SANDY McCLURE, WHO heads Ross Perot's Missouri organization,
has a simple prescription for keeping tabs on Congress - "Follow
McClure, of Springfield, led a delegation of about 50
Missourians to Dallas last weekend for Perot's United We Stand
In her call for campaign finance reform, McClure reflected one
of the clearest messages from the Perot forces who gathered in
Texas. And yet, despite their demands, no reform plan in Congress
is moving toward final passage.
Why is this important? Because the Perot activists represent
millions of ticket-splitting voters who can be counted on to throw
their weight around in unpredictable ways if they stay mad.
Perot himself spoke impatiently of continued delays in
Congress, one of which is the contention by House Speaker Newt
Gingrich, R-Ga., that he must study campaign reform before setting
up a commission that studies it further. "I couldn't understand why
this took a lot of study," Perot said. "Studies and studies and
studies and studies have been done."
Even before Perot's gathering, polls showed a startling level
of estrangement between the people and their government. Three of
four people do not trust the government right now, according to
interviews with 1,000 people last month in a privately financed
project called America Talks Issues.
The survey's fine print showed that 73 percent believed that
government leaders "work for themselves," not those who elected
them; 70 percent see government being run not for them but for the
benefit of "special interests."
Perot's gathering of 3,500 agreed informally on drastic
departures from the present system of money in politics. At the top
of their list, many United We Stand members called for term limits
for Congress - something unlikely to happen this century.
The Perot followers spoke clearly of their feelings when asked
at a workshop on Sunday if they believed that members of Congress
have a conflict of interest on the issue of term limits: 97 percent
said yes. Many proclaimed that message on lapel stickers passed out
in Dallas by John Thompson of Marshfield, Mo.
As part of their "Second Contract with America," the Perot
followers also recommended:
Ending "soft money" - the millions of dollars in barely
regulated money that flows to national party organizations.
Requiring members of Congress to raise most campaign money in
their own districts.
Banning members of Congress, presidents and vice presidents
from lobbying for five years after they leave office. …