Politicians seem to be magnets for silly scandals these days. Take Scott McInnis. He was paid $300,000 to write an essay series about water rights, and plagiarized most of it. For this, Colorado Republicans turned on him, supporting Dan Maes, a guy who claimed that Denver’s bicycle promotion efforts were a UN plot to “threaten our freedoms.” This raises many questions, writes Gail Collins of the New York Times, “most critically, where the rest of us can find foundations that will pay us $300,000 to write some essays on water."
But McInnis is not alone. Ben Quayle is in danger because he once wrote for a local porn site, and Rand Paul was slammed for leaving Baylor early—a non-issue, since he'd already been accepted to Duke’s Medical School. Also there was the charge that he tied up a Baylor girl and made her worship an “Aqua Buddha.” But that was all in good fun. So why are we focusing on these non-scandals? “Do you think it’s a hint,” Collins asks, “that despite the extreme difficulties the country’s in, the candidates don’t really have any idea how to get us out?” (Read more Gail Collins stories.)