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Why Perot Sabotaged the Reform Party

  • There are unanswered questions as to why Ross Perot, who built a strong third-party challenge to the two-party strangle-hold on American politics, has worked earnestly to destroy it.
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By Christopher Bollyn

Pat Buchanan said that "a priest or a psychiatrist" was needed to explain why Texas billionaire Ross Perot had sabotaged the very party he had built. Buchanan said that Perot's hostility was "inexplicable," but there is a reason for everything.

For Buchanan supporters, especially those who backed Perot in 1992, there have been nagging questions about Perot.

Why did Perot support obviously weak candidates like John Hagelin rather than endorse Pat Buchanan, the man he had invited into the Reform party in the first place? Would Perot endorse Buchanan after he finally won the party's nomination at the national convention in Long Beach?

The latter question was answered when Perot finally emerged the week before elections and endorsed Gov. George W. Bush saying, "You got to pick the best of the two horses in the race."

Perot's endorsement of Bush is ex tremely odd, as Bush has called for expanding NAFTA to include the entire hemisphere.

The former question, however, re mained unanswered until Tom Pauken writing in the November issue of D Magazine of Dallas provided an explanation.

"Why did Perot turn with such a ven geance against Buchanan?" Pauken asked.

"The turnabout can be traced to a phone call made to Ross Perot by a close friend in Dallas," he said.

"Perot prides himself on having good social and business relationships with leaders in the Jewish community. One of his good friends is Liener Temerlin, co-founder of Dallas-based Temerlin Mc Clain Advertising and a prominent Jew ish civic leader. Temerlin had made no bones about his belief that Buchanan was guilty of anti-Semitism.

"When it became clear in news reports that Perot had invited Buchanan into the Reform Party and was all but handing him its nomination, Temerlin made a phone call to his good friend.

"One thing about that conversation with Temerlin is certain. A short time thereafter, the Perot forces turned against Buchanan. The open embrace turned into a 'scorched earth' policy that was intent on destroying the party if that were the only means of keeping Bu chanan from gaining control of it," Pau ken said.

There are few clues provided as to what Temerlin actually said to Perot to persuade him to turn against Buchanan, a gifted populist candidate who would seem to be a logical and natural ally of Perot's.

However, some of the awards that Perot has received suggest an unspoken quid pro quo was brokered between Perot and big-money interests of New York.

Perot received the Winston Churchill Award in 1986 (given by a foundation of the same name from New York headed then by John Loeb and today by John Loeb, Jr. of the Kuhn Loeb banking empire) and was the first person to receive the Raoul Wallenberg Award (1987) given by the Raoul Wallenberg Committee of New York headed by Rachel Bernheim, which has been described as "an organization of moneyed interests with an agenda," by the Wallenberg committee of Chicago.

Very little is publicly known about the organizations behind these awards and, in the case of Perot, it appears that they could be tokens of appreciation for service rendered.