Paul Jacob

In this time of mindless speculation about 2008's presidential candidates, I remain untroubled by the fact that no one has mentioned my name. I know it is due simply to my youthful appearance. I just don't look old enough for the job.

Oh, sure, it stings a little when other international celebrities are basking in their own luscious speculation. Just the other day, the Washington Post exposed the possibility that actor Will Smith ? yes, the former Fresh Prince of Bel-Air ? might run.

"I really, truly believe I could be the president of the United States if I wanted to," Smith told reporters.

I'm jiggy with that, to borrow the words of the good-guy rapper. As actors go, we could do a lot worse than Mr. Smith. As rappers go, far worse.

Speaking of acting, how many times must we witness Senator Hillary Clinton deliver her oh-so-sincerely rehearsed rap that she isn't looking that far ahead? Ms. Clinton is a phenomenal fundraiser ? for both parties. However, she represents the Democrats' nightmare scenario: She cannot be denied the nomination; and she cannot win the presidency.

For potential candidates who can actually win, look to successful governors. Since John F. Kennedy won the White House in 1960, every elected president has either served first as vice president (3) or as a governor (4). One place to compare governors is Cato Institute's newly released "2004 Fiscal Policy Report Card on America's Governors" by Stephen Moore and Stephen Slivinski.

You'll find California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger at the top of his class with an A grade. Just remember that were it not for that wonderful process of citizen recall, Gray Davis would still be governor. A previous Cato survey of governors marked Davis with a big fat F.

Paul Jacob

Paul Jacob is President of Citizens in Charge Foundation and Citizens in Charge. His daily Common Sense commentary appears on the Web and via e-mail.