into traps with open eyes. But don’t get confused, friends. Don’t cross the lines, friends. We must stand strong against the evil tunnels and the wicked rockets that threaten us. We’ve forgotten how to say it, and sometimes it’s difficult to whisper it, but we’re right. In this sad, terrible story, we’re in the right.” Liberal self-flagellation isn’t just an American thing, you know.

Upward of 400 fundraising events, and finally the press senses something is wrong. On his latest California fundraising trip: “Obama’s remarks stuck to a theme he has been relying on during a three-day West Coast fundraising spree — that Republicans are fostering a cynicism in the country that helps the GOP by dissuading the public to vote. Earlier Wednesday Obama portrayed Republicans as members of a party that ‘has no agenda other than making government not work.’ Obama has combined his irritation at Republicans with calls on GOP leaders to cooperate with him, a call challenged by Republican leaders who say Obama is not sufficiently engaged in legislation and is not pursuing bipartisan solutions.”

Afterward, when we’ll look back to see who was clear and morally sane, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) will get high marks. “Please don’t . . .  say that both sides are to blame here — that’s not true. This crisis would end tomorrow if Hamas would turn over its rockets and stop bombarding people. . . . Hamas is asking their people to do what their leader themselves won’t do, asking their own people to get in harm’s way, to act as human shields because they want these images to be spread around the world. . . . I think it is absolutely outrageous that some in the press corps domestically, and most of the press corps internationally, is falling for this game.” Outrageous, but predictable.