Kevin Brennan Writes About What It's Like
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.]