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Opinion

MW
Mike Whitney
January 13, 2018

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Oprah for president?

Oprah for president?

“Being president isn’t like hosting a talk show or running a media brand. Oprah’s success in her field is no more indicative of her potential to be a good president than Trump’s success in real estate was. You can’t criticize Trump for having no relevant experience or evident understanding of public policy, then say that the solution for Democrats is just to throw up their hands and find their own celebrity to promote.” Paul Waldman, “Get a Grip, People. Oprah should not run for President”, Washington Post.

Will she or won’t she?

No one knows for sure. Best friend, Gayle King, says Oprah Winfrey has no plans to run for president, but longtime Oprah partner, Stedman Graham, disagrees. Graham says bluntly, “She would absolutely do it. It’s up to the people.”

So who’s right and who’s wrong? And what’s up with the Golden Globes? Was the reaction to Winfrey’s emotionally-charged speech really as spontaneous as we’ve been led to believe or was the deluge of adulatory coverage in the media already in the works? I don’t know about you, but the ridiculous outpouring of praise –including more than 700 gushing articles in the MSM accompanied by a saturation campaign on social media– smells fishy to me. Was this supposed to be an inspirational speech to fans and well-wishers or a ‘product launch’ by Democratic party leaders who needed a glitzy venue to showcase their future presidential candidate?

If I was a gambling man, I’d bet that the whole Sunday night extravaganza, including Winfrey’s heart-wrenching oration, was a set-up from soup to nuts. My guess is that the DNC honchos have cynically decided that their best chance to beat Trump in 2020 is by following the blueprint that worked for the inexperienced, 2-year Senator from Illinois, Barack Obama. First, they start with the product launch to a target audience, then they create a positive buzz in the media and on the internet, then they magnify the size of the “groundswell” of support (remember the fainting ladies at O’s speeches?), then they transport their candidate from one soapbox to the next where he/she mutters the same stale chestnuts over and over again to the adoring throng.

Oh yeah, and one other thing: Real issues have to be avoided like the plague while promises should be made in the vaguest, but most uplifting terms possible. That was the key to Obama’s success and it looks like that Oprah is following his lead. Here’s a brief clip from her speech:

“I’ve interviewed and portrayed people who’ve withstood some of the ugliest things life can throw at you, but the one quality all of them seem to share is an ability to maintain hope for a brighter morning – even during our darkest nights.”

Ahh, another 8 years of hope and change. Who would’ve known? Of course, Winfrey is enormously popular but her popularity does not necessarily translate into political support. Take a look at this excerpt from an article in the Washington Post and you’ll why her transition from TV celbrity to presidential candidate could be bumpier than many people expect:

“A March 2017 Quinnipiac University poll found Winfrey had a 52 percent favorable rating (and just a 23 percent unfavorable rating). She was most popular with Democrats (72 percent) and independents (51 percent). But that doesn’t mean those polled wanted her to throw her hat into the ring: Just over 1 in 5 said Winfrey should run in 2020, and 69 percent said she shouldn’t.” (Washington Post)

That doesn’t mean it’s a lost cause, it just means that her presidential bid is not a sure thing. It’s going to be a long, uphill slog with plenty of pitfalls and mudslinging.

This article has been excerpted from: ‘Oprah for President, Really?’

Courtesy: Counterpunch.org

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