Don’t Blame Me – I Voted For Perot!

Posted by Dave

In 1992, independent candidate Ross Perot took on the sitting President of the United States (Republican George H.W. Bush) and the Democrat nominee (Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton) in a 3-way contest for the White House. Conventional wisdom dictates that he should have had no chance at all. Why?

1. He had never sought or held public office before, and thus had no track record.
2. As an independent, he had no party backing or organization.
3. In our telegenic age of blow-dried candidates with $300 coifs, his white-sidewalled crew cut had hardly changed since his years at the U.S. Naval Academy. While Bush resembled the Chairman of the Board at the local polo club, and Clinton both looked and spoke like a televangelist, Perot came across as Everyman. If ever there could be a “People’s Billionaire,” it was him.

Which is why 20 million Americans – 19% of the voters – cast their ballots for the gentleman from Texarkana. Apparently, they considered his message more important than his lack of elected experience or his supposed sartorial shortcomings. Uncounted millions more wanted to vote for him, and would have, had they not bought into the canard – no doubt endorsed by the Democrat and Republican National Committees – that he could “never” win. (Note to all would-be Nostradami: prognosticators who say never – ie. “we can never split the atom, …put a man on the moon, …elect a non-white President, etc. – tend to have a diet rich in crow.)

What exactly was this message that compelled 20 million Americans to “throw away” their votes? It was the very Essence of America – that’s what.

Perot said that if every grandparent understood how relinquishing their personal claims to a Social Security check would save their grandchildren from inheriting a bankrupt America – they would gladly do so. This was the “Greatest Generation,” after all – folks for whom no sacrifice was too much in order leave their beloved country better able to face the future.

So, with pie charts and straight talk, Perot gave us all fair warning of the financial melt-down to come. Events of the past months how only proved how right he was.

Last November, I was convinced that the Greatest Generation had given way to the Narcissist Generation, a group of voters who believed in “Me First,” and cared not a whit for the debt they were leaving for their children to shoulder. I would have told you then that – had Ross Perot been running in 2008 – he’d have gotten less than 2% of the vote.

But now, at the end of what has truly been the Long Hot Summer of town hall meetings, I think the tide may have turned. A late-August Rasmussen poll found that 57% of Americans would vote to kick out all 535 of our senators and congressmen. A 21st century Ross Perot (or Bill Cosby, or Rick Warren) run might trigger the biggest electoral upset in our nation’s history.

Like a lot of super-successful businessmen, Perot really was able to see into the future (which is how they become so successful in the first place.) And he got 20 million voters to share his vision. Unfortunately, it’s taken 17 years for most Americans to catch up. Now the problems have reached critical mass.

So Ross – if you’re interested – America needs someone with your clarity. America needs to hear your message again now. Only this time, it’s we who will be “all ears.”


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