The Corner

Politics & Policy

Perot and Buckley: Stop the Presses

In 1992, our founder wrote this for his March 31 syndicated column, penned in the aftermath of the late H. Ross Perot’s much-ballyhooed 60 Minutes interview that proved central to his ensuing presidential bid:

Mr. Perot is a gentleman of imperious habits. Several years ago I edited and slotted an article in National Review on his heroic organization of a band of privateers to rescue several of his workers caught up in the Ayatollah Khomeini’ s hostage dragnet (Mr. Perot had authorized the release of the data to our writer). A few weeks later he called me on the telephone to say that he had changed his mind, he wished the story canceled. 

I told him that the magazine carrying the story was already on the press. In that case, he said, just cancel the entire issue and send him the bill. I explained to him (I am a patient fellow) that magazines don’t run in quite that way. He expressed surprise. 

As he expressed surprise on “60 Minutes” that he would have any problem at all dealing with Congress, were he elected president. “The key to progress is to get people to agree with you,” he pronounced, as though the clouds of Mount Sinai had parted to herald this oracular pronouncement. 

Why didn’t Madison or Jefferson or Lincoln think of that?! Get everybody to agree with you, and Pfft! — problems just go away!

Bill had a lot more to say, and as it progressed, the column’s tone got sharper than aged provolone. Here’s the entire shebang

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