Ross Perot redux: He's here, there and everywhere

MIKE LITTWIN

June 07, 1993|By MIKE LITTWIN

Like many of you out there, I'm now afraid to turn on the TV set anymore because, when I do, all I ever see is Ross Perot.

Turn on Barney, the dinosaur who'll never play Jurassic Park, and watch him dance with a bunch of kids. You can't help but notice that one of the youngsters looks a lot like a dwarf -- maybe Sneezy -- with enormous ears. Yep, it's ol' Ross.

Click.

Switch to the NBA and see Pat Riley do his don't-drink-and-drive promo for one of your socially conscious beer companies. There's a guy in the background shooting free throws. Right. Ross Perot. Good form, too.

Click.

You probably saw Clinton courageously dumping his good friend, Lani Guinier, because -- if I've got this right -- she used illegal aliens to cut her hair. There, standing behind Clinton, was the almost lifelike Al Gore, wearing what appeared to be a "Ross Is Right" button.

If you caught a rerun of "My Mother the Car," you think Perot would be under the hood?

Unwilling to take that risk, I dumped the remote and went to the movies.

It didn't help.

I went to see the hit show "Dave," which, it turns out, is the Ross Perot story. Sort of.

Ross Perot is Dave.

Well, he'd be just like Dave if he had a better haircut. And if Dave had $3 billion. And if Dave thought he'd make a perfect Dictator for Life.

The premise of the movie is as irresistible as it is downright American. The politicians are generally dirt-bags (who among us would disagree?), and if we could just put an ordinary, common-sensical, somebody-like-us American in the White House, he'd fix things up.

Dave is as typically American as they come. Meaning he's got a big heart and always wants to do the right thing. And since it's Hollywood, Dave, a Baltimore small businessman, gets to be president for a while.

He tackles some big issues, too. Dave is very much against children being homeless. And -- here he takes an enormous political risk -- Dave is for everyone who wants a job being able to work.

We cheer him as he takes on the politicians and the special interests. And the country is, if not exactly saved, certainly on the right course by the time the movie ends.

Everyone applauds. And if Dave did run for president, he'd win in a landslide. He'd be wildly popular, until he had to make a decision, anyway. Even Clinton was popular well into the second week of his presidency. Dave was president for only about 80 minutes. I'm still waiting for the movie in which somebody solves the health-care crisis.

There is one perfect Perot moment. Dave calls in his friend Murray, the accountant, to find $650 million to cut in the budget. And Murray points out that if he ran his business the way we run the government, he'd be broke.

Was that Perot just off camera holding the cue cards?

Of course not. Perot is never off camera. People think he carries his lunch to work in a brown paper bag. Turns out Perot's got a makeup kit and the latest TV Guide in there.

Besides, if Perot had scripted this movie, there would have been lots and lot of charts and at least a dozen gratuitous shots at Clinton.

(Imagine you're Bill Clinton. If you were any lower in the polls, they'd have you on life support. You've got the Republicans sniping at you. You've got a staff wherein Jerry Lewis could play any one of them in the movie. And then you've got this enormous X-factor in Perot, as friendly as a pit bull, who thinks the way to heal the country is to buy millions of dollars of TV time so he can tell people their Rhodes Scholar president from a Toys-R-Us-sized state has a "learning curve like a cliff.")

I'll tell you how eager Perot is to be seen. He just spent the weekend in New Jersey. There's a Republican gubernatorial primary upcoming, and all three candidates came to kiss Ross', uh, ring. Perot was glad to oblige.

He's everywhere. I keep waiting for him to show up on "Studs."

Host: H. Ross, what's your idea of the perfect date?

Perot: Well, I guess you know it ain't slow dancin'. I guess it would be me and Connie Chung waltzin' over to the CBS studios and she'd interview me and I'd tell the American people how the country's gone to hell and how I wouldn't trust Bill Clinton to mow my lawn.

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