Oprah for President?

    After delivering a powerful speech at the Golden Globes, Oprah Winfrey is being touted as a potential Democratic Presidential candidate. In response, at least one liberal website - DailyKos - posted an article bashing her for allegedly supporting America's destruction of Iraq beginning March 2003. It is true that she aired a program in October 2002 that was light on facts and heavy on pro-war propaganda.

    But to Oprah's credit in the months immediately preceding "Shock and Awe," she gave significant time to anti-war activists like Phil Donahue. She earned Michael Moore's praise for televising a 1980s photo of Donald Rumsfeld shaking Saddam Hussein's hand.

    Perhaps most importantly, in February 2003, Oprah did a 2-show series on the run-up to war. During the shows, Winfrey told her audience that now was the time to speak out if they believed it would be wrong for Bush to launch an attack. The series included a debate between pro-peace activist Jessica Matthews and pro-war NYT columnist Thomas Friedman. At its conclusion Oprah "sided with Matthews" and against pro-war Friedman. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oprah%27s_Anti-war_series

    I'm certainly not endorsing Oprah for President but I endorse the idea of her running for President. There is no obviously viable superior alternative, who is definitely running or likely to run, except arguably Bernie, and he will be 79 at the next inauguration.

    There are concerns. The self-help philosophy she extols is unequal to the task of righting the economic wrongs that permeate our world. Only strong government action and aggressive policy changes will suffice.

    She seems to have a soft-spot for phonies like Dr. Oz, "Dr. Phil", and anti-vaxxer Jenny McCarthy. For me to feel genuinely comfortable with her as a candidate, I would need to see her distance herself publicly from these charlatans. We still don't know where she stands on job-destroying trade deals, single-payer health care, higher taxes on the rich, i.e., herself, global warming and American imperialism.

    All that said, she is an extraordinarily accomplished and charitable women. The child of a housekeeper, she nevertheless made it to the top of an incredibly competitive field dominated by white men from affluent families. Oprah's rough childhood, including her having been abused by a family member, may have given her more personal insight into the plight of the poor, people of color, and women in America than any Presidential candidate ever I daresay.

    Given her history, her remarkable business acumen, her compassion, and the bravery she showed in taking on (kinda) the media elites who were stampeding for war in 2002-03, Oprah could prove to be a great President in the mold of kind but steely Eleanor Roosevelt.


    I hear you.  Paul Waldman offers a mostly sensible counterpoint, https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2018/01/08/get-a-grip-... although I disagree with what appears to be an implication that Oprah lacks substance. 

    She does lack any experience whatever in government or politics and that should be a major red flag, for anyone, by now.  Oprah, like Trump, once she ascended the ladder, became used to being able to tell other people what to do and make all the decisions she wanted to concerning the enterprise she headed.  That is not a good preparatory experience for serving as president. 

    Oprah does seem to be very intellectually curious and not only capable of changing her mind but just fine with doing so where she thinks it warranted.  In that sense, at least, she does not seem to be irretrievably arrogant, and this could serve to save her from some avoidable mistakes.  I have to wonder if she would find governing mostly extremely boring in between speeches and public appearances, at which she could prove to be truly gifted and intelligently uniting.  She believes some things which strike me as really flaky and wacky, too, another concern I would have about her.  

    I've not been one of her viewers and don't feel I know a lot about her, the above being just some current impressions.

    Why Oprah? Why not Ellen? She's really nice and she's popular too. Why not Whoppie Goldberg? There are many talk show hosts that haven't taken a position on any of the major policy issues of the day and are therefore uncontroversial and nice and popular. Should we consider what Oprah, or Ellen, or Whoppi think about dealing with Putin in Syria? What do they think about the Iran nuclear deal? Drones? Afghanistan? Libya? Are they for or against NAFTA? Or maybe they want to renegotiate. Should we ask how? Have they given any thought at all to an infrastructure plan to rebuild our crumbling roads, bridges, pipelines etc? What do they know about health care? Would they want to improve the ACA and how or scrap it for single payer? And how would they pay for it? Or any of these questions important? Of course not. What is important is Oprah, Ellen, and Whoppi are nice and they are very very popular. The only problem I see is which nice popular talk show host should run for president of the United States. What I'd like to propose is the prior to the regular democratic primaries the party holds a Talk Show Host primary, a primary only open to nice and popular talk show hosts. Who ever wins the Talk Show Host primary gets to compete in the regular primaries, though I can't see why we'd even bother to hold them when we'd already have the most popular and nice Talk Show Host ready to run.

    Hmmm, could we run the presidency like multiple channels, so we have Ellen on one and Oprah on another, and maybe Samantha Bee on a 3rd for those who are more scatalogical? Then there'd be no problem with vacations as they can guest host... I think Letterman is out for some metoo-type thing, and Jimmy Farron did that Trump-muss thing, but there's James Corden doing carpool karaoke who might be a good for a more mobile Sec of State, or at least Transportation...

    That's a great idea PP! Co-presidencies each with their own channel, each focused on their area of expertise. Clearly Oprah would focus on health care with her extensive expertise from her interviews with Jenny McCarthy, Dr Phil, and Dr Oz. Who else has the ability to decide whether Dr Phil or Dr Oz would be the better choice for Surgeon General? And she alone could sell it to the American public. "You get health care coverage. You get health care coverage. Everybody gets health care coverage!"

    But how would she get it through congress? Why Jimmy Fallon of course. Think of all the bipartisan legislation we could get through congress with Fallon mussin' the hair of Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell.

    In this metoo moment we need someone to address the issue with a nuanced view. Whoppi can help us to understand when anal sex with a 13 year old is rape or not rape-rape. "I know it wasn't rape-rape. It was something else but I don't believe it was rape-rape." I'm sure this nuanced view would extend to when sexual harassment isn't sexual harassment-harassment.

    Samantha Bee would have sole control over the president's twitter account.

    People are thinking too small with this Oprah for president movement. The talk show host co-presidencies would usher in a new era in America.

    I’m only sorry that Captain Kangaroo is dead.  He knew how to make the trains run on time.

    CVille... Howsbout...

    Betty White? She's older by 5 years than Capt Kangaroo
    if he were still alive but she's still kicking...


    Don't listen to me. You won't any way. Track record is obviously irrelevant here. Listen to Nate Silver:

    natesilver: I’m anti-anti-Oprah. I think there’s a risk that political elites underestimate her popularity outside of the political bubble.

    There are reasons to be bearish on celebrity presidential runs. Voters may want the biggest contrast to Trump in 2020. And pundits hyping up celebrity candidates may suffer from recency bias since Trump just won. But I’m bullish on Oprah relative to other celebrities.

    Gee I wish I had written something like "I'm anti-anti-Oprah" before Silver. Oh yeah I did. "I'm certainly not endorsing Oprah for President but I endorse the idea of her running for President."


    The part of Silver's comment you quote pertains only to her viability or electability, whereas others in this thread are focusing on suitability for the job as well. 

    I recall a conversation I had with a colleague at work in 2000.  He was bullish on Bush 43's chances of winning.  I was acknowledging that he could well win while also maintaining he was not suitable for the job.  We were talking past one another. 

    That's fair and I'm not convinced she's suitable but neither am I convinced that she's unsuitable. There's no obviously superior Democratic candidate is there?

    Not obvious to me anyway.  And when has it ever been the case that there has been an obviously superior presidential candidate?  The job is impossible, of course.  Plato implied that anyone who wants it and thinks they can handle the different job of king is someone you probably would not want in that role.  But then again, his philosopher king idea...not so practical.  All candidates have drawbacks and some have relevant strengths as well.

    In any case if we can't get a Democratic Congress, and particularly a Democratic Senate (if we can have only one chamber) any Democratic president is going to be severely limited in what she can do.

    Oops, I let it slip.  Yes, at the moment I think there is a greater than 50% chance we are going to have our first woman president within 10 years.           

    I also think Oprah got her prez aspirations out of the way when she put her thumb on the scale to get Obama elected. There of course was zero wrong with that, but he wasn't my first choice, and I'm rather tired of celebrities popping on stage deus ex-machina style to tell us mere mortals which way we should go.

    That said, I don't know why it's so hard for Democrats to find a new generation pol with some energy and ideas and ability to move the crowd. [Winfrey would turn 66 the week after inauguration in 2021. Why not Schneiderman at the same age - at least he's been in the trenches. Or perennial waiting-in-the-wings Michael Bloomberg - he'll only be 78, snark]. Minus Franken, we have opportunistic metoo ex-Blue Dog Gillibrand, and the rather unknown Kamala Harris, perhaps 1 or 2 others that aren't exactly lighting up the scene. Maybe some rep fighting back on Nunes' committee [edit: Adam Schiff], ...?

    The obvious choice is Dennis Rodman. With him in office we can get N Korea to be a trusted ally.  Think of all the shit we could send them!

    It ´s an amusing idea. Not a serious one.


    This story @ Vox reminds me she's got the ratings bug in the blood, not so very narcissistically as someone we all know, but it's there:

    She may be the most powerful crank enabler on the planet.

    Jan 9, 2018

    (This is also why she could win. But then there's that demagogue thing that goes with that....tell the people what you think they'd like to hear....)

    As we'ŕe daily  reminded the President  has awesome powers.. For good or evil.

    North Korea, ISIS,   a possible cure for Parkinsons , a riot in Bangor  could present an occasion where a President 's staff would be unable to protect him from doing tragically irreversible harm. 

    Benevolent impulses don´t cut it. The sine qua nom is judgement.

    Selecting Oprah-would be a tragically frivolous choice.



    I agree that along with policy positions judgment is crucial. Oprah has demonstrated extraordinarily good judgment throughout her business career. Indeed, her judgment during the run-up to the Iraq War as I set out was far better than the 2016 Democratic nominee's.

    Oh, so you supported letting Hussein reconstitute his biochemical weapons program, so he could attack Israel with Scuds? I didn't realize you were so callous with life, but I guess it figures.

    Her business success does indicate good judgement . But while you could fairly charge me with moving the goal posts  I wonder whether  it tells us anything about her judgement under pressure.

    In October 62 JFK demonstrated that when many of his advisors: generals  and former  successful executives,  did not.

     Ron Suskind´s ¨The Confidence Men¨ is unflattering about some of the 2009 Obama  decisions  but  to me at least  it   portrays  a "no drama¨ leader ,  

    When attempting to envisage a 2020 Democratic candidate my test is to  imagine substituting him or her for that 2009 Obama.


    Being good at business doesn't indicate anything about being a good politician. Figuring out how to get out of a bad business deal doesn't mean they'd be good at figuring out how to get out of Afghanistan. Making a lot of money doesn't mean you can come up with a good tax plan or infrastructure bill. Running a large business with lots of employees might mean you can manage the WH but it doesn't mean you can get legislation passed through congress with the equal branches of power and competing interests. Business success might mean you're a sociopath willing to screw everyone over every chance you get.

    Business success in one field doesn't even mean you'd be good at running a business in another field. Running a business based on achieving popularity as a movie star and talk show host doesn't mean you'd be great at running an international chain of supermarkets like Walmarts or an innovative tech company like Google or microsoft. And being Bill Gates doesn't mean you'd be successful as a talk show host as anyone who's seen a video of Gates surely knows. It doesn't mean Gates would be good at running Walmarts.

    These are all different skill sets and there is nothing in Oprah's past that leads me to believe she'd be a good president.  Not one single thing. Add that to the fact that no one knows what her views are on 90% of the issues. She is quite skilled at never speaking on most controversial issues. We just assume it would be liberal but we don't know if she's even thought about them, studied them, and come to an informed opinion. Every person posting here might know more about every issue of the day than Oprah. I know you all are pretty well informed but no one knows if Oprah is.

    Then there's the fact that she's a gullible fool who's been suckered into promoting Dr Phil, Dr Oz, Jenny McCarthy, and a long list of less famous purveyors of New Age quackery. Oprah is popular and can give a good speech. That is the only reason anyone would suggest she run for president. I barely care as my last consideration about those qualities when I decide who to vote for for any public office

    It's also useful to see how people are groomed when they enter any field. Oprah made her early steps on her own, but once she's on network TV, they have a bunch of resources and patterns for production, with a lot of people from the industry helping you design & operate a show.Move that to business ventures & it's the same thing - where did Mitt Romney's father help, how was the business scene in Boston, and all the other steps along the way - serendepity at work. Once you venture from that tunnel of 1 success, other successes are much more uncertain. Hey, GoPro tried to move from head-mounted cameras to drone-mounted cameras - and have now gone bankrupt. 1 little switch. Extend this to all these expectations about business & politics being interchangeable elsewehere.... Also good to remember this blarney about Trump's business when he had about 12 people, not 12000 or 120000 like a Chrysler or Walmart or....

    It's fair to move the goalposts after acknowledging, as you do, that the kick would have sailed through them if they had been left in their previous position. I agree that there is much that we don't and really can't know about Oprah or anybody who runs for President. Dr. Cleveland makes a good point when he notes that this discussion is probably a lot of smoke without substance. Nevertheless, I find Oprah to be an intriguing and admirable in many ways who because she is extremely well-liked and well-known might have a chance to be President and to be a really good one.

    Oprah would be an excellent ambassador. 

    Oprah who?

    So you're the one person who doesn't know who she is.smiley

    Meh. I take the Oprah-for-President talk as one of the signs that no one is really running for President yet.

    I think this is fodder for the TV silly season.

    Sam Fulwood:

     It’s a telling indictment of our celebrity-obsessed society that seemingly serious people are talking about Oprah, a billionaire business mogul who is wildly popular for being on television, running for president in 2020.

    "Seemingly serious people"...Hal?..... Dag?.......Muricans in general?

    .......I called McBath because her months-old campaign for the 37th District seat hasn’t received a fraction of the attention that Oprah garnered overnight for her Golden Globes speech — but it should. Just as nearly everyone on the planet knows Oprah, anyone who takes serious the function of democracy should know McBath’s name and her story because it lifts up and empowers black women.....

    Since Trump’s election, women have overwhelmingly felt the negative side-effects of this new administration; we fear the loss of family due to deportation, more incarceration, inequitable education for our children, and other infringements on our constitutional rights.

    In an email interview, Womack told me, “Black women are tired and angry. We are recognizing our collective power and seizing the moment.”...“We currently have the most number of Black women (21) in history serving in Congress, and we elected the second Black woman ever to serve in the Senate .....

    Black women are energized. I wish McBath all the best. Black voters are supposed to accept whatever crumbs come from the Democratic Party and Liberals. Black women had to force their way into the Women’s March. North Carolina lost a case where gerrymandering was so outrageous that the courts halted the current plan. Ohio is trying to purge voters from their ranks to suppress votes. Moral Monday’s was spearheaded by the black church. Blacks are fighting voter suppression like they fought Stop and Frisk. It is hard to find traditional Liberals who are deeply involved in these fights. Earlier in the year, Black female activists send a letter addressing their grievances. Black women activists are going to be selfish about having their issues addressed just like white Liberals are selfish about their goals. Coalitions are messy.

    Black women and the Women’s March.


    Black women activists letter to DNC


    North Carolina gerrymandering 


    Ohio purge


    I don't know, Hal. If our side nominates Oprah in 2020, the way I'm going to act about it is going to make you on Sanders in 2016 seem the height of restrained rhetoric.

    "Our side?"


    Saddle up, kemo sabe.

    remember seeing this cartoon when it came out. Assume everyone knows by now, but in case, "kemo sabe" comes from "qui no sabe" - he who knows nothing, which is a proper rejoinder for being called "tonto", the fool.

    New nicknames for Trump. Either one works.

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