On the eve of the 2000 election, Ross Perot bit his lip and endorsed a National Guard deserter over a Viet Nam veteran, perhaps as payback for being decimated in a NAFTA debate a few years earlier by Al Gore.
Perot endorses Bush for president
The Associated Press
WASHINGTON -- Reform Party founder Ross Perot is backing George W. Bush for president, saying he would perform as well for the country as he has as governor of Texas.
"We don't want to have to house break another president," Perot, who also lives in Texas, said Thursday night on CNN's "Larry King Live."
Instead we got a President who broke the house. I've wondered from time-to-time what arch deficit hawk Perot was thinking about the stinking mess Shrubya has sunk our country's economy into. Although I think many people don't give Clinton enough credit for balancing the budget, if Perot had not focused the nation's attention on the issue in 1992, it is doubtful that it would have ever happened. So while Perot may have been so gosh darned happy when Bush beat Gore 5-4 that he lifted a frosty mug of root beer to celebrate, I figured he couldn't be too thrilled now. Looks like I was right (Salon, via Digby):
"The United States loses 100,000 jobs a month. The recession won't go away. The stock market tanks. Great companies cook their books. Airlines fail. Foreign investors pull out. Healthcare doesn't work. Social Security is a mess. The space program is grounded. Homeland security is a jumble. Congress can't agree on a budget. And just as federal tax revenues plunge, leaving states in the lurch, the United States takes on huge new military costs across the planet, swelling an already soaring federal deficit and creating the biggest national debt in world history."
Perot is apparently shopping around a 95 page book with more of this stuff. How significant? In a close race a fired up Perot could make a difference whether he runs or not. I’d love to see him challenge Bush in the Republican primaries and make him spend some cash while taking body blows. That’s my dream. Back to reality.
A small percentage of folks would be influenced directly by Perot. That’s all the Dem needs to beat Bush. A larger percentage would be potentially influenced by Perot attacks on Bush (especially if he breaks out the graphs, pie charts and homespun metaphors). Right now attacks on Bush are largely viewed as political by the electorate, even though I think they slowly chip away at how he is viewed. Perot doesn’t carry the same baggage as a Democrat running against Bush, especially if he doesn’t run. Just ol’concerned Ross saying it was a mistake to endorse the Moron. That can’t hurt. Larry King would have him every other week. If we’re lucky, Ross will buy air time.
Now I don’t know if there is any connection between them, but if Ross took a liking to General Wesley Clark, which seems like a real possibility given his support for the military (as opposed to support for this war, perhaps) that could really be a plus. Come on back Ross! You owe us this one!