If you think you’ve had a bad day, go talk to poor Perry Johnson.
Michigan’s own “quality guru,” who wanted to be governor so badly he spent $7 million of his own money on a campaign that imploded at takeoff last year, has been running around Iowa hoping to be our next president.
He’s spent at least $8.5 million — again, of his own money — to live out this quest to be a big shot on the big stage ... only to get the rug pulled out from under him again.
Johnson was shut out of the first Republican National Committee presidential debate this week over a squabble with the rules.
RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel is requiring candidates to get at least 1% in a couple of national polls before they can appear on the debate stage. Johnson supplied some polls. He was told they didn’t qualify.
One poll surveyed voters in 38 states. That’s 12 too few, apparently. Another poll was conducted by former President Donald Trump’s former pollster.
To make things worse, Johnson was told at the last minute. Early Monday (Aug. 21), he was going over the run of the show for the Wednesday (Aug. 23) debate, scheduling his personal walkthrough of the venue.
Hours later, Johnson was told he wouldn’t be appearing with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, former Vice President Mike Pence and the rest of the gang after all.
Oh, ironies of irony.
The Oakland County business leader made a fortune telling businesses how they could improve their products’ quality. Now, Johnson can’t even pay people to take him seriously.
Ignored by the media and pollsters, for the most part, Johnson probably couldn’t have done anything more to get attention. Just look at his hokey Super Bowl TV ads in Iowa.
Guided by his political consultant, John Yob, Johnson hosted a rip-roaring party at the Conservative Political Action Conference and made enough friends to take third in the conference’s straw poll.
For months, the guy has practically lived in Iowa, the home of the first caucuses for Republicans.
He rode tractors. He visited fairs. He hired an experienced staff. He even brought in a decent country music act to do a free show.
At this point, six months into his campaign, not enough people were impressed with what they saw.
Like the football team that grumbles because a bad call “cost them the game,” Johnson is furious because not enough polls showed him at a measly 1% when staked against the other options.
Had Johnson made an impact with voters, had he impressed enough people to register at even 3% in the polls, he couldn’t have been ignored.
You can say nobody in Iowa had heard of Johnson until this year, but how many Iowans had heard of Vivek Ramaswamy? The pharmaceutical executive was a literal nobody in the Hawkeye State when Johnson was running his Super Bowl ads. Now Ramaswamy is running fourth in the polls, ahead of Haley and Pence.
It’s the same with Johnson’s flash-in-the-pan gubernatorial run. If he were creating a real movement, he wouldn’t have needed to hire dirtbags to collect 15,000 signatures for him last year.
If his “Two Cents to Save America” plan was such a gripping concept, he wouldn’t have needed to create this “I’ll-give-you-a-$10-gift-card-for-your-$1-donation” gambit to meet the 40,000-unique-donor threshold to qualify for Wednesday’s debate.
He’s a friendly person one-on-one. He’s incredibly intelligent and has the skill set to probably do a good job. But it’s hard for voters to get fired up over someone who feels like a wax museum exhibit one moment and a crazed lunatic on stage the next.
For a guy who made a career talking at people instead of listening and engaging with others, maybe that isn’t surprising.
At some point, Johnson will understand the obvious. He doesn’t have it.
Money alone can’t buy you real friends, and money alone can’t buy you real support in an election.
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