His campaign pledge, thoughtfully delivered for the benefit of hearing-impaired voters in 1988, had been, "Read my lips, no new taxes." Unfortunately, what Bush did in office was to raise all the old taxes. Besides which, the Iron Curtain had come down, and we'd kicked Sadam's butt - or at least the butt of his Republican Guard - so it felt like we no longer needed the virile hawkishness of a Republican president, someone like Reagan who'd unwittingly quipped into a live mike, "We've outlawed the Soviet Union. Bombing starts in five minutes."
Now with the country in a recession and the deficit sky-rocketing, Americans were ready for a change. One person who thought he could provide that change was Ross Perot, who ran a "I'm-mad-as-hell-and-I'm-not-going-to-take-it-anymore" campaign.
The Texas billionaire first appeared on the political scene claiming that hundreds of POWs had been left behind after the Vietnam War. Ross engaged in illegal back-door negotiations with Vietnam on the issue. He failed to secure the release of a single POW, or verify there were any, but he did wrangle an agreement to be Vietnam's business agent once relations with the US were normalized. So something good did come of it.
Perot dropped from the race before the election, later claiming some dang Republican operatives were trying to sabotage his daughter's wedding. One factor might have the performance by his running mate James Stockdale during the vice-presidential debate. Admiral Stockdale, a Vietnam war hero and former POW opened his remarks with "Who am I? Why am I here?" a rhetorical question that just gave fodder to Saturday Night Live parodies. He also neglected to have on his hearing aid, which meant he had to have a question repeated.
Clinton rolled into the White House, ending the streak of three consecutive Republican victories.
Bill Clinton: 370
George Bush: 168
George Bush: 168
Ross Perot: 0