Perhaps I spoke too soon about Colorado not having any political races this year worth watching. Two days ago, we awoke to the news that a Republican candidate for Governor, Scott McInnis, whom I described here as the Snidlely Whiplash of Colorado politics, plagiarized articles he was to write as a requirement of a $300,000 fellowship by a private foundation here in Colorado. (Where can I get that kind of fellowship?) Then yesterday, the Denver Post reported that McInnis had plagiarized an op-ed that was originally published in the Washington Post back in the 1990s when he was a Congressman, and it called for him to drop out of the Republican primary race. (Our primary is August 10, but most counties are holding a mail-in ballot election only, and the ballots are being sent out today, so this story breaks at an especially bad time for McInnis.)
Last night, the octogenarian engineer whom McInnis tried to blame for the original plagiarism said not only that McInnis is lying, but that his campaign tried to force him to sign a false statement taking blame for it! Today the Post reports that the authors of the plagiarized op-ed, lackeys of the Heritage Foundation, say that they had given McInnis permission to use their words, but most people seem to see it as confirmation of a pattern of Snidely Whiplashian corner-cutting.
Of course, the journalists on this story are outraged about the plagiarism. I’m sure you proffies and grad students who read Historiann.com are too. But, the fraud in this case bears attention too. Who the h-e-double-hockey-sticks gets paid $300,000 to write a few articles on water law? And then what kind of guy has the nerve to cheat on such a patently cushy deal? Not the kind of guy most Coloradoans want to call their Governor, that’s for sure. Coloradopols has been holding a death watch for the McInnis campaign since Tuesday afternoon. You can follow events as they unfold over there, and at the Denver Post website.
One last observation: this scandal seems to confirm what even many GOPers thought about McInnis. His statewide reputation is that of a guy who’s only in it for himself, and he’s not a well liked person. I think the media and political establishment pile-on reflects this antipathy towards McInnis. It’s notable that absolutely no Republicans have come out to defend McInnis publicly. Their attitude seems to be, he made his bed, now let him lie in it. (Of course, nothing would please the majority of journalists and professors in this state more than seeing McInnis go down for plagiarism. What an object lesson for our students!)