What Mitt Romney Could Learn From Ross Perot

Tuesday, September 25, 2012
by Patrick Dorinson

In 1992 successful businessman Ross Perot ran for president.

He bought half hour television time slots and using charts and graphs he warned of the coming fiscal catastrophe. In the end he received almost 19% of the popular vote.

That was 20 years ago. And during those 20 years it has only gotten worse.

Today the debts and deficits he warned about back then seem tiny in comparison to today’s staggering numbers.

Well that’s what happens when you keep spending money like a drunken greenhorn cowboy on a Saturday night in town. The hangover is bad and you are broke.

Since 1992, Perot has continued to warn Americans through articles and op-eds in the newspapers that the path we were on was unsustainable. But his warnings fell on the deaf ears of America’s political class and the mainstream media and the voters.

Then in September 2008, when the Great Crash that led to the Great Recession that Obama reminds us is the worst downturn since the Great Depression, Perot launched a website called Perot Charts.

The website is no longer live on the internet for some odd reason but you can see a small clip of Perot describing the site on YouTube.

The most striking and depressing part of the video is when he describes the magnitude of the national debt which at the time was a mere $9.4 Trillion.

He says that if Congress put $1 dollar a second into a special account to pay down the debt, it would take 297,000 years to pay it off. Now I ain’t no math wizard but at $16 Trillion my guess is that it would take close to 500,000 years.

To put that in some historical perspective the great Ice Age lasted approximately 100,000 years.

When I saw this video and other videos from Perot’s 1992 infomercials, I immediately thought of Mitt Romney trying to explain all the economic issues and how downright clumsy he is at ‘splainin things” as Ricky Ricardo might say.

Now I’ve heard that Mitt is great at power point demonstrations and when he explained things to investors at Bain he was second to none.

So instead of putting old Mitt in awkward interviews with reporters who only want to ask the “have you stopped beating your wife” questions, bypass them and go right to the people. Buy some half hour TV slots just like Ross Perot did and talk to the voters without the liberal media filter.

Use charts and graphs give details not only on the problems but how you would fix them--15 minutes on problems and 15 minutes on solutions.

The press keeps saying the people want details. Fine. Give them details for crying out loud.

He can explain his 47% comment a lot better in a half hour than you can in a few minutes with a nitwit TV anchor who is in the tank for Obama already.

He still might lose but at least he will be able to say I told you the truth about the future. A small consolation but he will have warned the people of the coming decade of stagnation and debt and quite possibly depression.

But Romney’s problems go deeper than just TV ads and poor public speaking.

He is a relative newcomer to politics and he is lacking what Bush senior once called the “vision thing”.

Ronald Reagan was a man of vision. He honed his political vision in his radio broadcasts that he hand wrote every week and speeches to GE employees. He honed his governmental skills as a two term governor of California wrestling with a Democratic legislature. And he honed his political skills as he fought for the presidential nomination in 1976 and 1980.

Reagan was the architect of Reagan’s vision. He then hired smart experienced contractors to build his vision into a campaign always reminding them it was his plans they were to follow not their own.

Romney is not a man of vision. He is a problem solver. He is neither an architect nor a contractor but a client. He hired an architect and contractors to build his vision. But the architect and the contractors fight each other for the ear of the client saying that their vision is the way to victory. Romney then has to choose between two competing visions neither one his own.

So if you are not a visionary like Reagan, you play to your strength as a problem solver.

That is where the Perot campaign model of 1992 comes into play. He too was a problem solver.

And right now America needs a problem solver willing to give the voters a little dose of castor oil instead of the snake oil that Obama is peddling.

It might be too late for Romney, but with the clock ticking on the election scoreboard, it might be time for a few long passes.

Who knows it just might work.