A Star is Born
Jude Wanniski
September 25, 1995


Malcolm (Steve) Forbes, Jr., political leader, was born at 10 a.m., Friday morning, weighing 190 lb., 6 oz. He began talking immediately and has not stopped since. His first words were "17% flat tax" and "gold standard." Phrases like "vast potential" and "hope and opportunity" come easily to his lips. Godfather Jack Kemp, who had been Doleful of late, told a reporter from The New York Times that the infant's chatter was "music to my ears." Six-foot Steve stood upright and took a few steps without stumbling, always a good sign. Spectators in the maternity ward, at the National Press Club in our nation's capital, peppered him with questions, left and right, some hostile, directed at the silver spoon with which he was born. The babe remained warm and cuddly, though, displaying a broad smile that my wife Patricia thought "elfin" and "impish." Doctors Evans&Novak stopped by Saturday, slapped him gently, and found him a surprisingly sturdy and promising lad, who seems to know a lot for his age. On Sunday morning, baptized by Tim Russert on Meet the Press, he was found charming by the aging, arrogant William Safire. Steve, of Scottish descent, confounded the dean of the political press corps, David Broder, who asked him if he knew the price of milk: "$1.99 a gallon," said the young billionaire, who does the family shopping at the A&P and was told by his papa to watch the pennies, and the dollars will take care of themselves. Congratulations flooded into the Forbes political office, a white house in Bedminster, N.J. In the first 24 hours, there were 500 offers to volunteer from well-wishers around the country, more than 100 from Iowa. Invitations to speak flooded in too, with one from the 8,000 wildcatters of the Independent Oilmen, who convene Nov. 17 in San Diego, the GOP convention city. George Alcorn of Houston, leader of the oilmen, these greatest of all gamblers, had heard the newborn presidential candidate twice say the magic words, "All growth is the result of risk-taking," music to his entrepreneurial ears. In an editorial, Investor's Business Daily cheered his arrival, "At Last, a Pro-Growth Candidate." We know he can talk and we know he can walk. Welcome, Steve, to the marathon.