Gen. Colin Powell
Born to be vice president.
Powell's history, in short, does not suggest that he would have made a great president. That job requires an impatient leader who likes to slice through red tape, not create it, and who wants to shake up the government, not pacify it. But we have missed a superb vice president, someone who would complain mildly in private but follow the president's orders in public, someone who would protect the federal bureaucracy while making it slightly more efficient, someone who wouldn't take risks, someone who would stay out of trouble. Someone a lot like Al Gore.
David Plotz is the Editor of Slate. He's the author of The Genius Factory: The Curious History of the Nobel Prize Sperm Bank and Good Book. He appears on Slate's Political Gabfest.