While Matheson is skipping his party’s convention, Love is not only expected to attend the Republican gathering in Tampa, Fla., but is widely rumored to have a speaking role, in part because of her potentially history-making candidacy. If she beats Matheson, she will become the first black Republican woman elected to Congress. —The Salt Lake Tribune, June 22, 2012.
Please, please, Mia, please stay home. Don’t go to Tampa and speak at the Republican convention in August. Lie low for a while, and make your move when you have a little more seasoning and experience. Don’t pull a Sarah Palin (but more of her later).
You are too young to remember, but once upon a time, in an election far, far away, young Bill Clinton’s premature exhortations at the 1988 Democratic Convention nearly sank his career. Like you, he was heralded as the next big thing in his party, but he gave a gasbag of a speech, and had to scramble and scrape like a horny razorback hog to get back into the political game. Which, alas, he was able to do, much to the detriment of our republic, and much to the detriment of a certain hopeful White House intern with issues concerning her body image.
People might say, well, what about Barack Obama? He was a total greenhorn and a wet-behind-his-big-ears senator when he spoke at the Democratic Convention in 2004, but his speech launched him right into the White House. If Barack can do it, why can’t you? Well, Mia, you are great, but you, Mia, are no Barack Obama. And, as events have shown, even Barack Obama is no Barack Obama.
A more instructive precedent to meditate upon is the career of Sarah Palin. When she was plucked from obscurity, untimely ripped from her comfy Alaskan womb, she at least had seemingly established herself as a savvy political player and infighter. You, Mia, have spent just a few minutes as mayor of a one-horse town, and haven’t yet, as you will surely do, won your way to Washington as Utah’s representative in the 4th Congressional District.
All the attention you are getting has to be a heady experience. Although you don’t drink, you must, at this moment—with all the media razzle-dazzle and all the jingle- jangle of conservative cash—feel like you’ve just ingested three Bombay martinis. Never in your wildest dreams could you have imagined that after marrying your Mormon missionary and moving to Utah, you would find yourself, after a few orbits of our planet around its puny star, thrust into the exceedingly bright sun of national politics.
My modest counsel is to advance very cautiously toward the light. I have absolutely no doubt that if you play your cards right, you will one day succeed beyond your wildest imaginings. You have far more talent, smarts and personality than that other Mormon on the national scene, the spiritually erect but morally limp Mit Romney. No doubt you are feeling more than flattered to be wined and dined, caressed and cuddled, by the Republican power elite who made their way to Park City last week to sustain their presumptive nominee by the stuffing of pockets and laying on of hands.
It doesn’t matter that Karl Rove has remnants of a mini quiche on his mouth when he kisses your cheek at the fundraiser or that one of Mit’s right-wing sugar daddies thinks you’re Condoleezza Rice or asks you to run into the kitchen and fetch some more of them smoked-salmon deals. What matters is that you have arrived. The breath of power is always sweet, even though it reeks of stale cheese.
Sarah Palin savored that power, and no doubt fully expected she would ride the horse of celebrity into the eternal sunset, with or without her hubby Chuck or Tug or whatever his name was. You, Mia Love, are a lot smarter than Ms. Palin, but politics ain’t beanbag, as they say, and the national media and big-time politicos ain’t as nice as the sweet spirits out in these here neck of the woods.
Don’t let the Republicos turn you into the next Sarah Palin, the next sweetheart of the political rodeo. Don’t mount that pony.
Instead, keep your head down, focus on beating Jim Matheson and, once you win, go back to Washington and bone up on things for your inevitable interview with Katie Couric. And remember the words to that old Kenny Rogers tune. “Oh, Mia, don’t take your Love to Tampa.”
D.P. Sorensen writes a satire column for City Weekly.