Kevin Brennan Writes About What It's Like

Manifest destiny

Madam President?

Should Oprah run for president?

On the face of it, no. No, it wouldn’t be good for the Democratic Party or for the country. And yet …

Sitting on my distant perch, when I look at the potential field of Dems for 2020 I’m dismally underwhelmed. Please not Biden. Please not Bernie (as much as I love him). Certainly not Hillary again, and Martin “Milquetoast” O’Malley? His charisma is less than that of my navel lint. There’s the fragrant Kristin Gillibrand, but I’m sorry to report that most of the country has never heard her name. Same with Kamala Harris and a host of Democratic governors whose staffs are pouring quietly encouraging words into their ears even as we speak. None of them will reach the pinnacle.

In fact, at this point, I can’t begin to imagine a Democrat who has the goods, and we’re only two years away from the primaries!

Unfortunately, Trump has opened up the nation’s highest office to any famous narcissist with enough money to self-finance a campaign. That means, on the left, anyone from Oprah to Tom Hanks, and goddamn it if it doesn’t seem like Hanks has been working toward this for about twenty years. He’s a national treasure, but I don’t think he’s a billionaire, yet, so it’s probably Oprah’s turn more than anyone’s. Other lefty oligarchs are definitely on the horizon, like Marks Cuban and Zuckerberg (though I’m not convinced Z is a liberal), but they have some work to do to achieve the name recognition that Oprah has. When either of them gets known simply as “Mark,” maybe it’ll be their time.

The window for celebrity candidates might not be open forever, so if Oprah has the fire in her belly at all, 2020 is probably the year for a run. Who knows what kind of mood the country will be in after four years of Trump? She will have to seize the day and somehow walk us back from the edge of oblivion, though if Trump is running for reelection she’ll have a hard time keeping her cool, I’d imagine. He’ll bait her. He’ll insult her. He’ll say she should stick to baking bread and reading books and leave the kissing of Putin’s butt to men like him.

I wish the whole celeb-as-pol thing hadn’t happened, but I guess we have Ronnie Reagan to thank for that. At least the crappy actor had served as California governor for a while before ascending, whereas Trump, Oprah, Hanks, Clooney, and even Kid Rock haven’t even run for town council. Al Franken has cast a slight pall over entertainers as public servants. A lot of male entertainers, anyway, probably have some skeletons in their closets re #MeToo issues. Female entertainers stand a better chance in the current environment, but the best-known strike me as too eccentric (see Gwyneth Paltrow’s coffee enemas).

I wonder if Meryl Streep has ambitions. She has the gravitas, I think, and could certainly act the part of president if she wasn’t entirely feeling it.

Maybe Oprah does have the stuff, and who knows – maybe she’d make a good president. The striking thing is that she is definitely electable. And that says something troubling about where this country is right now.

Feels like we’ve reached that point again where we, as a people, need to ask: Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio?

[Image via Wiki Commons under a Creative Commons license.]

12 comments on “Manifest destiny

  1. vishal4u
    January 11, 2018

    Well Oprah has ruled the heart of America’s for more than a decade now. Yes it is a Great idea, but ultimately all depend upon what she wants.

    • Kevin Brennan
      January 11, 2018

      I get the feeling that Oprah always gets whatever she wants … 😉

  2. pinklightsabre
    January 11, 2018

    Howard Schultz

    • Kevin Brennan
      January 11, 2018

      I’m sure he’s a one-name guy in certain corridors …

  3. kingmidget
    January 11, 2018

    If we end up with an Oprah vs. Trump election in 2020, I really may end up leaving the country. I’ll be retired and not tied down to the bill-paying job. I’ve got nothing against her, but I really can’t stand this entertainer going straight to the top crap. There’s a reason Jesse Ventura was unsuccessful in Minnesota, Schwarzenegger was relatively unsuccessful here, and Trump is sowing chaos throughout the realm.

    • Kevin Brennan
      January 11, 2018

      Oh God, Schwarzenegger. I had almost put him completely out of my mind.

      But yeah, the whole celeb phenomenon is leading toward fascism-lite, cult of personality territory. We’re the audience, not the electorate.

      • kingmidget
        January 11, 2018

        Yep. The entire problem with Oprah running is that she is electable because of her celebrity, not because of any kind of demonstrated policy ideas or commitment to public policy. I have no doubt that she is a smart, capable woman, but you need a little more than that to run a country.

  4. Woebegone but Hopeful
    January 11, 2018

    Someone you’d least expect to run, or currently never heard of?

    • Kevin Brennan
      January 11, 2018

      Time is short, by American standards … Oy.

      • Woebegone but Hopeful
        January 12, 2018

        If it’s any conciliation, we’ve had about 1,300 years of this ‘who runs the nation’ malarkey. In comparison with some of our ‘leaders’, this is nothing (now if you really want to screw up a nation, there’s Richard II for example, and the least said about PM Thatch, the better).

      • Kevin Brennan
        January 12, 2018

        You’ve had some doozies, for sure. I just read that one of our presidents, James Buchanan, drank a gallon jug of whiskey per day. The Decider indeed.

      • Woebegone but Hopeful
        January 12, 2018

        Which would explain why he said Secession was illegal but to intervene and stop it was also illegal.

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