Ross Perot — R.I.P.

Goodbye, Weird Plutocrat Guy, one-third responsible for the first exciting presidential race of my lifetime. Empty the pockets of H. Ross Perot, called “H.” Ross Perot by Dave Barry, and the following aphorisms jingle like fresh dimes:

If someone is blessed as I am is not willing to clean out the barn, who will?

and:

The activist is not the man who says the river is dirty. The activist is the man who cleans up the river.

The shiniest:

If you see a snake, just kill it — don’t appoint a committee on snakes.

With ears like coffee mug handles and a twang as crinkled as old rattlesnake skin, Perot captured enough of the popular imagination to give Governor William Jefferson Clinton of Arkansas and President George H.W. Bush, called “Poppy” by Soto, a scare in the spring and early summer of 1992. His message was resentment applesauce, sweetened by the knowledge that Americans will trust a rich moron over a poor intellectual. Campaigning against a federal government in which many of his politician friends were very good to him, he convinced the newly elected Clinton to commission Al Gore into looking at “waste in government.” In reality, this cornpone charlatan loved playing Wise CEO at the — I use the word deliberately — expense of his brutalized employees. In a well-trod tradition, he became yet another billionaire who believed rules for the poor, as demonstrated by his paying for his own commando squad — an example of how dearly he loved his country, according to NRO’s Jim Geraghty, who thinks irony is what you use on a wrinkled shirt. This neat little idea no doubt inspired Oliver North  to contact him for payoff money, we learned. He endorsed the means testing of Social Security. What thanks did he get from the GOP establishment? Why, smearing his daughter with incriminating photos before her wedding! Perot said he dropped out of the race in July based on this nugget.

Entertaining crackpots are for Carl Hiassen or Thomas Pynchon novels.

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