January 9, 2018

"Look, I get it. Democrats have been traumatized by recent events, and one of the responses is..."

"... to throw up their hands and say, 'Fine then. If all voters care about is whether somebody puts on a good show, we’ll just come up with a celebrity of our own.' They look to the recent past and see a bunch of serious, experienced public servants with a deep understanding of policy who would have made fine presidents but who lost in part because they failed to light up the TV screen: Dukakis, Gore, Kerry, Hillary Clinton.... It’s true that Democrats have underappreciated the importance of charisma in presidential politics. But the answer to those electoral failures isn’t to stop caring about substance. It’s to find candidates who are both charismatic and serious, who would be able both to win and to do the job once they took office."

That's Paul Waldman in a WaPo op-ed, "Get a grip, people. Oprah should not run for president," which I find outright insulting to the person who may be the greatest American alive today. How is she not serious? Why the presumption that people who've gotten into politics early in life and hidden within the structures of government, cosseted by aides and advisers and beholden to contributors, are the serious people? Why is he treating Oprah as if she is all surface, no substance? Take 10 minutes to read her Wikipedia page and come back and tell me she's an unserious mass of charisma and nothing more!

Waldman goes on to say that Democrats can win without stooping to Oprah by finding another Bill Clinton or Barack Obama. Those guys were "fantastically compelling candidates who could also talk your ear off about policy" and who "knew how to work the political system, and they also knew how to sell." What's so deep and substantive about that? With great advisers, any candidate can work up positions on the policy issues of the day, and isn't that what Bill Clinton and Barack Obama did?

I notice Waldman didn't say Bill Clinton and Barack Obama got law degrees from elite schools and jumped into government from there. I don't need to say that's a bad way to equip yourself for the presidency to be able to say that's not the only way.

Incidentally, I was about to type "Oprah" and I accidentally typed "Obama." The "O" is a powerful first letter. We feel it deeply in a part of our brain we cannot look at and analyze. Speaking of emotion, Oprah is (per Wikipedia) "criticized for unleashing a confession culture, promoting controversial self-help ideas, and an emotion-centered approach." There is no other approach, people. We are emotion-centered whether we admit it or not.

And Oprah has been loved by America for a long, long time. Longer than Bill Clinton, longer than Barack Obama. Compare these signatures:



Did he not copy her?

136 comments:

Unknown said...

She is at least as serious as Trump, just without the circus. I think the main problem with a celebrity v celebrity matchup, is it doesn't give the non-celebrity voters an option. The problem with Trump v Hillary, was we had to choose the lesser of evils. With a Trump v Oprah, we have to choose between those two celebrities, and for people who aren't excited about celebrity, I think Trump has the structural advantage. You put it very well with your unemployment map yesterday, so I think people will fall into categories of:
-I like Trump/Republicans no matter who is nominee
-I hate Trump/Republicans no matter who is nominee
-I love Oprah even though I don't identify as a Democrat
-I hate Oprah even though I don't identify as a Republican
-I'm an independent who isn't impressed by celebrity, and want the one who will make my life better (based on the stock market, and unemployment, I think this group is where Trump wins if things keep on similar fashion).

why take a chance on the new celebrity, when the one you has is clearly making your life better, even if not to your personal taste.

Roughcoat said...

... I find outright insulting to the person who may be the greatest American alive today.

Oh my.

Daniel Jackson said...

Are you serious?

Ralph L said...

I don't need to say that's a bad way to equip yourself for the presidency to be able to say that's the only way.
Or not the only way?

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

To rehash the prior Oprah thread. Trump didn't win because he was a celebrity. His celebrity allowed him to get his message out.

Trump saw a powerful issue being suppressed and ignored. He won because his convinced people would address those issues.

Obama was another novice and "unqualified" candidate. He won because he ran on the First Black President issue.

Let Oprah run. We'll see if she can find her niche.

Quayle said...

There are two types of Presidential candidates, the producers and the products.

Ronald Reagen, Mitt Romney, Donald Trump were all producers. Obama, Hillary, GWB were all products. Bill Clinton was a mix.

Obama was a product that someone else - another group behind the scenes - sold to the American public. Trump is a producer - he made himself - he produced a show the American public decided to watch. Hillary was no producer, she was a product. Bill started as a product, but became a very good producer. GWB was a product.

Opra is a product. She's being packaged by others for sale to the American public.

Matthew Sablan said...

George Washington was also a celebrity candidate. He was so loved he could've been king. Al Franken was also a celebrity. Celebrity candidates are nothing new.

Rob said...

Definitely the greatest American alive today. She got GM to give all those people cars (for which GM got a full-hour commercial on her program and a ton of publicity). She introduced America to Dr. Phil. She’s better than religious—she’s spiritual. She has a magazine where she’s on the cover every month. And she’s helping us live our best lives. Greatest. American. Alive.

Quayle said...

"... I find outright insulting to the person who may be the greatest American alive today."

Have to disagree. The greatest American alive today just left the hospital from visiting a sick neighbor, and is on his or her way over to clean the house of an elderly relative and sit and listen to the same old stories for a spell, to keep them company.

Let's keep things in perspective.

traditionalguy said...

Oprah has the essential qualifications to be a top Democrat. She understands that it is all about asking, "Where's the Money?"all of the time. Then her handlers show her what her share will be. Done.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

I'm just going to say that I agree with the professor. The "governing class" (and people who wright editorials for the WP think they are part of that class) are technocrats. Rule by expertise and the hell with any outsiders. They'll give us our options and if we decide that we don't like any of them, then we are obviously unfit for self rule and therefore will have to be ignored.

I have on objection to Oprah Winfrey running for president. I don't think she will win because if she is running against Trump then she will need to propose policies contrary to the ones Trump is implementing. And, as I have said in previous threads, Trump didn't win the presidency because he was famous, he won because his proposed policies are popular. His fame just allowed him to get the proposals aired.

Technocratic government is coming to an end. It was only possible during an era when a limited few controlled the means of mass communications. Technocrats hardest hit.

robother said...

God, what a credential-obsessed bunch these Democrats and their MSM spokesmen have become. Didn't Trump float Oprah as a great VP for his ticket? The question is, what does Oprah promise to do that will connect with some felt need of voters, not whether she has the "qualification" for office. (If its only the Woman Thing, I suspect that's not enough.)

Fernandistein said...

Poprah

BDNYC said...

Greatest American alive today? You can’t be serious. Also, you think Oprah hasn’t been cosseted by aides and so on? She’s an entertainer who has had tremendous business help from advisers, lawyers, accountants, etc. Trump at least had a successful business career before becoming a celebrity.

I think his brand or celebrity is just more suited to the job. He styles himself a tough negotiator, ruthless, obsessed with winning and success. She styles herself a nice person who hugs guests and talks about feelings and personal improvement. She almost never says a negative thing to anyone. On some level voters simply won’t trust her to make tough decisions, particularly in the international arena where people might die depending on what we do or don’t do.

rehajm said...

It isn't just the charisma, Democrats suck at policy, too.

Todd said...

They look to the recent past and see a bunch of serious, experienced public servants with a deep understanding of policy who would have made fine presidents but who lost in part because they failed to light up the TV screen: Dukakis, Gore, Kerry, Hillary Clinton....

LOL! Who do I send the bill to for a replacement keyboard?!?

The delusion is strong in this one...

Oso Negro said...

The greatest America alive today. Well, we can add Oprah to Dylan, Scott Adams, and homosexuality.

Roughcoat said...

What are her views on 2nd Amendment Rights, immigration, the military, taxes, oil R&D, SCOTUS, abortion, healthcare, the military, the war on terror, etc.?

I'll reserve judgment until after she addresses the issues.

It's really appalling that there's so much excitement about her absent her views on the issues.

If, as seems to be the case, she's a progressive: then, no. Again: that's my objection, and it's purely ideological. Please don't exclude me from the discussion.

MayBee said...

Obama could talk your ear off about policy? I don't think so. Certainly not as a candidate. He could talk your ear off....around policy. He could talk your ear off about himself. But Obama was no powerhouse of national knowledge when he ran for president.

Oprah conferred gravitas on Barack Obama. Do people not remember that?

rehajm said...

Obama was an empty vessel in which people could place their hopes and dreams. Democrats like empty vessels.

Quayle said...

If she gives everyone in the U.S. a new car, that will be quite a show. Might even make the front page of People Magazine.

John Lynch said...

They're mad because Washington is how ugly people get some power and status, but the Hollywood people are moving in. There's nowhere to hide from celebrities.

Ralph L said...

Just what the West needs, another childless leader.

John Lynch said...

Also, John Kerry's deep knowledge of what, exactly? What did do? He lost for a very good reason.

MayBee said...

Here's my question: If CNN and MSNBC are swooning over Oprah after a Golden Globes speech, practically begging her to run for POTUS-- how would they treat her if she ran? Could they even begin to question her? Would they dare to run oppo research on her?

rehajm said...

It could be Trump connected with voters living in the right places who felt ignored. It could also be Obama voters stayed home because they hated Hillary.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

lost in part because they failed to light up the TV screen: Dukakis, Gore, Kerry, Hillary Clinton....

Because they couldn't of lost because their proposed policies and past history caused the voters to reject them. That's unpossible!

Fernandistein said...

Dukakis, Gore, Kerry, Hillary Clinton

I'm like so sure - It's like barf me out...Gag me with a spoon!

jaydub said...

Quayle at 7:57 probably has it about right. The question is who will be Oprah's handler - will Barack's handler come out of retirement or is there another candidate from the Chicago mob? I guess we will know if Valarie Jarrett moves in with Oprah.

LincolnTf said...

Oprah would be the perfect Dem candidate. Remember her episode of lying about racism in an overseas retail shop? Yeah, that was in the midst of a national spate of racism hysteria, and she milked it for all it was worth. Oh, and at the time she lied about the "racist" incident, she was working on a Harvey Weinstein project. Perfect candidate.

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/oprah-winfrey-racism-story-is-604351

rehajm said...

how would they treat her if she ran? Could they even begin to question her? Would they dare to run oppo research on her?

Worship and protect her like a god, no and no. Same as they would do with any other Democrat.

Matthew Sablan said...

I thought Kerry/Edwards was supposed to be the pretty boys vs the stupid right-wing nutjobs?

Rick said...

Those guys were "fantastically compelling candidates who could also talk your ear off about policy"

This guy among many others doesn't understand the difference between knowing policy and repeating talking points. Neither Clinton nor Obama knew much about the policies they championed. Nor did Bush or Trump - this isn't a partisan issue. This just isn't how our process works. The left likes to believe Trump is more ignorant than their preferences but in reality he just hasn't bothered to learn his lines. This is amusing since he's the actor - but that experience probably helped him identify how bullshitty the "policy" talk in politics is.

I'm amused that people who deem themselves sufficiently serious to pronounce on others seriousness either don't understand this or are playing to those who don't. Given the Dunning–Kruger effect I rather suspect anyone in this category doesn't actually understand the issue.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

A lot of policy talk from democrat candidates is obfuscation meant to convince people that common sense in regards to such things as the minimum wage and enforcing the immigration laws and lowering taxes and regulations should be disregarded because "EXPERTS!"

Susan said...

Contrasting Oprah's probable style of governing with Nikki Haley's probable style of governing, based on what I see in public of both women, not a chance I'd vote for Oprah.

Quayle said...

When Obama opened his mouth and touted the "profit earnings" ratios, we all knew that he was an utter dunce regarding finane, the capital markets, and the economy.

In his big stimulus speech, he blamed our financial woes on us being overleveraged, but then went on to tell us that we needed to spend $1T [leveraged] funds on shovel ready projects to fix the problem. He didn't seem to know he was blatently contriducting himself in the same speech.

(Oh, and by the way, what happened to that $1T? Any new notable civic projects completed to which you can point? You've heard of Venture Capitalists. Obama was the first president who was also a Venture Expense-ist.)

Luke Lea said...

"They look to the recent past and see a bunch of serious, experienced public servants with a deep understanding of policy . . ."

I don't think Bill Clinton had a deep understanding of the long-term implications of free trade (NAFTA and GATT) between high- and low-wage countries. He thought all Americans would benefit automatically.

sparrow said...

"who may be the greatest American alive today" Seriously? You must be joking/trolling, greatest in what sense? That's ridiculous. She's not the only billionaire and there's she's done plenty not to like (anti vaccine insanity, faux religion, exploiting race guilt etc)

Sebastian said...

@AA: ""Get a grip, people. Oprah should not run for president," which I find outright insulting to the person who may be the greatest American alive today. How is she not serious?" This is how it starts. Oprah will appeal to sisterhood. She will be seriously gauzy.

"Why is he treating Oprah as if she is all surface, no substance?" How dare he!

"Those guys were "fantastically compelling candidates who could also talk your ear off about policy" and who "knew how to work the political system, and they also knew how to sell." What's so deep and substantive about that?" Have to agree with you there.

"Speaking of emotion, Oprah is (per Wikipedia) "criticized for unleashing a confession culture, promoting controversial self-help ideas, and an emotion-centered approach." There is no other approach, people. We are emotion-centered whether we admit it or not." There Is No Alternative, except this time in anti-Thatcherite fashion. "Whether you admit it or not": always a fun debating move. You need Oprahish therapy, you are "emotion-centered," you must confess: whether you admit it or not. Thanks to Althouse for previewing the rhetorical deluge that's coming--and for indicating why it will work on women and the mushy middle.

"And Oprah has been loved by America" Another rhetorical move that will be part of the Oprah campaign: "America" loves her, unlike the ogre Trump. Never mind the "America" that disliked her.

Commenters who expressed doubt that Oprah could run and win should take AA as a data point.

The only one who can stop Oprah is Oprah.

Ray said...

Maybe a sign of the "Greatest American":
http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/gossip/oprah-account-racism-switzerland-not-true-shop-clerk-article-1.1424327

brylun said...

Who is Paul Waldman? Other than his relationships with Media Matters, The American Prospect, The Week and the Washington Post, what do we know about him? Oh, he was a member of Journolist. I can't seem to find anything else...

Unknown said...

Sounds a little like you are letting your tribal tendencies come through. That's okay, the democrats have slapped this republican around enough that I finally get it, I'll be voting tribally as well.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Speaking of emotion, Oprah is (per Wikipedia) "criticized for unleashing a confession culture, promoting controversial self-help ideas, and an emotion-centered approach." There is no other approach, people. We are emotion-centered whether we admit it or not.

It is true that people are emotion-centered. But we still have a choice to make: Do we wallow in it, or do we attempt, however imperfectly, to overcome it and act rationally?

I believe Oprah had done much to encourage the wallowing. ( I think Trump, in his political career, also encourages wallowing in emotion. Trump is campaigning in the world Oprah helped build. )

Ron Winkleheimer said...

He thought all Americans would benefit automatically.

Everybody in the US was going to retrain as a computer programmer, at 51. It was going to be great.

Every single adverse thing predicted when NAFTA was being debated came to pass.

That's not to say that the positive things predicted didn't also come to pass. But the benefits and losses are not distributed equally among the populace. The reaction of those who benefit has been to demonize the losers as deplorables deserving of their fate. For some strange reason, when someone came on the scene who told them that they weren't deplorables and their concerns should be addressed, they supported him. Which makes them sycophants apparently.

Now I'm getting told about conflicting edits in Spanish.

Roughcoat said...

That's okay, the democrats have slapped this republican around enough that I finally get it, I'll be voting tribally as well.

Yep. Me too. Say it out loud, Indo-European and proud.

Rick said...

The reaction of those who benefit has been to demonize the losers as deplorables deserving of their fate.

I don't think this is the worst reaction. They also used government to direct more of the benefits to people like themselves: academics, bureaucrats, politicians, and NGO workers. Let's group them together as political activists.

Unknown said...

Contrasting Oprah's probable style of governing with Nikki Haley's probable style of governing, based on what I see in public of both women, not a chance I'd vote for Oprah.

Haley was Governor, you don't have to "imagine" her style of governing. In general it was pretty good. She did pointlessly antagonize the General Assembly early in her term, but quickly got her feet and got the state through several crisis situations.

sparrow said...

Oprah's peak popularity was before she endorsed Obama. Her show took a massive hit once she ventured unambiguously into the political world; this is partly why her network failed. The political world will taint her image and already has. I expect she'd outdo Hillary but maybe not among working class voters. Her achievements are mostly from personal charm (better than Hillary already) in a undemanding context. The political process would put new pressure on her and it's hard to predict her ability to respond.

John Lynch said...

The fantastic TV presence of... George W. Bush. Wasn't he mocked constantly?

whitney said...

Weirdly, I have no problem with Oprah. Trump did normalize the abnormal so why not. She's got her own money and she's not indebted to anyone. She also doesn't seem to hate white people which as a white people person I appreciate

tcrosse said...

Great. That's all we need is another Cult of Personality.
The British had the right idea keeping the ceremonial Head of State and the down-and-dirty head of government as separate roles for separate players. The rap against Trump is that no matter how good he is at the latter, he sucks at the former. Oprah would excel at the former but possibly not at the latter.

John Lynch said...

@Ron
Yup. A nation may be better off in aggregate, but individual people are not equally winners.

Same thing happened in UK.

Birches said...

I don't think Althouse is wrong, well maybe about the Greatest American thing, but I would oppose Oprah. Trump, though I didn't vote for him, has governed by putting the right people in charge. Oprah would put the same people in charge as Obama and Hillary. Hard pass.

Big Mike said...

... which I find outright insulting to the person who may be the greatest American alive today.

This is interesting. By which criteria would you measure her versus other individuals and conclude that she may be the greatest? Are you that impressed by money?

exhelodrvr1 said...

Oprah might be the greatest? Seriously?

Amexpat said...

Historical, Obama was one of the least qualified to be POTUS and it showed.

Even though Clinton had more qualifications than Obama in that he actually had executive experience governing a state for a few terms, he was still under par experience wise.

Trump has so lowered the bar to be POTUS that anyone with a high public profile can be seen a legitimate potential POTUS. I don't see this as a good thing.

Unknown said...

Who would be a better Democratic candidate than Oprah? She would definitely be better than Hillary or Warren. Admittedly that is a low bar, but she may be the least worst Democrat. At least she has built stuff.

Which means, I suppose, that I should hope the Ds plump for Warren since unlike Oprah, she' couldn't win.

Bob Boyd said...

@ Althouse

Serious question. Have you dreamed about Oprah?

Ann Althouse said...

"Are you serious?"

Are you asking that before or after taking the 10 minutes to read the Wikipedia page, as I requested?

Bay Area Guy said...

"....servants with a deep understanding of policy who would have made fine presidents but who lost in part because they failed to light up the TV screen: Dukakis, Gore, Kerry, Hillary Clinton..."

Memories - light the corners of my mind
Misty water-colored memories of the way we were
Scattered pictures of the smiles we left behind
Smiles we gave to one another for the way we were


This post makes me happy! I hadn't thought of the Democrat loser brigade in a while!

Dont forget Carter & Mondale, too!

F said...

Oprah as candidate? Before I can decide, I need to know, how's the crease in her pants?

Chuck said...

"...the person who may be the greatest American alive today..."

!

I'm beginning to get a better handle on Althouse's largely uncritical fascination with Trump as a cultural phenomenon.

Professional lady said...

I really got tired of anyone who criticized or disagreed with Obama being smeared as a racist. I also really got tired of anyone who criticized or disagreed with Hillary being smeared as sexist. I do not want a president who cannot be criticized. So unfair to Oprah or not, the experience with Obama and Hillary makes me less likely to vote for her. But my vote would depend more heavily on her positions and who she was running against. My vote seems to come down to who scares me the least.

anti-de Sitter space said...

"But Obama was no powerhouse of national knowledge when he ran for president."

He did, w/o notes, school all of the House Rs who were able to come w/ prepared Qs for him.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R5vOMIN673A

After that weak showing the Rs said they would never publicly take on BHO such that he can respond to their flim flam.

buwaya said...

To evaluate the potential of Oprah, one has to leave behind personal concerns and allegiances, and analyze this with disinterest. It should be more like checking out the potential in a quarterback trying out for a team you don't favor.

It also does not matter what deficiencies in policy she is likely to bring about, etc.

At this level the only thing that matters is the game of elections. Can she play?

Larvell said...

Yeah, Dukakis, Gore, and Kerry lost because they "failed to light up the TV screen," unlike their exciting and charismatic opponents, George Bush and George Bush. Trust the left to learn the wrong lesson every time.

The Cracker Emcee Activist said...

Satire is not among your many gifts, Althouse. A little too heavy-handed.

buwaya said...

And, indeed, the reaction of many of the establishment is "not our kind, dear".
It is snobbery. Lincoln and Jackson and Reagan (and Trump!) faced the same.
But the only qualification, in reality, is victory.

John Lynch said...

Oprah is a big blind spot for white guys. They don't watch and don't get her. I admit I don't. That doesn't mean that a lot of other people don't take her seriously.

Just like some other person who is now President wasn't taken seriously by another class of people.

Fritz said...

Ann Althouse said...
"Are you serious?"

Are you asking that before or after taking the 10 minutes to read the Wikipedia page, as I requested?


Read Sarah Palin's wiki and then tell me a good Wikipedia page helps.

tcrosse said...

Satire is not among your many gifts, Althouse. A little too heavy-handed.

Althouse is not above throwing a little chum in the water to see what bites.

Chuck said...

Are you asking that before or after taking the 10 minutes to read the Wikipedia page, as I requested?

Does the Oprah Wikipedia page make a case for a person "who may be the greatest American alive today?"

I think the Oprah Wikipedia page proves the opposite. I was surprised by how little I learned from it. What her Wikipedia page did remind me of, was Oprah's dabbling in weird and unscientific fads and cultural phenomenon, like the theory of "vibrations."

Oprah is a billionaire media tycoon. Like Martha Stewart. Like Rupert Murdoch, only far less important and a lot more visible. She's never held public office, nor any high governmental position, never served in the military, never patented a notable process to my knowledge (I'm not going to do an Oprah patent search), never had to make an important American policy decision, and most of all I don't think she's ever had to argue a social unpopular position. What Oprah is all about, is making women of a certain age feel good about stuff, and eloquently expressing the popularly-accepted conventional wisdom.

She is a beloved American television star. Like too many others to name.

Like virtually every wealthy celebrity, she has at least one charitable foundation in her name. Oprah, we know, has many. It's part of her schitck, her personal branding.

I don't see the case for Oprah as anything like "the greatest living American."

Henry said...

I think the thing that is offputting about the Oprah run is the weird combination of smugness and desperation of her supporters. Already the stink of "most qualified celebrity ever" and "of course she'll win" is leaking from the shells.

Oprah herself is a wildly impressive person. As a business woman of fuzzy policy beliefs her candidacy is more Michael Bloomberg than Bernie Sanders. In a way, she's a Ross Perot candidate, except not so bonkers and far more charismatic. Ross Perot had something she doesn't though, which is a serious political obsession -- deficit reduction. The people promoting Oprah have yet to ask: "why is she running"?

Oprah, like Trump, will have to face down some blunders of a life in public. She's isn't personally destructive (and self-destructive) like Trump, but she has used her show and magazine to push a lot of new-agey bullshit. But her supporters can easily point to her comforting, affirmative causes (the book club for instance) to balance out the idiocies of Dr. Oz and Dr. Phil. And most Americans don't see the new-agey bullshit as destructive. The doctors are likeable guys, after all.

Vance said...

Oprah the greatest living American? Please!

Let me tell you about someone who runs rings around Oprah. This is just one of many, many people. Russel M. Nelson, the most likely choice to be the next President of the LDS church.

What makes him so much better? He was a heart surgeon, and in fact pioneered many of the surgical techniques used to surgically treat heart disease; including various heart valve replacement technologies.

It is no exaggeration that because of Nelson's work, he is directly and indirectly responsible for saving hundreds of thousands of lives.

And that's before you get to his charitable work around the world as a LDS church leader. But because he is modest, and not a fame seeker or celebrity, people don't know about him.

There are tens of thousands of people like him: the kind of people who silently serve; who do not ask for recognition or fame. The people who go to the hospital and read to the children--without camera crews. Or who visit the rest home. Or provide a meal to a family with a sick parent; people who visit the widows and orphans and relieve suffering where they can. These people are all better Americans than Oprah, who is selling a gospel of incoherence and fake "spirituality." A quote from the Bible: "Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world. " People who do that, regardless of the fame, cameras, etc, are better Americans than 99.9% of our entertainment and chattering classes, which includes Oprah. From all accounts, Oprah is a demon witch off screen. In short, her persona is a fraud, a fake, and she is nothing more than an empty head and con artist, out for your adulation and money.

--Vance

Tim at large said...

I would not fly 2,000 miles home for election day to personally vote against her, so she has that going for her!

Any Republican who was here in 2000 knows better than to trust postal workers here with your vote.

harrogate said...

"which I find outright insulting to the person who may be the greatest American alive today."

Thinking it is reasonable to proclaim such an honorific as "greatest American alive," is a major ideological tell.

Another is the instinct to turn to the billionaire class in search of this person.

rhhardin said...

How is she not serious

She's serious like women are serious, completely out of touch with large systems.

Running a large system depends on abstraction, not detail.

Feelings won't work; they'll make things worse.

rhhardin said...

Abba would be a good candidate, both charisma and chiasmus.

Drago said...

"...the person who may be the greatest American alive today."

Hillary was the most smartest woman in the world and obama was "sort of a "God"'.

Dang, it's good to be a dem....

Unknown said...

One of my favorite children's books is all about the power of the letter "O": James Thurber's delightful 1957 book "The Wonderful O," in which two pirates land upon an island and purge its language of that single letter. From the Amazon blurb:

"The vicissitudes visited on the islanders by Black and Littlejack, the harsh limits of a life sans O (where shoe is she and woe is we), and how finally with a little luck and lots of pluck the islanders shake off their tyrannical interlopers and discover the true treasure for themselves (Oh yes—and get back their O’s)—these are only some of the surprises that await readers of James Thurber’s timelessly zany fairy tale about two louts who try to lock up the language—and lose."

sparrow said...

I read the Wiki yesterday BTW. She's talented certainly and perhaps one of the most privileged and over-rewarded people in the US.

Bob Boyd said...

"Trump has so lowered the bar to be POTUS..."

I see what you're saying, but in a way, Trump has raised the bar. It was suddenly too high for Hillary to get over.
And now the Dems are desperate for a candidate. Look at the Dem bench, it's terrible. Democrats purged their party of moderates under Obama and moved left. They are devoted Socialists for academic reasons. You're not going to find a practical man or woman of action who is a Socialist intellectual type and therefore you're not going to find a good leader among the Dem party insiders these days. I would bet Oprah is more a practical woman of action, not an intellectual and therefore potentially a much better leader.
By the end of Obama's time, Republicans at the national level had moved into the vacuum in the center the Dem purge created, occupying that comfortable middle ground, talking the good talk, but no longer actually fighting for conservative issues, focusing on raising money from more liberal leaning big donors.
In 2016 they had a huge field of candidates, all of whom had moved away from conservative values to please the big donor class. The Republican leadership thought they could play this game and conservative American voters would have to accept it because "where else are they going to go." Conservatives didn't trust any of them and centrist Dem voters, "Reagan Democrats", were not attracted either.
Republicans got an answer to the question "where else are they going to go?" It was Donald Trump. It was outside the party. Trump raised the bar for Washington insiders.

exiledonmainstreet said...

" I do not want a president who cannot be criticized"

Criticizing Oprah is already an issue and she's not president. How can one dare to criticize the greatest American alive today? You sexist! You racist!

Tucker Carlson facetiously said last night that he adores Oprah like all good Americans do. I'm sure even Little Kim, Putin, the Iranian mullahs and ISIS would be won over by Oprah's bright smile, right?

Her mashed cauliflower side dish is a decent substitute for the real thing, I'll give her that.

Roy Jacobsen said...

. . . serious, experienced public servants with a deep understanding of policy who would have made fine presidents but who lost in part because they failed to light up the TV screen: Dukakis, Gore, Kerry, Hillary Clinton . . .

That there is comedy gold.

Ray said...

Oprah’s ability to thrive in Hollywood’s shark infested waters and become a billionaire is amazing.

Obama had a political ruthlessness along with a lot of wishful thinking and A+ image that helped him succeed.

Gut feeling is Oprah is not interested in the sacrifice needed to be President.

David said...

So even Obama's signature was phony? Count me as unsurprised.

David said...

"Gut feeling is Oprah is not interested in the sacrifice needed to be President."

What was your gut telling you about Trump when he started out? My gut said "ridiculous." I figured he was too lazy to be an effective candidate. Fact was, at an individual level, he worked a whole lot harder than Hillary Clinton.

Inga said...

“Read Sarah Palin's wiki and then tell me a good Wikipedia page helps.”

Put them next to each other and listen to each one speak intelligently on any given subject.

The new age connection bothers me, I don’t think the faux religious stuff is serious and I look askance at those who buy into it. All the self help personalities she’s promoted makes her less attractive as a candidate for President to me also. Her stance on vaccinations is concerning, another antivaxxer for President? No. The most damning is the non disclosure agreements she makes her employees sign. She’d have to do a great deal of explaining on these issues before I seriously considered supporting her. Then she would have to retroactively rescind those non disclosure agreements and be transparent when it comes to her finances and health records.

Oprah claims she has no intention of running, BTW. If true, good call.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

Republicans got an answer to the question "where else are they going to go?" It was Donald Trump. It was outside the party. Trump raised the bar for Washington insiders.

Exactly, they didn't think it was possible for an outsider to move into the vacuum they were creating, which just shows how ignorant of history they are. The two party system exists in the US because one of the parties always tries to add voters by addressing their concerns. Both parties were pretending to care about working and middle class voters, while actually screwing them over. That was fine for the parties, as long as nobody could break past the barriers both parties had put in place to keep anyone from upsetting the apple cart. Trump's victory is going to cause the Republican party to reorient away from the Bush NWO (globalism) and back to nationalism. In addition, its taking away the Democrat party's "working man" shtick. Globalism is great if you are among the upper upper class or rich or are from a poor country. Not so much for the working and middle class in developed countries.

rhhardin said...

Operah has a long history of being evidence that women are crazy. Not specifically her, but that she has an audience.

David said...

"Oprah’s ability to thrive in Hollywood’s shark infested waters and become a billionaire is amazing."

Her success came by avoiding Hollywood. It was a Midwest operation. Part of her appeal is that she is a Midwesterner (with southern roots), with all that Midwestern earnestness and some southern charm. She made a conscious decision to base in Chicago, which turned out to be an excellent decision.

I do not know if I would vote for her (worried that she would be a rote liberal in office, like Obama) but she is a bigger success in every way (except politics) than Trump, and a far bigger success than Hillary Clinton.

You like non-traditional Presidents? She's your girl. You want tough? Ditto. You want to know what kind of policies she might institute? Not a clue.

Seeing Red said...

Gore, Kerry, Hillary Clinton - wanted to be lecturer-in-chief.


We are emotionally-based beings and that is why the 19th Amendment needs to be revoked.

What are the 9 worst words in the English language?

I’m from the government and I’m here to help.

All President Mom Jeans wanted to do was “help” people. He thought the Constitution was full of negative rights and it stopped him from helping people.


And frankly the way third wave feminism has been acting these past few years I don’t want any progressive woman near the power.

Scorned women. They’re crazy. And vicious. They won’t settle down if she becomes president it’ll only get worse.





buwaya said...

Listening to a manager explain x is not a good way to figure out whether he is a good leader. Most of these guys got to where they are by sounding plausible. But the true skill is not that.

It is the difference between Cicero and Caesar.

Bob Boyd said...

I just have one question about Oprah.

Does she pack?

Annie C said...

From my flu-addled brain comes a question. What does Oprah think of the Constitution of the United States?

WA-mom said...

I was an Oprah devotee in the late 90s, but she lost me in the early Bush years. She did several great shows bemoaning how Afghanistan girls were not allowed to go to school.

The Bushies thought of course she would want to help those girls while the Army was trying to build schools, stop honor killings, etc. She went way beyond refusing, scolding them publicly for trying to use her to promote President Bush. She's a hypocrite to be sure.

exiledonmainstreet said...

Bob Boyd said...
I just have one question about Oprah.

Does she pack?

1/9/18, 10:10 AM

Like Bloomberg and Hollywood stars, she doesn't need to. She has bodyguards who do.

Meade said...

Oprahma.

Anonymous said...

Our hostess drops the, "cruel neutrality mask," and assumes the title of, "Founder of the Oprah Cargo Cult."

Ann Althouse said...

"Oprahma."

Oprahma Me.

Mark Nielsen said...


How appropriate that Obama's signature incorporates the mathematical symbol for the empty set.

reader said...

I would pick one of the Las Vegas shooting heroes before I picked Oprah for greatest American alive. Somebody who runs in to help others knowing they may die doing it.

I wouldn't pick her because she is rich and successful. There are a lot of rich people in America. I wouldn't pick her because she came from a difficult background. Unfortunately, there are a lot of people with difficult backgrounds.

I don't dislike her (they way I disliked HRC) but at this point I would simply prefer another candidate. That could change depending on her policy positions.

It does seem as though we are going to have a woman shoved down our throats. Already makes me not want to vote for her (Democrat or Republican). But I'm crotchety that way.

Meade said...

I beg your pardon, I never oprahma'd you a rose garden.

Bob Boyd said...

"Oprahma Me."

David Brooks probably listens to that tune while ironing his pants.

Bruce Hayden said...

Blogger rehajm said...
“It isn't just the charisma, Democrats suck at policy, too”

Two reasons. First they are the party of emotions. Secondly, their policies suck. If they were really as smart as they think they are, they would be Republicans. Who can forget Obama promising “shovel ready jobs”? Or Pelosi obsessing about (fictitious) Keynesian multipliers? Biggest reason that the Obama Recession was the longest since the 1930s, was that it was brain dead policy. Their recovery plan could only make things worse. By a bunch of people convinced (with no real evidence) that they are the smartest people in the room.

“Dukakis, Gore, Kerry, Hillary Clinton....”

Don’t know about Dukakis, but the other three were never the brightest bulbs in any room. Good credentials, of course. Gore, long before he beclowned himself with his “Inconvenient Truth”, flunked out of grad school. Crooked Hillary failed the DC bar, when it was one of the easiest in the country (the one jurisdiction that I could have been admitted to w/o taking the bar exam there, with my Multistate scores). These are well credentialed, but rather unintelligent and incurious people. Far from our Best and Brightest. I would obviously put Obama in the same category. Bill Clinton? Despite unexceptional SATs, he did have a lot of native intelligence, when he chose to apply it, as well as a dangerous amount of natural charisma.

Paul Snively said...

"They look to the recent past and see a bunch of serious, experienced public servants with a deep understanding of policy who would have made fine presidents but who lost in part because they failed to light up the TV screen: Dukakis, Gore, Kerry, Hillary Clinton..."

That's quite the laundry list of known policy and decision disasters. You don't have a prayer with the half of the electorate that voted for Trump when Michael Dukakis is the best choice in the list.

The Democrats need to figure out that half of the electorate—particularly those "white blue-collar folks" in Appalachia and the Midwest—do not feel represented by a Dukakis, Gore, Kerry, or Clinton. I forget which Democratic pundit it was who expressed his concern that the party had become "the party of Jessica Yogamat," i.e. feminist urban coastal elite, but he nailed it. The Democrats don't need Oprah or another Obama. They need a pre-conversion-to-Republican Reagan or Trump.

Speaking of which, how come no one is talking about the fact that both Reagan and Trump were Democrat-to-Republican converts who got elected at times of deep economic malaise under Democratic administrations, particularly among the white blue-collar demographic?

rehajm said...

Trump has so lowered the bar to be POTUS

The reverence granted to career politicians astounds me.

Richard said...

Oprah will be the new Herbert Hoover.

During the presidential campaign of 1928, a circular published by the Republican Party claimed that if Herbert Hoover won there would be “a chicken in every pot and a car in every garage.“

Wilbur said...

The Sanders/Warren/Lenin wing of the Democrat party will never accept Oprah. Not leftist enough for them, and they will accept nothing less than what they want this go-around.

Paul Snively said...

Also, if the Democrats are serious about Oprah, I never want to hear another goddamn word about being "the party of science." The mere fact they're even floating here reveals a lot about how out of touch they are with the portion of the electorate that really, truly, sincerely, in our bones care about reason.

Wilbur said...

"Does she pack?"

She pack much back.

George Grady said...

Interesting contrast between

Ann Althouse said...

"Are you serious?"

Are you asking that before or after taking the 10 minutes to read the Wikipedia page, as I requested?
1/9/18, 8:43 AM


and

Ann Althouse said...

"Please read Chapter 10 of Peter Schweizer's "Clinton Cash" to see what happened"

No.
1/9/18, 9:24 AM

Gahrie said...

Speaking of which, how come no one is talking about the fact that both Reagan and Trump were Democrat-to-Republican converts who got elected at times of deep economic malaise under Democratic administrations, particularly among the white blue-collar demographic?

I have ...plus the fact that both were part of the entertainment industry and thus had knowledge of, and experience with, the enemy.

William said...

I saw the speech and the cut aways . The people who gave Roman Polanski a standing ovation were enthralled with her. Give her credit. In a room filled with glamorous people, she managed to look not just glamorous but inspirational. She's not an organically glamorous human being like some in that crowd. It takes a lot of fasting and spandex for her to look shapely. She delivered that speech with the equivalent of a python crushing her midriff, and she hadn't eaten in the two weeks prior to the speech. That woman has vast reserves of self discipline...

Bob said...

Who popularized the "look, I get it" response to shut down an interviewee's rant? I first noticed it with Tucker Carlson, but yesterday it was Jake Tapper and now Paul Waldman.

Daniel Jackson said...

I repeat: ARE YOU SERIOUS?

THE MOST IMPORTANT PERSON???

Because she has a fluff resume with Wikipedia?

Let me rephrase this, "You cannot be serious."

walter said...

#ustoo

Todd said...

She be "freestyling"!

Todd said...

Oh and don't forget #theyallknew #OprahKnew

Mountain Maven said...

I'm no Oprah fan. She would likely be better than the elderly and the manufactured identity candidates vying for the Dem nom.
She is a brilliant businesswoman and a great communicator. She has yet to articulate a vision for her presidency.

Robert Catesby said...

This a riot. Please pass the popcorn.

RE: "Why the presumption that people who've gotten into politics early in life and hidden within the structures of government, cosseted by aides and advisers and beholden to contributors, are the serious people?"
For one thing, Oprah went to Tennessee State University. In the eyes of the establishment, that has to be some kind of joke. Presidents come from Ivy League schools, of course.

RE: "Waldman goes on to say that Democrats can win without stooping to Oprah by finding another Bill Clinton or Barack Obama."
Sounds pretty sexists to me. It's as if Waldman is openly rejecting the black woman in favor of another MAN. The sisterhood may burn him at the stake by this afternoon.

Darkisland said...

Ann sez (I think it is her)about Operah

the person who may be the greatest American alive today.

Did you really say that, Ann? Please tell me that you are not quoting someone else.

I take nothing away from Operah, though I've never been a fan. Just not my type of show. Yes, she has been successful building an entertainment empire and all props to her for that. Yes, she has done some good for education and even more props for that.

But "Greatest American alive today"? Really?

Think of all the people in the US who have accomplished stuff that makes people's lives better. Bill Gates decided that the experts were wrong about a malaria vaccine being impossible and decided to fund research and now we have a vaccine that looks like it might work. Malaria is estimated to have killed between 25 and 50% of all humans who have ever lived.

Seems like that is a greater accomplishment than running a successful entertainment empire. A greater thing to do, too.

Gates is well known but we can come up with thousands of other examples of people actually making a difference in people's lives.

Or Jeff Bezos with Amazon. Like Operah, started with close to nothing built a huge empire that does lots of good for lots of people both buyers and sellers. He has taken very little income from it. About $4-5mm compared to Operah's $250+mm.

Operah is greater than him? (Greedier, apparently)

Between this and your recent comment about preferring to remain ignorant of financial issues, I have to wonder about how much attention we should pay to your worldviews and how much we should discount.

Your comment about Operah, if that was you saying it, is just bizarre. I thought after hanging out here for 10 years or so, I had some feel for who you were. Now I don't know.

Again, this is NOT a criticism of Operah. By all accounts she is a very nice and generous person, very good at what she does. Depending on what her political views and policies are, I might not even object to her presidency (in 2024, I hope)

John Henry

tcrosse said...

Sorry, but the big O on her signature reminded me of the mouth of an inflatable Party Doll. Lock me up.

MikeR said...

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/455255/oprah-winfrey-pseudoscience-and-new-age
Greatest American alive
Anne is getting good at Trump's trick of planting a catch phrase in our brains. This one was really effective, judging by the comments. But
Greatest huckster alive? Or second-greatest, with Donald Trump still running around. Second-greatest huckster president.

Rob McLean said...

"(Oprah) may be the greatest American alive today."

Hey, gang, Althouse is trolling her own blog again!

Unknown said...

> the person who may be the greatest American alive today.

Bezos is the greatest American alive today. I'd vote for him in a heartbeat.

Jim at said...

which I find outright insulting to the person who may be the greatest American alive today.

Oprah Winfrey? The greatest American alive today?
Good grief.

Tim at large said...

She’s talented certainly and perhaps one of the most privileged and over-rewarded people in the US.

You can’t overpay a good salesman!

Jim at said...

He did, w/o notes, school all of the House Rs who were able to come w/ prepared Qs for him.

Was that before or after he dared them not to call his bluff?

Obama was a lightweight who thought he was the smartest person in any room.
He wasn't.

Inga said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ALP said...

Professor: I did the requisite 10 minutes of reading and came away thinking that what Oprah has done and what she stands for would make her a great cabinet leader: Secretary of Education or Health and Human Services, or possibly ambassador to a county in Africa. But president? ONLY if she has Spock as her running mate to balance out her reliance on feeeeelings. Plus that Vulcan Death Grip would be oh so useful, especially during the debates.

Darrell said...

PEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEOPLE!
No Borders.
Every day is Taco Tuesday!!!!!!!!
Taco lunes, martes, miércoles, jueves, viernes, sábado, domingo!!!!!!!!


Now let me tell you why my name is "Harpo" in reverse. It's an absolutely true story.

Equipment Maintenance said...

Just seeing BHO's signature and knowing he could sign legislation into law gives me the cold sweats.

Daniel Jackson said...

Michelle Malkin has some choice words: https://pjmedia.com/video/michelle-malkin-dems-put-oprah-bong/

I don't think she is too impressed with the most significant American alive today.

ballyfager said...

If you think she's the greatest living American you have outdone yourself. That's the dumbest thing I've ever heard you say.

Bad Lieutenant said...

Okay, I wasted whatever amount of time on Wikipedia reading the article from end-to-end. She's done nothing with her life except talk, be paid for talking, and write checks. What why would you want her to do anything but those things? Since you like to be flattered I'll put it in a flattering way: what has she got that you haven't got, Althouse?