Saturday, September 19, 2015

Lon Johnson-- And The Art Of Writing Off A Congressional District


Lon and Juliana-- unlikely to take up residence in Marquette

by Cheboygan Charlie

By reviewing Michigan’s Democratic politics over the last three years, one thinks he or she is reading the screenplay to a soap opera, or a comedic soap opera, aka a sitcom. Wrong. A thorough review of recent Michigan Democratic Party political history is a narrative that could serve as the epitome of the problems with our current Democratic Party. Let’s start in 2012.

Lon Johnson, a failed Democratic political operative has come home to his native Michigan, leaving behind years of failures at organizations such as the DSCC and the DNC. He desperately wanted to be someone in this world. He thought that running for the State House of Representatives would be his pathway to stardom. Upon returning to Michigan, Lon went to his hometown, just south of Detroit. He was disappointed: All of the local districts were taken. What was he to do? Run for sherriff? Run for dog catcher? Tax collector? Postmaster?...

No, Lon quickly remembered that his family owned a fishing shack in the Northern Michigan county of Kalkaska. So he took out his handy State House district map, and noticed there was an R+8 seat held by a weak one-term Republican in the district in which his family owned a piece of property smaller than a chipmunk’s bedroom. Perfect, he thought.

Lon, having spent years alongside decently astute Beltway operatives, understood that it would take an unusual amount of money to pull off this victory. He never could raise this amount of cash in the district, as Northern Michigan is known to be extremely poor, desolate, and bleak: a place no one in their right mind would ever venture to.

Then he remembered that he had recently gotten married to one of the President’s senior political operatives, Julianna Smoot, who is one of the canniest and most successful fund-raisers in politics. He almost forgot that he was married to Julianna, as Julianna quickly moved to Chicago after marrying Lon 400 miles away in Michigan. So Lon got his wife’s blessing. More importantly, he got her promise that she would leverage her national financial connections, banksters such as Jamie Dimon and Robert Wolf, to fund her husband’s longshot bid in the middle of nowhere.

Long story slightly shorter, the people of Northern Michigan were not nearly as clueless and out of touch as Lon had hoped. People quickly began wondering what in the world this out-of-towner was doing in their district, let alone trying to represent them.

Lon misunderstood one of the most valuable rules in running for office: Understand your voters. But you can’t blame him, as this is one of the many things the Democratic Party forgets constantly and systemically. It's what they believe in.

Lon raked in money from ridiculous corners of the political money map. Bankers, financiers, hedge funders, Hollywood execs, even David Axelrod all gave to Lon Johnson. After all, he was Julianna Smoot’s husband. Lon lost, handily, and began drinking heavily, from what I’m told. After a few months of drinking and moose-hunting, he wanted back at it. The only question was, what exactly was it he wanted?

He deemed longtime State Party Chairman Mark Brewer as the perfect target. Now, even though Mark had some bad cycles, they were arguably not his fault; rank-and-file delegates in the party praised him for his unique intelligence and good faith. Lon, again taking the people for granted, began campaigning. No one bought it! After about a month on the trail, it was clear by a simple delegate count that he was screwed.

From what we here at DWT have heard from sources in Detroit, Lon was literally crying, not knowing what to do. Julianna, coming off her big Obama win and not wanting to see Lon weeping all the time, knew she had some leverage, and began pulling strings. Soon enough, the UAW took orders from DC and threw their support behind Lon. In Michigan Democratic politics, auto workers still have clout, and apparently had  enough to turn the election.

Lon became the party chairman, promising to lead the party to victory in 2014. (Please note that Mark Brewer dropped out of the race, so disgusted with what his party had become.) Again, long story short, the party lost almost every race. Lon listened to his bonehead loser friends in DC who said to clear every primary for the more conservative, Republican-light Democrat to run in. For example, Lon worked closely with Steve Israel to recruit gun-loving Guantanamo Bay brain child Sheriff Jerry Cannon to run in the northern-most congressional district: MI-1.

Because this race was so close in 2012, the DCCC intended to win this seat in 2014 by recruiting a Republican to run as a Democrat. Obviously, we know what usually happens in those scenarios.

However, Lon went even further than the DCCC in screwing up this situation. Lon, so certain that Jerry Cannon would be the next Bart Stupak, regularly drove up to Northern Michigan (remember, his family has a shack there) to hunt, fish, and drink with Sheriff Jerry. He wanted Jerry to work harder than ever, so Lon would blow smoke at him by saying how he was a future presidential candidate, etc.

After a year of failures on the campaign trail, it was clear none of Lon’s recruits had a shot, Jerry included, and the party pulled out of races north, south, east, and west. Jerry Cannon, still campaigning away up in the tundra of Marquette, Bessemer, Traverse City, Cheboygan, Petoskey, etc., was so heartbroken by Lon that he spent the last month of the campaign in his back yard, chopping wood and drinking beer.

However, in the midst of these failures Lon learned a slick lesson from his intelligent wife: Use your position to build a fund-raising list. Lon, while being paid by dues-paying Democrats, took the Democratic Party’s fund-raising list, which of course he did not build, and did the unthinkable: declared for Congress... in Michigan 1!!!

Lon thought he had successfully pulled a fast one. He had a feeling this would be a tough race in 2016, and now that he had stolen a fund-raising list, he was the man for the job. Only one problem: Sheriff Jerry sobered up and stopped chopping wood.

So now, the week when incumbent Republican nutjob Congressman Dan Benishek announces his retirement, priming this seat for a possible Democratic pickup, two right-wing Democratic hacks-- one-term party chair and perennial loser Lon Johnson and his hand-picked 2014 recruit Sheriff Jerry Cannon-- will have to spend down to zero in a primary, leaving one of them to go into the general election as  a broke, depleted nothing of a candidate.

For all his faults and the social backwardness he stood for, at least Bart Stupak was an economic populist. I never thought we'd wish he was back. But not some guy from Detroit who stands looking at himself in the mirror as he dresses up like him!

UPDATE: Mackinac Island In The News

Mackinac Island is part of MI-01. They hold an annual straw poll of Republican fat cats and activists. Tonight was the night. There were 785 people voting of the 2,200 in attendance. Rand Paul, who won last year, also won this year. He, Fiorina, Kasich, Cruz and Jeb were the featured speakers. And the scores were:
Rand Paul- 22%
Fiorina- 15%
Kasich- 14%
Cruz- 13%
Jeb- 9%
Rubio- 8.4%
Trumpy- 6.8%
Carson- 5.5%
Walker- 2.6%
Everyone else scored under 1%.

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At 3:19 PM, Blogger Daddy Paul said...

Looks like you don't like Lon Johnson. Yea he is one of the last people we need.

At 3:26 PM, Blogger My House said...

Maybe he is exactly what we need. Change.


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