Doug Owens is a government shut down artist. Or at least was, when the cause meant enough to him. And it cost Utah millions.
But first, the back story.
Mia Love and Doug Owens had their third and final debate of the campaign on Thursday. My initial thoughts from listening to the debate – Owens tries really, really hard to paint Mia as a partisan extremist and himself as this bipartisan, moderate problem solver. It was by far the most fiery of their interactions to date, with Mia sounding more comfortable and aggressive and Owens caught a little off guard by it, though certainly willing and able to fire numerous of his usual barbs.
One problem in this race is that neither one has a lot of political history to judge them by. Mia was a small town mayor, and Doug has never held office. Mia’s tenure gives some insight, but there’s not much to go on with Doug. However, there is something that does give some insight into him and that shows a sharp contrast to his campaign rhetoric.
Doug’s an environmental lawyer. Back when the state was building the Legacy Highway he joined with Rocky Anderson (remember him?) and sued the state to stop the road from being built. The highway went through all the proper channels to be built, was set to go, and then at the last-minute Doug basically shut down the government with his lawsuit. It cost the state over $200 million, and eventually the road was built anyway.
Suing the state to stop a policy he didn’t like was certainly Doug’s prerogative, and something he obviously felt very strongly about. But for him to show up out of nowhere a decade later and complain about extremism and claim to be this problem solver is rank hypocrisy. When it mattered, to the tune of $200 million, Doug Owens sided with Rocky Anderson and the Sierra Club.
This is the sort of thing that drives me crazy. Politicians spending millions trying to claim this moderate mantle so they don’t have to ever publicly take a stand on an issue. It too often works. But remember, everyone in politics is a partisan. Doug Owens is a partisan. He cared so much about an issue that he sued and shut down the government, costing taxpayers hundreds of millions. And now he has the gall to talk about extremism, to criticize Republicans, and pretend he’s a moderate? Come on.