So is this guy Ross Perot completely nuts, or what?


September 25, 1992|By ROGER SIMON

Is Ross Perot nuts, or what?

I would not call him nuts.

What would you call him?

I would call him the political equivalent of a computer virus: He lurks in the background waiting for the right moment to leap forward and screw up the works.

Exactly! The guy is nuts!

Naw. All he wants to do is throw the Bill Clinton and George Bush camps into absolute chaos. Nothing nuts about that.

But what if he screws up the election so much that we don't have a winner on Nov. 3 and the whole thing has to be decided in the House of Representatives?

I think it would be very exciting. Imagine all the horse-trading that would go on by each side trying to buy the votes of the congressmen.

Can you actually buy the vote of a congressman?

Where have you been? Attending the University of Mars?

OK, OK. So how would it work?

Well, imagine the scene:

A Clinton guy corners Kweisi Mfume in the House.

"We'll give you a dam," the Clinton guy says.

"A dam?" Mfume says.

"Yeah," the Clinton guys says. "Big hydroelectric thing. A jillion kilowatts. Put it wherever you want. Downtown Baltimore, your back yard, wherever. Whaddya say? Vote for Bill and you get a dam. We got a deal?"

And then the Bush guy grabs Mfume.

"You want an aircraft carrier?" the Bush guy says. "We got one for you. Name it the USS Mfume if you want. It's got missiles, planes, whatever you want. Park it right down at the Harbor. Take it out for a spin on the weekends. Whaddya say? A vote for George and you got yourself a boat."

Then imagine this kind of thing happening for every single vote in the House! Wouldn't it be a hoot?

It would be monstrous! It would be a perversion of democracy!

What are current campaigns? Two guys surrounded by handlers who watch the polls every day to see what the American people want to hear. Then you throw in the negative-attack guys who tell the candidates how to divide the people and make them afraid of each other. I don't think that's what the Founding Fathers had in mind, either.

But Ross Perot had his chance! And he pulled out!

Well, he got a little angry. The guy was not ready for prime time. He thought that America was going to elect him by a voice vote or something. And he was not quite ready for the rough-and-tumble.

So what makes you think he is ready now?

Humiliation. Picking up Newsweek and seeing a picture of himself on the cover under the single word: "Quitter."

And so now he either has to run for president again to prove them wrong or airdrop in a team of mercenaries to capture everyone at Newsweek and stick them in monkey cages.

And this guy is not nuts?

If you make $15,000 a year and plot revenge on your enemies, you are a paranoid in need of treatment. If you're a billionaire who plots revenge on his enemies, you get invited on the "Today" show to tell America how to cut the deficit.

Besides, you could look at what Perot is now doing and decide he is a genius.

You better explain that one.

The first time Perot ran for president, the media gave him the same treatment they give all candidates.

Which is?

They treated him like dirt. Because he was a serious candidate, reporters investigated him. He hated it and didn't want more of it, so he withdrew.

Now, if he gets back in, the press won't treat him as seriously Very few papers, if any, will bother investigating him. And he will just continue to campaign in comfort via national television.

Geez, can Perot actually win?

Not this year. But remember: Bush was elected in 1988 because he was not Dukakis. Clinton may be elected in 1992 because he is not Bush. And in 1996?

Well, Ross Perot is not Bush or Clinton and you can imagine how appealing that might be four years from now.

And until then?

Until then, look upon Ross Perot as the Energizer Bunny Candidate.

He just keeps going and going and going and . . .

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