Top of the News: Commentary
ROSS PEROT, PLAIN AS DAY
To be read aloud in a high, nasal drawl
It's time to live in reality, folks. With Dallas billionaire Ross Perot, what you see is whatyou get.
Step one: Look at his latest explanation for quitting the Presidential race in July. Now, forget that stuff about a revitalized Democratic party and his desire to avoid throwing the race into the House of Representatives. Stay with me. The real reason for Perot's abrupt withdrawal? He feared that GOP dirty tricksters were out to smear daughter Carolyn with doctored photos and disrupt her August wedding, see? And he discovered later that the Willie Horton crowd, those boys-will-be-boys Republicans, were planning to tap his office phone. You all know what I'm talking about. It's simple.
What you see is what you get: If Perot's lying now, he's just another cynical politician, slinging innuendo and rumor with the best of the dirty tricksters. And if he's telling the truth now, he was fibbing in July, right? Sure, he was just trying to protect his world-class daughter. Couldn't ruin the happiest day of her life by revealing the sordid GOP plot before--or even immediately after--the big event. Never mind that Perot says daughter Carolyn and the rest of his world-class family have faced down death threats from the Vietnamese. Forget that Perot says five Black Panthers once infiltrated his front yard only to be scared off by a guard dog. Carolyn would have been dev-a-stated if she had learnedabout this Republican Mickey Mousesalad before the wedding.
You want proof of these GOP shenanigans? Now what am I saying? I didn't say Perot said he believed them. He just said he didn't want to take any risks. Anyway, he won't reveal his informants, except to admit that one mf them is Scott Barnes, a former California policeman with a reputation for peddling questionable conspiracy theories. Think it through. Perot has investigated business rivals (hasn't everybody?), sniffed for worldwide government coverups on the POW issue, and unearthed various assassination schemes directed against him.
And how about that woman who dared to challenge him on Donahue after Perot first surfaced in this crazy election year? At the time, Perot hinted that the woman was probably a GOP plant. His evidence: her "designer clothes." Perot a conspiracy monger? What you see is what you get. It's simple.
Okay, forget it. This has nothing to do with the issues. Perot doesn't have to prove anything to you people. And pay no attention to that thin-skinned, testy Perot who chastised reporters daring to question these bizarre tales. The real Ross Perot--no-nonsense businessman and steely-eyed patriot--can be seen on paid TV ads and polite talk shows. He doesn't need handlers or $30,000-a-month consultants. When he needs to taste and touch and feel reality, he heads for the TV studio. What you see is what Ross lets you see. Kind of clears the air, doesn't it?
This is just another one of those media "gotcha" stories, another reporter trying to prove her manhood, right? Let's stick to the issues, folks. If you ask a Who's Who of people who know Perot, they'll tell you about his ability to get things done. A senior executive at Ross's old company, Electronic Data Systems, remembers how he'd paste his folksy aphorisms ("Eagles don't flock") everywhere to inspire the troops. "It was kind of management by plaque on the wall," he says. But let's stop living in the past, folks. Ross Perot isn't interested in studying America's problems to death. He's got a slogan, see? "Fair, shared sacrifice." It's simple.
No question, Perot was right on the money at General Motors. If GM's board had listened to Perot back in 1986, instead of kicking him out with $700 million, the company wouldn't have seen its market share plummet and losses soar. But those folks at GM would rather slow-dance than listen. Here's a hint: Maybe Perot was more inclined to issue orders than to offer suggestions.
So don't ever you worry, Congress. If Perot wins this election, you two will be dancing like Fred and Ginger. As long as Ross gets to call the tune. I rest my case.Wendy Zellner