Presidential Timber
Jude Wanniski
November 19, 1996


Memo To: Website fans and Polyconomics clients
From: Jude Wanniski
Re: Presidential timber

Almost everyone who gets elected dogcatcher harbors a secret belief that they could keep going until they get to the top, the Oval Office, Air Force One, Camp David and maybe, some day, Mt. Rushmore. I am constantly on the lookout for fellow citizens, men and women, who I think are ready or may someday be ready for the Top Job. I'm pretty good at this sort of thing, having been looking over the available field for almost 50 years. What I look for most of all is originality, creativity and personality. Ninety-nine politicians out of a hundred are followers, eager to serve, but afraid to take the lead because they might make a horrendous mistake and lead us all to depression and war. Others fail the test of having the right internal balance for the Oval Office. On the following list, I told Jack Kemp in 1976 that he was timber. I told Trent Lott in 1984 he was timber. I told Steve Forbes in 1994 that he was timber. Off the list, I told Walter Mondale in 1969 that he was timber. Anyway, you get the drift. This is no big deal, but when I look around these days, I see potential here and there, people in one party or the other I could imagine myself voting for down the line under the right circumstances. As in vintage wines, which should not be drunk prematurely, I have listed following their names the year I believe might be the first when these potential candidates might be available. I welcome discussion on our website. Please make your own nominations or argue with me on mine.

Most Likely 2000

1. Vice President Al Gore [D]
2. Jack Kemp [R]


1. John Engler, [R] Michigan [2000]
2. George Pataki [R] New York [2004]
3. George Bush Jr [R] Texas [2004]
4. Roy Romer [D] Colorado [2000]
5. Tommy Thompson [R] Wis [2000]


1. Trent Lott, [R] Mississippi [2000]
2. Bob Torricelli [D] New Jersey [2004]
3. Kay Bailey Hutchison [R] Texas [2004]
4. Chris Dodd [D] Connecticut [2000]
5. Fred Thompson [R] Tennessee

House Members

1. John Kasich [R] Ohio [2004]
2. David Bonior [D] Midi. [2004]
3. Richard Armey [R] Texas [2004]
4. Richard Gephardt [D] Mo. [2000]


1. General Colin Powell [R] [2000]
2. Steve Forbes [R] [2004]
3. David Boren [D] [2000]
4. Bill Bradley [D] NJ [2000]

Farm Team

1. Sen. DonNickles [R] Okla. [2008]
2. Sen. Spencer Abraham [R] Mien. [2008]
3. Gov. Christie Whitman [R] NJ [2008]
4. Sen. Connie Mack [R] Fla. [2008]
5. Gov. Gary Locke [D] Wash. [2008]