Patterico's Pontifications


Ross Perot (1930-2019)

Filed under: General — DRJ @ 7:40 pm

[Headlines from DRJ]

Ross Perot died July 9, 2019. He was a fascinating man — a self-made billionaire who loved his country and his family, and a humanitarian who inspired people.

Ross Perot leaves many legacies, including helping our wounded military. To many military families he was an angel:

This week, the nation remembers Ross Perot for his success in business, his two independent White House bids and his no-nonsense, straight Texas talk. His love of country, larger-than-life personality and generosity are all part of his legacy that will live on. But there is another little-known part of the life of Ross Perot that should be told now that he is gone. He was a tireless, but private, supporter of our wounded veterans.

God bless Ross Perot.


PS – A Texas Monthly farewell to Ross Perot for Texans.

23 Responses to “Ross Perot (1930-2019)”

  1. RIP Perot and Justice Stevens.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  2. Indeed. Thank you.

    DRJ (15874d)

  3. That was a nice homage to Perot for a left-center rag like TX Monthly.

    Paul Montagu (fc91e5)

  4. Yes, I sent a Texan $20 for his campaign.
    And they called him crazy?! 😉

    RIP to a good guy.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  5. I think his presidential runs were ill-advised, but he was clearly a good man who tried to do what he thought was best for his country.

    I didn’t know about his philanthropy toward veterans, but it does him great credit.

    Dave (1bb933)

  6. Perot was a good man. Too bad he wasn’t serious about being President. It just wanted to lecture and make sure Bush lost.

    rcocean (1a839e)

  7. Yeah, without Perot, no Clinton.
    Without Clinton, no Hillary.
    Without Hillary, no Trump.

    Although it does seem fairly likely that Barack Obama would have been elected president at some point, regardless.

    Interesting to speculate, but we’ll obviously never know.

    Dave (1bb933)

  8. A significant initial factor who triggered a lethal cascade of events? Or Ray Bradbury’s crushed butterfly?

    nk (dbc370)

  9. @8 Perot was the canary in the coal mine for both the major parties. But instead of taking note, they just kept digging – and voila; the paydirt: Trump.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  10. Yeah, without Perot, no Clinton.

    Um, no, that’s an urban myth. The evidence is significant that Perot did not alter the outcome in ’92. There’s a better case the Ralph Nader’s votes in Florida tipped the scales for GW Bush.

    Paul Montagu (fc91e5)

  11. H. Ross Perot spent $11 million to buy a library in England, then donated it to the University of Texas at Austin. It’s all held at the Humanities Research Center on the fourth floor, under tight security.

    The reason for the tight security, by the way, is that the son of Darrell K. Royal, the legendary football coach whom the stadium is named after, once stole some handwritten notes and letter from Albert Einstein from the HRC, tried to hock them at a pawn shop down the street, and got arrested. It was a huge scandal.

    Security at the HRC has been air tight ever since. You wouldn’t believe what is on the fourth floor. F. Scott Fitzgerald’s first typescript for the Great Gatsby, with his hand written notes for revision. E. E. Cumming’s original typescripts of his poetry. And that’s just the beginning. The library Perot donated included the first English grammar book and the entire British Romantics collection–handwritten letters and poems by Coleridge, Wordsworth, Shelley, Keats, the manuscript of Don Juan by Byron, and Songs of Innocence by Blake (one of only sixteen copies in the world).

    I’ve seen it all, arranged as a display for graduate students. To get access to the Blake, however, I had to prove I was serious scholar, with written recommendations from professors.

    It was kept in a vault. No, seriously, a real vault. On the fourth floor, I had to go through metal detectors and wand sweeps. I was only allowed to carry a pencil, a magnifying glass and a notepad. Then I was set in a room, and they bought me a box. It was box inside of box inside of box inside of box, then finally there was the Blake, Songs of Innocence.

    The lines so sharp, the colors so bright, it was stunning actually. This was art at a level I had not imagined. I got to spend two hours pouring over this masterpiece with my magnifying glass, taking notes with my pencil on my legal pad.

    It was transformative really, to hold true genius in your hands and study it under a magnifying glass. I based my thesis on Blake around that experience. My professor said it was the most original work he’d read on Blake in forty years. Yeah, well, I am far from contemporary or traditional, always original; I’m an eclectic contrarian.

    Gawain's Ghost (b25cd1)

  12. Um, no, that’s an urban myth. The evidence is significant that Perot did not alter the outcome in ’92.

    They NYT link is paywalled for me, but I found a 10 minute video making the same argument at fivethirtyeight.

    The exit polls, if taken at face value, appear to support the “myth” claim.

    But as Bill Kristol (who was involved in the campaign, as Quayle’s chief of staff) points out in the video, the exit polls (at best) tell us what people were thinking after Perot had spent most of the year relentlessly attacking Bush. They don’t tell us what would have happened had those months and months of attacks never been made.

    Dave (1bb933)

  13. The exit polls, if taken at face value, appear to support the “myth” claim.

    Thats because in the end many more of those whose least favored choice ws Clinton voted for Bush than those who preferred Perot over Clinton over Bush voted for Clinton..

    Of course this doesn’t tell you how the fact of athird choice affected how people felt about the other two.

    Sammy Finkelman (dec35d)

  14. Perot-96 may have hurt Dole more than Perot-92 hurt Bush. Though Perots take was much smaller it was a much more ideologically homogeneous group that would have easily given Dole the margins he needed in key states.

    urbanleftbehind (283670)

  15. The only verified Perot supporter I ever met was a forty-something maiden lady who kept cats in her downtown Chicago office (the Monadnock Building, I think). My impression, from the media (and you know what that’s worth), was that his supporters were mainly overage hippies and other assorted flakes. The most significant thing about his campaign to me were the SNL skits with Dana Garvey.

    nk (dbc370)

  16. A friend of mine who graduated from Champaign in ’92 was an engineer who voted for Perot because Perot was an engineer and would be good for engineering prospects.

    That’s actually smart to keep cats in an old multi-story building – did they bring any four-legged gifts to you?

    urbanleftbehind (5eecdb)

  17. @ Paul Montagu (#10): All assertions regarding “what would have happened” if Perot hadn’t run, or had dropped out and stayed out, in 1992, are counterfactuals. I would never use the “evidence” to describe data adduced in support of one argument or another when the argument is an attempt to “prove” a counterfactual. It’s speculation; the reader may find it persuasive, or not, and it certainly may be entertaining. But either way, it’s still ultimately speculation.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  18. *I meant to write, in #17, that “I would never use the word ‘evidence’ to describe ….”

    Beldar (fa637a)

  19. Which is not to say that you’re wrong, Mr. Montagu, in using that word that way. But “evidence” means something specific to me, and it’s not data used to support an argument based on a counterfactual premise.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  20. There is legal evidence, and there is also scientific evidence, Beldar.

    I think the exit polls qualify as scientific evidence even they are not dispositive.

    For instance, if the exit polls showed that 100% of Perot’s voters claimed they would have voted for Bush had Perot not run, I think fairly robust inferences could then be drawn.

    That the exit polls in fact show something else does not disqualify them as evidence of what they *do* show, IMO.

    Dave (1bb933)

  21. Legal evidence has a gatekeeper — the judge — who must admit it before it has any value at all, Dave. The gatekeeper himself is subject to review on appeal. Opinion evidence, based on inferences and conclusions drawn from objective, verifiable (and disprovable) evidence, has had an extra layer of gatekeeping since Daubert. Lots and lots of assertions of opinions (aka opinion evidence), and quite a bit of other evidence, direct or circumstantial, which is offered in court ends up being refused admittance “into evidence

    Scientific “evidence” frequently doesn’t have any gatekeeper, or if it does, an unreliable gatekeeper, with no appellate mechanism to speak of.

    I acknowledge that the contexts are very different. But for myself, I’ll continue using the word in the context where it’s meaningful to me, and to ignore any implication that in other contexts, something is entitled to probative value simply because it’s on someone’s website or in someone’s research paper in someone’s journal. Others are free to do as they wish; I’ve been as gracious as I can be in repeating that several times now.

    Are you going to turn this into another 12-comment argument, Dave? Because I’m not playing.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  22. @15. nk– Back in the day, part of the supplementary data gathered for a dusty old thesis indicated the trend culminating in a ‘business’ candidate being nominated by one of the major parties for the top spot as their initial elected office– a ‘Trump-styled’ candidate running– w/a good chance of winning, was there. It was tedious, boring stuff but the data suggested the discontent and disconnection within electorate was long festering. In ’80, Anderson got 6.6% o/t throw away vote; ’92, Perot got 18.9% supporting the projected trends. It was dull data to work with, but actually, the ‘Trump’ candidacy was no surprise based on the suggested data trends; the nom win was, given the character of the candidate, and he lucked out given the character of his opponent.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  23. But for myself, I’ll continue using the word in the context where it’s meaningful to me […] Others are free to do as they wish; I’ve been as gracious as I can be in repeating that several times now.

    And yet you snapped at Paul for his choice of words, because you disagreed with it.

    Are you going to turn this into another 12-comment argument, Dave? Because I’m not playing.

    My goodness.

    I always enjoy discussion with you, even if we don’t agree, but if it was your intention to be “gracious” here, I’m afraid you haven’t succeeded.


    Dave (1bb933)

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