Memo To: Joe Klein, The New Yorker
From: Jude Wanniski
Re: Congressman John Kasich
What a profile! This is as good as it gets. You captured John in a few thousand well-chosen words better than I've seen it done on other subjects for some time. Remember Maureen Dowd and Mike Kelly and how about Stephanie Mansfield of the Style Section at Washington Post? I think The New Yorker is exactly you, where you were born to be. What's past is prologue. Forget about what a journalist is supposed to be like, at New York or Time or The New Yorker. Be like John Kasich. To hell with it. Be Joe Klein, the X generation political chronicler. Not Anonymous at all. What's the word? How about Nonymous?
There are some interesting people who deserve New Yorker profiles, but nobody ever thinks about them.
Charlie Rangel is one of the most interesting men in the world, but he is so ubiquitous, in the tabloids and the talk shows, that it is assumed that we know more about him than we want to know. He is the most powerful black elected political leader in the world, including Nelson Mandela, I think, whose power is muted by the fact that he presides over a tiny fragment of the planet. Charlie is the ranking Democrat on the Ways & Means Committee, the most powerful legislative committee in the U.S. Congress. Hardly anybody knows much about Charlie and Alma (his wife's name is the same as Colin Powell's), but he is a factor, and we will begin to see more and more what a factor, as the 105th Congress unfolds. Jesse gets the ink, Charlie has the juice. I'd love to see you do Charlie.
One of the most interesting and unusual Democrats in Washington is David Bonior. He fascinates me because he is, in his own way, an X generation Kasich type, a few years older, but brazen in much the same sort of way. I actually think Bonior has the inner stuff to be presidential material in so many years, down the line. There is a purity and honesty to his liberalism that I appreciate. He does not read from a script. I would love to read a piece about him by Joe Klein, what makes him tick, his feud with Newt, does he really "hate" him, and his lofty perspective on where we are in '97, headed to 2000.1 think Bonior has thought about this in ways most Democrats have not. Maybe even more than Bob Torricelli, another Democratic fellow who breaks the mold.
Our new Ambassador to the United Nations, Bill Richardson, is the wild card in the Clinton cabinet. He is the diplomat. Madeline Albright is the warrior. Tell us if he thinks we can do Cuba with Castro, expand NATO, kiss&make up with Saddam and Mouamar. His mind is an interesting roadmap in the new world order, and he is a genuine Clinton buddy.
Republicans? You should get Bill Bennett in your crosshairs. He is at the center of the cultural conservatives. The hero of Bill Kristol and The Weekly Standard, and George Will, and Bill Buckley, etc. These are the folks who cheered Newt into shutting down the government. They are the new Goldwaterites, who would rather be right than President. What about Bennett, who has made millions preaching with his books? Is there about him a whiff of Elmer Gantry? His blast at Newt for cozying up to Jesse was the quintessential Bennett. (You must be aware that Kristol's mag has had a running campaign against me, and George Will on November 3 said the GOP should apologize for putting Kemp so close to the Oval Office. Why?) Anyway, you can see I enjoy your work.