Vail Daily’s View: Does ideology trump character?
Vail, CO, Colorado
Of the candidates for governor, Scott McInnis’s ideology best fits the views of the primary writers of this column. He’s also the only candidate with any real sense of the Western Slope.
So his crisis of his own making is particularly disturbing. Unfortunately, he’s only confirmed the worst suspicions of the tea party advocates about politicians being, well, all the worst things we think of about politicians.
The question for the Republican true believers is whether ideology trumps character. For many, it does. And so McInnis presses on.
There are worse things, after all, than taking a big paycheck for a few articles you swore as yours but really weren’t.
Some loyalists have raised Vice President Joe Biden’s brushes with plagiarism as reasons to overlook McInnis’s.
Biden dropped out of his race for the presidency in 1998 after he failed to credit the originator of words in a stump speech, although he had given due credit to the guy in previous speeches, and he did not give proper credit in a paper as a law school student in what was described as confusion over the rules of footnoting. He hung on as Delaware’s senator, and in 2008, came to office with President Obama.
McInnis admitted not even reading whole papers he certified as his own original work for the Hasan Family Foundation in exchange for $300,000. His duties included also giving speeches to a handful of Rotary clubs and chambers of commerce. He also had a newspaper column ghost-written for him without acknowledgment that he was not really the author.
Is that really what you have in mind for the person who represents Colorado as governor?
The Hasan Family Foundation plainly was looking to champion and position the retired congressman for governor with their sweetheart deal. They knew McInnis was unlikely to break scholarly ground with water articles. But it does seem reasonable to expect he’d put at least a minimal effort on his end. The bar was low enough that his own words and intellect would do just fine.
Meantime, the tea party darling, Dan Maes, has his own issues with mileage expense reporting and has been slapped with a $17,500 fine he didn’t contest. His larger challenge is that even his own party doesn’t believe in his ability to beat the Democrat, Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper, in the fall.
And into this mess walks former U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo, positioning himself as kingmaker or spoiler, by warning he’s going to run and kill any GOP chance in an election they probably would win if they could only find an untainted candidate. There are plenty, just not on the ticket now.
McInnis is unelectable at this point, and unworthy, sad to say. Maes is at best unelectable. Tancredo just might be the most sensible Republican in the state at the moment, which is saying something. That is, as long as he’s pushing the party to find a suitable replacement for McInnis and Maes and not fashioning himself as the answer. Oh, dear.
The right thing for McInnis to do is to end his quest for the governorship and work to help the party find a good candidate to take his place should he win his party’s primary, as would be expected.
But what are the odds of a guy who took $300,000 on a lie doing the honorable thing?
That’s the Republicans’ real problem at this point.
Vail Daily Editorial Staff