Critiquing and appraising the McInnis water articles

As has been widely reported, and most doggedly by media blogger and Colorado Independent contributor Jason Salzman, GOP gubernatorial candidate Scott McInnis landed a plumb writer’s gig with the conservative Hasan Family Foundation when he left Congress in 2005. He was paid $300,000 to write 12 articles over two years on Colorado water– that’s $2000 per page. The material the would-be governor produced for the windfall sum is something like a cross between junior encyclopedia entries and 1998-era late-night personal weblog ramblings.

Alan Prendergast has landed his own writer’s gig mercilessly dissecting the McInnis “articles” at Westword. The first installment comes today:

“WATER!” McInnis begins, with the all-cap urgency of a high-school composition assignment. “It is an absolute human and economic necessity. WATER! You and I cannot live without it.” So far, so good. Seventeen words in, and we’ve already sounded a mighty theme.

Prendergast approaches his task in the perfectly apt voice of a patient and amused composition instructor, one who has seen it all over the course of decades spent shepherding navel-gazing innocents through the deep forests of the written word.

Scott McInnis (facebook)

As the bottom of the page approaches, the passive voice takes over, coating the entire project in a warm, fuzzy vagueness. “These ground waters are being depleted much more rapidly than anticipated.” (Depleted by whom? Who’s doing the anticipating?) “The issue is politicized and disputes are increasing.” (Disputes among whom over what?)

Is McInnis, shrewd political animal that he is, doing his best not to cast blame? In his excitement at nearing the end of his essay — two grand for essentially listing the river basins! — is he seeking to be as bland as possible, with good will to all and malice to none? In any event, he breaks off abruptly: “Thank you. Until next time.”

Analysis: A plodder. Sticks to the issues he knows (rainfall, river basins), doesn’t stick his neck out. Puts out minimal effort to meet minimal expectations. C-.

Could any political candidacy (or adult job candidacy of any kind) survive this kind of public corrections session? No wonder the “articles” were so late in coming.

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