Beatty for president?

Candidate: Actor launches trial balloon for self, but balloons never start at the top.

August 22, 1999

THE KIND offer of Warren Beatty to consider serving his nation as president should not go unappreciated.

Confiding to a reporter that he might run for the Democratic nomination to compensate for others' inadequacies, Mr. Beatty comes from the proud tradition of Hollywood film stars who sacrifice career for public service. Sen. Fred Thompson of Tennessee comes to mind, as well as Representatives Sonny Bono and Helen Gahagan Douglas and Sen. George Murphy -- all of California -- and, of course, President Ronald Reagan.

None started at the top. Even in movies, it is customary to play a supporting role before starring. Mr. Bono broke in as mayor of Palm Springs, Mr. Reagan as governor of California. Mr. Beatty once played a senator, but that's not the same thing.

No one begins public life as president. Wendell Willkie and Ross Perot tried. Mature voters prefer a touch of presumption in their wine, not their candidates.

Warren Beatty should make a wonderful legislator or councilman. Were Mr. Beatty to do that first public job well, grateful voters would almost certainly reward him with higher office.

There's no telling where that might lead.

He could become president after all. Every American boy and girl is entitled to the dream.

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