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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 5/24/09

The Reform Party - What Went Wrong And Why

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Part 1 - © 2009 Independent News Services - Written by: Steven Thompson “A piece of American history you won’t find in any High-School or College text book”

The political saga began in 1992 following an interview between Larry King and H. Ross Perot. Prior to this interview, few in the Pacific Northwest had ever heard of Ross Perot. The more I heard of Perot the more interested I became.

As Perot’s popularity became unavoidable, I started receiving telephone calls from friends up and down the west coast. “Hey, have you heard about Perot and his group, United We Stand America?”

Soon after, I asked around town and learned about the Perot For President campaign office that had opened on North Division Street in Spokane. The place was buzzing with people to include the Washington State Director of UWSA, Mrs. Connie Smith. It didn’t take long for me to sign up, pay my membership dues and walk away with my Perot For President bumper sticker and campaign sign.

This was way too cool. As with most folks you talk to, two-party politics had become boring, “ain’t a dimes worth of difference” most would say. I couldn’t disagree. Perot was talking about real issues and he’d go on national television with placards that showed simple to understand charts and graphs.

Since this piece is a brief history of the Reform Party, I’ll now move to 1993 but, before doing so, I’ll simply state that H. Ross Perot pulled 24% of the Washington State vote in the 1992 general election. I’ll further state that Perot was invited and successfully participated in the televised 1992 Presidential Debates between the incumbent George Bush Sr. and the former Governor of Arkansas Bill Clinton.

In 1993, Larry King Live once again hosted Ross Perot. This interview however included the participation of newly elected Vice-President Al Gore. The topic of debate was the much discussed North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). This is when the phrase “Giant Sucking Sound” became a well know term coined by Ross Perot. The phrase was meant as a graphical expression for good paying American jobs moving to Mexico.

Vice-President Gore argued in favor of NAFTA while Perot was strongly making his case against it. To help sell NAFTA, Gore stated what would become one of the biggest lies of his political history, “We’ll give NAFTA six months and if it doesn’t work we’ll pull out.” The pitch Gore made was that NAFTA would be a win-win for both the U.S. and Mexican workers. Looking back, there’s still no thriving middle-class in Mexico consuming U.S. made products as Gore had promised. The Mexican people who work in these factories live in cardboard shacks, many are without running water just as they did prior to NAFTA.

The true benefactors of any recent U.S. foreign trade policy has been investors on Wall Street and Big Box stores like Walmart who have made a fortune selling cheaply made foreign products to a struggling and greatly weaker U.S. middle-class and poor. Let’s all agree that Americas elite rarely shop at cut rate stores like Walmart.

Looking back, Vice-President Gore had also stated that the U.S. was converting from a manufacturing based economy to a service based economy. NAFTA became standard trade policy over seventeen years ago. During this time, the American middle-class has fallen further towards the poverty line even though a large number of U.S. households have two working members. In 2009, service based jobs are being sent offshore. So, Mr. Gore, what form of economy do we have today? Fraud-Based perhaps?

In 1994, the Speaker of the House, Mr. Thomas Foley(D) was also my 5th Congressional District representative. The majority of the big issues that Perot spoke of in 1992 were now found in what was being billed as the ‘Contract For America’. Anytime the mainstream press spoke of the contract it always referred to it as a document written and engineered by then Congressman Newt Gingrich. However, for those of us who were paying attention, we knew full well where the contract came from (Perot), we also knew why the Republican party all of a sudden decided to embraced it.

Without the Perot vote, the 1994 Republican revolution wouldn’t happen. The Republicans ran a large number of unknowns that included George Nethercutt. Across America these candidates spoke of a new contract that would include issues such as term limits so America could once and for all rid itself of tax and spend incumbents who’d been in Congress for so long that they’d lost touch with reality back home. George Nethercutt stated that he’d serve three terms then return back home if we voted for him and toss out the sitting House Speaker.

How could the Independent voter in Washington’s 5th congressional district not believe what Mr. Nethercutt was saying? After all, Ross Perot himself flew into Spokane and gave a much publicized stump speech encouraging all of his supporters from 1992 to believe in the Contract For America. As a side note. Ed Rollins, a GOP consultant was hired by Perot in 1992 to manage his campaign. In 1994, Ed Rollins was in Spokane working to defeat Tom Foley. In a May 11, 2009 television appearance on CNN, Rollins stated, “The Republican party is in the wilderness.” This is a major understatement. The truth? Due to excessive lying, fraud and deception, the Republican party is in the toilet where it’s belonged since 1994.

House Speaker Tom Foley did little to confront what the Republicans were doing. I remember attending a well publicized debate between Speaker Foley and his Republican challenger. The event was held in the auditorium at North Central High School. The place was packed with Republicans and Independents. If there were any Democrats in attendance they were greatly outnumbered. The place was buzzing with energy while we waited, and waited, and waited for the debate to begin. Finally, almost an hour behind schedule, the lights went down over the audience and the curtains flew open. I couldn’t believe what I saw next. There were two podiums, a few feet apart and only one candidate, George Nethercutt.

Not wanting to disappoint what were hundreds of voters who’d taken the time to attended the event. The moderator went on with the show and Mr. Nethercutt would answer the questions and then poke fun at Speaker Foley by turning to the empty podium and ask the no show what he thought! This of course brought cheers and laughter from a friendly crowd and more or less sealed the deal for those Independents who were in attendance.

Was House Speaker Thomas Foley conceding the election? Or, did Speaker Foley think in his own mind, and that of his campaign handlers, that he had the 1994 re-election won and didn’t need to participate in this very well attended debate?

From mid-summer to the November 1994 general election, De-Foley-Ate buttons and campaign signs were everywhere. Nethercutt didn’t miss a beat and made sure to sell the Contract For America everywhere he went.

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I've personally experienced how a deceptive press can manipulate elections. The Commission On Presidential Debates must be abolished. Election and Media Reform is my #1 goal. I invite each and everyone of you to visit 'our' media reform site: (more...)
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