|dc.description.abstract||The Prophet from Plano argues that the success and failure of Ross Perot's 1992 presidential campaign can be explained, in part, by examining his rhetorical strategies. This study argues that Ross Perot appeared as a modern day prophet. Perot possessed nearly all of the characteristics normally associated with prophets.
Additionally, Perot's enormous wealth functioned as "proof' to the American people that Perot truly was a prophet. Beyond Perot's adoption of the prophetic persona, Perot appeared on the national political scene at a time of perceived crisis. This too, was consistent with the ancient prophets. The confluence of Perot's prophetic persona and the perceived crisis propelled Perot into national prominence. This study also analyzes Perot's rhetoric to determine if Perot was employing a contemporary secular jeremiad. Comparing Perot's rhetoric to the characteristics of
the jeremiad, some striking similarities are found. Perot exhibited most of the characteristics of the jeremiad and he employed "plain talk" which enhanced his message. However, Perot's attribution of sin prevents categorization of his rhetoric as a contemporary secular jeremiad.Finally, Perot's ultimate success and failure is traced to his use of the jeremiad and his damaged ethos. Perot's July pullout fatally damaged his prophetic ethos, while
his use of the jeremiad prevented Perot from offering specific solutions to the problems he identified. The study concludes that Perot did not, in fact, deliver a contemporary secular jeremiad. Rather, he delivered a variant described as a political jeremiad. In addition to Perot's prophetic persona, Perot's success is attributed to his linkage of the debt/deficit issue with the extinction of the American Dream combined with his unique use of the television medium. Conclusions and thoughts on future
areas of research are offered.||