Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Will Ross the Boss Let His Posse Lead?

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Will Ross the Boss Let His Posse Lead?

Article excerpt

ROSS PEROT showed this week he is a power-broker, if not yet a politician. He engineered quite a pair of visitations to Dallas by emissaries from the Bush and Clinton campaigns, each trying to get him not to run, and to endorse their candidate. They would not want to insult Mr. Perot or the chairpersons of his 50 state-campaign organizations. These "volunteers" - Perot's political posse - were to weigh whether Bush or Clinton had moved close enough to Perot's positions and if not whether Perot should reenter the race. Perot will measure whether his volunteers' enthusiasm constitutes a mandate.

If elected, would Perot hoke up one of these "will of the people" exercises before deciding what to do? Whatever happened to the silent agony of leadership?

If Perot wants to run, he can run. And bear the consequences.

No matter that he had said back in July, when quitting, that his candidacy might throw the contest into the House of Representatives if neither Clinton nor Bush received a majority of electoral votes. The most likely impact of a Perot reentry would be to tighten the race and take victory from Clinton outright. Or the election might go to the House. If it did, it could mean a Clinton victory there unless the GOP were to make unanticipated, heroic gains in the Nov. 3 House races. If Perot wins Texas and the other two are close in electoral votes, Perot could be kingmaker.

Why should the House not make the call? This topic is debated perennially in the schools. The alternative argument usually is that the direct popular vote of the people should determine the outcome of the presidential election. The electoral-college system, which apportions electors from states on the basis of their total legislative delegations (Senate and House, plus three for D.C., 538 in all), favors Republican candidates in the less populous western states. It is the system we have, with the House vote as a backup.

If Perot wants to use his leverage, let him do so. He has some leadership ideas, which he outlines in "United We Stand," his paperback manifesto. One way to eliminate the $330 billion yearly deficit would be to close the public schools, obviously a nonstarter. …

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