Ross Perot, a self-made billionaire business magnate who twice ran as a third-party candidate for president, died Tuesday at his home in Dallas surrounded by family.
He was 89.
"In business and in life, Ross was a man of integrity and action," a statement from his family said. "A true American patriot and a man of rare vision, principle and deep compassion, he touched the lives of countless people through his unwavering support of the military and veterans and through his charitable endeavors."
I suppose that's true enough. At the time, particularly in 1992, he was seen as the guy who siphoned off enough votes from George H. W. Bush to allow Bill Clinton into the White House. That's debatable, and frankly not that interesting. The Bushes present their own issues.
Once Perot lost his second race, back in 1996, we didn't hear much from him any more. I don't see that the issues he was most concerned about have been addressed. Government has grown under Clinton, W, Obama, and Trump. Perot's concern about the national debt? Pshaw. Perot liked graphs. Here's one:
These debts will never be repaid, of course. You can blame presidents for spending, but Congress holds the power of the purse and it hasn't mattered one bit -- they all spend like there's no tomorrow. Tomorrow will arrive eventually. But the reckoning? Who knows?
As for Perot, he's as relevant now as any of his other third-party predecessors were. He might as well be Fighting Bob La Follette or Strom Thurmond in his Dixiecrat phase. We don't have anyone who is seeking to repair our government any more. Trump is simply trying to forestall worse ideas than what we've seen and endured already.
Round the decay/Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare/The lone and level sands stretch far away.