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Monday, August 24, 2015

Fringeville #139 August 24, 2015

Deju Vu All Over Again?

H. Ross Perot

Donald Trump

I know I am not the only one making comparisons between H. Ross Perot's failed 1992 Presidential Campaign and Donald Trump's current run. There are some surface similarities: both have extensive business experience and both fellows pretty much do and say what they damned well please. They don't mince words. (Perot famously and prophetically said folks should listen for the "giant sucking sound" of jobs heading to Mexico if NAFTA was ratified.) In general, folks like that kind of talk. I think people tune out when candidates for any office are doing 'candidate speak' (the fine art of giving long-winded, politically correct spiels that often make it hard to distinguish one candidate from another).

Both come off as men of action.

Indeed, in the case of Perot, there's historical proof he was willing to act on his own when necessary. When two of his employees were put in prison by the Iranian government in 1979 because of a contract squabble, he put together a team to rescue them and get them to safety. Those were very dangerous days in Iran. Revolution was imminent. But the mission succeeded, despite the risks.

Trump doesn't have an 'action' resume to match that feat, but he does get things done. His campaign website highlight's Trump's rescue of New York City's Veteran's Parade, which had deteriorated into an embarrassing, low turnout event until he supercharged it.

There are differences, as well. Perot ran as an independent. Trump (for now at least) is running as a Republican and still leading the field. He hasn't ruled out a run as in Independent, either. But they are markedly dissimilar on many issues, as detailed by a Talking Point Memo article (this is a left-leaning site, but I found this piece interesting).

The thing to keep in mind is just how early this is in the Election process. Perot was the leader in the Gallup poll in the early summer of 1992. But the election wasn't held in June, it was held in November. Over the summer, his campaign imploded spectacularly. When he dropped out of the campaign he displayed a remarkable case of paranoia, claiming he was quitting because the Bush campaign was going to sabotage his daughter's wedding. Folks, you can't make stuff like this up. He re-entered the race in October, but the fork was deeply embedded in him by then.

The Donald has an awful lot of highway ahead of him, and there are dangerous exits everywhere. I have no idea what his staying power will be. That will be largely up to him. Like Perot, he pulls support from everywhere in the voter landscape. It can vanish quickly, as those who witnessed the Perot debacle can testify.

For the record I am personally undecided right now, precisely because it is so early. I remember the lesson of the Perot campaign, when many people who didn't pay much attention to politics responded well to his message. When Perot quit then came back, many of those folks didn't give him another shot. I think it is because the Election process (gosh yes, I hate that term, but it is accurate) is a long, long marathon designed in part to weed out the squirrels. It is not a sprint, folks. The squirrels are there, an abundance of them on both sides of the aisle. Hopefully we end up with two strong choices for President.

As to Trump, I am a bit torn. He has managed to generate a lot of excitement. It reminds me of the early, heady days of the Perot campaign. I will be thankful for that if all the folks coming out of the woodwork will carry that excitement to the polls for the rest of their lives. But one of my frustrations as a GOP committee member in NEPA is the widespread voter apathy here. We've got 2 in 10 people voting in some places. The other eight, who have the ammunition to make wholesale changes in the regional and local political landscape, believe their votes don't matter.

Newsflash, folks: Eight will kick the snot out of Two, if the eight bother to show up for the fight.

If Trump self-destructs I am not optimistic that those with newly-awakened political spirit will stay in the game. I hope I am wrong.

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I continue to try to find a way to exist in a meaningful way while working two full time jobs. It ain't easy. It's still beating the crap out of me physically, but I am a testament to modern medical science: I am still on the curable list for prostate cancer and I rebounded from surgery last year so well that by the beginning of December I was able to start burning myself out with vigor on a second job. (Yes, this is being written somewhat, but not completely, tongue-in-cheek.)

What I really need is one job with great benefits that pays about 70k. I'd love to see my grandkids once in a while. Or even just get a good night's sleep. We on 3rd shift jobs crave a good night's sleep. So if you've got that kind of job available, I'll be sitting by the phone. (P.S. Perdue: I am worth ten times that 70k as a chicken-wing taster)

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Continuing in this vein, for the most part I am in great shape. My weight is staying down. My cholesterol is improving, and my PSA remains undetectable through 12 months post-surgery. (I've just had quarterly blood drawn again, but I am optimistic it will show the same undetectable PSA level when the results come back.)

The only really disturbing episode I've had recently was a fall on East Main Street in Wilkes-Barre. I tripped ...at least I THINK I tripped ...on the sidewalk. I ended up halfway in the street. Some scrapes and bruises, but nothing broken (a minor miracle in itself, as I have OI). I was mostly embarrassed after I fell, because folks saw me hit the ground and I am not very graceful when falling face-first to the firmament. In the days since, it has been playing on my mind a bit. You see, I don't fall down. I am careful not to fall down. But when I tripped (or whatever it was I did) I was completely unable to recover my balance. It's almost as if I was already leaning forward when it happened, with no change to avoid the grip of gravity. Gravity may the weakest force in the Universe, but it kicked my ass last week.

I think that I subconsciously knew that I've become slightly less firm-on-my-feet. I'd mentioned to the wife on a couple of occasions that I was "due for a fall." Why the hell would I say that? What does my subconscious know that my conscious brain doesn't see? If my subconscious is that good, can it point me to the best chicken wings in NEPA?

But I digress.

And lastly, and totally unrelated to anything I've written here today, if I see one more Viagra commercial with scantily clad and gorgeous women talking about ED, I'm tossing a plate of wings at the TV. It aggravates the hell out of me. I have my reasons, but it's not what you think. And who the hell is ED anyway?

Alright, enough coffee. I'm rambling. Off to work. Damn the torpedoes. Fry the wings. Full sail ahead.

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