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Mica Challenger Heather Beaven’s First TV Ad Soldiers On, Without a Fight

| September 20, 2010

heather beaven jon mica congress race florida 7th district

John Mica is not as endangered an incumbent as Heather Beaven could make him.

Democrat Heather Beaven, John Mica’s challenger in Florida’s 7th Congressional District, has done plenty to tidy up what had been a messy beginning to her campaign. She’s trying to do a little more. She has her first TV ad. It’s called “Determination.” It’s worth a look–and a quick analysis. I’d love to do the same for Mica, but so far he’s taking his victory pretty much for granted. No ads from him yet. It’s a matter of time: he has too much money to let sit around, and to hear some of these tea party fogeys, it isn’t out of the question that rage against incumbents couldn’t help Beaven, even if that rage is blowing from the right.

Here’s the text of the Beaven ad:

She’s a decorated Navy veteran who fought in the drug and immigration wars on America’s southern border. Now she runs a non-profit, helping kids learn job skills and find employment. As a first-time candidate, she has the guts and determination to take on the special interests in Washington, to help Florida’s small businesses expand, and start hiring again. She’s Heather Beaven, one of us, for Congress.

The voice-over is nothing unusual. Its male baritone is actually familiar, which is disappointing in one sense: when will women be the accepted voice-over for political candidates’ TV ads–especially for a woman who’s making a point of bucking stereotypes (Navy veteran and all that)?

Here’s the ad itself:

[media id=86 width=500 height=350]

It’s a surprisingly non-confrontational ad for a campaign commercial less than two months away from the election. This is the sort of ad you roll out in the spring as a nice introduction to all the Rotary and Kiwanis clubs that should come after you. But as an ad prefacing a showdown over issues worthy of a showdown–Mica’s Saudi-prince-like oil addiction, his virtual sense of entitlement to the very same seat he uses to bash every entitlement he can, his reckless shilling for keeping all the Bush tax cuts at the expense of a fiscal future already mortgaged twice over–there’s not much of a there there.

Editor’s Blog

The ad is empty of anything suggesting a race against an eternal incumbent, which should be any challenger’s first parry this year, if that challenger has been paying attention: Mica has been in office since 1992, making him not merely a contemporary of Bill Clinton, but a pre-historic incumbent, the Internet being the start of history as we know it. The ad is obviously designed as an introduction to a vast public that still doesn’t know who Beaven is, though there’s no word about her family (she is married, she has children), her roots (actually, she’s a Missouri native, but who in Florida isn’t a native of elsewhere?) or her current whereabouts (Palm Coast and Flagler Beach). So it does what these sorts of ads do regardless of who’s running: it appeals to simple, and relatively simple-minded, instincts of militarism, gutsiness, kid-friendliness (insterad of kissing babies, she gets older kids jobs, which is more useful), plus a little nativism. Beaven lays it on a bit thick, though she’d have to: for all the Democrats outnumbering Republican registrants in Flagler County, the 7th District is Republican country where m&m reigns.

Nevertheless, it’s not exactly clear what the Navy was doing fighting “in the drug and immigration wars” down south, since we’re not exactly at war there (nor should be), and no Navy was deployed in any “war” on our borders. If Beaven is suggesting that her ship took her to the deep waters off Colombia, where the Clinton and Bush administrations did waste a few billion dollars fighting a proxy war, there’s the small matter of geographic accuracy.

Still, most people don’t know that, so they’ll pump a fist or two over the Beaven ad’s rah-rah warmongering over undocumented immigrants. Making immigration one of the few centerpieces of the ad just when Obama is angling again for immigration reform raises another question: would she resist the road to citizenship offered to most undocumented immigrants in such a reform plan?

The cause-and-effect bit about being a first-time candidate is weak: It doesn’t follow that just because someone is a first-time candidate, she can get the economy going or take on special interests. Off-the-rack logic like that can just as easily bite back in Robert Louis Stevenson style: “Politics is perhaps the only profession for which no preparation is thought necessary.” Besides, Obama is a first-time president. Look where he is now.

The usual necessities of introductory ads aside, there is one clearly disturbing, ugly line: “one of us.” Really? What does that mean? What does it imply? I wouldn’t mind a few more liberals in this swarm of conservative stupor we’ve been in for more than a quarter century (a couple of Obama’s moderate dares aside), but one of us? Who exactly is not “one of us”? Republicans? Immigrants? John Mica? There is no acceptable answer to that question no matter how you pose it, how you phrase it. It’s a tasteless question that, no matter how seemingly noble the answer implies superiority on one hand–hers–and inferiority somewhere on the other. That sort of line reminds me of the Alabama candidate who wanted to outlaw driver’s tests in any language but English.

We don’t need xenophobia in any language. Especially not from a Democratic candidate. There’s plenty to tackle in Mica’s two decades (or his last two months, if short attention spans are an issue). Sounding like him isn’t a good strategy. (“Any careful review of these new proposals for reform will reveal that their primary objective is to grant amnesty or so called pathways to citizenship,” Mica just wrote fearfully of the Obama immigration reform package.) Then again, it’s not as if the man in the White House has been much of an inspiration.

Democrats these days are in their own wilderness. Beaven’s ad shows to what extent.

Pierre Tristam

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17 Responses for “Mica Challenger Heather Beaven’s First TV Ad Soldiers On, Without a Fight”

  1. JR says:

    “Undocumented immigrants,” Illegally entered into a sovereign nation. They are the law breakers, not cops doing their jobs. Try crossing into Iran by accident–see you in a couple of years.

  2. Alex says:

    JR, We must conclude that our border defense forces are not as competent as the Iranians.

  3. Perry Klein says:

    “Decorated Navy Veteran”? She earned the Navy Achievment Medal, after one tour of duty. Everyone gets recomended for a medal after a tour of duty, and the Achievement Medal is pretty standard. She probably also got the Navy Good Conduct Medal, for never getting in trouble for 3 years, and if she served during the time of the Persian Gulf war, she also would have recieved the National Defense Service Medal. Yes, that is considered decorated, but it’s nothing that outstanding.

  4. Kip Durocher says:

    @Perry Klien
    What were your “outstanding medals?” Why do you run people who serve the United States down?
    Are you anti-military?
    You must be one of those people who thinks those who serve their country are stupid. And don’t tell me I don’t know you. You anti-US prattle tells me all I want to know about you.
    Do you have some hidden agenda you are not sharing?

  5. Perry Klein says:

    Actually, you do not know me. I served in the U.S. Army during the Persian Gulf war, as a behavioral Science Specialist, with the 306th Military Batallion. I am also decorated with the same medals that Ms. Beaven was, and reached the rank of Specialist, scoring a perfect 200 on the promotion Board. In addition, I earned the Expert Rifleman Badge, for my alacrity with the M-16 Assault Rifle.
    I served my country proudly, and my time in service was one of the most memorable highlights in my life.
    God Bless the USA!

  6. Kip Durocher says:

    So I was correct. Your insults to Ms. Beaven come from another hidden agenda that you are not disclosing. Would you please pin on your good conduct medal, assuming you have one as you have so far proven yourself to be a deceitful person, and explain the real reason you attack Ms, Beaven.
    Could it be something as mundane as the fact that you are a republican attack dog on the prowl?

  7. George says:

    I like Mica’s toupée

  8. Robert says:

    It is doubtful the Heather Beaven can win an election against John Mica. You have St John’s county, solid republicans, twice as many as democrats. Even factoring in the independents that are still more republicans. Volusia county has more registered democrats than republicans, even so McCain won Volusia. Flagler county voted democrat by less than 700 votes in the presidential election.

    She has her work cut out and if she does not get aggressive and use negative campaigning the fat lady can start signing right now.

    John Mica is a perfect example of the best representative that money can buy.

    The only question is who does he represent.

  9. Perry Klein says:

    Your statement suggested that I am “Anti- American”, and think that people who serve our country are stupid. I am neither. However, I am a Republican in District 7, and it is time for Republicans to take back congress. District 7 in John Mica’s territory, and Ms Beaven is not going to take it, because she doesn’t seem to be a strong enough candidate. Perhaps there lies your propensity to be angrily fearful and rude. I did not attack your character, but you refer to me as an attack dog; you are the attack dog.

  10. Kip Durocher says:

    Sadly perry all i did was expose your deceptive behavior. You belittle someone who has the same awards you wear. All in the name of politics. If I wanted to call you anti-American I would have. I just wanted to goad you into giving your self up – and it was like taking candy from a baby. Your behavioral science specialist training sure did not give you much of an education at all. What was it ~ 10 weeks in MOS school? You are right I am fearful. I fear what the amoral beliefs and the almost lock-step fascism of your Washington cadre will do to America. You and your ilk give me great cause to fear. No smear is too undigestable for the GOP!
    You, you right wing agenda, your obstructionist party in Washington are all anti-America. All are against anything done to make this nation better, to pull together for the common good. You want power for power’s sake, and then you want to steal the public coffers. Nothing is correct unless it is a republican idea. A person must be mentally ill to be able to go to sleep at night, calling themselves a Rebublican, and knowing what their party stands for , is and does.
    p.s. ” alacrity with the M-16 Assault Rifle” ~ look up the word alacrity and see how foolish you look.

    @George ~ I have seen mica’s toupee live in person on several occasions and it is a doozie!!!

  11. Richard Hamilton says:

    Interesting comments Pierre. I’m a registered Democrat, but I’m voting with Mica this time.

  12. Kip Durocher says:

    I have seen John Mica go way above and beyond for the resident’s of his district. I first met him in 1994 at a dedication of a mental health facility that he was instrumental in aquiring funding for. He is very conservative, but he does what he feels is best for his district, this can not be faulted. I personally feel he is not a true Republican, he is something other than a pol. Not walking on water ~ but the best for Flagler in this contest.
    Richard Hamilton you show the way ~ we need electorate not party only people to save this great country.

  13. Pierre Tristam says:

    Richard, I’m a registered independent and I voted for Mica last time, but that’s because he was running against someone who was straight out of the extras’ cast for “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.” And while it appears that the Flagler County Democratic Party has an exclusive arrangement with that casting agency, there are limits: Mica voted against the stimulus, against health care reform, against anything with the word “abortion” in it, against unemployment extensions, against expanding child care subsidies, and pretty much against anything vaguely humane and useful beyond aiding and abetting the nation’s top 2 percent. And that’s just in the immediate past. He’s about to vote, given the chance, against repealing tax cuts for those top 2 percent, which to me is somewhere in the circles of hell of immorality. He’s right out of extras casting for “Wall Street.” Beaven has her problems, and she’s a Democrat of the right-wing Kosmas kind (though thankfully less fuzzy than Kozmas, who might first want to consult with a focus group before telling you what time it is), but barring revelations quite a bit more egregious than I’ve come across, there’s no contest for me between her and Mica, and I’ve never given creed to that whole seniority-in-Congress business: it’s part of what ingrains the rut of incumbency. To his credit he did vote to re-authorize funding for the NEA in 1998, but by then the thing had been eviscerated and reduced to a friend of Thomas Kincaid artistry.

  14. George says:

    @Kip: I feel inclined to pet his toupée, it looks soft

  15. Perry Klein says:

    Alacrity is another word for agility,qnd skillfullness, which is the way that I meant it. Speaking of mental illness, I was wondering if your prescription needed a refill.

    See you at the polls!

  16. Perry Klein says:

    Look, everybody. I’m not a big fan of Congressman Mica, and I may have voted him out in a Republican primary. But at this juncture, I believe that he has more to offer than Ms. Beaven. I’m not against crossing party lines in a general election, but I don’t think that it’s a good idea this time. Having differing opinions, and taking them to the poll is one of the things that makes our country great, and if Ms. Beaven wins the District 7 seat for United States Congress, I will support her all the way.

    Kip, our banter was fun, but It seems that we are both casting a vote for the Republican incumbent for congress. It is a decision that I have struggled with for several weeks. I would have liked to see other Republicans come out and campaign for the seat in a primary, but Congressman Mica was unopposed.

  17. Perry Klein says:

    “A person must be mentally ill to be able to go to sleep at night calling themselves a Republican.” I happen to work in the mental health field, and the truth is that most of the mentally ill patients that I know voted Democrat in 2008.

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