That Giant Sucking Sound

Now this chart here shows the delclinin' popularity of Evil Squirrel's Nest after yesterday's comic.

Now this chart here shows the delclinin’ popularity of Evil Squirrel’s Nest after yesterday’s comic.

I very rarely make political posts on my blog, and there are some good reasons for that besides the fact that talking politics is one of the best ways to piss people off.  First, I don’t flashback fridayreally give a steaming heap about politics, and am pathetic with a capital A.  Second, I have great disdain for the whole concept of the two-party system, which does a good job of taking millions of people with vastly different and unique viewpoints and forces them to pigeonhole themselves into one of two camps if they even want to think they can have a voice in government.  It may also have something to do with the fact that my choice for President has lost every election in my lifetime…. who knows?

vote for buster!

Funny, hanging around with undesirable women didn’t hurt Clinton’s chances.

I also get a perverse pleasure when something comes along that throws a big ol’ monkey wrench into the gears of the political machinery.  Two decades ago, a man did the unthinkable and without any support from either of the two major parties in America, or any other political party for that matter, he actually became a viable, electable candidate for President of the United States… and as an added bonus, provided us with a lot more entertainment than you’d get from a normal election year.  H. Ross Perot’s surreal run for President of the United States in 1992 is the subject of this week’s Flashback Friday.

America has spoken!  But I can't seem to hear ya' at the moment!

America has spoken! But I can’t seem to hear ya’ at the moment!

Perot didn’t really have any of the traditional credentials one would look for in their ideal Presidential candidate.  He had never held a single public office before, and the only reason people even knew the name H. Ross Perot before is because he was a billionaire business tycoon who actually had charisma, and he had plenty of money to throw away on a run for the biggest elected office in the land.  Perot’s decision to run for President wasn’t any long thought out, carefully planned notion…. it essentially sprung from an interview he did on CNN’s popular Larry King Live show just 9 months before the election, where the king of suspenders asked the opinionated tycoon he often had as a guest on his show if there was any situation under which he’d make a run for President.

I'll bet I could even get Merby to make a run for the White House!

I’ll bet I could even get Merby to make a run for the White House!

In a year where there was a perfect storm of a lingering recession, frustration over George H.W. Bush’s policies, and a hot mess of candidates on the Democratic side that spit out the surprising choice of Bill Clinton, the country seemed ready to listen to some guy they most likely had never heard of before.  Perot’s volunteer army managed to secure his name on the ballot in all fifty states with one of the largest petition drives this country’s ever seen.  Perot drew interest from Democrats and Republicans alike, who wrote his name in during the later primary elections that year at a noticeable clip.  By May, some polls even had Perot as the leader, having more support than both Bush and Clinton… and talk of a potential situation where no candidate would get a majority of the electoral votes was starting to look like a real possibility.

Which, of course, would let these overpaid idiots decide who gets to be President.

Which, of course, would let these overpaid idiots decide who gets to be President.

Oh, but just as quickly as the hot air was inflating the Perot for President balloon, our man who could have stuck the middle finger to politics as usual was letting his inexperience in the political ring take a pin to it.  After a couple months of having his stands on the issues run through the wringer, and his character damaged by the campaign experts of Clinton and especially Bush, Perot was back in third in the polls by the end of July… and just as suddenly as he tossed his cowboy hat into the race, he bowed out and said he would not run.

No!!!!  Get your butt back in the race!

No!!!! Get your butt back in the race!

Our boy Ross wasn’t done toying with the political process just yet, though.  After sitting out for two months, he would valiantly return to the ring on October 1st, just one month before Election Day.  Despite being damaged goods by this time, Perot still had a couple tricks up his sleeve… perhaps most famous were his infomercial-like spots he purchased on national TV where he pointed out the benefits of his economic plan featuring more charts and graphs than were in every math book you ever had in school combined.  These modern day Fireside Chats with a southern drawl got a lot of attention, and even drew higher ratings than some of the regular primetime fare on TV.  Perot’s newfound popularity forced a podium for him to be set up at the first Presidential debate on October 11… a debate which the polls showed he was the clear winner of.

But just when it seemed Perot might be a relevant candidate again, he sent in the clown…

Why am I on this blog?

Why am I on this blog?

Early on in his campaign, since it was necessary for his inclusion on the ballot in a number of states, Perot chose good friend Admiral James Stockdale as his interim running mate.  Stockdale was a Vietnam war hero with an absolutely fascinating and courageous story, but like Perot, he wasn’t much of a politician.  When Perot got back into the race in early October, he still hadn’t replaced Stockdale with a bonafide running mate… so the poor Admiral was sent off into the fire of the first Vice Presidential debate with little more than a week’s notice and preparation.  The debate was held in Atlanta on October 13, 1992, and the only thing that went right for Admiral Stockdale that night was that in his opening remarks, he delivered one of the greatest quotes in the history of the known universe.

The absolutely most fucking brilliant thing to ever come out of the mouth of any candidate at any debate ever.  “Who am I, why am I here?” was golden enough that you can almost forgive the old sailor for deteriorating into a rambling, incoherent mess after that opening statement, and further damaging the legitimacy of Perot’s campaign in the process.  Hopefully Stockdale also had his hearing aid off when the comics came out to roast his performance.

Oh well, we tried!

Oh well, we tried!

In the end, Perot put up a big goose egg on the electoral front… but he garnered a rather sound 19% of the popular vote.  Not bad for someone who most people hadn’t even heard of ten months prior and who quit the race mid campaign, later claiming he only did so because the Bush campaign threatened to sabotage his daughter’s wedding.  Perot’s showing even qualified him for federal campaign money in the 1996 election, which he chose to run in.   It was an even bigger disaster, likely because it lacked the drama of the 1992 campaign.

We here at The Nest would like to thank Ross Perot and the good Admiral for all the laughs and hijinks they provided us 20 years ago, that turned what could have been just another boring election into a fun filled circus that even us non-political types could enjoy.  In our everlasting gratitude for all of your graphs and gaffes, we promise to never allow any of our jobs here at this blog to be sucked down to Mexico…

¡Viva la ardilla!

¡Viva la ardilla!

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About evilsquirrel13

Bored former 30-something who has nothing better to do with his life than draw cartoon squirrels.
This entry was posted in Flashbacks and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to That Giant Sucking Sound

  1. Juliette says:

    This is brilliant. You should have your own show.

  2. Pingback: That Giant Sucking Sound | West Coast Review

  3. merbear74 says:

    If I run for president, can I have my blog back?

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