When Ross Perot died the other day there was a surge of hits on a post I wrote in 2015, Enough Already With The Perot-Trump Comparisons. Thanks, y’all.
I never voted for Ross Perot but he was much better person than Trump. Perot was a genuine self-made man who had “a very good brain.” Perot also knew his way around a folksy aphorism whereas Trump merely babbles and repeats himself; NO COLLUSION, NO COLLUSION, NO COLLUSION. Additionally, Perot gave freely of his time and money to a variety of good causes and we all know about the Insult Comedian’s stingy ways.
And in 1992 he became one of the most unlikely candidates ever to run for president. He had never held public office, and he seemed all wrong, like a cartoon character sprung to life: an elfin 5 feet 6 inches and 144 pounds, with a 1950s crew cut; a squeaky, nasal country-boy twang; and ears that stuck out like Alfred E. Neuman’s on a Mad magazine cover. Stiff-necked, cantankerous, impetuous, often sentimental, he was given to homespun epigrams: “If you see a snake, just kill it. Don’t appoint a committee on snakes.”
Timesman Robert D. McFadden also described Perot as a “wiry Texas gadfly.” I’m fond of gadflies. I’m one myself.
1992 was one of the most exciting elections of my lifetime. It had everything: sex scandals, a huge Democratic field, and an incumbent president who was good at governing but rotten at campaigning. Poppy Bush was challenged by wingnut gadfly Pat Buchanan whose insurgent campaign damaged the incumbent enough to doom his candidacy. Thanks, Pat.
And then there was Ross Perot. He entered the race on Larry King Live, exited the race during the Democratic Convention, then re-entered the race just in time to debate Bush and Clinton.
The featured image is of my favorite moment in the first debate: Bush checking his watch. Does anybody really know what time it is, does anybody really care?
Perot did well in 1992, winning 19% of the popular vote and his candidacy was the final blow to Poppy Bush’s chances.
Perot was quirky and idiosyncratic. The term eccentric billionaire seemed to have been coined for him. I’d like to thank him at this point for helping to elect the Clinton-Gore ticket thereby breaking the Democrats losing streak in presidential races. It was a helluva campaign y’all.
Perot’s third party candidacy in 1992 showed the utility of such an effort whereas his 1996 campaign showed its futility: he won only 8% of the popular vote and wasn’t invited to debate Clinton and Dole.
I used to do a wicked Ross Perot impression but I lost it after he left center stage. It typically involved the phrase “great sucking sound,” which he used to describe NAFTA but is equally applicable to the Trump Regime.
The last word goes to Patsy Cline with the song Team Perot played as he hit the stage to concede in 1992: