So I'm at this financial seminar yesterday and the issue of the 2008 election comes up.

Most seem disappointed.

"No gravitas," says one.

"Not a one of these clowns looks presidential to me," says another. So they wait and they hope — for someone like Fred Thompson to light up a boring Republican crowd or Al Gore to ease voter frustration in the Democratic crowd.

Outside guys look good from afar when they're not in the race, but usually far from good when they are in the race.

No matter. We keep dreaming, even as we keep missing a simple fact: You can't become presidential until you become president.

Look, I know Bill Clinton's a rock star to many Democrats today, but I can remember 19 summers ago when he gave a very long speech to a very much booing convention audience. They didn't seem to think him presidential then.

And I don't think they were calling Harry Truman very presidential even when he was president, until years later, when we discovered, you know what, he was a heck of a president.

So too Ronald Reagan: to many, a disappointing third-rate actor then, a first-rate president now.

Funny thing, history — funny people become historic.

But we keep looking and keep forgetting.

Maybe the gravitas we seek is staring at us from behind one of those podiums we ignore.

Watch Neil Cavuto weekdays at 4 p.m. ET on "Your World with Cavuto" and send your comments to cavuto@foxnews.com

Neil Cavuto serves as senior vice president, anchor and managing editor for both FOX News Channel (FNC) and FOX Business Network (FBN). He is anchor of FNC's Your World with Cavuto - the number one rated cable news program for the 4 p.m. timeslot - as well as the FNC Saturday show Cavuto on Business. He also hosts Cavuto on FBN weeknights at 8 p.m. In addition to anchoring daily programs and breaking news specials on FNC and FBN, Cavuto oversees business news content for both networks and FNC's weekend business shows, including Bulls & Bears, Forbes on Fox, and Cashin' In. Click here for more on Neil Cavuto.