The name of the hotel where Vice President Gore lived as a child was misstated in yesterday's Tony Kornheiser column in the Style section. It was the Fairfax Hotel. (Published 10/11/1999)

I am trying to decide who I want for president.

I am leaning toward Warren Beatty in the hopes that at state dinners his wife, Annette Bening, will greet the guests wearing just what she wore in "The Grifters."

But I don't want to commit to Beatty in case Cybill Shepherd should enter the race.

Or Jerry Springer. Or Donald Trump.

Or Eddie, the dog on "Frasier."

I just know I can't vote for Al Gore.

I think the presidency is much too important to go to someone who's never been interviewed on "Access Hollywood."

When Gore speaks, he is so stiff and halting that I half expect to see townspeople following him with wooden stakes and lanterns. But I can live with that. I voted for that troll Marty Dukakis, and he was embalmed.

The reason I can't vote for Gore is because he's not a celebrity. He didn't play in the NBA. He wasn't a POW. His father wasn't president. Heck, he doesn't even love Hitler. Gore had his only snippet of celebrity ripped away when Erich Segal denied Gore's claim that "Love Story" was about him.

Come on, Al, can't you at least marry Carmen Electra? Everybody else does.

Celebrities rule American politics now. Take Jesse Ventura. (Please, this is too easy.) The governor of Minnesota, who recently issued his long-awaited encyclical on metaphysics--saying he'd like to be reincarnated as a size 38DD brassiere--is thinking about becoming an embarrassment to the whole country, not just the Twin Cities. When asked about the presidential election of 2000, Ventura said, "I could be very influential in it."

A couple of years ago, you might have wondered "How? By body-slamming Bill Bradley?" But now you know the answer. And you thought the first president to wear a boa would have been Elizabeth Dole.

Aging pretty boy Warren Beatty, who is so vain he probably thinks this column is about him, has been hinting at joining the race for weeks, and has already staked his candidacy on how to shrink the gap between rich and poor in this country. I'm sure Beatty has a lot of genuine wisdom on the subject that he would share with Larry King, provided that the lighting on the set was acceptable.

Warren would have some great hands-on program to help the poor, based on his vast experience, like "I'd give them a shampoo, then sleep with them."

Yes, I'm aware that Beatty has "thought" about politics for many years now. I have thought about pancakes for many years. That doesn't make me Aunt Jemima. Until the age of 50, Warren Beatty's curriculum vitae consisted entirely of babe-boinking. He made Wilt Chamberlain look like a Jesuit. His idea of Social Security was a roll of Certs and a condom. (Though maybe it's a point in Beatty's favor that he got all this sex out of his system before he worked in the Oval Office.)

Beatty is actually the most reasonable of all the potential celebrity candidates. Smallpox is too good for Jerry Springer. He should be fed through a shredder. And what on Earth does Cybill Shepherd think qualifies her to be president? Her entire career has been based on showing her striking face and her impressive chest. If that's all you need to be president, I'm voting for Arnold Schwarzenegger--who, by the way, would love to run for governor of California. (Edmund Morris is already working on his biography, "Kraut.")

Most amazing of all is Donald Trump, who declared his presidential availability to Larry King, of course. "The polls have been unbelievable," Trump said. No, Donald, your hair is unbelievable.

Everything about Trump reeks of vulgarity. No doubt his cologne is pressed from the sweat glands of a mink that was fed only creme brulee. Trump won't shake hands! With you? Are you kidding? But how do you run for president without shaking hands? Just drop small gift bags of money out the limo window? Isn't Steve Forbes already doing that?

I know a little something about celebrities because I almost am one myself. Technically, I am a "celebrity twice removed"--which means that if I give people two hints, they very often think they might have heard of me. In my case, the two hints are: 1.) "I write a humor column for The Post," and 2.) "No, not THAT humor column."

But just being an almost-celebrity doesn't mean I'd make a good president, though I'm confident I could handle the part where you sit around the Oval Office like Nixon hollering "Jew! Jew! Jew!" And I think I could handle the Clinton part with the interns.

But nobody votes for politicians anymore--though they might vote for George W. Bush. He was born into politics like Gore was. The difference is, Bush didn't want to be a politician. He wanted to be a frat boy all his life. He owned a baseball team, and then one morning Bush woke up and he was governor of Texas--according to the folklore, it was the first morning he can clearly remember.

Gore needs a past. Or a talk show. Or cleavage.

Did you see where Gore moved his campaign to Nashville and put on a pair of cowboy boots, for heaven's sake. (What does he do, leave them outside his door every night to be shined, like he did as a child in the Shoreham Hotel?) Now that he's got the boots, he should cut a country album. Then people will listen to him just because he's a celebrity, like they listen to that fat-sucking Kenny Rogers.

Katie Couric will say, "Al, how about singing a song, and then tell us why you wanna be president. Oh, nice hat."

Someday they won't even have elections. They'll just have an award show. They'll open up an envelope with the winner of "Best Performance as a Presidential Candidate," and instead of getting an ugly golden statue, he'll get the black suitcase with the nuclear codes.

It worked for Reagan.