The GOP has been touting the historic win by Mia Love in Utah’s 4th congressional district. She’s the first black woman republican elected to congress. Of course, the wingnuts are using her to show that, “hey, we’re not really racist. See, we elected a black woman!” But beyond her race and gender, how does Love stack up?
Love’s first congressional campaign consisted mainly of tea party talking points. In August 2012, when John McCain came to Salt Lake City to campaign on her behalf, his appearance at a town hall meeting had the unexpected effect of highlighting Love’s lack of depth beyond mantras such as “audit the Fed.” Peppered with questions about Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan’s health care proposals, which include steep cuts to Medicaid, and how they might affect disabled children in the state, Love was emphatic in her insistence that “Anyone who has said to you or anyone else that I’m going to pull the rug out from under you…is absolutely lying to you.” But she offered so few specifics that McCain frequently had to step in and save her. At one point, she even suggested a health care proposal that already had been enacted as part of Obamacare.
Not an auspicious start, but she did perform better in ‘14. So where is she on the issues? Well she seems to have adopted the GOPs stance of absolute support for guns above all common sense and concern for others.
Love has made a big show of her concern for the Second Amendment and her fondness for packing heat—issues that sell well with both Utah and national conservatives. But the summer of 2012 saw a rash of costly wildfires in Utah, including a big one in Saratoga Springs that required the evacuation of 9,000 of Love’s fellow residents. It was one of at least 20 fires attributed to outdoor target shooters, whom Utah’s Republican governor was desperately trying to persuade to use indoor ranges instead. Not long after the governor made his appeal, Love made a big appearance on the Today Show, where she showed off her shooting skills—outside, in the dry brush.
And also a fierce proponent of deregulation to the determent of public health and safety.
From the hills of Saratoga Springs (edit: where love was mayor), residents have an unobstructed view of the brown haze that hovers over Salt Lake City, which has some of the nation’s worst air pollution and grapples regularly with “toxic fog” during the winter. It looked like Beijing in January, when Utahans were actually protesting about the problem at the state capitol—something seldom seen in this conservative state. Utah’s air quality is a top concern these days, and a bipartisan one. Did Love look across the valley at the smog, contemplate the high rates of asthma among local kids, and join Utah Moms for Clean Air? No, she ran for Congress on a platform that included slashing the EPA—the one federal agency that can help Utah combat air pollution.
So, another inch deep puddle of derp who serves the GOP’s corporate sponsors, and not the interests of her constituents. Let’s just hope she doesn’t last any longer than Palin did.