Politicians normally refine their skills by working in other occupations. Attorneys, Doctors, and Businesspeople will often find they have a knack for leading and getting things done, then make the decision to enter politics.
After his most recent campaign victory we’re reminded that John Mica has probably had those political skills for as long as he could talk.
When John Mica took the podium after his win over fellow House Representative Sandy Adams, he led with the easiest quotable of the entire evening. “They said that this race was about the heart and soul of the Republican Party,and I’m here to tell you tonight that the heart and soul of the Republican Party is doing fine here in Central Florida.”
The perfect beginning to a victory speech by Central Florida’s master politician. It was in response to an Orlando Sentinel article that endorsed Mica and at the same time, he answered the question and used it to rally those in attendance.
Mica could walk into a room of a 100 people and walk out a 120 minutes later with 99 votes, and possibly not be able to tell you one specific detail about any of those people. It’s not a bad memory or arrogance but it’s the way soon to be 11 term Congressman is wired. Eyes on the prize, and ears to those standing in the way to overcome objections. Its not about R’s and D’s, its about dollars and votes. Money for the district and campaign coffers and re-election votes from happy constituents. That’s his job, that’s what he does.
As a public speaker, it doesn’t matter whether he’s standing in front of 10 or 1000, as far as he’s concerned he’s telling Washington war stories in a bar in with a couple of buddies. He’ll tell a few jokes, pull up his belt about twice per minute, tell you what he’s trying to do, and win the room. During debates he’ll act like his opponent isn’t even in the room. His strict media discipline minimizes addressing attacks or slinging mud himself. Heck, you could watch his tv interviews from the last few months and have a hard time realizing who he was even running against.
You could guess that’s why he won so easily last night. Adams ran an attack heavy campaign and while she had plenty of valid points, there were also conflicts like Sunrail. Adams voted for the commuter rail system and that’s not a knock on her but it’s because Mica worked the environment and made the vote acceptable at the time. Outside of the Tea Party it still is. He might very well be a cheerleader for Barack Obama, until the game changes then he’ll go and be a cheerleader for someone else. Dollars and Votes.
It’s a finesse game. Don’t believe it? Ask the hard-charging Cliff Stearns, another long-time incumbent that had to deal with a Tea Party challenger. Big Animal Vet Ted Yoho nipped Stearns in a nail-biter up north. Mica would have won that race and if he didn’t think he could, he would have done what Stearns should have done, and beat down Freshman Congressman and Adams endorser Rich Nugent in his more moderate district.
So Mica is here for another term (unless a historic upset in the general occurs) and after November we won’t see him again, that’s how politicians are. He’ll probably never see a challenge as stiff as this one until he retires (and then Adams should come back). Why? Because future opponents will recognize that John Mica is THE a career politician.
and a 22 year winning streak is a successful career.