July 20, 2010

Scott McInnis – Shakespeare in love with himself

The only thing that makes politics interesting is scandal. Social change, economic reform, and municipal improvements would be entertaining too but that might be asking for too much from our elected officials. Politicians seem to make the quickest decisions when their asses are on the line, which in this day and age is about every week. And thank God! We put these people in office so they might as well do something and entertain us. Life would be pretty boring if we didn’t have Larry Craig tapping his foot in an airport bathroom, Mark Sanford  “hiking the Appalachian Trail,” and Elliot Spitzer keeping on his socks while spending time with his favorite call girl Ashley Dupre. And now that the PT Cruiser is gone we need more spice in our life than ever. Sarah Palin’s tweets can’t do it all by themselves and I refudiate anyone to say otherwise.

Something about politics leads to disgraceful behavior. Could be all the lying. Standing on soap boxes is a gateway drug to ingloriousness. Even people who aren’t politicians but just buzz around the political realm seem to get ensnared in sticky situations. Rush Limbaugh allegedly had his maid zigzagging across Palm Beach to get him fixes of Oxycotin and Ted Haggard who was such a darling of the republican family valuers somehow found himself in a hotel room mething it up with a male prostitute. Hey, it could happen to anyone. Anyone who’s a homosexual and uses Crystal Meth. And just to be clear, being homosexual isn’t scandalous, unless you’ve made a career crushing gay rights.

That’s the great thing about political scandals, the offender is often caught doing something he publicly deplored. A falsified persona of morality is one of the highest horses to fall from. Schadenfreude tastes best when served over a seared politician and currently the dish of the week is Scott McInnis, the republican frontrunner in the race for Governor of Colorado. McInnis’ story isn’t very sexy. There’s no hookers or drugs but there is cheating. Plagiarizing to be exact. A family foundation out of Pueblo, Colorado commissioned McInnis to write some articles on water rights for which they paid him $300,000.00 and apparently the work he turned in resembled (nearly word for word) someone else’s writing on the same subject.

McInnis denies plagiarizing and blamed his writing assistant, who he never credited until he got caught. I read the passages in question and in my opinion they were obviously lifted. McInnis tried to cast the whole thing off as a “non-issue” but as a published author of three novels and a produced screenwriter of a feature length film who has never once been paid $300,000 to write anything I was intrigued. I wanted to know more about this Scott McInnis, a man savvy enough to negotiate such a lucrative writing gig. Perhaps I could learn from him, be inspired by his words, or convince him to be my agent. Surely he’s cut a wide swath through his community and left behind a trail of conquests and coups. Anyone who’s ‘musings on water’ (the title of his allegedly plagiarized article) are worth over a quarter million dollars must be a hell of a thinker. I expected his writings to bring me to tears.

But no, nothing about the man stood out. At least nothing spectacular. Instead there was an all too predictable history of opinion flip flops and party line stances and the typical whatever will get me elected ideology by a mid to low level politician. The republican was once pro-choice and now he’s against abortion. As for immigration, McInnis has publicly stated he wants to adopt Arizona’s immigration laws for Colorado so clearly the only ideas he’s willing to admit to stealing are the bad ones. He also has a history of wearing ugly mustaches and he prefers to donate elk instead of money to charity.

The one action McInnis did take that set him apart was naming a national conservation area after himself. There’s a word for that: Cojones. As narcissistic as the decision was, it was well timed because in all likelihood McInnis will soon be out of the Governor’s race and out of our minds forever except as the guy who got caught cheating. Scandals have a way of changing one’s legacy so it’s a good thing he took the opportunity to immortalize himself while he still could.

So what’s next for Scott McInnis, professional muser? With his political career possibly over maybe he’ll return to writing. Without any government clout it’s unlikely family foundations will be willing to pay big bucks to have him in their back pockets. Unfortunately fiction doesn’t pay as much either, but Scott McInnis, if you want to give writing a novel a shot here are some book ideas you could shop around as your own: Gary Potter – The Sorcerer of the Dome, The Divinci Morse Code, Eat Pray Like, or Lord of the Bling. If anyone asks why those titles seem so familiar just tell them it’s a non-issue…or blame it on your writing assistant.

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