Ross Perot on Principles & Values

1992 & 1996 Reform Party Nominee for President


OpEd 1992: caused "two-front battle" in Bush election fight

Pat Buchanan, the far-right commentator, challenged Dad in the New Hampshire primary and came away with 37 percent--a serious protest vote. To make matters worse, Texas billionaire Ross Perot decided to mount a third-party campaign. He preyed on disillusioned conservatives with his anti-deficit, anti-trade rhetoric. One of Perot's campaign centers was across the street from my office in Dallas. Looking out the window was like watching a daily tracking poll. Cadillacs and SUVs lined up to collect Perot bumper stickers and yard signs. I realized Dad would have to fight a two-front battle for reelection, with Perot on one flank and the Democratic nominee on the other.
Source: Decision Points, by Pres. George W. Bush, p. 48-50 , Nov 9, 2010

1994: Endorsed Democrat Richards over Bush for TX governor

The 1994 gubernatorial election's frantic, final week opened with Ross Perot endorsing Richards, calling her "the steel magnolia of Texas" and praising her as "one of the greatest governors in the history of Texas." The diminutive billionaire was just tw years past his impressive third-party White House run and he still had a big following. Bush downplayed the endorsement's impact, saying "She's got Ross Perot; I'll take Nolan Ryan and Barbara Bush."

In reality, the race was too developed for Perot's embrace of Richards to change much. For one thing, it was confusing for some: Perot had gone on "Larry King Live" the previous week to urge Americans to vote Republican and now he was backing a high-profile Democrat. More importantly, too many Texans had already decided to vote for Bush. There was nothing in Perot's endorsement that could change people's minds. Even his slap at Bush--"Never forget, the state of Texas is big business--not a sport"--rang hollow after the campaigns Bush and Richards had run

Source: Courage and Consequence, by Karl Rove, p. 96-97 , Mar 9, 2010

Scouting teaches leadership, and improves our country

A venerable American institution has had a profound impact on the values and virtues of young Americans: the Boy Scouts of America. Demonstrating that no one is immune from their effort to make society conform to their narrow, secular agenda aimed at elevating the individual to a place worthy only of God, the American Civil Liberties Union and their sympathetic counter-culture warriors have waged a legal war of attrition against the Scouts, draining their limited resources with numerous lawsuits and appeals. Their calculated campaign against an institution that teaches young men how to be good stewards of the environment, to respond to emergencies, to be resourceful and thrifty, and to be reverent to adults and God.
Source: On My Honor, by Gov. Rick Perry, p. 3 , Feb 12, 2008

OpEd: Raised issues in 1992 that no one else did

During an appearance on CNN's "Larry King Live", Perot, the former 1992 independent presidential candidate, urged Americans to give the Republican Party a chance at the congressional helm in the midterm elections, but said Texans should stick with Democratic Governor Ann Richards, whom he described as the "best horse in the race."

Governor Ann Richards, a top campaigner for Clinton in 1992 who worked diligently to keep Texans from voting for Perot, said the following day: "I have been one of those who always thought Ross Perot raised questions that no one else was raising. And for all of the fun that is poked at his poster boards and his depiction of how to solve problems, I've really always admired it."

Both gubernatorial contenders knew that in a close election, Perot and legions of his United We Stand America (UWSA) grassroots organization of unannounced membership totals and untested political clout, could make a difference in the outcome.

Source: Fortunate Son, by J.H.Hatfield, p.137 , Aug 17, 1999

OpEd: 30-minute infomercials better than 30-second ads

Although I agree with his critique of American trade policy and his opposition to NAFTA, I am no great fan of Ross Perot. There's no way he would be a major political leader if he weren't a billionaire. But I think that he is getting a bum rap from the media when they refer to his half-hour speeches as "infomericals" and make fun of his use of charts. Instead of putting 30-second attack ads on the air, he is trying to seriously discuss some of the most important issues facing the country. You may not agree with his analysis or his conclusions, but at least he's treating the American people with some respect. What's wrong with that?
Source: Outsider in the House, by Bernie Sanders, p.168 , Jun 17, 1997

Founded EDS to sell IBM working systems instead of hardware

I had developed what I thought was a really good idea--to sell a fully operational computer system to the customer. Anyone could buy a computer, but many customers couldn't tap its full potential. The customers wanted a system that worked, which required providing the hardware, the software, and operations, all at a predetermined price.

IBM, to its credit, took my idea to the top of the organization, but they ultimately rejected the plan. At that time, 80% of the revenue in the computer business came from hardware sales, while only 20% was derived from software sales.

I was just driven to create this new company. I couldn't decide upon a name for the new company. One Sunday while I was sitting in church, I wrote down some names on the back of a church pledge envelope. I concluded that the best name would be Electronic Data Systems. On June 27, 1962, my 32nd birthday, I started Electronic Data Systems, as a one-man organization.

Source: My Life & Principles for Success, by Ross Perotp. 72-73 , Sep 25, 1996

Take leadership principles from Attila the Hun

The principles of leadership are timeless because in a rapidly changing world human nature remains a constant. Consider the leadership principles of Attila the Hun, who was born at the beginning of the 5th century.
  • Chieftains should never misuse power. Such action causes great friction and leads to rebellion in the tribe or nation.
  • Chieftains make great personal sacrifice for the good of their Huns.
  • Chieftains must not favor themselves over their Huns when supplies are short.
  • Chieftains must encourage healthy competition among their people, but must contain it when such becomes a detriment to tribal or national goals.
  • Chieftains must understand that the spirit of the law is greater than its letter.
  • Chieftains must never shed the cloak of honor, morality, and dignity.
  • Chieftains must hold a profound conviction of duty above all other ambitions.
  • Leaders must provide direction to their Huns, never letting them wander aimlessly.
    Source: My Life & Principles for Success, by Ross Perotp.121-122 , Sep 25, 1996

    Take leadership principles from the Boy Scouts

    Consider the principles of the Boy Scouts--practice them and your chances of becoming a successful business leader will improve dramatically.
  • A Scout is honest, trustworthy, loyal, friendly, courteous, kind, thrifty, cheerful, brave, reverent, and helps other people at all times.
  • A Scout promises to keep himself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.
  • The Boy Scout motto is, "Be Prepared!"
  • Leaders must establish a high spirit of mutual trust among subordinates and with their peers and superiors.
  • Leaders much attach value to high standards of performance and have no tolerance for the uncommitted.
  • Leaders must expect continual improvement in their subordinates based on new knowledge and experiences.
  • Leaders must encourage creativity, freedom of action, and innovation among their subordinates, so long as these efforts are consistent with the goals of the tribe or nation.
    Source: My Life & Principles for Success, by Ross Perotp.121-122 , Sep 25, 1996

    Reputation based on honesty, promptness, and paying cash

    Source: My Life & Principles for Success, by Ross Perotp.133-134 , Sep 25, 1996

    Withdrew from 1992 race under mysterious circumstances

    [In the 1992 race], national polls showed Perot at 19%. With just two weeks left before the election, Perot had momentum. But Perot decided to disclose his “real reason” for temporarily withdrawing from the race the previous July.

    On Oct. 25, 1992, Perot startled viewers of 60 Minutes when he announced: “I received multiple reports that there was a plan to embarrass [my daughter Carolyn] before her wedding and to disrupt her wedding. I concluded that I, as a father who adores his children, could not take that risk.“ Perot also charged that the Republicans were about to release ”a computer-created false photo of my daughter Carolyn.“ He did not explain what he meant.

    Perot did, however, state that the sources for these stories were three people-one a highly placed Republican whom he has never named; the second source a ”longtime friend,“ later identified as David Taylor, a BBC producer; and Scott Barnes [a mercenary soldier whom Perot knew from the Vietnam MIA issue].

    Source: Citizen Perot, by Gerald Posner, p.295-96 , Jul 2, 1996

    UWSA: Focus on issues & solutions without special interests

    [The goal of participants in the United We Stand America Conference] was to help find solutions to problems. In looking for these solutions, their only filter was, “Is it good for America?” The only motivation of the participants was to leave a better future for their children and grandchildren, and to make the 21st century the greatest in our country’s history.
      United We Stand America sought to achieve three goals with this conference.
    1. We wanted to create an environment for political leaders and citizens to come together to discuss serious problems-an environment beyond the influence of special interests.
    2. We wanted to create an environment where the focus would be on issues and not personalities-a place where sound bites would be replaced with thoughtful discussion; a place where bipartisan bickering would be overcome by positive consensus.
    3. We hoped this conference would lead to a better-informed electorate willing to look beyond themselves to what is best for America.
    Source: United We Stand America Conference, p. xiv-xv , Aug 12, 1995

    1992: Appropriated Bill Clinton's theme of "change"

    On June 2, 1992, the day of the California primary, Clinton was going to win the state and clinch the Democratic nomination with a record number of delegates. [But] H. Ross Perot, the Texas billionaire, had parachuted into the middle of the campaign, seized the public's attention, and effectively knocked Clinton into 3rd place. Worse, Perot had appropriated Clinton's theme of "change." Clinton had been trying to fashion an image as the people's candidate, the outsider poised to invade Washington to set government in order, but there was no way to out-Perot Perot. As a businessman who had never held elective office, Perot seemed to represent a pure form of anti-politics.

    The California exit polls showed that Perot would have beaten Clinton had he been on the ballot. Afterwards, when Clinton appeared on television to promote his campaign and his own ideas, the interviewers wanted to ask only about the new political sensation from Texas.

    Source: The Agenda, by Bob Woodward, p. 37 , Jun 6, 1994

    OpEd: Quitter for exiting presidential race; then re-entered

    Sen. Lloyd Bentsen tried to court Ross Perot to Clinton's side before Perot decided to reenter the race: "[If you] reenter the race, there are 3 things that could happen. First, you reenter the race and do poorly. People who don't like you will use that against you forever. It will destroy everything you've worked for. Two, if you reenter and do well, you still won't win. You can't win. What you will do is bring votes from the only candidate who stands for change, Bill Clinton. Third, you today could endorse Bill Clinton. In doing that, you could effectively end the election today. I doubt there are many moments in history where one person has such a chance to make such an impact or to have that power. Ross, you have that power today." Knowing that Perot was sick about a newsmagazine cover that had pictured him with the headline "Quitter," Bentsen added, "You'd be the one person that elects the president. I can see that cover of Time magazine and it says 'Kingmaker.'" Perot did reenter the race.
    Source: The Agenda, by Bob Woodward, p. 61 , Jun 6, 1994

    Decided to run for President based on popular desire

    It all started when Larry King asked Ross Perot, “Why don’t you run for President?” Perot responded by saying that he might consider running-but only if the American people clearly wanted him to. Immediately the phone lines lit up. The switchboard at Perot’s headquarters was also swamped.

    Over the next several days, Perot made a handful of media appearances. Again, the response was phenomenal. Thousands of heretofore disenfranchised Americans began to cry out to Perot to save the American system

    Source: Strong-Man Politics, by George Grant, p. 5-6 , Nov 7, 1992

    Action, not issues

    Issuelessness has returned as the primary issue in the presidential campaign. Perot has attempted to turn issuelessness into a virtue. He says: “Developing policy statements is just not a priority with our volunteers. They’ve said, ‘Everyone has detailed positions. Nobody implements them.’

    Getting good positions is not the problem. Taking action in Washington is apparently an unnatural event. But that’s what the people want. If they put me there, we’ll have action.”

    Source: Strong-Man Politics, by George Grant, p. 83-84 , Nov 7, 1992

    Pledge to focus on the issues, without spin doctors

    Q. Can we focus on the issues and not the personalities and the mud?

    CLINTON: I agree.

    BUSH: Let's do it.

    Q. Could we make a commitment?

    BUSH: I think it depends on how you define it. In general, let's talk about issues. But in the Presidency, a lot goes into it. Caring goes into it; that's not particularly specific. Strength goes into it; that's not specific. This is what a President has to do. In principle, though, I'll take your point.

    PEROT: No hedges, no ifs, ands, and buts, I'll take the pledge, because I know the American people want to talk about issues and not tabloid journalism. So I'll take the pledge, and we'll stay on the issues. Now, just for the record, I don't have any spin doctors. I don't have any speechwriters. Probably shows. I make those charts you see on television even. But you don't have to wonder if it's me talking.

    CLINTON: Wait a minute. The ideas I express are mine. I'm just as sick as you are by having to wake up and figure out how to defend myself every day

    Source: The Second Clinton-Bush-Perot Presidential Debate , Oct 15, 1992

    Perot campaign 1992: the people are the owner of the country

    The Perot phenomenon that swept the country through the spring and summer of 1992 had little to do with me. It was a spontaneous grassroots movement that has transformed a deep-seated concern with our political system into a positive citizen movement for reform. Volunteers did it, and they did it without the support of any established party, or any special interest group. There are five principles which animated this movement:
  • The people are the owners of this country. Everyone in government works for the people.
  • All of us must take personal responsibility for our actions and for the actions of our government.
  • We are a single team. We are all needed in the rebuilding of America.
  • We can’t keep living beyond our means. The size of government must be permanently reduced. The deficit must be eliminated.
  • Our greatest challenge is economic competition. Our governmental policies should be redirected to stimulate growth, to create jobs, and to open opportunities for all Americans.
    Source: United We Stand, by Ross Perot, p.111-13 , Jul 2, 1992

    Admires signers of the Declaration as people of action

    Think of the signers of the Declaration of Independence., and ask yourself, "Am I going to be another one of these characters who just wants to put his image on the front page or am I willing to put it on the line to clean up this mess for my children?"
    Source: The Man Behind the Myth by Ken Gross, p.233 , Jul 1, 1992

    Other candidates on Principles & Values: Ross Perot on other issues:
    Former Presidents/Veeps:
    George W. Bush (R,2001-2009)
    V.P.Dick Cheney
    Bill Clinton (D,1993-2001)
    V.P.Al Gore
    George Bush Sr. (R,1989-1993)
    Ronald Reagan (R,1981-1989)
    Jimmy Carter (D,1977-1981)
    Gerald Ford (R,1974-1977)
    Richard Nixon (R,1969-1974)
    Lyndon Johnson (D,1963-1969)
    John F. Kennedy (D,1961-1963)
    Dwight Eisenhower (R,1953-1961)
    Harry_S_TrumanHarry S Truman(D,1945-1953)

    Religious Leaders:
    New Testament
    Old Testament
    Pope Francis

    Political Thinkers:
    Noam Chomsky
    Milton Friedman
    Arianna Huffington
    Rush Limbaugh
    Tea Party
    Ayn Rand
    Secy.Robert Reich
    Joe Scarborough
    Gov.Jesse Ventura
    Civil Rights
    Foreign Policy
    Free Trade
    Govt. Reform
    Gun Control
    Health Care
    Homeland Security
    Social Security
    Tax Reform

    Page last updated: Oct 28, 2021