ROSS PEROT'S volunteer organization, United We Stand, America (UWSA), is ready to begin reconstituting itself as a political advocacy group, says executive director Orson Swindle. Considering that Mr. Perot's independent candidacy attracted 19 percent of the vote, the group could be a powerful advocate indeed.
Many Perot supporters would like to see UWSA take a more radical step. After Tuesday's defeat, James Stockdale, Perot's running mate, speculated that "we're overdue to be a three-party country."
However, while acknowledging after these remarks that "there is a natural evolution" from an advocacy group to a political party, Mr. Swindle advised: "Let's see if we can do the first step first and then the second [step] second."
In election-day interviews at the Perot headquarters and post-election rally, Swindle outlined the genesis, mission, and future he sees for UWSA. The organization was formed last July by state coordinators of his petition drives, after Perot announced that he would not run for president.
Its immediate goals were to put Perot's name on the ballot in 26 remaining states, and to serve as a campaign structure and staff, should he decide to run.
"What we were all about was more than just Ross Perot as a candidate for president," Swindle explains. "The intent of United We Stand, America, was to go forward, regardless of whether Mr. Perot got back in the race or not."
UWSA will be a permanent vehicle of expression for the voter dissatisfaction that achieved spontaneous self-awareness through its attraction to Perot's anti-deficit, anti-special-interest rhetoric, Swindle contends.
He says UWSA will incorporate, though probably not as a not-for-profit entity since they cannot engage in political advocacy.
By Jan. 1, Swindle says, the organization will be ready to recruit members, collect dues of $10 to $20 (so there won't be any dependency on Perot), develop bylaws and procedures, and elect state and national officers. UWSA will keep a national office, but state organizations will operate fairly autonomously. Perot role inspirational
Perot, Swindle predicts, will be involved as an inspirational figurehead. "His interest in solving the problems of the country" did not end with this election.
The group's agenda is to achieve fiscal and governmental reform through the platform developed for Perot's campaign, outlined in the book "United We Stand." Giving the president a line-item veto is "absolutely" a key goal, Swindle says. Congressional term limits and a balanced-budget amendment may also be necessary, he says.
"We literally are at war economically," Swindle says. He blames the administration, but even more so Congress for fiscal mismanagement. "They [Congress] are a disgrace in handling the pocketbook of the nation," he says.
Many reelected incumbents deserve to be ousted, and so probably will some newcomers in two years, he predicts. UWSA will be there to help dish out those just deserts, Swindle insists. Budget candidates
Swindle applauds candidates who promise to defeat the deficit or else not run for reelection. UWSA will seek such promises from its candidates. It will encourage people to become primary candidates who can be relied upon to balance the budget "and who, if they fail, would be willing to get out and let somebody else try it."
The same people who voted for Perot and worked in his campaign will join UWSA when it becomes an advocacy group, Swindle says. They are business-minded people. They have been retirees on fixed incomes - the last people one would expect to volunteer to pay higher taxes, Swindle says.
However, they're fed up with "irresponsibility, corruption, shady foreign deals, and name-calling."
Other supporters have been "young people thinking about tomorrow" and factory workers "whose jobs quit them," Swindle says, using Perot's phrase. A self-described archconservative who was a prisoner of war in Vietnam, Swindle says he frequently finds himself rubbing elbows with liberals working for UWSA.