Senator Hillary? President Hillary?
Jude Wanniski
May 17, 2000


To: Sen. Bob Torricelli, D-N.J.
From: Jude Wanniski
Re: Mrs. Clinton's Political Future

You know, Bob, that before I am a Republican, or a Democrat, I am a supply-sider. When I supported you in your Senate race in 1996, I did so knowing it would not sit well with some of my conservative friends who do put partisan positions above all else. That's why you may see, better than most, my interest in Hillary Clinton's run for the Senate. If Mayor Giuliani decides to make the race, I would take a rooting interest in his candidacy, precisely because he is one of the very few Republicans in recent years who has identified with the Reagan/Kemp growth wing of the GOP. If he does not run, I am going to assume that Hillary will be elected in November, and it will be because of the direct interest you take in her candidacy. Indeed, you are the fellow -- as chairman of the Senate Democratic Campaign Committee -- who initially urged her to get into the New York race.

We all know the reason the New York race is attracting so much national attention. Hillary's interest is not simply to spend the next six years on the back bench as a freshman Senator. She has in mind the Oval Office as a distinct goal. This is why Republicans are ready to do anything they can at this early stage of the game to stop her -- before she picks up momentum. There is a sense of dread among GOP activists that if she makes it to the Senate, the incredible luck of the Clintons will continue to work for her and she will end up in the White House.

For my part, there is no such sense of dread. My assumption as a political analyst is that the best man always wins in a fair election, so if Republicans cannot put up better candidates against Hillary than they did against Bill, she will deserve to rise as high as she can. What I've seen of her thus far suggests she can travel up the learning curve as a candidate in her own right, after spending a lifetime working for others. I've also detected your hand in seeing her throw out the line that New York's tax rates may be higher than they need to be. If you really want to help her win, you should personally hand her a copy of my book, "The Way the World Works," and encourage her to especially read chapter VI on the Laffer Curve and Chapter VII, which covers the Wall Street crash of 1929. As a senator from New York, Hillary would be well advised to learn as much as she can about how the financial markets work. (Her Republican opponent will be quick to point out she has already mastered the commodity markets.)

As for President Hillary? I don't see why not. There are only a handful of men I see on the political landscape who I would say are clearly presidential timber -- you being one of them, if you marry the right girl.

There are even fewer women, Texas GOP Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison being high on my list, but Hillary Rodham Clinton being there, too. I once thought Christie Whitman, our New Jersey governor, had White House potential, but she really was not a very good governor, bowing to her husband John on critical matters of public finance. I have the same problem with Elizabeth Dole. If she were in the Oval Office, Bob would be behind the desk, which is the reason voters rejected her candidacy for the GOP nomination this year. Hillary, though, would "be her own man," to coin a phrase. My assumption is that her marriage will remain intact, and of course her husband would give her the benefit of his opinion on matters requiring executive action. She does, though, have the experience of being close enough to that kind of action to be able to act on her own, should he instead decide to play golf.

I would not plan to vote for her, if I'm around when that time comes, but perhaps I would, if you could help nudge her along the supply-side path. I voted for John F. Kennedy in 1960 and he was a supply-sider -- a tax-cutter and advocate of a gold-backed dollar. These are the lessons Hillary has not had the opportunity to learn, given her husband's reliance on conventional demand-side advisors. Please let me know if there is anything you would like me to do to help her education in that regard.