Desperate Democrats shouldn't settle for Oprah

Desperate Democrats shouldn't settle for Oprah
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Will she or won’t she?

To quote Clark Gable in “Gone With the Wind,” “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn!”

By that, I mean all this “Oprah” talk seems to me, in a word: ridiculous.

All the conversation and hype, as everyone knows, has to do with her remarks at the Golden Globe Awards. Her performance created an overnight sensation and immediate calls for her to run for president.

From Meryl Streep to numerous hard-nosed, tough-talking political operatives, they all sang her praises. They told anyone who would listen how she would be an ideal candidate. Everyone who comments assumes she will run as a Democrat.

That says it all.

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It clearly demonstrates that the Democratic Party is so desperate for somebody who they think will be a winner.

 

To distressed and disappointed Democrats, Oprah possesses all the qualities and attributes that make her a winner.

See, the Democratic Party faithful have not gotten over the terrible reality that their candidate, Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonBernie Sanders: Trump 'so tough' on child separations but not on Putin Anti-Trump protests outside White House continue into fifth night Opera singers perform outside White House during fourth day of protests MORE, lost a presidential election she was supposed to win. (In fact, she did win. She got nearly 3 million more votes than the present occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. But there is something called the Electoral College, a vestige of the past that should be done away with.)

No one denies that Oprah is well-liked and well-known. 

No one denies that she has been financially successful. 

No one denies that she is confident and connects with her audience.

But her greatest asset is her nearly 100 percent name recognition. Over decades she has skillfully created a brand, and her constituency fondly follows her every move.  

To her vast cadre, she need not have a last name. She is simply Oprah. Being Oprah is enough. No more needs to be said.

Oprah is popular. Democrats in 2018, still smarting and hurt by the election of 2016, crave someone they think is popular and always will be popular.

The other Democratic presidential hopefuls have distinctive traits, but they don’t seem to radiate popularity. Here’s the rap on the present field:

Former Vice President Joe BidenJoseph (Joe) Robinette BidenThe Hill's Morning Report — Trump and Congress at odds over Russia Trump: Biden would be ‘dream’ opponent ‘Street fighter’ Avenatti says he’s giving ‘serious thought’ to White House run MORE — too old, been around too long and twice before has sought the nomination and failed miserably.

Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersBernie Sanders: Trump 'so tough' on child separations but not on Putin Bernie Sanders tells Kansas crowd: This 'sure doesn’t look' like a GOP state The Hill's Morning Report — Trump and Congress at odds over Russia MORE from Vermont (an independent who caucuses with Democrats) — too old, too left-wing, too earnest, too serious and no sense of humor.

Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenOn The Money: Trump 'ready' for tariffs on all 0B in Chinese goods | Trump digs in on Fed criticism | Lawmakers drop plans to challenge Trump ZTE deal On The Money: Trump rips Fed over rate hikes | Dems fume as consumer agency pick refuses to discuss border policy | Senate panel clears Trump IRS nominee Dems fume as Trump's consumer bureau pick refuses to discuss role in border policy MORE from Massachusetts — too hot, too pedantic, too professorial, too ideological.

Sen. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Elizabeth GillibrandThe Hill's Morning Report — Trump and Congress at odds over Russia Trump: ‘Dems have a death wish’ Election Countdown: Senate, House Dems build cash advantage | 2020 Dems slam Trump over Putin presser | Trump has M in war chest | Republican blasts parents for donating to rival | Ocasio-Cortez, Sanders to campaign in Kansas MORE from New York— not known.

Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisTrump: ‘Dems have a death wish’ Election Countdown: Senate, House Dems build cash advantage | 2020 Dems slam Trump over Putin presser | Trump has M in war chest | Republican blasts parents for donating to rival | Ocasio-Cortez, Sanders to campaign in Kansas Senate Democrats block resolution supporting ICE MORE from California — not known, too new to the national scene.

So, Oprah has become the answer.

Is Oprah qualified to be president? No one is asking that highly relevant question. 

Does she have the necessary experience to be president? Has she demonstrated any superior judgment in making important decisions? Is she sufficiently well-informed and knowledgeable concerning domestic and global issues? Does she have a feel for the complex arena of national security?

The country has absolutely no idea.

The response could be, “Oh, Oprah will pick good people who do know these things.” Or, “Ever since we elected Donald Trump, we’ve survived.”

President TrumpDonald John TrumpWSJ: Trump ignored advice to confront Putin over indictments Trump hotel charging Sean Spicer ,000 as book party venue Bernie Sanders: Trump 'so tough' on child separations but not on Putin MORE’s election has dramatically lowered the bar. That we are even talking about Oprah for president is a definite indicator that being known seems to be the only qualification for being considered for the highest office in the land.

Name recognition and popularity do contribute to winning elections. But I ask you, is that the criteria for being a good president?

Is presidential timber in the future going to be limited to: Are you a billionaire? Have you ever had your own TV show?

Every citizen of this nation who is 35 years old has the right to run for president.

Oprah Winfrey qualifies to run, if she so desires.

But we the citizens of this country should not consider her, or vote for her, just because we know her name.

Mark Plotkin is a contributor to the BBC on American politics. He previously was the political analyst for WAMU-FM, Washington’s NPR affiliate, and for WTOP-FM, Washington’s all-news radio station. He is a winner of the Edward R. Murrow Award for excellence in writing.