Feehery: Oprah Dem presidential bid unlikely

Feehery: Oprah Dem presidential bid unlikely
© Photo Illustration/Garrett Evans

Oprah Winfrey created a social media firestorm when she addressed Hollywood at the Golden Globes on Sunday.

Her best friend Gayle King got “goosebumps” listening to the speech. Her longtime partner, Stedman Graham, said she would definitely run for president if the “people” demanded it.

And of course, the Twitter-verse has gone crazy in love with Ms. Oprah.

That being said, I predict that Democrats will ultimately derail the Winfrey freight train. Here are my five reasons:

1. Oprah is a capitalist:  The current zeitgeist of the Democratic Party is driven by  Sens. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersOvernight Finance: Treasury mulls sanctions relief for Russian aluminum firm | Trump floats tying NAFTA talks to border security | 14 states hit record-low unemployment Kamala Harris will no longer accept corporate PAC money Judd Gregg: Who wins with Paul Ryan's departure? MORE (I-Vt.)and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenKamala Harris will no longer accept corporate PAC money Pompeo faces pivotal vote Dem senators demand Trump explain ties to Koch brothers MORE (D-Mass.) and at its philosophical core, it bends socialist. Oprah Winfrey is perhaps one of the most successful capitalists in our lifetime. She has amassed a fortune by making savvy business decisions and by exploiting her winning personality to further her money-making capabilities.  Sure, Oprah is famous for giving back to her fans and the consumers of her products, but I betcha she takes maximum tax advantage every time she gives somebody a new car.  I don’t know how Oprah will be able to reconcile her desire to make money with the socialists in the party who want to take that money away from her.

2.  Oprah is not a politician:  The Democratic Party is a party of politicians for politicians. Party hacks like Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiFeehery: The problem with the Dem wave theory Senior Dem on leadership shake-up: ‘All of us have got to go’ if GOP holds House To succeed in Syria, Democrats should not resist Trump policy MORE and Chuck SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerCan Mueller be more honest than his colleagues? Throwing some cold water on all of the Korean summit optimism House Republicans push Mulvaney, Trump to rescind Gateway funds MORE don’t like non-politicians coming in and telling them how to do their business. Republicans don’t mind it when business moguls run for office, because they basically adhere to a pro-business philosophy and they have long promised to run the government like a business.  But Democrats don’t share that belief. They adhere strictly to the seniority system in the Congress and while they sometimes get inspired by younger presidential candidates (Kennedy, Clinton and Obama), they still want them to understand the basics of the patronage system.

3. Oprah is not progressive enough:  Ira Madsen, a writer at The Daily Beast, put it this way: “Is it in America’s best interest for another billionaire to run for president? Oprah is a generous queen for sure, but let’s not pretend that her stepping into the White House would magically mean a new Pontiac arrives on the doorstep of every American who voted for her.” Sarah Jones, who writes for the New Republic, tweeted this: “Anyone who sincerely thinks Oprah should run for president ought to be banned from writing about politics, or from working in it, for life.”  Nathaniel Diorio, another progressive, tweeted this:  “Oprah is not qualified to be President. Just because Republicans have thrown standards out the window doesn’t mean Democrats should as well. Dems should squash this ball before it gets rolling.”

4. Oprah transcends race; Democrats exploit it: I remember watching Oprah Winfrey as she rose up the ranks to become a media superstar in my hometown of Chicago. Her appeal was not race-based. It was universal. She won over the viewers by listening to their concerns, understanding their plight and coming up with attractive ways to make her audience feel better about themselves. And that audience was middle-class white women. Unlike Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaAfter Dems stood against Pompeo, Senate’s confirmation process needs a revamp ‘Morning Joe’ host: Trump tweeting during Barbara Bush funeral ‘insulting’ to US Trump and Macron: Two loud presidents, in different ways MORE, who came from a biracial family but made a conscious decision to identify himself as a champion of black America, Oprah consciously made her media fortune by identifying herself with her fan base, which was primarily white America. Will she have the stomach to play the bitter identity politics that is now the well-worn playbook of the Democratic left? I doubt it.

5. Oprah is a billionaire: Most Democrats who run for president get wealthy only after they win office. She would be the richest Democratic nominee since Jack Kennedy (not counting John KerryJohn Forbes KerryOvernight Defense: Pompeo clears Senate panel, on track for confirmation | Retired officers oppose Haspel for CIA director | Iran, Syria on agenda for Macron visit Senate must save itself by confirming Mike Pompeo Pompeo faces pivotal vote MORE, who married into his wealth after he was in office). How can the party who so actively advertises its hatred of rich people actually nominate a billionaire? It can’t and it won’t.

Sorry Oprah. If you want to run for president, you should think about succeeding Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpRand's reversal advances Pompeo New allegations could threaten Trump VA pick: reports President Trump puts on the pageantry for Macron’s visit MORE on the GOP ticket. He’s a big fan of yours, by the way.


Feehery is partner at EFB Advocacy and blogs at www.thefeeherytheory.com. He served as spokesman to former Speaker of the House Dennis HastertJohn (Dennis) Dennis HastertFeehery: The problem with the Dem wave theory Some doubt McCarthy or Scalise will ever lead House GOP Feehery: Don’t call the game before it’s over MORE (R-Ill.), as communications director to former Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Texas) when he was majority whip and as speechwriter to former Minority Leader Bob Michel (R-Ill.).