There never was a doubt that the Sentinel would endorse John Mica: besides its traditional vassalage for establishment candidates, the paper and its readership reflexively badger federal spending, but when it comes to federal spending on Orlando and environs, they’ll take every penny they can get. Mica is their double-edged shovel, the kind you find in every corner of Congress: spending cuts are for the other guys. As far as he’s concerned, he’s on the Bob Byrd plan (recognizing that the late Bob Byrd of West Virginia was the Democrats’ emperor of pork, though he had an excuse: he was an ex-butcher, longing for his old loins): the more federal spending he can shovel this way, the more votes he can buy. It’s working. Mica’s endorsements will always, always cite his ability to secure money for his district, including the very same money he voted against in a larger context.
- Mica Challenger Heather Beaven’s First TV Ad Soldiers On, Without a Fight
- Heather Beaven’s WTF Campaign
- Cash for Clunkers: The Mica-Beaven Money Race
The Sentinel’s endorsement is particularly duplicitous in that regard: “The 61-mile commuter-rail service would not be coming to metro Orlando in 2013 if Mr. Mica hadn’t spent years fighting for it, and hadn’t recently landed federal commitments to fund more than $300 million of its cost,” the Sentinel writes. True enough, and SunRail is a relatively good thing when you look past its pandering dealmaking, at taxpayers’ expense, on CSX’s behalf (which made out like a modern robber baron in the deal). But that $300 million commitment was finally freed up as part of the Obama administration’s commitment to mass transportation, and, in that larger context, as part of stimulus funding that’ll help pay for high-speed rail in the western portion of the state–the high-speed rail lines that’ll eventually tie into SunRail and make SunRail more viable. Yet Mica is going around the district proudly touting his vote against the $787 billion stimulus package Congress passed, without a single Republican vote, in 2009.
“Mr. Mica also landed millions for improvements to Sanford’s airport,” the endorsement continues, “And he’s worked well with Democrats on the transportation committee, advocating for upgrades to the nation’s infrastructure.” No, he hasn’t: he’s worked hard to scale back regulations and environmental oversight on infrastructure improvements, what he calls, attractively, fast-tracking–until a bridge collapses on you faster than you can say scheiße. The Sentinel gave Heather Beaven a patronizing pat on the head: Mica faces “a smart, well-qualified challenger in Heather Beaven, a Navy veteran and CEO of a non-profit that helps at-risk kids,” leaving that well-qualified hanging there, and addressing not a single issue (besides a stab at partisanship and passing mentions of the candidates’ interests) beyond the meaty home dollars. It’s as if the national conversation (and fracture) over the economy, health care, environmental concerns, those two wars over there and the irresponsible war on taxes over here, with Mica reloading those cannons every chance he gets, didn’t exist.
Say this in the Sentinel’s defense: like so many regional and local papers anymore, it’s in hock to provincialism. The rest of the conversation doesn’t take place because it doesn’t exist for it. It’s telling that between the first and second paragraphs of the five-paragraph endorsement, online, this message appeared, splitting the editorial: “Vote for you favorite local celebrity in the Celebrity Smackdown and you could win an iPad, Bose system or flat screen TV! Click here to log in and play.”
Smart and well-qualified has no chance against that sort of priorities.
The excerpt from the Sentinel editorial board’s interview with Mica begins with an erroneous question: The editor asks Mica about the vote on the $700 billion bank bailout, which the editor says, incorrectly, came after the election of Obama, and which Mica voted against. No word in the exchange about “It’s still estimated that we’ll lose $120 to $180 billion from the TARP bill.” On Sept. 30, The Times reported: “Now Treasury reckons that taxpayers will lose less than $50 billion at worst, but at best could break even or even make money.”
The board appears not to have been reading the papers.
The Sentinel also not only misunderstood but mis-characterized what Beaven meant by a “unified budget” between the Veterans and Defense departments. She did not talk about cutting bureaucracy “by combining veterans and defense departments.” She wants to ensure that “never again will the cost of being [at] war not include our veterans, making them whole when they return or giving them the care that they need when they return.”
So much for smarts and qualifications from that board. No wonder misinformation is the strongest incumbent.