Come Back, Lil' Ross, All Is Forgiven!

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Over at Newsweek, Jonathan Alter scores a rare interview with the greatest '90s nostalgia act this side of Buffalo Tom—Ross Perot. The rootin' tootin' Texan is supporting Mitt Romney in 2008 and flinging poo at a man he once helped, Sen. John McCain:

The Perot-McCain relationship goes back to McCain's five and a half years of captivity in Hanoi. When McCain's then-wife Carol was in a serious car accident, McCain's mother called Perot for help. "She asked me to send my people to Philadelphia to take care of the family," Perot says. Afterwards, McCain was grateful. "We loved him [Perot] for it," McCain told me in 2000.

Perot doesn't remember it that way. "After he came home, he walked with a limp, she [Carol McCain] walked with a limp. So he threw her over for a poster girl with big money from Arizona [Cindy McCain, his current wife] and the rest is history."

Perot's real problem with McCain is that he believes the senator hushed up evidence that live POWs were left behind in Vietnam and even transferred to the Soviet Union for human experimentation, a charge Perot says he heard from a senior Vietnamese official in the 1980s. "There's evidence, evidence, evidence," Perot claims. "McCain was adamant about shutting down anything to do with recovering POWs." […]

When I asked about Barack Obama, Perot said he admired his eloquence but thought it "a little odd that we would be less concerned about his background than being a Mormon." Perot was pleasantly surprised when I told him that Obama was a Christian, not a Muslim, and relieved when I informed him that the e-mail Perot (and untold others) received about Obama not respecting the Pledge of Allegiance was a fraud. […]

"The situation in 1992 was not nearly as bad as it is now," he says. "If ever there was a time when it was necessary to put our house in order, it's now.

"It's like having cancer and being in denial. The conduct of the House and Senate is an embarrassment to the nation." President Bush, Perot says, is a "decent person, but you can't say the same thing about the people around him."

Perot is appalled at the specter of big banks having to borrow from foreigners to stay afloat: "We have to go around the world with a tambourine and a tin cup."

He attributes the success of China to the fact that even uneducated Chinese must learn 3,000 characters early in life, compared to the 26 letters in the English alphabet. "Their hand-eye productivity is incredible because of drawing the symbols," Perot says

reason on Ross Perot here.

NEXT: The McCaining of Hillary Clinton

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  1. I (shudders) voted for Perot when I was 18. I knew something was wrong with the two major parties but had not yet discovered libertarianism.

  2. He attributes the success of China to the fact that even uneducated Chinese must learn 3,000 characters early in life, compared to the 26 letters in the English alphabet. “Their hand-eye productivity is incredible because of drawing the symbols,” Perot says

    My days of disrespecting Perot are definitely coming to a middle.

  3. Perot was pleasantly surprised when I told him that Obama was a Christian, not a Muslim, and relieved when I informed him that the e-mail Perot (and untold others) received about Obama not respecting the Pledge of Allegiance was a fraud. […]

    Ooooh Kaaaay. Glad to see Mr Pero is keeping up on things. I wonder, has he realizied The Protocols of the Elders of Zion is a forgery yet?

  4. Good to know Perot is still batshit crazy. Next.

  5. “He attributes the success of China to the fact that even uneducated Chinese must learn 3,000 characters early in life, compared to the 26 letters in the English alphabet. “Their hand-eye productivity is incredible because of drawing the symbols,” Perot says”

    Of course the Irony here is that Mao pushed to have them simplified because he thought that would help more people learn to read. Perot would NOT make a good loyal Maoist.

  6. Ahhh, the return of the “Demented Dwarf.” Good memories, 1992.

  7. God knows I am not a huge McCain fan, but this characterization of why his first marriage split is hugely unfair, sleazy, and insulting. Based on other bio’s (even the hagiographic, but well done Nightingale’s song) John McCain and Carol McCain were probably on the outs prior to him getting shot down. When he got back, they were both changed people (which happens to lots of couples after several years of marriage, no matter what the circumstances) .

    And while the divorce wouldn’t go through for about a year after he met Cindy, the marriage to Carol had been effectively over for a few years.

  8. Is that a typo, or did Perot really think Obama could be a *Mormon*?

  9. And leaving aside the fact that educated means almost by definition literate (and vice versa), yes imported Chinese caligraphy is why there’s a ‘trade imbalance’ with China, there Ross.

  10. “We have to go around the world with a tambourine and a tin cup.”

    Truer words couldn’t be said.

  11. And leaving aside the fact that educated means almost by definition literate [agreed] (and vice versa), … [I’d be happy to take the con side of that debate. ;-)]

  12. Based on other bio’s (even the hagiographic, but well done Nightingale’s song) John McCain and Carol McCain were probably on the outs prior to him getting shot down.

    I don’t think that’s true. As far as I remember the “outs” only began after McCain’s return. (Though Perot’s timeline condenses about seven years into seven days.) For those more interested in McCain’s sex life than I, this 2000 Nick Kristof piece is pretty interesting.

  13. When I asked about Barack Obama, Perot said he admired his eloquence but thought it “a little odd that we would be less concerned about his background than being a Mormon.”

    In other words, that they’re less concerned about Obama’s background than Romney’s.

    Perot was pleasantly surprised when I told him that Obama was a Christian, not a Muslim,

    Looks like the reporter’s the one who got the Muslim_Mormon thing mixed up.

  14. ah Matt, you’re right. I mis-remembered the part where it talks about McCain’s womanizing – it looks like it was put on hold during his marriage pre-Hanoi.

  15. I would shake Perot’s hand for the Vietnam memorial he put up in DC

    Still think he is proof that rich != brains

  16. “Looks like the reporter’s the one who got the Muslim_Mormon thing mixed up.”

    No, the reporter got it right.

    Perot was incorrectly alluding to Obama’s supposed ‘Muslim’ background being less of an issue than Romney’s Mormon background.

  17. Perot vote is still the best I ever made…not because Perot was great, but got to stick a big finger in the eye of the Dems and Reps.

    I still think his (almost) 20% was enough to focus both parties on fiscal responsibility (very briefly) enough to nearly balance the budget for a couple of years.

  18. This guy was once the frontrunner to be President of the United States, and he was taken in by the “Barack HUSSEIN Obama” email.

  19. “Their hand-eye productivity is incredible because of drawing the symbols,” Perot says

    There are plenty of Chinese people with world-class scrawling skills. Maybe they’re all secretly harboring the ability to do beautifully brush-stroked characters suitable for framing.

  20. Gridlock! GRIDLOCK!!!

  21. This thread is murdering the competition when it comes to Google search results for “hand-eye productivity”.

  22. This guy was once the frontrunner to be President of the United States, and he was taken in by the “Barack HUSSEIN Obama” email.

    Lots of people believe the Clinton’s lies.

  23. Why would he care about Obama, he’s a business man? Muslim or not Muslim, I doubt he really gave shit, he still won’t vote for a socialist.

    I will be “pleasantly surprised” when Obama finally says anything of substance.

  24. I go back and forth on whether or not that came from the Clinton camp or some blowhard Republican.

    But hey, the biggest jackass at H&R believes it too!

    The Obama people should start a chain email claiming Hillary is secretly a lesbian.

  25. No wonder GM is in trouble.

    As Bugs Bunny would say, “What a maroon.”

  26. And joe, the Republicans are going to play his middle name and supposed Muslim background for all its worth. The swiftboat people would crucify him with that.

  27. This guy was once the frontrunner to be President of the United States

    He was? The only thing I remember about the 1992 campaign is that I got made fun for being the only one to raise my hand for Perot when my 5th grade teacher asked us which candidate we liked.

  28. Warty-

    From what I remember he was the front-runner in the Spring of ’92. That is, until he opened his mouth and people realized how insane he is.

  29. But hey, the biggest jackass at H&R believes it too!

    On biggest jackass, I’ll call your Dondi and raise a Chalupa.

  30. Chalupa’s just crazy. Dondi is a jackass.

    Dondi is the rare person who, even when hes makes a point you agree with, he does it in such an insufferably obnoxious manner that he manages to alienate you anyway.

  31. I go back and forth on whether or not that came from the Clinton camp or some blowhard Republican.

    We know members of Hillary’s campaign staff are responsible for forwarding it.

    The swiftboat people would crucify him with that.

    The “Swiftboat people” had a legitimate beef with John Kerry.They were never discredited either.They have no dispute with Obama.

    If Obama can defeat the Clintons I expect Republican attacks to be based on his inexperience and socialist/foreign policy views.Any whisper/smear tactics will be nothing but a rehash of Clinton attacks.

  32. “Dondi is the rare person who, even when hes makes a point you agree with, he does it in such an insufferably obnoxious manner that he manages to alienate you anyway.”

    I think that would describe Lonewacko too if he ever said anything I might agree with.

  33. By “swiftboat” I meant the tactic–that is, turning your supposed strength into your biggest weakness. I don’t think Republicans will play the race card though–at least not like they would against Jessie Jackson Republicans instead do this by using Obama’s biography and constantly suggesting (just slightly) that hes a little too “foreign” to be President.

  34. IIRC Perot was leading until dropping out and re-entering over the ” disruption of my daughters wedding” conspiracy.

    I read the brief interview linked above. Nothing about his current financial investments. I remember his billions were all in tax free muni bonds.
    You would have to be truly stone crazy to hold that position now.

  35. By “swiftboat” I meant the tactic–that is, turning your supposed strength into your biggest weakness.

    They will do that, Obama’s greatest strength and weakness is inexperience.

  36. That only works if the GOP runs McCain. They really can’t claim Obama is “inexperienced” if they run Romney or Huckabee.

  37. Why the hell not? If Clinton can run on “35 years of experience”, then the word obviously has no meaning.

  38. His greatest strength is that he isn’t hillary.
    His greatest weakness is that he is colored. and spinnable to many as a muslim of questionable parentage. this is politics after all.

  39. This thread is murdering the competition when it comes to Google search results for “hand-eye productivity”.

    Is that to say that Perot invented this particular term for this particular interview?

    _____________

    On Friday NPR ran a segment investigating Hillary’s claim to “35 years of experience” which was overall NOT favorable. Especially since it came with a specific emphasis on that big chunk of her early experience where she worked in law representing “corporate interests” — not something Dems want to hear.

  40. “Lots of people believe the Clinton’s lies.”

    And lots of people still beleive the Bush lies.

  41. We know members of Hillary’s campaign staff are responsible for forwarding it.

    Got a source for that that isn’t World Net Daily or something similar?

  42. “They will do that, Obama’s greatest strength and weakness is inexperience.”

    Bill Clinton was also inexperienced in 1992, especially compared to George H. W. Bush (WW2 pilot, ex-head of CIA, 8 years as VP, 4 years as Pres, etc, etc).

    Experience is not necessarily a winning argument, especially when Obama can point to all the ‘experience’ in the Bush administration and the mess they got us into.

  43. Cesar | January 27, 2008, 8:14pm | #

    We know members of Hillary’s campaign staff are responsible for forwarding it.

    Got a source for that that isn’t World Net Daily or something similar?

    Google News good enough for ya? take your pick…..

    Members of Hillary’s Iowa campaign staff were fired for forwarding the emails

  44. If voters really cared about experience, Richardson wouldn’t have been blown out of the race so quickly. A few years in public life seems necessary (governor or Congress, I think – state legislature wouldn’t be sufficient) but I’d guess there’s pretty rapidly diminishing returns beyond that.

  45. “A few years in public life seems necessary (governor or Congress, I think – state legislature wouldn’t be sufficient)”

    Depends on what they do in state legislature, does it not? And being governor did squat to prepare Bush for a grown-up job – hell, it probably reinforced his arrogance and sense of entitlement. Some time in a legislature might have taught him some humility.

  46. Whenever the opportunity presents to Swiftboat McCain, I can’t help but tell my little story.
    When I was in VN, McCain’s father was almost at the top of my chain of command. I say that to explain that I met other sons of VIPs during my military service, and their feet were clay. I enjoyed their company, but…
    And…
    One of my two best buddies in college was not the son of a VIP, but he was also a Navy pilot, and he successfully shot down a MIG over N VN. He keeps a low profile, and has never had political aspirations.
    So who is a “leader”? My buddy, who actually accomplished his mission or a nutcase son of a VIP who got his ass shot down?
    Which fact was his 9-11 as the actual 9-11 was Rudy’s.
    Excuse me for holding out for a little more depth of character.
    Ruthless

  47. “So who is a “leader”? My buddy, who actually accomplished his mission or a nutcase son of a VIP who got his ass shot down?…Excuse me for holding out for a little more depth of character.”

    It’s hard for me to see how that’s a question of character. I could see how it might be a question of competence, or maybe just of circumstances.

  48. Ruthless-
    It is commonly known that McCain was not quite good enough to be considered a mediocre student at the Academy, and he was an average pilot – but a guy who never gets out of the Carolina league is still pretty good at baseball.

    And he never asked for special favors in Hanoi for being the son of a VIP; indeed his treatment may have been worse than average. And after he came back, he worked his ass off in rehab just get back to standards to be a naval aviator. After he did, he went on to become XO of a squadron which won a MUC.

    So hate the guy for his political career, but his naval service is on par with or exceeds Kennedy, Carter, or Bush I.

    As an aside, on my last job I worked with a junior officer who was the son of a three-star. Yeah, he went to an elite private high school, then Harvard (on a ROTC scholarship). Nonetheless, he was the best damn officer and natural leader I’ve ever seen.

  49. i’m gonna be the one guy who comments for the first time after years of reading this site just to rise to the bait…..

    …man, i love buffalo tom and, though they are such nineties also-rans, i’d rather see them do a reunion than stuck in the time and place pixies and my bloody valentine.

  50. Kolohe,

    FWIW, wikipedia suggests his treatment may have been marginally better because of his VIP relationship (to be clear, I have no idea how reliable this is; all the standard wikipedia crappy reliability caveats apply):

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_McCain#Prisoner_of_war

    “Only when the North Vietnamese discovered that his father was a top admiral did they give him medical care.”

    “In July 1968, McCain’s father was named Commander-in-Chief, Pacific Command (CINCPAC), stationed in Honolulu and commander of all U.S. forces in the Vietnam theater. McCain was immediately offered a chance to return home early: the North Vietnamese wanted a mercy-showing propaganda coup for the outside world, and a message that only privilege mattered that they could use against the other POWs. McCain turned down the offer of repatriation due to the Code of Conduct of ‘first in, first out’…”

    So if this is to be believed, he had better medical care and a “get out of jail free” offer because of his dad. But it certainly doesn’t sound like he took advantage of his connections at the expense of his fellow POWs, which seems to speak pretty well of his character.

  51. Yeah, Sparky, you’re right. I missed that part when I looked at the same page for the info on the post-POW career.

    But the key point, contra Ruthless’s ‘depth of character’ is that he did not seek special favors nor accept them as son of a VIP(i.e. early release)

    Yeah, Ruthless, he got shot down, so did Stockdale. (so did a third of McCain’s VAQ) McCain flew 22 missions before being shot down. And he was in a A-4, which ain’t built to shoot down MiGs.

  52. As a Libertarian John McCain sucks. As a Patriot he is great. Although his immigration reform bill was flawed, he had some of the right ideas. What really needed to be emphasized was increased immigration quotas, and easier entrance to the USA as legal aliens.Increased legal immigration will make America even greater as a nation and improve yours and my standard of living.

  53. “But the key point, contra Ruthless’s ‘depth of character’ is that he did not seek special favors nor accept them as son of a VIP(i.e. early release)”

    We’re in complete agreement there, Kolohe. While I certainly don’t agree with all he’s done politically (to say the least), he’s been through some stuff I hope I’ll never be able to imagine, and he apparently responded to it a lot better than I think I could. I sure as hell have no beefs with his character in that regard.

  54. Is this the email that’s like:

    OMG! Barrak HUSSEIN Obama is totally not putting his hand over his heart for the national anthem.

    If you think he’s a terrorist, forward this to 10 friends or terrorists will come for your children with porno and fatty foods! OMG!!!1!1!1!!1

  55. We’ve already seen one right-wing source (Fox News) get caught trying to put its anti-Obama “Scary Muslim” smears in the Clinton campaign’s mouth. Don’t be so selectively naive, SIV.

    The “Swiftboat people” had a legitimate beef with John Kerry.They were never discredited either. You know, like that.

  56. Members of Hillary’s Iowa campaign staff were fired for forwarding the emails

    Why would they be forwarding something that originated with the campaign, and why would the be fired?

  57. …man, i love buffalo tom and, though they are such nineties also-rans, i’d rather see them do a reunion than stuck in the time and place pixies and my bloody valentine.

    They did! Their 2007 album “Three Easy Pieces” is excellent.

  58. Saw the Pixies in 2004. They rocked.

    The words “this is from our new album” were never uttered, and nobody complained.

    Mission of Burma opened, in the Paul E. Tsongas Memorial Arena.

  59. How about alluding to Obama’s background in Chicago’s Trinity United Church of Christ? That would be the racist tax-shelter which handed out an award to Farrakhan and regularly preaches against the middle class (that means you, libertarians).

    Obama’s not a Muslim or a Morman; he’s a cult member.

  60. …and regularly preaches against the middle class (that means you, libertarians).

    DRINK!

  61. Scary Black Church! Scary Black Church! Booga booga!

  62. The preacher at his church did say some nutty things, but then again preaching that a guy rose from the dead is pretty nutty anyway. Yawn.

  63. Everyone who has ever attended a church has listended politely as the celebrant said silly things about politics during the sermon.

  64. Everyone who has ever attended a church has listended politely as the celebrant said silly things about politics during the sermon.

    Catholics and former Catholics know that all too well.

  65. Here is a good article from The American Conservative on Obama and how Republicans will take him down by suggesting hes a bit “Foreign” and “un-Ameircan”.

  66. Ah, concern trolling from the American Conservative.

    I just don’t think it matters, Cesar. The relative turnout in the primaries is just too lopsided.

  67. joe,

    I saw Buff Tom Saturday night at Joe’s Pub in NYC–probably the 7th or 8th time I’ve seen them over the years. They always put on a great show. And yes, their recent album is pretty good, though it’s no Big Red Letter Day or Let Me Come Over.

  68. Some time in a legislature might have taught him some humility.

    Because so many legislators are models of humility.

  69. Thank you to Kolohe, Hugh Haynsworth and Sparky for their thoughts.
    Henceforth I will confine my criticisms of McCain to his philosophy.

    Except to say this: Bravery as a POW does not confer leadership skills.
    And, as a peaceful anarchist, I don’t believe in “leadership” anyway.
    …Ruthless

  70. I was in John McCain’s squadron in 1976 and became pretty familiar with his brown naughahyde sofa in his office. I remember running into Cindy in 1976, 3 years before they claim to have met. John was a rock star in the squadron, so he got away with everything. He was 39, I was 24. Cindy had one of those Dorothy Hamill haircuts in 76. My master chief paid me a visit when I was transferring in 79 to tell me that John was marrying Cindy. The Chain of Command in that squadron was very blurry. Commander in Chief? Your rank needs to be respected first.

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