Does this mean we won't be having an Electronic Town Meeting?
I was looking forward to talkin' things over with President Perot.
I had hoped to get a telephone call from him during a nationally televised ETM. I saw myself sitting at home on the sofa, little Nick crying, "Mo-May! Mo-May!" which is what he says when he wants to watch "The Little Mermaid," and me explaining to the lad that talkin' things over with President Perot was just a bit more important than watching a Disney video for the 101st time.
And then the phone would ring and President Perot would be on the line from the Oval Office. I'd see him on my TV screen, his pants hiked to reveal knee-high support hose, telephone in his ear. And he'd ask me something like, "Do you think the Yoo-nited States ought to be in the bidness of payin' farmers for peanuts they don't grow?" And, of course, I'd look into the little camera eye in the little black box atop my TV and give my president a highly uninformed opinion that would be broadcast across the continent. The whole time, little Nick would be screaming: "Mo-May! Mo-May!"
Then, of course, after hearing what I had to say, President Perot would thank me for my participation, send me a nice Cross pen-and-pencil set, then turn to the American people for a consensus. "Can we all agree on this?"
Then we'd all vote on subsidies for peanut farmers. And once the voting was done, once democracy was served and the president knew exactly how the American people felt about subsidies for peanut farmers, I'd click over to Channel 3 and check out "The Little Mermaid" again. (I love the part where Ursula the Sea Witch gets it in the gut.)
I guess this kind of futuristic experience in direct democracy is not to be. Couch potato government will have to wait for the next visionary to rise up and run for president.
Can I say I'm disappointed without sounding like an ardent fan of Ross Perot? I didn't think the guy could win. And, in the last month or so, I've started to see him as a bit of a flake. But, being a citizen of Maryland, home of the wackiest governor in America, I know that flakes in government are not an altogether bad thing.
It is, at least, amusing.
And, say what you will about the tenure of William Donald Schaefer as governor, you can't say it hasn't been amusing. Imagine how dreary things would have been over the last four years without Don Donaldo in the Governor's Mansion.
Remove Dan Quayle from the picture, and I can't imagine how utterly bleak and uninteresting life in America would have been the last four years. Only recently, when he started to break into inane babble, has George Bush been even slightly entertaining.
Bill Clinton playing the saxophone? A jazz saxophonist who never inhaled? That's not my idea of gettin' down.
But give me Ross Perot in the White House, and we could have had four years, barring impeachment or resignation, of government as "Hee Haw."
Too bad. I was looking forward to the Electronic Town Meeting.
And there were many other things I had hoped for in a Perot presidency. The mind spins with images that could have been.
Here's my Top Ten List of Great Moments From A Perot Presidency That Will Never Be:
10. Leads party-goers in Electric Slide at Inaugural Ball.
9. In forceful State of the Union address, Perot constantly refers to members of Congress as "you people."
8. Perot, in camouflage gear, leads his crack private security force in mock jungle combat against Secret Service in woods at Camp David.
7. Perot dresses up as the Easter Bunny for the annual White House Egg Roll. Kids go nuts when he wiggles his ears.
6. Tennis with Boris Yeltsin.
5. At a Big Seven summit in Bonn, Perot downs a few steins of Hollensheufereinerbrau -- "The Bavarian Lone Star" -- then, grinning madly, sits in German Chancellor Helmut Kohl's lap.
4. Maintaining his reputation for hiring the "best people for the job," Perot pays Sandy Koufax $1.6 million to throw out the first ball on Opening Day 1993.
3. Perot announces that he has purchased Iraq, personally paid Saddam Hussein $35 million in severance and hired Lee Iacocca to run the country.
2. Perot buys 30 million acres of Canadian timberland and has all spotted owls air-lifted from Oregon. "Not a problem," the president declares.
And, the No.1 Great Moment From a Perot Presidency That Will Never Be:
1. During visit to Daytona Beach sports bar, good-naturedly agrees to take part in a Ross Perot-tossing contest.