Republicans vie for Perot's blessing
Known for his commentary on international relations and US politics, Rupert Cornwell also contributes obituaries and occasionally even a column for the sports pages. With The Independent since its launch in 1986, he was the paper's first Moscow correspondent - covering the collapse of the Soviet Union – during which time he won two British Press Awards. Previously a foreign correspondent for the Financial Times and Reuters, he has also been a diplomatic correspondent, leader writer and columnist, and has served as Washington bureau editor. In 1983 he published God's Banker, about Roberto Calvi, the Italian banker found hanging from Blackfriars Bridge.
Monday 14 August 1995
One after another, Republican contenders for the nomination trooped like suitors before 3,000 followers of the Texas billionaire, making their pitch to the the floating vote and, less obviously, seeking to persuade Mr Perot to stay out of the contest himself.
On the issues - and on the future career of its founder - United We Stand America, the organisation which emerged from Mr Perot's quixotic bid for the White House four years ago, is far from united. But although they range from conservative "America first" nationalists to moderates and mere eccentrics, its members share a dissatisfaction with "business as usual" in Washington and a yearning for a third force in politics.
If applause were the measure of success, Pat Buchanan was the winner. Wrapping around himself Mr Perot's patriotic mantle, the right-wing commentator brought the mainly white, middle-aged delegates to their feet with tirades against Nafta, the United Nations and immigration. "I'll build a steel fence and seal the borders," Mr Buchanan said, to cheers.
Scarcely less successful was Alan Keyes, an evangelical black ex-diplomat and anti-abortion crusader who linked Perot's demands for fiscal responsibility with a call for righteousness. "We'll never balance the budget unless we balance our hearts," he said.
Compared to these spokesmen of moral conservatism, the conventional heavyweights fell flat, none more so than the Senate Majority leader, Bob Dole. Mr Dole is the Republican front-runner for 1996. But at 72, after more than 35 years in Congress, he was for this audience a Washington insider, a symbol of the problem rather than the solution.
Even so, according to recent polls, Mr Dole is running neck and neck with his main rival, Senator Phil Gramm, even here, in Mr Gramm's home state of Texas. Across the rest of the country and in the key early primary states of Iowa and New Hampshire, Mr Dole's lead is unassailable.
If the proceedings provided a pointer, it lay in the California Governor, Pete Wilson. He hammered at the themes he hopes will carry him to the White House: the need for welfare reform, his stands against immigration and affirmative action, and law-and-order. If the enthusiasm he generated was a guide, Mr Wilson could emerge as Mr Dole's most dangerous challenger.
But the ringmaster was Mr Perot, bounding on to the stage to present each speaker and capping each speech with a few homilies, his Texas twangstronger than ever on his home turf of Dallas. Mr Perot is keeping his intentions a riddle. Most UWSA members think he should not run, and the Republicans are desperate to keep him on the sidelines, convinced that he would syphon off enough support to deny them the White House, just as he did four years ago, when he took 19 per cent of the vote.
But Mr Perot is giving no promises. "I'm not going to go away as everyone would like," he said yesterday. "I'm like the grain of sand in the oyster, you need me to produce a pearl."And polls show that if the main party candidates in 1996 are President Clinton and Mr Dole, half the voters still want another choice.
- 2 Oil tanker with $100 million cargo goes missing off Texas coast
- 4 Saudi Arabia executes 19 in one half of August in 'disturbing surge of beheadings'
YouTube video posted by Isis militants shows 'execution of 250 Syrian soldiers'
Keira Knightley topless: Usually conservative actress does own take on #Freethenipple campaign for Interview Magazine
Oil tanker with $100 million cargo goes missing off Texas coast
George Galloway left with severe bruising after attack in Notting Hill by man 'shouting about the Holocaust'
Lady al-Qa’ida: On the trail of Dr Aafia Siddiqui, the world’s most wanted prisoner
Robin Williams Emmys tribute led by Billy Crystal criticised for including 'racist' joke about Muslim woman
The Rotherham child abuse scandal is a tale of apologists, misogyny and double standards
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Scottish independence TV debate: Pumped-up Alex Salmond bounces back in bruising second round against Alistair Darling
Do you realise just how foolish the UK looks?
With Douglas Carswell joining Ukip, my party has taken another giant step forward
- < Previous
- Next >
£28000 - £30000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Junior VB.NET ...
£40000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# .NET Web De...
Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: HAMPSHIRE MARKET TOWN - A highly attr...
£35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Network Engineer (CCNP, CCNA, Linux, OSPF,...