GOP, Economic Populism And “A Giant Sucking Sound”

ROSS PEROT WAS RIGHT …  || By ROBERT ROMANO ||The National Review’s Quin Hillyer had a very interesting piece on May 11 pointing to the Republican voter turnout deficit in 2012 among people Sean Trende at Real Clear Politics described as “largely downscale, Northern, rural whites. In other words, H….


|| By ROBERT ROMANO ||The National Review’s Quin Hillyer had a very interesting piece on May 11 pointing to the Republican voter turnout deficit in 2012 among people Sean Trende at Real Clear Politics described as “largely downscale, Northern, rural whites. In other words, H. Ross Perot voters.”

Here, Hillyer and Trende are pointing to the 2.5 million potential Republican voters who stayed home in 2012, probably costing Mitt Romney the presidency.

Hillyer explains the deficit by pointing to another one: “Romney was crushed, 81–18, on the question of which candidate ‘cares about people like me.’ Despite first appearances, this isn’t merely a touchy-feely ‘empathy’ question. It’s at least as much a question about cultural cues. The key part of the question isn’t cares, but cares about people like me.”

“The same sort of voters left cold (or at best lukewarm) by Romney were enthusiastic about the even wealthier Perot in 1992,” Hillyer added.

But why? Was it cultural differences? Or something else?

Besides the dramatic growth of the national debt, Ross Perot’s big issue in 1992 was opposing the pending North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).  He was an economic populist.

In that year’s presidential debate, Perot famously said, “We have got to stop sending jobs overseas. It’s pretty simple: If you’re paying $12, $13, $14 an hour for factory workers and you can move your factory South of the border, pay a dollar an hour for labor … have no health care – that’s the most expensive single element in making a car – have no environmental controls, no pollution controls and no retirement, and you don’t care about anything but making money, there will be a giant sucking sound going south.”

That message was enough to garner 18.9 percent of the popular vote and bring 19.7 million people to the polls.  Perot’s run almost certainly cost then-President George H.W. Bush any chance at re-election.

That was also the year Pat Buchanan ran for president unsuccessfully in the Republican primary, promising to “stop foreign imports putting guys up here out of jobs.” Although Buchanan did not win a single primary that year, he did manage to garner 2.9 million votes.

Recall also that with the economy still reeling from the recession of 1991, and with unemployment averaging more than 7 percent throughout 1992, jobs were a key issue in the campaign.

So, perhaps, trade was an issue that showed to voters that Perot and Buchanan “care about people like me.” Illegal immigration would be another issue, too, that falls into this category.

In this context, we’re talking about a constituency deeply suspicious of unlimited immigration and trade deals based on past experience, whether it is the drop of manufacturing employment nationwide or the prior no-borders amnesty policies that have been implemented by past administrations.

These deals, then, pose a direct threat to the economic well-being of these voters, and politicians who present themselves in favor of them risk provoking a sense of betrayal that their own government is intent on importing in cheap labor and exporting jobs — to supplant them.

(To continue reading this piece, press the “Read More …” icon below).

Robert Romano is the Senior Editor of Americans for Limited Government.  This piece (reprinted with permission) originally appeared on NetRightDaily.com.


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Centrist View May 12, 2015 at 10:27 pm

Here’s the video with the quote @ 1:55

Giant Sucking Sound – Ross Perot 1992 Presidential Debate

Philip Branton May 13, 2015 at 10:38 am

Nice try Mr. FOlks………..ya know, how do you ensure an old dog realizes that he must continually learn new tricks and let other dogs perform the old tricks? Dare to wonder who was hearing a “sucking sound” in our statehouse from BOEING during this debate between Perot, Bush and Clinton..? Why would it not be reported to the citizens then that 900 Million of taxpayer loot would be pimped without a vote…? Ha, dare to wonder how SCE&G would know where certain power DEMAND would be planned…?

Wil……..get busy…!

saila May 13, 2015 at 10:42 am

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FastEddy23 May 13, 2015 at 12:14 pm

The idea that moving a business/factory “south of the border” and paying a dollar an hour is a steaming pile of road apples.

That was then, this is now.

Unemployment rate in Mexico is now around 5% … There is a decent demand for semi-skilled workers in every major city on Mexico.

The average rate of pay for factory workers in Mexico has risen to greater than US$9.00 per hour. Many Mexican “skilled” workers are paid more than US$12.00 per hour.

ELCID May 13, 2015 at 6:58 pm

Exactly the reason I voted for Ross Perot for President. And, the reason every person should have done the same thing. People don’t laugh at that “Giant Job Sucking Sound,” now do they.

Also, Perot did not cost Bush the election. I voted for Clinton in the primary’s and never would have voted for the disastrous continuation of the Iraq war that Bush started and his son continued. Unfortunately, I did vote once for Bush, Junior. That was a mistake.


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