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March 11, 2021 09:55 AM UTC

Scott McInnis Offers Incoherent Take On Boebert, CD-3 Politics

  • by: Colorado Pols
Scott “McPlagiarist” McInnis.

Podcaster Armin Thomas of the election analysis website Elections Daily brings us an interview with former Congressman and spectacularly failed 2010 Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott McInnis, who now serves as a member of the Mesa County Board of Commissioners after his big-league aspirations collapsed in a plagiarism scandal we covered play-by-play in this space as it happened.

McInnis had a lot of words to say in this interview about freshman Rep. Lauren Boebert, the politics of the Third Congressional District, and his own fall from grace a decade ago. But as for the intelligibility of those words, well…

THOMAS: Thoughts on current Rep. Lauren Boebert?

MCINNIS: Well look, she’s young, uh, and a lot of us are young and full of energy, and this district needs someone that’s a fighter, that’s all there is to it. I mean, I can tell you Ben Campbell got more attention probably than any other US senator and it was immensely beneficial for this district. Now, granted this is controversial, but if you take a look, for example, take a look at when they said she [Boebert] led a group of people over for this problem at the Capitol, when those people unfortunately did that to the Capitol [sic], you know, the press came right out, said there she is, they have a picture of her. It was her family, she was taking them on a tour…

I tell you, I’ve been looking at letters to the editor and I look at their party affiliation. They are all Democrats, or they’re Republicans, or I can’t find any but maybe there’s one out there [What the hell does this mean? – Pols]  – so this is a very focused political attack against her because they were stunned that they lost this seat because they thought they [the Democrats] had the right candidate and they spent 3 or 4 times the amount of money that she spent. If you compare her to her previous opponent [Democratic former State Rep. Diane Mitsch Bush], 10 years from now she’ll be in her early-mid 40s and her opponent would be in her 80s. That’s what the Democrats. [sic]

Those of us who remember Scott McInnis from his time in Congress and failed bids for higher office after leaving Congress in 2005 can tell you, yes, this is actually how he talks. We feel sympathy for any interviewer trying to get a coherent answer out of McInnis, or even correctly transcribe what he says, because his manner of speech is honestly quite difficult to follow. Once you get past that, you realize that McInnis is actually likening Lauren Boebert to former U.S. Sen. Ben “Nighthorse” Campbell for getting “attention” in a way beneficial to the residents of CD-3. And while Campbell doesn’t have many friends in the Democratic Party after switching parties in 1995, that comparison is demeaning enough to a well-respected statesman be bipartisanly offensive.

From there, the conservation turned to McInnis’ failed gubernatorial campaign in 2010, and for those of us who were present for that self-inflicted catastrophe, McInnis’ fictional retelling of those events is a real hoot:

Well, you always look back. We were cheapshotted with allegations that we were not aware of. We were ahead, we anticipated Hickenlooper was going to be our opponent, we were ahead of Hickenlooper in the polling, we were in good shape, and then they accused us of plagiarizing. Every congressperson has press people or ghostwriters that write for you, and we did. So they accused me of plagiarism and the Supreme Court did an investigation and completely exonerated me, but the fact is, we couldn’t recover from it. So what would he have done differently? We would have hopefully known about that more in advance, as a surprise attack, but look, hindsight is always perfect…

As our longtime readers know, in 2010 Scott McInnis was found to have extensively plagiarized from articles on water policy written by former Colorado Supreme Court Justice Gregory Hobbs in a series of essays produced for the Hasan Foundation, a nonprofit run by wealthy Republican donor Malik Hasan of Pueblo. McInnis was paid over $300,000 for these essays by the Hasan Foundation, an extremely generous sum of money that raised eyebrows all by itself. But in the end it was the Hasan Foundation that threw McInnis under the bus over the revelations of plagiarism, which prompted McInnis to blame his ghost-writer and suggest that the plagiarized essays were a “first draft”–bizarre since people generally don’t pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for drafts.

Even with all of that corrected for the record, McInnis still appears to be in denial over his collapse in the 2010 gubernatorial race. Although the plagiarism scandal was arguably the tipping point that resulted in McInnis losing the Republican primary to totally unqualified neophyte candidate Dan Maes, it’s important to remember that McInnis had lost the state assembly–and was suffering from allegations of being a “RINO” moderate in a year when full-throated “Tea Party” red meat was in demand.

It’s a shame in some ways to see McInnis thoughtlessly defending Lauren Boebert’s daily disgraces, and shamelessly fictionalizing his own troubles instead of owning up to them. The period of history in which McInnis’ political career fell apart could have been an important lesson to his party, to be heeded before the GOP was converted in 2016 into the personal power vehicle of one man. The “Tea Party” irrationalism that beset the GOP in 2010 led directly to Donald Trump’s takeover of the party six years later, and Scott McInnis could have been a voice to counter that march away from the mainstream.

That will never be. Today Scott McInnis is a has-been, too busy making excuses for his old mistakes to do anything about the even bigger mistakes Republicans are making today.


12 thoughts on “Scott McInnis Offers Incoherent Take On Boebert, CD-3 Politics

  1. If you’re a fighter (like he describes) don’t you, at some point, have to win the argument?  There’s usually some daylight between a gun fight and making public policy.

    1. In a district with so much Federal land, so dependent on federal money (interstates, education payments in lieu of taxes, train subsidies, agriculture subsidies and more), a "fighter" seems counterproductive, at best.  Seems to me an effective negotiator, able to help others see the benefits of helping people in the district, would be preferable.  Forging collaboration, if only in the state's delegation to Congress, would be a good start.

  2. Well, he did manage to get a National Conservation Area named after himself.  Which, on first glance, is just a minor bit of silliness.  But on further contemplation, the deep absurdity really starts to sink in.

      1. Nice story, but it's just a story, Duke. When it first passed, the land was known as Colorado Canyons. The tourist promoters thought that was too generic and didn't indicate where in Colorado the area could be found. Discussions ensued for possible names but before they got going, surprise! The House passed a bill naming it for Scooter. He claimed, and still does, that his loyal staff and congressional buddies did it to surprise him.

        I didn't believe him then and I don't now. Perhaps our new Interior Secretary might rectify the situation. My personal favorite for a new name is Kokopelli Canyons, named after a purported native American prankster and storyteller.


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