2018-09-13 / Local News

Second guessing under way, but not by Calley

By Tim Skubick

The political landscape is strewn with political losers who are left to battle two illnesses.

First they are trying to heal the wounds inflicted by their opponents. And secondly, they battle a self-inflicted disease called second guessing.

The symptoms of which are clear. They mutter, “If only I had done this or that I would have won.”

Loser Brian Calley, who really wanted to be governor, has inoculated himself from the second malady.

“I’ve never been one for time travel type scenarios, so the past is the past and the future is the future and the future is as awesome as you want to make it.”

He’s no fun. No wollying in his loss at the hands of Bill Schuette. No self-pity for making mistakes.

His political consultant, however, does engage in a series of “what if’s” that make for more interesting reading.

To be sure, long time GOP consultant John Yob is not crying in his beer. But this guy makes his living by not making mistakes. So, almost by definition, he has to look back so that going forward he does not make the same miscues twice.

His post Primary election reflections center on two key decision: Linking his client, Brian Calley, to the part-time legislative proposal (PLT); and stamdomg bu while his candidate “unendorsed” Donald Trump in the presidential campaign.

To watch him walk through those issues gives you a rare peak into the inner workings of a campaign and how some things go right and other things not so much.

On the PTL thing, Mr. Yob knew his candidate would have a rough time running as a Rick Snyder Republican as opposed to a Donald Trump whatever he is Republican. Yob confesses he needed to pull a rabbit out of a hat, so he hoped that putting Mr. Calley at the front of the PTL parade with so many grassroots folks behind him was that rabbit.

While the grassroots people loved the plan, the GOP establishment did not. It was those folks who bad mouthed the proposal and Mr. Calley at the same time. Nonetheless, there was a point where the petition drive could have gotten to the ballot.

It was widely reported at the time that after Mr. Calley bailed out as the leader of the PTL club, Mr. Yob and company would mail out 100,000 blank petitions hoping to get enough folks to sign the petitions, pass them along to their friends and then send them back to campaign headquarters with the goal of reaching 350,000 valid signatures or more.

Yob reveals for the first time that there were actually 500,000 mailers, and they got between 40,000 and 50,000 signatures in the return mail. They needed 315,000 valid names. “We got there,” he said, but still laked a “pad” of names over an above the minimum required to withstand a certain legal challenge to the signatures. Mr. Yob knew the establishment desperately wanted to kill the proposed Constitutional amendment, and would fly speck every signature in an effort to toss the petition.

And then there was that moment that he looks back at now. “I thought about putting $200,000 (of his own money, which he had) into the 11th hour effort to qualify for the ballot.”

But he never opened his check book.

Would Mr. Calley have won the nomination had the PTL thing been successful? Let the second guessing commence.

But even Mr. Yob concedes with Donald Trump warmly embracing Mr. Schuette the guessing leads to a likely no.

Which leads to the second turning point issue.

After the Hollywood Access audio tapes of candidate Trump boasting about his manly prowess with willing women, Mr. Calley called Mr. Yob to give him a heads up.

The lieutenant was going to unendorse Mr. Trump because he found the candidate’s conduct to be reprehensible.

Mr. Yob listened but made nary a peep.

“I wish I had told him not to do it,” Yob said, now second guessing Calley’s decision.

He reminds everyone, “You have to put that decision in the context of the day.” After the tapes were out all sorts of high level and rock-ribbed Republicans called for Mr. Trump to take a hike. Mr. Yob concluded Mr. Calley was in good company.

So Mr. Calley un-endorsed Mr. Trump. With that die cast, it was almost certain that he would lose in the Primary to Bill Schuette, who hammered Mr. Calley with a flip-flop mallet when he re-endorsed Mr. Trump later on. Mr. Schuette gleefully reminded all those fiercely loyal Trumpeters in the outer reaches of Michigan that he had stood with Mr. Trump all the way while his opponent had not.

Game. Set. Match.

Hence, Mr. Calley is left to ponder his future, which could include another run for office. “I never say never because I hate to eat my words,” he said, chuckling.

And Mr. Yob?

He’s still raking in the cash from other clients hoping to make it to the end zone in November. As long as none of them want to hook on to the PTL plan or want to un-endorse Mr. Trump, he thinks they will do just fine, thank you very much.

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