Here's the deal. Either Ross Perot is delusional (the precise medical term, I believe, is "a nut-case") or the Bush-Quayle team members make the Watergate plumbers look like boy scouts.
I'm not slow dancin', folks. We'll go over this again. Perot's a nut, or G. Gordon Liddy is back in business.
I called Liddy, of Watergate fame, who's now a lecturer, Washington talk-show host and Bunsen-burner tester, to see if he is on the case.
"I'm retired," he said.
But not retiring. Liddy had this to say about Perot's recent allegations: "The man is definitely paranoid. I think he's crackers. . . . Maybe he believes what he's saying. It's possible. I once knew a guy who used to stare at a light bulb for hours and talk to Jesus. He really believed he was talking to Jesus."
I tried Donald Segretti. Maybe you don't remember him. He worked for Nixon, disrupted campaigns, became infamous for using fake stationery on which Edmund Muskie seemed to accuse rivals in the '72 Democratic primary of sexual misconduct, did some jail time and is now semi-rehabilitated. He's a California lawyer -- can you be un-disbarred? -- who says now of Perot's allegations: "I think loony is probably the correct term."
Is Perot nuts? Well, you decide. As you must know, Perot now insists he dropped out of the presidential race last July because the Bush-Quaylers were not only somehow going to disrupt his daughter's wedding but also fake a picture of the same daughter to suggest she was a lesbian.
The first question you'd want to ask Perot is why anyone would want to question the sexual orientation of Perot's daughter. To what purpose? Would people not vote for Perot out of fear that Madonna's lesbian, skin-head friends would start showing up at state dinners?
The second question: Ross, does your health insurance cover psychological counseling?
But maybe it is possible that Perot has been a victim of Republican dirty tricksters. It has happened to others, I believe.
Segretti suggests those days are over. "Everyone," he says, "has learned the lessons of that era."
"The Republicans, as are the Democrats, are perfectly capable of dirty tricks," Liddy says. "But one would hope that in creating a dirty trick that there would be a reasonable expectation of advancing your cause. How could this advance anyone's cause? Who's going to vote for a candidate based on the sexual orientation of his child?
"It's ridiculous. He's having visions."
Some candidates have vision. Perot is apparently different. We mustn't forget some of his other charges. My favorite is that, in response to his efforts to free POWs held in Vietnam, the North Vietnamese hired the Black Panthers to assassinate him.
We should go over this one again. Somebody over in North Vietnam, maybe Ho Chi Minh, called up Huey Newton or Bobby Seales or one of the other guys and asked would the Panthers mind, if they weren't too busy fighting their own personal revolution, knocking off Perot. That's Perot's story, and he's sticking with it. He said his guard dog chased five Black Panthers off his lawn. The man who was in charge of securing Perot's estate at the time said it never happened. The FBI said it never happened. Nobody except Perot seems to have heard anything about it.
This is your next president?
Well, probably not. Oh, he's homey and he's got billions to spend on TV advertising and I heard his wife say on one of his infomercials that he's a great guy. But the truth is that once the media scrutiny begins, Perot always implodes.
Liddy says it's a waste of time to use dirty tricks on Perot.
"If you give him enough time, he's always going to self-destruct," Liddy says. "If I had a dirty trick, it would be against Clinton. What I'd do is use one of those digitalizations to come up with a film of Clinton leading that death-march antiwar rally in London. I'd make a commercial. You'd have the march and then smash cut to guys hanging on hooks at the Hanoi Hilton. That would be pretty devastating.
"I told this to some Hollywood liberals, and you should have seen their faces go white. 'Oh my God, you're not going to do that.' I told 'em I was retired. Now, I am the media."
That's what we've come to folks. G. Gordon Liddy is part of the media. And Ross Perot thinks he ought to be president.