A New Day is On the Horizon
January 8, 2018 3:24 PM   Subscribe

 
Can we just not? Like celebrities running for President is a cute idea but yeah, just no. Oprah is great but I'd rather this whole thing end after Trump and we get back to real politics instead of celebrity stuff.
posted by hippybear at 3:29 PM on January 8 [111 favorites]


Can't we just have an actual experienced politician? And maybe not someone who pushed Dr Oz, Dr Phil, and Jenny McCarthy on all of us?
posted by lovecrafty at 3:31 PM on January 8 [149 favorites]


Sure, she'd probably be a fine president. But it's a weird tendency Americans have: as soon as person X does something, notable, you're all like, "OMG X FOR PRESIDENT!!!!"

Like, calm the fuck down and turn the bat signal off. Heroes make shitty politicians and you've had quite enough shitty politicians, right? Why not formulate a broadly coherent worldview and choose the people whose past work correlates with it best? (Protip: those people are usually not billionaires.)
posted by klanawa at 3:31 PM on January 8 [51 favorites]


It always excites me so and fills me with hope for the future when I see how well humans learn from the mistakes of the past.

/s>
posted by humboldt32 at 3:32 PM on January 8 [8 favorites]


I certainly see a trend

Bieber 2028

(oh, wait....)
posted by sammyo at 3:33 PM on January 8 [1 favorite]


A) "Nothing but respect for MY president" is a meme and it's kind of funny to see people assuming NBC etc. actually meant it.
B) I don't want any celebrities for president. Not the Rock, not Ellen, not Oprah. I want some upcoming politician who's been working as dogcatcher or state senator or the like. Someone who has experience.
posted by Lexica at 3:33 PM on January 8 [16 favorites]


As I said on Twitter:

A big part of the presidency is selection of staff. Oprah is a wonderful lady who is far too trusting and has given a platform to charlatans like Dr. Oz. She should not be president.
posted by explosion at 3:34 PM on January 8 [71 favorites]


I guess I can forget about Franken
posted by thelonius at 3:36 PM on January 8 [3 favorites]


From the Chronicle today, "I suppose it’s unfair to judge an Oprah candidacy on the basis of one speech, but it was liberal pablum guaranteed to appeal to her Hollywood audience and to people like, well, me. But was there anything in Oprah’s moral certitude or her lofty generalities that could make a majority of Americans feel comfortable about letting her tackle the North Korea situation? Or the decline in manufacturing jobs? I don’t think so. Instead, watching her onstage Sunday night was like fast-forwarding in advance to her 2020 concession speech, the one that will make everyone feel like that great day will someday come, perhaps not now, but soon — and can’t we see it all shining in the distance."
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 3:37 PM on January 8 [3 favorites]


Which party would she run for?
posted by Keith Talent at 3:37 PM on January 8 [2 favorites]


A big part of the presidency is selection of staff. Oprah is a wonderful lady who is far too trusting and has given a platform to charlatans like Dr. Oz. She should not be president.

Hear hear.

Not to mention holding a mainstream discourse coming out party for the goddamn anti-vaccination movement.

I don't think it's "trust," though. It's "how can I make a buck off snake oil?" So, net menace to public health, Oprah Winfrey is.

Also, this:

Why not formulate a broadly coherent worldview and choose the people whose past work correlates with it best? (Protip: those people are usually not billionaires.)
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 3:38 PM on January 8 [9 favorites]


Mikki Kendall has been fighting the good fight over on Twitter about this.
Oprah is lovely, she isn't qualified to be President though. Can we stop with the cult of personality approach to politics?
That said, if Oprah can shove Zuckerberg out of the 2020 running, I'll grudgingly support her.
posted by Existential Dread at 3:39 PM on January 8 [6 favorites]


This is proof to me that America would be better off with a separate head of state. Oprah embodies some of the best American values—entrepreneurship, overcoming poverty, fighting racism, holding public conversations worthy of a Norman Rockwell painting. She is as worthy as anyone to be the personal embodiment of the country, perhaps even to hold some reserve political power.

But she is simply not qualified to govern the country. Like, compare her to, say, Bill and Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, or Kamala Harris. These are people who have spent their whole careers working in politics or closely allied fields, with repeated and impressive demonstrations of their skills. Oprah has perhaps even greater achievements than any of those politicians, but they are not things that qualify her to sign legislation, supervise millions of employees, command the military, or direct economic policy.

If we had a Governor General, having Oprah serve a term would make me feel prouder to be an American. If she becomes president, I will feel like Trumpism infected the left and won.
posted by andrewpcone at 3:41 PM on January 8 [45 favorites]


Which party would she run for?

I think WaPo's conservative columnist Jennifer Rubin is right about why people are talking about why her speech mattered, it was "a master class in creating an alternative political culture":
  • She is hopeful and optimistic, appealing to our better angels and not our base fears
  • She is well-versed in history... However, she does not pine for an imaginary past
  • She understands that we come from diverse places but looks for the common thread of humanity — the universal qualities and shared dreams of all Americans
  • She makes clear — even in the context of an acceptance speech honoring her lifetime in media and entertainment — that it is not all about her
  • She conveys the most important quality for a political leader (aside from intellectual curiosity) — namely, empathy
  • She valiantly defends objective truth and democratic institutions
Bill Kristol is also into the idea, so maybe Oprah can run as a republican.
posted by peeedro at 3:41 PM on January 8 [11 favorites]


I'd rather this whole thing end after Trump and we get back to real politics

You are adorable.
posted by sandettie light vessel automatic at 3:43 PM on January 8 [8 favorites]


If we must have a celebrity president, sure, I'll vote for Oprah. (Ten million times better than, eg, Zuck.) But I'd rather not have a celebrity president.
posted by Frowner at 3:46 PM on January 8 [11 favorites]


You are adorable.

Yes, I am. Now, let's talk about whether Oprah should really run for office.
posted by hippybear at 3:46 PM on January 8 [16 favorites]


I'd like a competent president for a change. So no thanks.
posted by Splunge at 3:47 PM on January 8 [2 favorites]


hey, i've got a great idea - why don't you all elect me president? - i'm over 35, i don't know any russians and don't have a twitter account

i promise you a chicken in every garage and a car full of pot

am i doing this right?
posted by pyramid termite at 3:48 PM on January 8 [76 favorites]


She would be the first billionaire president.
posted by Horkus at 3:48 PM on January 8 [37 favorites]


Ok, abandoning condescending flippancy, I have a no reason at all to hope that the American electorate will learn anything from Trump, any more than they did from Reagan.

I would sincerely love to be wrong on this matter.
posted by sandettie light vessel automatic at 3:48 PM on January 8 [11 favorites]


To be fair, the military leaders who were elected president were mostly elected because of their fame, not because they had any particular political experience (opinions of Clausewitz aside), so I'm not sure Oprah is that much less qualified than they were.

To be even fairer. Those guys were mostly terrible Presidents, so....
posted by GenjiandProust at 3:49 PM on January 8 [7 favorites]


PYRAMID TERMITE FOR PRESIDENT FOREVER.

(Is the chicken in my garage live or dead? I need to make plans if it is alive, but I'm okay with it either way.)
posted by hippybear at 3:49 PM on January 8 [12 favorites]


I mean, we now have a precedent for electing a candidate for lulz, which I am pretty sure a not-trivial subsection of voters did in November 2016.
posted by sandettie light vessel automatic at 3:49 PM on January 8 [4 favorites]


Is the chicken in my garage live or dead?

i buy my chickens from shroedinger's farms - it's kind of hard to say
posted by pyramid termite at 3:51 PM on January 8 [40 favorites]


PYRAMID TERMITE FOR PRESIDENT FOREVER.

Ahem. The Vote #1 quidnunc kid Committee would like a word with you.
posted by GenjiandProust at 3:53 PM on January 8 [32 favorites]


Yeah, that british currency knucklehead... he never did anything for me other than make comments in MeTa. I'm backing this termite person because they promised me some food!
posted by hippybear at 3:55 PM on January 8 [2 favorites]


Can we stop with the cult of personality approach to politics?

Honestly? Probably not.

The most optimistic possibility is probably, over the course of many years, slowly reducing the power and influence of the presidency until it's a ceremonial position, and fighting for ground in the other branches by eliminating gerrymandering and creating a more truly representative legislative branch.

The presidency is lost forever.
posted by penduluum at 3:57 PM on January 8 [10 favorites]


Vote for me. I'm World Famous.
posted by The World Famous at 3:58 PM on January 8 [31 favorites]


I'm feelin what @behindyourback said on twitter:

*On Oprah running for President*

Me 6 months ago: Her wealth and fame are not recommendations, we don't know where she stands on universal healthcare, prosecuting banks or what her legislative priorities would be. I'm highly skeptical at absolute best.

Me now: Ok whatever
posted by knownassociate at 3:59 PM on January 8 [38 favorites]


This reminds me a little bit of when Maude advocated for Henry Fonda as president, but those were different times.
posted by ovvl at 4:04 PM on January 8 [3 favorites]


God, can we please not?
posted by dogheart at 4:06 PM on January 8 [1 favorite]


imagine dr oz as surgeon general and jenny mccarthy as head of the fda
posted by poffin boffin at 4:06 PM on January 8 [14 favorites]


In addition to the above, add Suze "The Courage to be Rich" Orman and The Secret.

She would have to be blinded by hubris to consider a presidential run. Frankly, I don't understand how she has enough of a fan base to simply remain in the public eye.
posted by she's not there at 4:10 PM on January 8 [9 favorites]


I wish we didn’t jump to this immediately, and could just appreciate the speech for what it was in that moment.

For me, personally, it meant so much to see all those women in black and for her to speak so movingly about that topic on a stage like that. For me, that would have been enough.
posted by ocherdraco at 4:11 PM on January 8 [32 favorites]


Ok, abandoning condescending flippancy, I have a no reason at all to hope that the American electorate will learn anything from Trump, any more than they did from Reagan.

I would sincerely love to be wrong on this matter.
posted by sandettie light vessel automatic at 6:48 PM on January 8 [+] [!]


You are, in fact, wrong.

We did learn. Barack Obama served two terms admirably.
posted by Thistledown at 4:11 PM on January 8 [7 favorites]


I also think part of the "OMG OPRAH 4 POTUS!" thing is that we have such a dearth of inspiring leadership lately that the bar is kinda low. I'm actually pleased to see the number of people here saying that she would *not* be a good President. I've nothing against Oprah, but there are plenty of folks more qualified than she.
posted by Thistledown at 4:13 PM on January 8 [9 favorites]


I wish we didn’t jump to this immediately, and could just appreciate the speech for what it was in that moment.

For me, personally, it meant so much to see all those women in black and for her to speak so movingly about that topic on a stage like that. For me, that would have been enough.


For me that was enough.

Before Trump, that was enough, and it was enough repeatedly. Across years.

There is no reason (like seriously, it is literally unreasonable) to consider Winfrey for President.

It was a great speech, and it felt great when she made it.

All this other stuff is bullshit, and just let it go.
posted by hippybear at 4:14 PM on January 8 [7 favorites]


I think the idea of political experience is pretty overrated. Being president is not a technical skill. Look at Obama: he was a Senator for two clicks before he became President. Being a good President requires practical wisdom (prudential rationality), powers of persuasion (both of the american people and other politicians) and being a great president requires these things and also a strong and inspiring vision for the future. You can't learn any of these things in school, and it's not clear that having political experience teaches them better.

I'm just saying, I dunno if Oprah would make a great president, but the reason to be skeptical of her is not because she has no political experience.
posted by dis_integration at 4:19 PM on January 8 [7 favorites]


She valiantly defends objective truth...

Except when it concerns health issues, e.g., Dr Oz and anti-vaccine advocates.
posted by she's not there at 4:21 PM on January 8 [10 favorites]


I'm just saying, I dunno if Oprah would make a great president, but the reason to be skeptical of her is not because she has no political experience.

True, it's because she actively endorses stupid dangerous greedy charlatans.
posted by poffin boffin at 4:22 PM on January 8 [29 favorites]


the reason to be skeptical of her is not because she has no political experience.

No the reason to be skeptical of her is that she's sought the public eye for decades and what I want from someone in public office is someone who is working for the public good and not someone who is practiced in seeking the approval of the masses.
posted by hippybear at 4:23 PM on January 8 [11 favorites]


On the other hand, watching Trump’s ego deal with running against a far more wealthy black woman with a far larger viewership than he ever garnered would be...entertaining.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:23 PM on January 8 [22 favorites]


Yeah I forgot about her connection to Dr. Oz. I want Socialist Scientist Oprah to run for President. Where's she?
posted by dis_integration at 4:24 PM on January 8 [1 favorite]


I think the idea of political experience is pretty overrated.

Yeah, I'm thinking people are using the word "political" when they either mean or should more appropriately be saying "public policy and government expertise and experience" or something like that. If I'm looking to hire an airline pilot, experience flying the plane and extensive qualifications in that regard are more important than how good they look in the uniform. But whether they've ever donned the uniform could understandably become a shorthand expression that conveys the more detailed qualifications.
posted by The World Famous at 4:24 PM on January 8 [6 favorites]


You are, in fact, wrong.

We did learn. Barack Obama served two terms admirably.


Great as he is I would submit that Barrack Obama is not a violation of the "Americans will vote for the shiniest thing" rule of thumb. It's just that we got lucky in that case and he was competent as well.
posted by Artw at 4:25 PM on January 8 [11 favorites]


a far more wealthy black woman

oh my god he would have an aneruysm and poop himself on live tv when she triumphantly brandished her tax returns

i changed my mind let oprah run
posted by poffin boffin at 4:27 PM on January 8 [39 favorites]


the "Americans will vote for the shiniest thing" rule of thumb.

I was going to point to George H. W. Bush, and then realized that even he is shiny in comparison to Michael Dukakis.
posted by nickmark at 4:29 PM on January 8 [5 favorites]


good good let's get all the "...but not THIS woman" out of our systems before 2020
posted by prize bull octorok at 4:29 PM on January 8 [5 favorites]


"Dr. Oz" is her "centrist bipartisanship is the only way forwards".
posted by Artw at 4:30 PM on January 8 [2 favorites]


what if obama put on a fake moustache and ran again as B. A. Barackus Obama
posted by poffin boffin at 4:31 PM on January 8 [46 favorites]


From Dahlia Lithwick at Slate, "Oprah’s Real Message - It wasn’t about her. It was about us.":
I loved Oprah’s Golden Globes speech on Sunday. It was mesmerizing, pitch perfect, and gave voice to many lifetimes of frustration and vindication with eloquence and a full authority she has earned. But I found the strange Facebook response of “Oprah 2020” weirdly discordant and disorienting. Oprah’s speech—in my hearing—wasn’t about why she needs to run for office. It was about why the rest of us need to do so, immediately.

[...]

There is an interesting side debate about whether Winfrey should run for office raging on social media. But that should be ancillary to what she actually told us to do. It took a stable media genius to attempt to peel off the narcissism and solipsism of the celebrity culture in which we all seem to be permanently lodged. Maybe it’s destined that nobody will ever again be elected president who doesn’t have a billion-dollar media brand behind them. But the speech I heard last night was about using a billion-dollar media brand to remind young women of color that they, too, have the power to save us all.
posted by mhum at 4:33 PM on January 8 [19 favorites]


You wouldn't be voting for Oprah, you'd be voting for the people running her campaign and advising her. She'd be an establishment candidate, much like Obama. My biggest concern is her easy going temperament. To be blunt, too docile to take on Republican leadership. We need a Genghis Khan to get anything done.
posted by Beholder at 4:34 PM on January 8 [3 favorites]


I mean lbr I would vote for a pool floaty if it were running against our incumbent
posted by sandettie light vessel automatic at 4:35 PM on January 8 [9 favorites]


I'm backing this termite person because they promised me some food! a pet!!
posted by sammyo at 4:40 PM on January 8 [2 favorites]


Oprah 2020:. You get a car and you get a car and,..
posted by Ogre Lawless at 4:41 PM on January 8 [6 favorites]


The enthusiasm for Oprah for President is because she is able to deliver a clear, coherent message by speaking clearly and intelligibly, as opposed to...
posted by mikelieman at 4:45 PM on January 8 [7 favorites]


My biggest concern is her easy going temperament.

I don't know much about Oprah. Is this true? Can you really go from poverty to multi-billionaire with an easy-going temperament?
posted by clawsoon at 4:46 PM on January 8 [9 favorites]


You wouldn't be voting for Oprah, you'd be voting for the people running her campaign and advising her.

Isn't that the same argument Republicans made in response to George W. Bush's inexperience? You're not voting for this guy--he's just the guy you'd want to have a beer with--you're actually voting for Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wofowitz, etc who will be the people running things.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 4:47 PM on January 8 [3 favorites]


Yeah, no way. I want someone who knows how to make the sausage in D.C. The only way I'd ever vote for Oprah is if she... uh... won the Democratic nomination and ran against literally any republican.

So, I guess that rally fell flat.
posted by mrgoat at 4:50 PM on January 8 [26 favorites]


I don't know much about Oprah. Is this true?

Pretty sure that if you mess with Oprah she puts you in the ground.
posted by Artw at 4:55 PM on January 8 [8 favorites]


Look at Obama: he was a Senator for two clicks before he became President. Being a good President requires practical wisdom (prudential rationality), powers of persuasion (both of the american people and other politicians)

The problem is that Obama wasn't a good president by those metrics. He presided over the destruction of Democratic political power, failed to hold the giant financials accountable, and generally failed to make persuasive pitches to the American people. The Republican messaging machine ran circles around him with the narrative on health care, which is part of what led to the rise of the Tea Party. And he fumbled dealing with the Russian interference and out of control FBI because he had too much faith in the American people.
.
posted by Candleman at 5:02 PM on January 8 [22 favorites]


Leaving all else aside, Oprah knows how to run a huge org, which means she knows how to delegate to competent intelligent people, a vital skill for even an experienced politician. Again, I would rather elect an experienced politician, but if Oprah were elected, I am confident that she would surround herself with capable people.
posted by Frowner at 5:03 PM on January 8 [5 favorites]


Will this be the Warm Fuzzy Platform and will we all be little muffin minions with stars in our eyes?

Oh Oprah, My Oprah?

No.

Get a law degree. Become a community organizer. Get elected to senator. Then I may vote for you for president.
posted by uraniumwilly at 5:04 PM on January 8 [9 favorites]


I was chuffed to see so many people agree with the "oh hell no" sentiment here. And how many people agreed when I posted this on Facebook.

But i had an interesting idea - what if she got into politics on a lower level? Mayor of Chicago, or governor, or something?

I mean, Al Franken and Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sonny Bono jumped from entertainment to politics with varying levels of success.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:14 PM on January 8 [5 favorites]


Leaving all else aside, Oprah knows how to run a huge org, which means she knows how to delegate to competent intelligent people, a vital skill for even an experienced politician. Again, I would rather elect an experienced politician, but if Oprah were elected, I am confident that she would surround herself with capable people.

This is literally the Trump for President sales pitch with only the name changed.
posted by The World Famous at 5:18 PM on January 8 [26 favorites]


I'd vote for Wallace Shawn, but him running as a candidate seems like something I can't imagine.
posted by benzenedream at 5:18 PM on January 8 [6 favorites]


The idea that the left might counter the politically inexperienced billionaire television host currently in office with a politically inexperienced billionaire television host with a better personality does not charm me as much as it seems to charm my friends on Facebook.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 5:20 PM on January 8 [16 favorites]


This is literally the Trump for President sales pitch with only the name changed.

Well, also the huge org actually does something and isn’t just criminals.
posted by Artw at 5:22 PM on January 8 [11 favorites]


Also, OWN has what, a couple hundred employees? What's the biggest organization Oprah has run?
posted by The World Famous at 5:27 PM on January 8


The only two mefites I would vote for to be president are Eyebrows McGee or Frowner. And only if they agree to make poffin boffin Secretary of Defense.
posted by valkane at 5:36 PM on January 8 [11 favorites]


No. Dr. Phil.
posted by Pembquist at 5:41 PM on January 8 [2 favorites]


Also, OWN has what, a couple hundred employees?
According to Wikipedia, Harpo Productions, the parent company of OWN and her various production companies, had 12,554 employees in 2012. So not a couple of hundred employees, but I still don't think it qualifies her to be president.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 5:42 PM on January 8 [1 favorite]


I think we have to give up on having a qualified president. Cult of personality with no qualifications wins. This is now why people want Oprah: she may be unqualified, but she's popular as fuck and not gonna act like Trump.
posted by jenfullmoon at 5:44 PM on January 8 [4 favorites]


According to Wikipedia, Harpo Productions, the parent company of OWN and her various production companies, had 12,554 employees in 2012. So not a couple of hundred employees, but I still don't think it qualifies her to be president.

Ah, thanks. Yeah, that's more than a few hundred, but not a huge company by any stretch. Moreover, I agree with you that running a big company does not qualify someone to be President. ExxonMobil had around 73,000 employees when Tillerson was CEO, and he's not remotely qualified even for his current gig, let alone that of President.
posted by The World Famous at 5:50 PM on January 8 [4 favorites]


"People want leadership, Mr. President, and in the absence of genuine leadership, they'll listen to anyone who steps up to the microphone. They want leadership." - The American President

People are desperate for non-Trump leadership. I can't blame them for fantasizing about an Oprah or a Dwayne Johnson in charge. At least they'd try to rise to the level of the office.

As for me, I loved her speech. I saw the flickerings of a movement online and was amused. Annnnnd then I was scolded by the Internet for not being deadly serious 100% of the time.
posted by kimberussell at 5:53 PM on January 8 [9 favorites]


I've stolen this from a much wittier friend, but if Oprah ran on the same ticket as The Rock, it could be a Rock Oprah.
posted by Joey Michaels at 5:54 PM on January 8 [23 favorites]


Annnnnd then I was scolded by the Internet for not being deadly serious 100% of the time.

Yeah, sorry if I contributed to that. I think we're traumatized by last time there was a movement to elect as President an unqualified media star whose candidacy seemed like a joke.
posted by The World Famous at 5:56 PM on January 8 [4 favorites]


The cult of Oprah does cross many cultural lines and if I thought for a second that she'd be able to get all those Roy Moore and Trump votin' white women on board and vote for her instead, I'd jump 100% on board for Oprah2020.
But she can't, and they won't and so this is instead a very specific kind of wishful thinking that is just making me kind of sad and hoping it blows over before we lose the midterm momentum in the process.
posted by ApathyGirl at 6:00 PM on January 8 [3 favorites]


Get a law degree.

I'm wondering how this became virtually a prerequisite for high level political office. What lawmakers and government/political leaders really need is a thorough understanding of policy development, economics, and history. From what I know of lawyers and law school, they are no better prepared for these offices than most people with a post-secondary education.
posted by she's not there at 6:06 PM on January 8 [15 favorites]


Her speech was good, but it was perfectly calculated for her audience, and pure "Hollywood is so great" 'look at how wonderful we are' etc etc.

I do not want a billionaire to be president. I do not want billionaires.
posted by graventy at 6:22 PM on January 8 [10 favorites]


My biggest concern is her easy going temperament. To be blunt, too docile to take on Republican leadership.

Pretty sure that if you mess with Oprah she puts you in the ground.

Remember when she took on the entire Texas Beef Industry (and won)?

Remember when she squared off against James Frey?

Remember when a Hermes store turned her away in Paris?

Remember when Jonathan Franzen made a shitty comment about her book club?

I hate that she has given platforms to charlatans. And while I also would rather we have actual politicians running for office, if I had to pick any celebrity to run, it would be her. She's a hard worker, genuinely self-made (unlike some presidents I can think of), is open to continual learning and growth, is genuinely well-liked, and is a black woman to boot. She is literally the American dream personified. And not the kind that is looking to pull the ladder up behind her (to mix my metaphors). Oprah is a goddamned, bond fide powerhouse, and the thought of all the walls and ceilings and everything else she could break down is almost a little exhilarating to me.
posted by triggerfinger at 6:22 PM on January 8 [43 favorites]


Oprah Denies Presidential Ambition After ‘Oprah 2020’ Goes Viral (Bloomberg): "In a brief interview backstage at the event, Winfrey was told that 'Oprah 2020' was circulating on Twitter, and asked whether she planned to run. 'I don’t -- I don’t,' the 63-year-old billionaire said."
posted by Doktor Zed at 6:29 PM on January 8 [2 favorites]


I'm wondering how this became virtually a prerequisite for high level political office. What lawmakers and government/political leaders really need is a thorough understanding of policy development, economics, and history.

An understanding of how statutes and regulations are interpreted and implemented is probably relevant and important if your job is proposing, negotiating, drafting, enacting, and enforcing statutes and regulations. And understanding of how the judiciary works is probably a good idea if your job is nominating or confirming judges.

This is not to suggest that a non-lawyer cannot be an effective and good legislator or President - there have been many. And law school alone is poor preparation, I think. But a law degree as a virtual prerequisite for service a the highest levels of legislation and execution of the law seems pretty obvious to me, particularly given the nature of law school as largely conceptual and analytical, and not as a practical education in how to practice law (alas, there's not really any school for that, it seems).
posted by The World Famous at 6:30 PM on January 8 [2 favorites]


I get the knee-jerk OMG, nooooo responses. Yes, Oz, McCarthy and Mcgraw are pretty terrible. I dislike celebrity culture. But Winfrey is a genuinely self-made billionaire despite growing up in severe poverty, while being female and Black. She manages a profitable company, is a philanthropist, and may actually be a decent human being. Maybe take a moment and see if she chooses to take a run at it, and see what she might have to say as a candidate.
posted by theora55 at 6:30 PM on January 8 [11 favorites]


I’ll never forget the episode where Oprah had a bunch rich people on stage talking about they visualized their success and it happened. Like, the big takeaway was if you aren’t successful, you just need to imagine it harder. I am not even kidding.

Oprah 2020?

Fuuuuccckkkk.

Thhhhhaaaat.
posted by Big Al 8000 at 6:46 PM on January 8 [12 favorites]


But Winfrey is a genuinely self-made billionaire despite growing up in severe poverty, while being female and Black. She manages a profitable company, is a philanthropist, and may actually be a decent human being. Maybe take a moment and see if she chooses to take a run at it, and see what she might have to say as a candidate.

She manages a profitable company. That makes her a successful businesswoman.

Business =/= government. True, Trump is a bad businessman on top of everything else, but expertise in one field does not guarantee expertise in all fields. Michael Jordan was an amazing basketball player, but the fact that he excelled in basketball does not mean that he would also be good at designing particle accelerators as well.

And anyway, she's said she's nor intereested already so whatevs.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:49 PM on January 8 [3 favorites]


NOprah.
posted by Fizz at 6:52 PM on January 8 [2 favorites]


look all I'm saying is that sooner or later there'll be a beloved and popular black woman with excellent communication skills who shares like 90% of our values who achieved notoriety by advocating for proletarian revolution and holds several postgraduate degrees in the hard sciences and i will be MORE THAN HAPPY to vote for HER
posted by prize bull octorok at 6:53 PM on January 8 [16 favorites]


...but not this beloved and popular black woman with excellent communication skills etc..
posted by triggerfinger at 7:03 PM on January 8 [11 favorites]


My understanding - by which I mean a half formed notion gleaned from pop history shows on tv and AP government class - is that the president is supposed to be a quasi-king/queen in terms of public leadership if not actual legal power: a kind of rallying figure for the masses so to speak. So, this doesn’t really surprise me. The British royal family holds sway in the popular American imagination for no discernable reason to me, after all. Maybe people just have a need for a kinglike/queenlike “great man/woman” figure to lead them? Most people don’t seem to really understand how the presidency works anyway. Democracy and the franchise is pretty infrequent if you look at the entire scope of human history.
posted by eagles123 at 7:13 PM on January 8 [3 favorites]


I’ll never forget the episode where Oprah had a bunch rich people on stage talking about they visualized their success and it happened. Like, the big takeaway was if you aren’t successful, you just need to imagine it harder.

Ah yes, The Secret, a.k.a Law of Attraction. Similar to Norman Vincent Peale’s "power of positive thinking" to which Trump heavily subscribes.

Still, your other choice might be a guy who can code in PHP and kills his own animals for meat, so.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 7:21 PM on January 8 [4 favorites]


Lately, I'd been disturbed by the idea that the Rock could basically just decide to be president. He's interested in doing it; he's intelligent, charismatic, lovable, and tall. With his platform, that's all he really needs. He could decide on whatever politics he wants, pick a winning team of campaign managers, and walk it home. Who could stand against him?

Now, strangely enough, I have an answer for that: Oprah.

I don't want either of them to be president, at least not without some kind of governmental experience or a public-policy degree. Either of them could theoretically make a strong case if they took a few years to learn the ropes, and they're both young enough by political standards for that. But after Trump, we can't tell ourselves that starpower can be defeated anymore with anything more than greater starpower, and do we have young Democrats who can and will bring any of their own next time around? All in all, I am watching with a kind of grim resignation.
posted by Countess Elena at 7:24 PM on January 8 [5 favorites]


But a law degree as a virtual prerequisite for service a the highest levels of legislation and execution of the law seems pretty obvious to me, particularly given the nature of law school as largely conceptual and analytical, and not as a practical education in how to practice law (alas, there's not really any school for that, it seems).

Lawyers can also disappear to a state legislative session for a few months out of a year and keep their jobs if their firms are supportive. The self-selection of lawyers starts at the lower rungs of office.
posted by Hollywood Upstairs Medical College at 7:25 PM on January 8 [4 favorites]




I think the idea of political experience is pretty overrated. Being president is not a technical skill. Look at Obama: he was a Senator for two clicks before he became President.

As I noted in the catchall thread, before becoming president, Obama had like 15 years of relevant work experience including community service, law and Constitutional scholarship, and elective legislative office (10 years). He may have been shiny, but the guy spent nearly his entire adult life workng in not-for-profit public service and becoming knowledgeable about government and law.
posted by FelliniBlank at 7:26 PM on January 8 [10 favorites]


Countess Elena, that's why I've always been distressed by people worshiping the Rock. I'm very worried he'll run for office - and if he does, he'll probably win whatever it is.

(I don't even understand why people like the Rock, let alone adore him.)
posted by desert outpost at 7:32 PM on January 8 [2 favorites]


Oprah is a likable and seemingly benevolent soul, but she is also an alien from a planet called Money. If you put a gun to her head and told her you would kill her if she could not say how much a gallon of milk costs, she would be powerless because I promise you: she does not know. She does not have a reason to know. She does not live in the world that you and I live in.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:33 PM on January 8 [8 favorites]


If we must have a celebrity president,

We mustn't.

I suspect I'm an extreme outlier in that my only real experience of Oprah, other than unavoidable media blips and fragments and references to her book club, was seeing her in The Color Purple way back when. She was really good in that. And I'm sure she'd be better than Donald Trump as President, but ... well, this just seems really fucking stupid for all the reasons already posed in this thread plus several billion others that I'm sure will come up.

Oprah Denies Presidential Ambition After ‘Oprah 2020’ Goes Viral (Bloomberg):


and I suspect she'd agree.

Eyes on the prize, folks. 2018 elections looming. No saviors in sight, or expected. Get busy.
posted by philip-random at 7:33 PM on January 8 [7 favorites]


DirtyOldTown, she's been a resident on that planet for decades, but she was not born there. She had a hell of a childhood, and she knows how to make that resonate. Much more aristocratic candidates have successfully posed as just plain folks.
posted by Countess Elena at 7:38 PM on January 8 [10 favorites]


I don't doubt her origins. But people who recommend $200 pajamas and $90 skin care creams have long since left my world and likely do not remember it well, if at all.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:41 PM on January 8 [1 favorite]


so, to recap, a sweet gullible lovely too-trusting wonderful woman lady who we probably don't have to worry about because she knows better than to be too ambitious. "not a politician" is one thing. a fair thing. it ought to be the only thing, since it's the relevant thing. but of course. of course.

the points about her pet fake doctors are valid. she plays upon the worst impulses of the ignorant, and she uses the buckets of money she makes off of them to do good for those who probably deserve it more. call the moral calculus obscene or just counterproductive, if you like. but no famous person now, or perhaps ever, is more aware of what she's doing than Oprah Winfrey. she is a lot of things but she has never been stupid.

and if you think that she's not qualified to set our foreign policy and exceptionally not qualified to pick FDA leadership, I expect you are right. but then again, if you think a lifelong study of racism, sexism, and sexual assault -- an expertise both forced upon her and freely chosen out of what is, and I don't care if you laugh at me for calling it that, greatness of heart -- is not political expertise, is not an amazing depth of knowledge and record of working on political issues, you can fuck off.
posted by queenofbithynia at 7:43 PM on January 8 [15 favorites]


Get a law degree.

I'm wondering how this became virtually a prerequisite for high level political office. What lawmakers and government/political leaders really need is a thorough understanding of policy development, economics, and history. From what I know of lawyers and law school, they are no better prepared for these offices than most people with a post-secondary education.


Good point. I was using Obama's profile as an example. If she got a phd in some environmental science, I think that would do it, too.
posted by uraniumwilly at 7:43 PM on January 8


Ashley Judd, for instance, has a Master's in Public Administration from Harvard.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:48 PM on January 8 [5 favorites]


everyone needs to log off
posted by edeezy at 7:58 PM on January 8 [4 favorites]


She does not live in the world that you and I live in. (...)
I don't doubt her origins. But people who recommend $200 pajamas and $90 skin care creams have long since left my world and likely do not remember it well, if at all.


well, I wasn't physically beaten, raised in extreme poverty, the target of extreme and pervasive racism, or sexually abused as a child, so you're right, she and I do live in different worlds. compared to her, I am as soft and privileged as can be. I'm sure that's not true of everyone reading this, but it's true of me, I admit it. on the one hand, nobody deserves to be a billionaire and we ought to fix the tax code so that nobody gets to be one. on the other hand, she deserves more of what she has than any other unimaginably rich person does.

I don't believe that $90 skin creams make you forget being a pregnant 14-year-old. if they could, they would cost more.
posted by queenofbithynia at 8:00 PM on January 8 [26 favorites]


There is a large, large expanse of territory between saying she is a bad person and does not deserve her success and saying that her wealth and popularity are questionable substitutes for background/experience in public service/policy and that the sheer enormity of said wealth may be more notable politically as a factor that separates her from the electorate than as a marker of all purpose achievement.

I think Oprah is great. I do not have to choose between that and thinking she is not a reasonable candidate for the highest political office in the land. Life is long, though. If she wants to turn her focus to politics, she has plenty of time to change that impression... with everyone.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:08 PM on January 8 [9 favorites]


and if you think that she's not qualified to set our foreign policy and exceptionally not qualified to pick FDA leadership, I expect you are right. but then again, if you think a lifelong study of racism, sexism, and sexual assault -- an expertise both forced upon her and freely chosen out of what is, and I don't care if you laugh at me for calling it that, greatness of heart -- is not political expertise, is not an amazing depth of knowledge and record of working on political issues, you can fuck off.

I respect that you admire her, and I vastly respect how far she has come and the strength and tenacity she posesses.

I also feel that the strength and tenacity she posesses in having navigated her own life is not in and of itself sufficient to qualify her for the highest political office in the country.
This is not a zero-sum question, and saying she is not qualified for the highest political office in the country is not an assessment of her overall worth as a person.

Frankly, I'm more concerned about those who would consider this to be sufficient. She navigated personal politics, yes, but personal politics are not international geopolitics, in much the same way that my baking a superawesome batch of jambalaya does not in and of itself qualify me to open and operate a Cajun restaurant.

And again - there are a myriad other poltiical offices that she could consider. Some, I dare say, are positions she would be better at than she would be at the presidency. Secretary of the Interior? Department of Communications? A new cabinet position targeting womens' issues and equality? Any one of those would be fantastic spots for Oprah.

But president? I disagree. And despite how much you gnash your teeth, that does not mean the same thing as my thinking she's wholly unaccomplished.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:16 PM on January 8 [18 favorites]


If unqualified celebrities want to run for office, fine. If they're serious about it, they can start with city council or school board or inspector of drains like the rest of us slobs. Otherwise, it's just more baseless privilege and entitlement.

And this isn't about Oprah specifically. It's equally about Ronald Reagan and Al Franken and Jesse Ventura and whoever.
posted by FelliniBlank at 8:37 PM on January 8 [4 favorites]


I’ll never forget the episode where Oprah had a bunch rich people on stage talking about they visualized their success and it happened. Like, the big takeaway was if you aren’t successful, you just need to imagine it harder. I am not even kidding.

The Oprah philosophy on wealth, poverty and success is basically new age prosperity gospel.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 8:43 PM on January 8 [7 favorites]


Can't wait to see who is on the cover of O Magazine this month!
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:52 PM on January 8 [2 favorites]


"If you put a gun to her head and told her you would kill her if she could not say how much a gallon of milk costs, she would be powerless because I promise you: she does not know. She does not have a reason to know."
I wouldn't mind betting that half the population of the US couldn't tell you what a gallon of milk costs. Including a large proportion of otherwise-adult married males, who wouldn't know for much the same reason as you give.

And, since that exact question came up in a thread I was just reading on a completely different forum for a completely different reason that had nothing to do with Oprah, and answers amongst the people who did know varied by 200% depending on where they lived, what options they had, and where they shopped, I'm gonna go with "it's nearly unanswerable anyway"…
posted by Pinback at 8:52 PM on January 8 [7 favorites]


Since the kids moved out, I only buy half gallons of milk now. Every week. I do all the grocery shopping. I couldn’t tell you what they cost. I’ll bet my wife couldn’t either.

Also, I don’t know all the words to the national anthem.
posted by valkane at 8:59 PM on January 8 [2 favorites]


therefore, a lactose intolerant person cannot be president
posted by Iris Gambol at 9:11 PM on January 8 [8 favorites]


This is inevitable with a presidential system. Jackson, Roosevelts, Reagan. Outsized personalities. This is our sin for not having a boring European parliamentary system. We have eroded the trust in our institutions, thus our powerful personalized presidency belongs to canny outsiders.

Consider Obama. McCain ran ads denouncing him as a celebrity, comparing him to Paris Hilton. In retrospect we see there was a kernel of truth in that. Like Jimmy Carter, Obama was a fresh face after years of Republican corruption. Yet why did we trust him over Clinton, Biden, Kucinich? Because we believed in his soul. And that's what will continuously happen so long as the public does not trust in our institutions. Even if you don't run an actual celebrity, we are doomed to run political celebs, especially outsiders, because that's the state of things.
posted by Apocryphon at 9:23 PM on January 8 [3 favorites]


I don't think The Rock got this bumpy a ride on Metafilter when he was floated for president.
posted by clawsoon at 9:26 PM on January 8 [5 favorites]


Well, if the Rock primaries Trump, why wouldn't you cheer him on? But he's no longer a registered Republican so that chance is gone.
posted by Apocryphon at 9:28 PM on January 8 [1 favorite]


I haven't the faintest how much milk costs either, because I hate drinking milk. Why the heck does everyone think mushy milk cereal is delicious, anyway?
In other news, I bet O has given Steadman hell for that remark.
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:43 PM on January 8 [2 favorites]


Also, re: Obama's illustrious law background- ah yes, the constitutional law professor who oversaw the greatest expansion of extrajudicial drone strikes
posted by Apocryphon at 9:43 PM on January 8 [4 favorites]


therefore, a lactose intolerant person cannot be president

this is a microaggression
posted by poffin boffin at 10:45 PM on January 8 [6 favorites]


I don't think The Rock got this bumpy a ride on Metafilter when he was floated for president.

if oprah hits trump with a folding chair i will finance her campaign myself
posted by poffin boffin at 10:46 PM on January 8 [9 favorites]


The only two mefites I would vote for to be president are Eyebrows McGee or Frowner.

Burn the heretic! And vote #1 quidnunc kid!
posted by Meatbomb at 11:53 PM on January 8 [11 favorites]


I don't think The Rock got this bumpy a ride on Metafilter when he was floated for president.

I don't remember that thread, but I'm willing to bet that his "ride", relative to Oprah's, is proportional to their respective celebrity. (E.g., I've heard of The Rock, but I have no idea re his claim to fame nor could I pick him out of a line-up.)
posted by she's not there at 12:50 AM on January 9 [1 favorite]


Is this the timeline where she runs as a Republican and wins? Because I would change parties and vote for that.

That timeline has this really crazy party at the end of the world in 2067 where they clone all the best musicians for a reunion tour before the asteroid turns planet Earth into a giant magma donut, and then there's this really cool part in 2020 when a bunch of old stodgy white dudes heads all explode at the same exact time.

We could do a lot worse than Oprah. I mean, at least she'd be mostly reasonable if you could keep the Dr. Phils away. And it'd drive the alt-right totally bananas.
posted by loquacious at 1:27 AM on January 9


If this is the beginning of changing the government structure to have a ceremonial head of state (President) and an actual head of government (Prime Minister) I'd be up for that.
posted by like_neon at 2:29 AM on January 9


So she makes a speech about the importance of speaking your truth, how our shared personal stories "transcend culture, geography, race, religion, politics or workplace," some people say "president!", she says "no thanks", and we're... debating something that she didn't say? That's not her truth? We're debating a political outcome to which she said "no," that resulted from a speech that honors transcendance and the power of shared stories?

Can we discuss the speech? Can we discuss the power of shared stories that resonated with so many, when they had continued to be cast in the press (and here on MeFi too) as displays of victimhood? Can we hold onto the idea of that shared power before turning it into yet another binary "yes/no" that isn't even what she wants? Here's the meat from the transcript:
But we also know that it is the insatiable dedication to uncovering the absolute truth that keeps us from turning a blind eye to corruption and to injustice. To tyrants and victims and secrets and lies. I want to say that I value the press more than ever before, as we try to navigate these complicated times. Which brings me to this: What I know for sure is that speaking your truth is the most powerful tool we all have. And I’m especially proud and inspired by all the women who have felt strong enough and empowered enough to speak up and share their personal stories. Each of us in this room are celebrated because of the stories that we tell. And this year we became the story. But it’s not just a story affecting the entertainment industry. It’s one that transcends any culture, geography, race, religion, politics or workplace.

So I want tonight to express gratitude to all the women who have endured years of abuse and assault, because they — like my mother — had children to feed and bills to pay and dreams to pursue. They’re the women whose names we’ll never know. They are domestic workers and farmworkers; they are working in factories and they work in restaurants, and they’re in academia and engineering and medicine and science; they’re part of the world of tech and politics and business; they’re our athletes in the Olympics and they’re our soldiers in the military.

And they’re someone else: Recy Taylor, a name I know and I think you should know, too. In 1944, Recy Taylor was a young wife and a mother. She was just walking home from a church service she’d attended in Abbeville, Ala., when she was abducted by six armed white men, raped and left blindfolded by the side of the road, coming home from church. They threatened to kill her if she ever told anyone, but her story was reported to the N.A.A.C.P., where a young worker by the name of Rosa Parks became the lead investigator on her case and together they sought justice. But justice wasn’t an option in the era of Jim Crow. The men who tried to destroy her were never persecuted. Recy Taylor died 10 days ago, just shy of her 98th birthday. She lived, as we all have lived, too many years in a culture broken by brutally powerful men. And for too long, women have not been heard or believed if they dared to speak their truth to the power of those men. But their time is up. Their time is up. Their time is up.

And I just hope that Recy Taylor died knowing that her truth — like the truth of so many other women who were tormented in those years, and even now tormented — goes marching on. It was somewhere in Rosa Parks’s heart almost 11 years later, when she made the decision to stay seated on that bus in Montgomery. And it’s here with every woman who chooses to say, “Me too.” And every man — every man — who chooses to listen. In my career, what I’ve always tried my best to do, whether on television or through film, is to say something about how men and women really behave: to say how we experience shame, how we love and how we rage, how we fail, how we retreat, persevere, and how we overcome. And I’ve interviewed and portrayed people who’ve withstood some of the ugliest things life can throw at you, but the one quality all of them seem to share is an ability to maintain hope for a brighter morning — even during our darkest nights.

So I want all the girls watching here and now to know that a new day is on the horizon! And when that new day finally dawns, it will be because of a lot of magnificent women, many of whom are right here in this room tonight, and some pretty phenomenal men, fighting hard to make sure that they become the leaders who take us to the time when nobody ever has to say, ‘Me too’ again. Thank you.”
posted by fraula at 3:26 AM on January 9 [24 favorites]


We had the show on TV after dinner but turned it off before her speech. I was glad to have it there as a prompt to say to my kids what those pins were about and how obviously, simply wrong the whole situation is and so they are obviously, simply right to be speaking so forcefully to change things.

We are pasty white, sheltered, New England suburbanites, but right is right, man, and that speech was right on.
posted by wenestvedt at 3:37 AM on January 9


It's funny, I happened to mention her in an Ask comment before the speech yesterday. Her influence has not always been for good.

My most enduring memory of Oprah was about 6 months after 9/11 when she had the airport security official from Portland, Maine through whose line the two terrorists had been allowed on the plane to Boston on the show. The gentleman was a white working class New Englander, with a smoker's raspy voice, obviously wracked with guilt and suffering.

As he described his experience and feelings, his voice breaking, she gave him a look of such disgust and scorn, it was clear he was not going to get the soothing comfort and understanding she was offering to all the others who fit into her mold of people who suffer and deserve comfort. To him, she said nothing. I'm sure he left feeling blamed, by Oprah, as well as by himself. She is not a nice person.
posted by Gnella at 4:04 AM on January 9 [2 favorites]


(I don't even understand why people like the Rock, let alone adore him.)

Temporarily embarrassed bodybuilders.
posted by box at 5:18 AM on January 9 [6 favorites]


About 16 years ago I read an interview with The Rock in which he described french kissing his costar on set of The Mummy Returns and the scene had to be reshot because it was pg-13. No mention of an apology to this woman and the interviewer didn't call him out.
posted by brujita at 5:28 AM on January 9


Nthing Not-Oprah.
posted by brujita at 5:30 AM on January 9


Christ, I want to talk about the speech too and was hoping that would make it onto the Blue, not this non-story about Oprah 2020.
posted by Kitteh at 5:48 AM on January 9 [7 favorites]


I love how we treat ambitious women here at MetaFilter. She never said a word about wanting to be president, in fact all she did was give an empowering speech — something she has done before. But damn if we don’t have folks crawling out of the woodwork with tales of how horrible she actually is, how worthless her work is, how evil and/or stupid she must be for who she’s chosen to work with or promote... it’s honestly kind of amazing to watch. Disheartening, but not unexpected, unfortunately.
posted by palomar at 6:10 AM on January 9 [16 favorites]


It is wild to me that Oprah has flat out said she isn't interested and yet here we are, days later, still slamming her. Or as Ashley Ford put it on twitter: "Oprah gave a speech letting us know how much *we* can do and how much *we're* capable of, and y'all spent the whole next day talking about what she shouldn't do. This disconnect..."

Anyway, there were two parts of her speech that resonated in particular with me. She opened an account of watching Sidney Poitier winning the Best Actor Oscar in 1964, and how much that moment meant to her as a little girl, and then watching him be awarded the Cecil B. DeMille award in 1982, about which she says "it is not lost on me that at this moment there are some little girls watching as I become the first black woman to be given this same award." I can only imagine the effect Oprah's speech had on young girls, and especially girls of color, watching Sunday.

The other part that I've been thinking about a lot these past few days is this, while speaking about Recy Taylor: “She lived as we all have lived: for too many years in a culture broken by brutally powerful men. For too long, women have not been heard or believed if they dared to speak their truth to the power of those men. But their time is up.”

By the way, can you guess how many male winners mentioned Time's Up in their acceptance speeches? I know it's possible to care about more than one thing at a time, but I would really like to see some of the folks (especially the men) going after Oprah consider what they're doing in their own lives when women - and I don't mean just Oprah - dare to speak their truth to you.

She isn't talking about running for president. She is sharing an undeniably powerful message. It's a shame if that gets lost.
posted by everybody had matching towels at 6:49 AM on January 9 [20 favorites]


Thank you. Her speech was amazing and I was standing and cheering by the end of it, and that whole thing has gotten lost.
posted by hippybear at 6:53 AM on January 9 [3 favorites]


I don't think most people are trying to talk her down. I think they're trying to unravel why people would want her to be president, not because she's anything less than a seemingly terrific person, but because she isn't a politician. It's disheartening that likability, celebrity, and personal character are increasingly considered appropriate substitutes for political experience, public policy knowledge/work, and even a stated desire to do the job.

It's kind of a big deal that people feel that way in this country. It leads to things like say, a major political party running a game show host for president.

I'm willing to be talked out of this opinion, but I'd first like to hear the argument in the form of someone telling say Kamala Harris why they think her life spent in public service can be matched or bettered as qualification for political office by aa career as a tv/magazine personality.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 6:55 AM on January 9 [9 favorites]


Thank you. Her speech was amazing and I was standing and cheering by the end of it, and that whole thing has gotten lost.

It was an amazing speech and I'd like to acknowledge her for her skills at communication. which are excellent.

I think the pushback is coming in response to having seen so many people jump on the "this speech is sufficient to qualify her for president" bandwagon. It's not about Oprah so much as it's about "excellence in one field doesn't always translate to others." At least, that's the position I'm coming from.

It was an excellent speech and she excels as a communicator and impassioned orator. It also expressed something about a sort of collective-subconscious thing I"m starting to suspect (read: hope) is global and gathering in strength.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:09 AM on January 9 [6 favorites]


It's the framing of the conversation. Oprah gives a inspiring speech and instead of talking about the speech... we're all focused on how unqualified she is for president. I agree with a lot of points made about why she wouldn't be qualified, but since she hasn't announced that she's running... why is that the conversation and not the inspiring speech? Let us deal with the actual reality we're living in where Oprah made an inspiring speech and not the imagined one where Oprah used her inspiring speech as a way to launch her run.

If she announced her candidacy, that's when it would be more appropriate to start having this conversation about her qualifications. I've heard Tom Hanks should run for president jokes before and none of them have inspired this level of handwringing. People watch an inspiring speech from Oprah, make a hashtag, and suddenly we lose all sense of being able to tell when something is a daydream vs. reality? What exactly is causing that difference?
posted by JustKeepSwimming at 7:10 AM on January 9 [9 favorites]


I don't think The Rock got this bumpy a ride on Metafilter when he was floated for president.

There are two key differences. First, everyone assumes The Rock would run as a Republican. If a person is going to get the GOP nomination, better an incompetent but seemingly innocuous celebrity than an effective politician who may be able to implement the Republican agenda. It would be like placing a stuffed animal as the head of the opposing party. Worthless, but at least not harmful.

Second, I don't think anyone really thought The Rock has a chance in hell of actually winning. Oprah is different - she would definitely win. She is basically a demigod to a large chunk of the population already. It's like daydreaming about spectacularly quitting your job when you're having a bad day versus actually planning to do so when you have bills and a mortgage due. You know it's a bad idea, despite how nice it is to think about.
posted by FakeFreyja at 7:11 AM on January 9 [4 favorites]


There are certainly issues with a non-politician potus, but name three current pols (other than Hil and Biden) that would have any chance getting elected.
posted by sammyo at 7:13 AM on January 9 [1 favorite]


Cory Booker springs immediately to mind. That I can't immediately come up with 2 others is perhaps a bit troubling.
posted by hippybear at 7:17 AM on January 9


name three current pols (other than Hil and Biden) that would have any chance getting elected.

That doesn't mean anything at all.

A healthy chunk of POTUS candidates are somewhere between largely and completely unknown to casual observers of politics before the primary season. The typical progression is that someone who has been regionally successful in politics puts their toe in the water nationally. Cognoscenti who find the person promising then start to come on board from other areas as the campaign picks up steam. Average voters find out who they are and what they're like as the primary season starts to wind up, with less knowledgeable voters finding out who they are as they rack up a few respectable finishes. Somewhere around this step, they enter the national consciousness and become viable candidates. Some of them anyway.

What I'm saying is, we don't know who will play well as a national candidate yet. But it doesn't mean they don't exist or aren't coming.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:19 AM on January 9 [4 favorites]


There are certainly issues with a non-politician potus, but name three current pols (other than Hil and Biden) that would have any chance getting elected.

Kirsten Gillibrand. Kamala Harris. Amy Klobuchar. #electwomen
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 7:25 AM on January 9 [12 favorites]


A less frustrating offshoot of this conversation for me would be asking "what does this collective daydream tell us about what we want in a candidate in 2020?" Because DirtyOldTown is right -- the candidate we choose is likely not in our consciousness yet. I think we can think about why Oprah is resonating with folks and what type of candidate would resonate in a similar way.
posted by JustKeepSwimming at 7:30 AM on January 9 [4 favorites]


Well, clearly I'm in the tiny minority here, but I really like Oprah and - gasp - would be very happy for her to be POTUS. I believe she is someone who transcends what divides us and is admired and respected by people from different races, class, income levels, gender and political preference. I have total faith that she would win by a landslide and strive to build an inclusive government. She is, in so many ways, the anti-Trump, and honestly, I think this country could really benefit from that.

And while she's in office, I'd like 2 laws to go into effect:
1) the abolishment of the electoral college, and
2) the requirement that all future candidates for POTUS must have held elected public office at some point. I don't care at what level, I just want them to have some experience with how our government works and a proven record of being able to get things done within that framework.
posted by widdershins at 8:07 AM on January 9 [1 favorite]






It's the framing of the conversation. Oprah gives a inspiring speech and instead of talking about the speech... we're all focused on how unqualified she is for president.

Okay, but if those of us who are saying "this doesn't qualify her to be president" just kept our mouths shut, then we still wouldn't be talking about the speech - it would be people talking about how she should run for president. Is that what you would prefer?

I agree with a lot of points made about why she wouldn't be qualified, but since she hasn't announced that she's running... why is that the conversation and not the inspiring speech?

I don't know, ask all the people using the "Oprah2020" hashtag.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:59 AM on January 9 [2 favorites]


Asteroid/Magma 2020
posted by poffin boffin at 9:05 AM on January 9 [4 favorites]


"what does this collective daydream tell us about what we want in a candidate in 2020?"

I think that, first of all, a lot of people want a President who hasn't done anything so irredeemably grody and grubby as be in politics. And, in this case, both sides really do it. Remember "Drain The Swamp?" Yes, that was a yuge lie, but too many people think that politicians are uniformly terrible and corrupt, face-eating leopards to a man and woman, and they don't understand that any President, no matter how pure and untainted by icky politics, needs the cooperation of those horrible swamp creatures in Congress to get anything done.

People seem to want a magical Dumbledore figure in the White House - someone who can just wave his magic wand and give the voters - all the different voters! - what they want with no effort and no compromise. I recall people bitching and moaning that Obama couldn't just steamroll Congress and do what the voters want, instantly!

How Americans see the Presidency is a big problem and I think we have to fix that at least somewhat or we will always be in this cycle of idolization and disappointment with regard to our various Presidents.

I think Americans see Oprah as a powerful, benevolent mother-goddess type, who has the wealth to not be beholden to "the swamp," the charisma and power to get what she wants, and because she is an African-American woman born in poverty who achieved wealth, combines the Horatio Alger bootstraps narrative with "I will vote for a black woman! I am SO WOKE!"

Finally, there is the "I'll vote for a woman...just not THIS one!" We've heard that before.

Personally, I want a woman who has some political experience in the White House. If Kamala Harris ran, I'd get to the voting booth to vote for her, I'd leave scorch marks. Kirsten Gillibrand and Amy Klobuchar are also possibilities for me. Barbara Lee (who used to be my Rep!) is a dream candidate, but I don't think she wants to run. (I was SO PROUD of her when she was the ONLY Congressperson to oppose the Iraq war when everyone else, D and R, was falling into line behind Bush.) I hate the thought of the likes of the DNC deciding that a woman is a losing proposition and Kerry-ing us in 2020 with some empty suit white guy because "we can't take a chance!"
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 9:07 AM on January 9 [4 favorites]


dumbledore got killed by an incompetent teenage neonazi and couldn't even defeat a guy with no nose without depending on a child abuser obsessed with a dead woman's eyes

i want madam president granger
posted by poffin boffin at 9:12 AM on January 9 [10 favorites]


the requirement that all future candidates for POTUS must have held elected public office at some point.

Nah, I don't agree. That would mean Sheriff Arpaio is somehow more qualified to be president than any of our Foreign Service Officers serving in the State Department. Speaking of which, the FSO application process starts with a standardized test, and since we're on the topic of suggested requirements for presidency, I feel that before any presidential candidate that even dreams about running should also be required to take some kind of test. I know a lot of folks don't like testing, especially how schools are pushing it, but everyone has to take tests in their life. And I think it's doubly ironic that the president of the executive branch, basically the boss of the federal bureaucracy, isn't required to take a test but all of his/her employees are required to.

So why isn't there a "Candidate for President Test?"
posted by FJT at 9:12 AM on January 9 [1 favorite]


I agree with a lot of points made about why she wouldn't be qualified, but since she hasn't announced that she's running... why is that the conversation and not the inspiring speech?

I don't know, ask all the people using the "Oprah2020" hashtag.


But... none of those people are here.
posted by palomar at 9:14 AM on January 9 [3 favorites]


It's the framing of the conversation. Oprah gives a inspiring speech and instead of talking about the speech... we're all focused on how unqualified she is for president. I agree with a lot of points made about why she wouldn't be qualified, but since she hasn't announced that she's running... why is that the conversation and not the inspiring speech?

That's the narrative we were given. That's also how the post was positioned.

News reports that initially said Winfrey might run. This thread was posted right before it was reported that Winfrey wasn't running. But 6-8 hours earlier, that's not what we were hearing from the media.

21 hours ago: CNN: Sources: Oprah Winfrey 'actively thinking' about running for president

14 hours ago: Washington Examiner, by way of NBC: Oprah Winfrey has no intention of running for president in 2020: Report

Then this AM on CBS This Morning:
Oprah Winfrey isn’t “actively considering” a presidential run 2020, but the daytime TV powerhouse is “intrigued,” best friend Gayle King says.

“I do think she’s intrigued by the idea. I do think that,” King, a co-host of “CBS This Morning,” said on Tuesday’s broadcast of the show. “She loves this country and would like to be of service in some way, but I don't think that she’s actively considering it.”
Note the headline: Gayle King shoots down Oprah Winfrey presidential run speculation, but says she’s ‘intrigued’. How else is it being reported? Variety: Gayle King: Oprah Winfrey Not Considering 2020 Bid, but Is ‘Intrigued’ by Idea.

Even the ET article posted 24 hours ago which was literally filled with quotes of her saying "i will never run" "Everything Oprah Winfrey Has Said About Not Running for President" made it sound at the end like she could be convinced.

There's a reason for this. We are being lied to, gaslit and abused by our political leaders on a daily basis, so it's natural for us to look for a savior who can remove us from that. Hope springs eternal. Many in the press would no doubt love to see her run for that and other reasons, including that (like Trump) Oprah has huge name recognition. They will do everything they can to fuel speculation and turn this into a story.

we're all focused on how unqualified she is for president

Well, some are. Not all.

Let us deal with the actual reality we're living in where Oprah made an inspiring speech and not the imagined one where Oprah used her inspiring speech as a way to launch her run.

I'd like to see more people here talking about the speech, and I'll do so myself in a separate comment. But I also don't think it should be problematic for us to speculate what kind of a candidate or politician she'd make. Some of us are itching for a candidate to emerge who could defeat Trump and bury the GOP. For that person to be a woman of color who has, time and again devoted significant resources and time to causes and efforts that help minorities would be wonderful.
posted by zarq at 9:16 AM on January 9 [2 favorites]


Oprah aside for a moment, have you seen this pretty awesome ad from a Texas Congressional candidate?
posted by Thorzdad at 9:23 AM on January 9 [1 favorite]


I think we can think about why Oprah is resonating with folks and what type of candidate would resonate in a similar way.

I think this is a good point! On the one hand, there are negative reasons that Oprah's fictive candidacy resonates with people - "we don't want a president who is a politician", liberal stereotypes about the selflessness and unthreatening maternal natures of Black women, the fantasy of a benevolent rich person fixing everything. But there are also a lot of positive appeals - someone who doesn't come from privilege and knows how ordinary people live; someone who doesn't pretend that racism and misogyny don't exist; someone who names the struggles that Black people, women and other marginalized people have gone through and how hard people have worked; someone who has a positive vision of a United States that is better for historically marginalized people; someone who speaks to everyone, not just to the "white working class", de facto conservative white men with money; someone who, though wealthy (as LBH any electable person will be in at least the medium future) has a history of at least relatively benevolent wealth and who got their wealth through being a public figure, not through shady deals and cheating. Oprah, like Obama, is someone who has been public about liking to read and talk about books, and while that's not the foreground of her speech, I think it is in the background of her appeal, especially compared to "I can barely read more than half a page at a sitting" Trump.

I think that anyone who wants to run for president (or really, any office) could do a lot worse than consider the strengths of Oprah as a public figure.
posted by Frowner at 9:26 AM on January 9 [11 favorites]


>I don't know, ask all the people using the "Oprah2020" hashtag.

But... none of those people are here.


Are you sure about that? They may not have actually typed "#Oprah2020" into their comments here, but there are some very pro-Oprah-president commenters in here.

And anywway, some of us "not president yet" commenters have repeatedly offered the "what about a different political office" suggestion, which people could certainly take up as a rallying cry instead so we can table that and talk about the speech itself if you'd like. but it seems that there are still some president-or-bust sentiments that have me uncomfortable, at least.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:29 AM on January 9 [1 favorite]


Since you're linking to my comment there EC, I didn't intend to make a pro-Oprah comment. I thought it was worth pointing out that two of the most prominent never-Trump republicans were getting on the Oprah train.
posted by peeedro at 9:34 AM on January 9 [1 favorite]


This was a fantastic, artfully written speech.

Beginning with herself as a little girl, watching from "the cheap seats" of her mom's linoleum floor -- and then brilliantly segueing that image of herself (as a poor African American child in Milwaukee watching someone who looked like her receiving a high honor,) into a broader discussion of the treatment of women in Hollywood and in the world as a whole, noting that the struggle for women's rights is a fight for the rights of a minority, and it transcends cultures everywhere.

"I want tonight to express gratitude to all the women who have endured years of abuse and assault because they, like my mother, had children to feed and bills to pay and dreams to pursue."
With that line, and with this...
"I want all the girls watching here, now, to know that a new day is on the horizon! And when that new day finally dawns, it will be because of a lot of magnificent women, many of whom are right here in this room tonight, and some pretty phenomenal men, fighting hard to make sure that they become the leaders who take us to the time when nobody ever has to say 'Me too' again."
She struck right to the heart of why the #metoo movement exists, why it's needed and what it is trying to accomplish. Because even though it's about sexual harassment and assault in large part, those same women endured further abuse and attacks when they stepped forward and told their stories. They faced and are still facing a society that does its best to ignore, dismiss and demean them.

I love that she explicitly tied these ideas together, and noted that #metoo is the first step to creating a world where women are respected and treated as equals, and not abused. Where they don't have to live in fear that the their rights or privileges will be taken away from them.

Worth noting also that sections of the speech were a repudiation of Trump and the GOP's attacks on the press, minorities and women. But she didn't mentioning Trump or any other Republican politician once. This was something of a trend for the evening. Most of the winners didn't bother mentioning Trump by name, even if they were attacking his policies. In a way, this denies him an opportunity to attack them.
posted by zarq at 9:50 AM on January 9 [6 favorites]


If Oprah were the Dem candidate for 2020, I would vote for her. I like her better than other celeb candidates like Zuck or the Rock floated for POTUS. Oprah's intelligent, she works hard, she's business-savvy, she uses her celebrity to do good, she promotes literacy.

Where she is now, Oprah is already doing good. She's lent her voice to the #MeToo movement, and people who might not pay attention otherwise will pay attention to her. (Confession: I, too, put money in her pocket! I subscribe to her magazine!) She doesn't have to run for President to be a role model and inspiration.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 9:53 AM on January 9 [1 favorite]


therefore, a lactose intolerant person cannot be president

this is a microaggression


I am lactose intolerant, and I can tell you, I would be a bad president
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 9:58 AM on January 9 [3 favorites]


I would rather Oprah didn't run for President. I'd much rather see Warren or Gillibrand or any of various other stars on the Dem side decide to run and get the nomination. (In my dreams, I imagine us doing away with the Presidency and having a council composed of The Notorious RBG, Michelle Obama, HRC, Elizabeth Warren and Sonia Sotomayor running things.)

But if Oprah got the nomination and ran for President, I'd be 1000%. All. In. if her opponent were Trump, Pence, Ryan, Cruz, Romney, JEB or any of a long, long, long, long list of Republican jagoffs and Green party egoists making vanity runs knowing full well that they have no coalition in the legislative body they could work with to get things done.

I would not do this thing of sighing loudly and making sure everybody knows how I'm reluctantly holding my nose and voting for the Democrat and encouraging everyone else to be down on her and sad and non-enthusiastic.

I would not do the thing of making sure everyone saw that I was considering voting for a seemingly moderate Republican --and ignoring women and minorities when they point out that this so-called reasonable Republican has the same shitty track record when it comes to women, minorities and the poor as his/her fellow Republicans.

It's hard to believe that people are arguing that because two white guys failed spectacularly at a thing -- being relatively inexperienced but being trusted to surround themselves with a team that could get the job done in a way that indicates they understood themselves to be President of all Americans not just corporations, the wealthy, and "real" Americans in the South and Midwest -- we should just go ahead and assume a black woman would similarly fail epically.

We're also assuming that despite how hard she had to fight and how far she had to travel to get to where she is, she wouldn't dedicate herself to learning what she needed to learn to be at least a decent President with that same drive and energy. Like she couldn't -- or wouldn't -- reach out to the Obamas and the Clintons to help her get right on what it takes to be a viable candidate and a decent President.

Nope, instead she'd just get up there flanked by Dr Phil and Dr Oz and say in every debate and stump speech "You get a car and you get a car and you get a car and you get the bees! Wooooo!"

God, I hope Ivanka or Taylor Swift or someone similar decides to run so we can compare the volume of spoken words and digital ink saying "Helllllll no" to them to all the flak Oprah's catching. I get the feeling it wouldn't be even close to a similar amount.

Related to that, it's hard, real hard, not to see parallels between reactions to Oprahs's shortcomings and the way missteps by Michelle Obama, Beyonce, Serena Williams, the Kardashians and several others are discussed compared to the way their white peers and counterparts are discussed with regard to what they do or fail to do. There will still people on this site defending Ivanka and Melania Trump several months into the Trump Presidency like they somehow weren't part and parcel of all the bullshit, for example, because although people don't like to talk about it, Pretty White Woman Privilege is a thing.

tl;dr: Would rather any of various other Dems with experience make a run in 2020, but would be proudly and loudly Team Oprah if necessary; more people need to critically examine their wokeness when it comes to black women.
posted by lord_wolf at 10:22 AM on January 9 [8 favorites]


God, I hope Ivanka or Taylor Swift or someone similar decides to run

lol i would crush them both in a one person stampede to vote for beyonce's sweaty gym sock over them
posted by poffin boffin at 10:34 AM on January 9 [4 favorites]


Can I post this text of this speech as a new FPP and we can discuss the actual speech which was great and worth examining?
posted by hippybear at 10:40 AM on January 9 [7 favorites]


If you do please include some more details about Times Up, the dress blackout, etc - I would love to discuss the speech, especially in the context of the atmosphere in which it was delivered (I would do it myself but I already made a post today).
posted by everybody had matching towels at 10:50 AM on January 9 [5 favorites]


(If you make a post, make it about the whole Golden Globes thing, not focusing on the Oprah part.)
posted by LobsterMitten at 10:52 AM on January 9 [3 favorites]


Yeah, so, I'm not signing up for that. Someone else is welcome to make that post, but I'd be interested in posting Oprah's speech and don't want to do the research to assemble some kind of major run-down about the Golden Globes and the social/political stances taken this year. I have never known MetaFilter to take an official stance on a theoretical post like this before, and it leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
posted by hippybear at 10:57 AM on January 9 [1 favorite]


Ok, if you want to talk more about your question "can I make this post", come to the contact form.
posted by LobsterMitten at 10:59 AM on January 9


And anywway, some of us "not president yet" commenters have repeatedly offered the "what about a different political office" suggestion, which people could certainly take up as a rallying cry

Because I'm a person who can contain multiple contradictory opinions... I'll admit my daydream is not Oprah 2020, but Oprah running for Mayor of Chicago.
posted by JustKeepSwimming at 10:59 AM on January 9 [3 favorites]


[Also officially: if people want to discuss Oprah's speech, please do! Let's not continue on the meta discussion of "why aren't other people discussing x" -- just go ahead and raise the points you want to make about her speech and the discussion will start to be about that.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 11:02 AM on January 9 [3 favorites]


The full text of Oprah's speech:
In 1964, I was a little girl sitting on the linoleum floor of my mother's house in Milwaukee watching Anne Bancroft present the Oscar for best actor at the 36th Academy Awards. She opened the envelope and said five words that literally made history: "The winner is Sidney Poitier." Up to the stage came the most elegant man I had ever seen. I remember his tie was white, and of course his skin was black, and I had never seen a black man being celebrated like that. I tried many, many times to explain what a moment like that means to a little girl, a kid watching from the cheap seats as my mom came through the door bone tired from cleaning other people's houses. But all I can do is quote and say that the explanation in Sidney's performance in "Lilies of the Field":
"Amen, amen, amen, amen."

In 1982, Sidney received the Cecil B. DeMille award right here at the Golden Globes and it is not lost on me that at this moment, there are some little girls watching as I become the first black woman to be given this same award. It is an honor -- it is an honor and it is a privilege to share the evening with all of them and also with the incredible men and women who have inspired me, who challenged me, who sustained me and made my journey to this stage possible. Dennis Swanson who took a chance on me for "A.M. Chicago." Quincy Jones who saw me on that show and said to Steven Spielberg, "Yes, she is Sophia in 'The Color Purple.'" Gayle who has been the definition of what a friend is, and Stedman who has been my rock -- just a few to name.

I want to thank the Hollywood Foreign Press Association because we all know the press is under siege these days. We also know it's the insatiable dedication to uncovering the absolute truth that keeps us from turning a blind eye to corruption and to injustice. To -- to tyrants and victims, and secrets and lies. I want to say that I value the press more than ever before as we try to navigate these complicated times, which brings me to this: what I know for sure is that speaking your truth is the most powerful tool we all have. And I'm especially proud and inspired by all the women who have felt strong enough and empowered enough to speak up and share their personal stories. Each of us in this room are celebrated because of the stories that we tell, and this year we became the story.

But it's not just a story affecting the entertainment industry. It's one that transcends any culture, geography, race, religion, politics, or workplace. So I want tonight to express gratitude to all the women who have endured years of abuse and assault because they, like my mother, had children to feed and bills to pay and dreams to pursue. They're the women whose names we'll never know. They are domestic workers and farm workers. They are working in factories and they work in restaurants and they're in academia, engineering, medicine, and science. They're part of the world of tech and politics and business. They're our athletes in the Olympics and they're our soldiers in the military.

And there's someone else, Recy Taylor, a name I know and I think you should know, too. In 1944, Recy Taylor was a young wife and mother walking home from a church service she'd attended in Abbeville, Alabama, when she was abducted by six armed white men, raped, and left blindfolded by the side of the road coming home from church. They threatened to kill her if she ever told anyone, but her story was reported to the NAACP where a young worker by the name of Rosa Parks became the lead investigator on her case and together they sought justice. But justice wasn't an option in the era of Jim Crow. The men who tried to destroy her were never persecuted. Recy Taylor died ten days ago, just shy of her 98th birthday. She lived as we all have lived, too many years in a culture broken by brutally powerful men. For too long, women have not been heard or believed if they dare speak the truth to the power of those men. But their time is up. Their time is up.

Their time is up. And I just hope -- I just hope that Recy Taylor died knowing that her truth, like the truth of so many other women who were tormented in those years, and even now tormented, goes marching on. It was somewhere in Rosa Parks' heart almost 11 years later, when she made the decision to stay seated on that bus in Montgomery, and it's here with every woman who chooses to say, "Me too." And every man -- every man who chooses to listen.

In my career, what I've always tried my best to do, whether on television or through film, is to say something about how men and women really behave. To say how we experience shame, how we love and how we rage, how we fail, how we retreat, persevere and how we overcome. I've interviewed and portrayed people who've withstood some of the ugliest things life can throw at you, but the one quality all of them seem to share is an ability to maintain hope for a brighter morning, even during our darkest nights. So I want all the girls watching here, now, to know that a new day is on the horizon! And when that new day finally dawns, it will be because of a lot of magnificent women, many of whom are right here in this room tonight, and some pretty phenomenal men, fighting hard to make sure that they become the leaders who take us to the time when nobody ever has to say "Me too" again.
posted by hippybear at 11:16 AM on January 9 [3 favorites]


"So I want all the girls watching here, now, to know that a new day is on the horizon!"

From your lips to God's ears, Oprah!
posted by hippybear at 11:30 AM on January 9


As a white man I think I've somehow been aware for a long time about what living as a female in our society means but because I'm a male I've never really considered what a shitshow of horror just living day to day means for women. I'm awakening to this now, and while I don't really think I'm one of the men making life horrible for women in their daily lives, I'm aware that I'm complicit in the horror even if I'm not actively one of the men making life miserable for women. I don't know what to do about this, but I'm aware and awake and wish it weren't like this.
posted by hippybear at 11:38 AM on January 9 [1 favorite]


It’s in the link that says “transcript”, FWIW.
posted by Artw at 11:40 AM on January 9


Oprah for president is this stupidest idea since Kid Rock for senator, which was the stupidest idea since Trump for president.
posted by Daddy-O at 7:27 PM on January 9 [1 favorite]


Well, I'm thinking of who else wanted to run: Kanye and The Rock. I'd vote for O over them.
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:19 PM on January 9 [1 favorite]


clawsoon: "I don't think The Rock got this bumpy a ride on Metafilter when he was floated for president."

We'd had a lot less Cheeto when that was floated.
posted by Mitheral at 8:55 PM on January 9


The only two mefites I would vote for to be president are Eyebrows McGee or Frowner. And only if they agree to make poffin boffin Secretary of Defense.

With Jessamyn on the Supreme Court as Chief Justice (of the Peace), with a motherfucking star on her robe.
posted by Panjandrum at 9:53 PM on January 9 [1 favorite]


It's hard not to see (unconscious) misogyny behind a lot of this automatic dismissal, especially when expensive skin cream is the symbol chosen to discredit her.

It seems to me that the presidency requires a rare combination of managerial skills, charisma, entrepreneurial vision (for new initiatives), and the ability to embody the public’s feelings in public speeches.

For the naysayers, which of these do you think Oprah lacks?‬
posted by msalt at 12:48 AM on January 10 [4 favorites]


It seems to me that the presidency requires a rare combination of managerial skills, charisma, entrepreneurial vision (for new initiatives), and the ability to embody the public’s feelings in public speeches. For the naysayers, which of these do you think Oprah lacks?‬

Of those qualities, she lacks none.

However - your "what the presidency requires" list is itself missing a requirement: and that is "practical, hands-on experience with a position of government at some lower level." Oprah does lack that, and that is threason why I am a "naysayer", as you put it.

Mind you - and again, I am saying this for the nth time - this is not to say that Oprah is wholly disqualified for politics on the whole, and a campaign for governor of Illinois, or a congressional seat, or some kind of advisory board position, would be much more suited to her at this point in her life. Moreover, taking on such a position would give her that practical hands-on experience with a position of government that she is missing.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:47 AM on January 10 [6 favorites]


It's hard not to see (unconscious) misogyny behind a lot of this automatic dismissal, especially when expensive skin cream is the symbol chosen to discredit her.

No one made fun of all the dumb overpriced shit Trump hawks when he was running for president, so bringing up the products a female TV personality promotes while discussing her imaginary presidential campaign has to be misogyny.
posted by edeezy at 8:05 AM on January 10 [1 favorite]


For the naysayers, which of these do you think Oprah lacks?‬

I agree with what Empress said. I have met Oprah several times through work. I like her, personally. Have a huge amount of respect for her, for her accomplishments and humanitarian efforts, as well as her unceasing drive to fight for minority rights and women's rights and equality for everyone. But she has no hands-on experience working in government / governing, which is a very different skill set than running a business or having a talk show. Because of that, she would not be my first choice to be President of the United States.

That doesn't make me a misogynist. I proudly supported, made calls for and voted for one of the most qualified people to ever run for President in recent years, a year ago last November. And she should have won.

It doesn't make me a racist, either.

I want to vote for the most qualified person who agrees with my political ideology, and frankly would be overjoyed if they were a woman of color because our so-called leaders constantly treat women and minorities like garbage and get away with it. We desperately need leaders who will fight for their rights. But a media mogul with zero political experience is, in my opinion, a bad choice to run this country because the position truly requires the experience of government service. I'm not going to vote for someone who claims they will surround themselves with the "best people." Been there. Living through that hell now. Those people are too easily manipulated by people and groups with expertise and shadow agendas.

I'd vote for Oprah if I had to. If she won the Dem primary I'd fight like hell for her to win. But no, she's not my first choice. I'd vote for Kamala Harris or Gwen Moore in a heartbeat. Totally agree with Rosie Banks upthread about Barbara Lee, too.
posted by zarq at 9:16 AM on January 10 [5 favorites]


I'm personally nominating Gordon Ramsay for chairman of the FCC.
posted by hippybear at 11:53 AM on January 10 [1 favorite]


It seems to me that the presidency requires a rare combination of managerial skills, charisma, entrepreneurial vision (for new initiatives), and the ability to embody the public’s feelings in public speeches. For the naysayers, which of these do you think Oprah lacks?‬

Of those, and setting aside other qualifications (e.g. mastery of the partisan government system and coalition-building in legislative negotiations, etc.), I think Oprah lacks a) government managerial skills, b) entrepreneurial vision for new federal government initiatives, and c) the ability to embody the public's feelings about the federal government in public speeches. Which is not to say she wouldn't be able to develop all of those - as well as the important ones not mentioned - with extensive study and practice, which I have no reason to believe she has ever engaged in or intends to attempt. If she were to devote herself full-time to study and preparation with the help of the most qualified teachers available between now and November 2020, that would help a lot. But I think even then her entrepreneurial vision, as just one example, would likely primarily be a reflection of the vision of whatever experts were to train her, just as they are with our current novice President.
posted by The World Famous at 12:00 PM on January 10


YOU: yaas great speech #Oprah2020
ME, AN INTELLECTUAL: [this thread]
posted by prize bull octorok at 12:07 PM on January 10 [4 favorites]


No one made fun of all the dumb overpriced shit Trump hawks when he was running for president,

that's not how I remember it
posted by philip-random at 12:10 PM on January 10 [3 favorites]


your "what the presidency requires" list is itself missing a requirement: and that is "practical, hands-on experience with a position of government at some lower level."

Neither did Eisenhower. The two George Bush's and Nixon had lots of prior government experience and only GHWB was even a passable president. Mitch McConnell has decades of federal government experience, and shows none of these key skills. I don't believe you've established the necessity for or value of such experience.

Oprah lacks a) government managerial skills, b) entrepreneurial vision for new federal government initiatives, and c) the ability to embody the public's feelings about the federal government in public speeches.

Adding "for federal government" to each phrase is no more meaningful than adding "in bed" to fortune cookie fortunes. Oprah's major claim to fame is embodying the public's feelings.

Kennedy's mission to the moon, the interstate highway system, net neutrality, rural electrification -- none of these major successes were ever federal government initiatives before a president proposed them. That's what made them entrepreneurial IMHO. Oprah has created a 12,000 person network of organizations out of whole cloth.
posted by msalt at 5:25 PM on January 10


Adding "for federal government" to each phrase is no more meaningful than adding "in bed" to fortune cookie fortunes. Oprah's major claim to fame is embodying the public's feelings.

Let's try that and see how it works.

Learn from your mistakes in bed.
Enjoy the good luck in bed.
Your shoes will make you happy today in bed.
Be on the lookout for coming events in bed.
A dream you have will come true in bed.
Oprah's major claim to fame is embodying the public's feelings in bed.

Seems pretty meaningful. I guess I agree with you.

Kennedy's mission to the moon, the interstate highway system, net neutrality, rural electrification -- none of these major successes were ever federal government initiatives before a president proposed them.

Indeed, none of those federal government initiatives existed before they were proposed. And I would agree that Oprah has entrepreneurial vision for building a media empire around her personal brand. I personally am not interested in that particular entrepreneurial vision if you stick "for the federal government" after it, but maybe if you stick "in bed" after it?

And as far as Eisenhower, we can go through his resume, but I'm pretty sure he had better qualifications in terms of government experience than Oprah, not to mention that the organization he ran had tens of millions of personnel though, admittedly, he did not build the Allied Expeditionary Force from whole cloth. I think Oprah is great. I would vote for her over Trump, of course. In a battle of the celebrities for the job of most powerful government official in the history of the world, Oprah would be ok. Better than most celebrities, even. I'm just kind of tired of that particular reality show and would rather have, I don't know, someone who spent their entire life preparing for that specific job, maybe? Someone who, right now, today, knows what the job duties are and how to do those specific duties? And maybe Oprah does! But the fact that we don't have any idea whether that's the case is, in my mind, kind of a problem with the idea of the Dems going all-in on this whole "elect a billionaire outsider celebrity" thing. I mean, maybe there's some celebrity with no government experience (in or outside government) who could by some miracle be a fantastic President! In bed!
posted by The World Famous at 6:07 PM on January 10 [2 favorites]


Oprah's major claim to fame is embodying the public's feelings in bed.

African American woman rag to riches billionaire. I mean c'mon she deserves that as her summary at least
posted by Apocryphon at 9:37 PM on January 10 [3 favorites]


Yes. Absolutely. I agree 100%.
posted by The World Famous at 6:53 AM on January 11


The two George Bush's and Nixon had lots of prior government experience and only GHWB was even a passable president. Mitch McConnell has decades of federal government experience, and shows none of these key skills. I don't believe you've established the necessity for or value of such experience.

I believe the current administration illustrates the potential dangers of the lack of such experience, no?

It's true that Eisenhower didn't have any government leadership experience either, but it was lucky that he was actually good at leadership. Whereas, Trump isn't. I place more trust in experience than I do luck, I suppose.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:37 AM on January 11


I cannot believe the blowback that "Having political experience before taking on the most powerful political position in the world is probably critical" is getting here.

This is the real damage that the GOP's focus on personal achievement, hard-to-quantify character traits, and perceived likability for candidates has done. People who were just a year ago appalled that a literal game show host could beat perhaps the most qualified presidential candidate of our lifetimes are now questioning the character and motives behind people who have the temerity to suggest that a person with no political experience and little to no known/developed political platform might need to run for lesser office first.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:57 AM on January 11 [5 favorites]


I'll shut up now. But I sure hope this Oprah 2020 stuff dies down from the public debate. I'd sure rather we start talking about Kamala Harris or Tammy Duckworth.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:01 AM on January 11 [3 favorites]


I can't believe that On Point spent an entire fucking hour today on this topic which is really a non-topic. Are they trying to pressure her into running? Aren't there other candidates they should be promoting?
posted by hippybear at 10:09 AM on January 11 [2 favorites]


I cannot believe the blowback that "Having political experience before taking on the most powerful political position in the world is probably critical" is getting here.

I don't think this position should be interpreted as a side-effect of the GOP's "but businessmen are awesome amirite?" absurd propaganda efforst. My stance on it anyway comes from Aristotle, mostly, and my own experience in (small) democratic bodies, and it's that politics is not a science, it's instead a series of human problems with unknown solutions, and that what leaders need is wisdom, prudence and empathy above all. I genuinely think that literally any intelligent person with a decent moral compass and a capacity to come to speed on the stakes of the international order could be a very good president. And, what's more, I suspect that having a lot of experience with the current political order probably does more harm than good when it comes to someone's ability to see right from wrong. I dunno.

Like of course they should have a good grasp of current affairs, be familiar with the basic outlines of the international order and understand American civics. But what does being a state official or a governor or Senator really teach you that is so important?

I get that "politicians suck" can come off as sounding like: we need some unknown business guy who got rich to take over as our reassuring daddy, but I think sometimes it seems like we've given up on the whole notion of liberal democracy and rule by our fellow citizens and come to just assume a certain political class of people are the only ones capable of having power as though nobody without a License in Politicking should be trusted to legislate or lead.
posted by dis_integration at 10:14 AM on January 11 [1 favorite]


it seems like we've given up on the whole notion of liberal democracy and rule by our fellow citizens and come to just assume a certain political class of people are the only ones capable of having power as though nobody without a License in Politicking should be trusted to legislate or lead.

The increasingly commonly held viewpoint is very nearly the opposite of this. Only a crook or a wonk would bother to do something like learn the tax code or spend time serving constituents at different levels of the economic spectrum when they could drive economic and tax reform with the mere cut of their jib. The amount a person can learn from school board meetings and educators pales in comparison to what a charismatic person can do for education after seeing a documentary or two. Having a complex understanding of the current geopolitical state of the world accumulated through service is not a spot on what a right-thinkin' guy you'd like to have a beer with could wrangle together as international policy in a few afternoons.

The joke of all of this of course is that the less-experienced people absolutely 100% depend on (and arguably serve at the behest of) "a certain political class of people [with] a License in Politicking," and those people aren't chosen by voters AT ALL.

It's part of a larger pattern of contempt for intellectualism. In the America of 2018, knowing what you're talking about is suspect at best, and more likely, proof that you're part of some high-handed conspiracy to cheat, defraud, and otherwise hoodwink oatmeal-eating reg'lar folk who don't have time to read past the first headline in the Google News feed.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:53 AM on January 11 [3 favorites]


I get that "politicians suck" can come off as sounding like: we need some unknown business guy who got rich to take over as our reassuring daddy but I think sometimes it seems like we've given up on the whole notion of liberal democracy and rule by our fellow citizens and come to just assume a certain political class of people are the only ones capable of having power as though nobody without a License in Politicking should be trusted to legislate or lead.

Oh, if it were only that simple.

Americans have always had an anti-intellectual streak, but it's really come to the fore over the last few decades. We now have an entire television news channel and scores of media pundits across other outlets who have made attacking knowledge and expertise as their life's work, to promote the "gut" as the pinnacle of human decision-making. We have propaganda programs that promote lies to the American public. Others declare anything that disagrees with their ideology to be a lie.

This isn't simply a distrust of politicians. A very large segment of the American population has been groomed over several generations to believe that intellectuals, the educated, smart people, government, the rule of law and social progress are their enemies. That people who are different from them are Other and should be denied membership in and the rights and privileges of our culture and society. We have been collectively reaping the product of that messaging for at least 40 or 50 years, if not more.

We need to do better, and allowing the ignorant or inexperienced to lead us is an ongoing recipe for disaster. Because the people who get hurt when they take power are never the powerful.

If you haven't read Charles Pierce's Idiot America, it would be worth a look.
posted by zarq at 11:36 AM on January 11 [2 favorites]


I'm not saying we shouldn't hire accountants at the IRS and nuclear physicists at the department of energy. But I don't believe there is in fact a realm of expertise or skill learned or exercised by legislators or even more especially executives beyond prudential rationality. I expect the President to be intelligent enough to be able to rely upon experts to summarize the information pertaining to the decisions she needs to make. I'm not saying the President should enter the oval the day after inauguration and need to say "Siri, what's a whip count?". They should've been actively educating themselves on the way the gov't works since beginning to run and would be an actively interested person constantly learning ("I spend all my time reading documents"). Like they should literally be an intellectual in the classical sense of a person of general learning, whose skill is synthesization and insight. They should possess prudential rationality. I can't for the life of me think of what other skill there is that we're asking our candidates to have. I don't believe such a discipline exists called "governing" that is not the same as "rational and informed decision making with an eye to the common good"

Really the President should be a philosopher, is what I'm saying.
posted by dis_integration at 12:22 PM on January 11 [2 favorites]


Very few recent presidents have had a lot of government experience, and those that did (Nixon, LBJ, GHWBush) were not good presidents. Carter and GWBush had one term each, and failed both as managers and as leaders seeking to define and sell a vision.

The presidency is sui generis, and the skills required for it are found in no other government job, except governor a bit. Dukakis demonstrated the limits of even that comparison. And legislative experience is a poor predictor of presidential skill. Do you think Mitch McConnell or Paul Ryan would be good presidents? (Even if you shared their policy goals? I don't.)

Trump's failure was predictable (and predicted) because he failed as a corporate manager, can't articulate a vision and can't at all handle the personal attacks that come with the job.

I'm not saying that Oprah would be a great or necessarily even a good president. But arguing that she is not qualified requires narrow definition of presidential skills, and aside from general handwaving I've yet to see anyone in this discussion connect government experience to the traits of successful (or failed) presidents.
posted by msalt at 1:25 PM on January 11 [4 favorites]


I can't for the life of me think of what other skill there is that we're asking our candidates to have. I don't believe such a discipline exists called "governing" that is not the same as "rational and informed decision making with an eye to the common good"

A President needs to enter office with an innate understanding of how federal and state governments function. They shouldn't be learning it from scratch on the job, simply because the federal government is a vast entity that contains many institutions that do not function in the same ways, and state governments vacillate between declaring their independence and asking for handouts from the government. And a crisis can happen at any time, placing them in a position where they don't have the luxury to study up.

More than that, it's very easy for a President to make unilateral decisions which could quite literally break entire segments of the government. Such as the State Department.

It may be unfair to use the current occupant of the Oval Office as an example, because he has proven to be astonishingly incompetent and corrupt (and in his place Oprah could likely never be as bad,) but one of the many things that Trump has done is refused to fill positions in the State Department, resulting in a profound vacuum of knowledge that is actually rather vital to not only maintaining our place in the world, but our influence with our allies. It's not just them, either. Trump has tried to undermine the EPA. In covering his ass, he's worked to undermine the CIA and the FBI. The list goes on.

All of this matters. We rely on our governments (city/state/federal) to function and support our needs.

An ideal President should hopefully enter office with a strong understanding of how the macro economy of the US works domestically and with regard to trade, as well as have a general understanding of how individual industries function to make up the whole. They should have a strong understanding of how our foreign policies work. And yes, they need to be students of history and culture, diplomats and scholars and I agree, philosophers. Every single President that has 'Cliff's Notes' their way through any of the above topics has gotten themselves into trouble. Lately, that's been many of them.

We are never going to find an ideal commander in chief. But one who has at least some of the qualities I've listed above would be a decent starting point. We've seen what happens when incompetents take office. People suffer as a result.
posted by zarq at 1:30 PM on January 11 [3 favorites]


But I don't believe there is in fact a realm of expertise or skill learned or exercised by legislators or even more especially executives beyond prudential rationality.

Having worked with and advised numerous legislators and executives of government offices and companies both small and large, and either known well or worked across the table from the most senior officials of both a Democrat and a Republican White House on protracted discussions of complex legislative and policy matters, I have observed that effective legislators, government officials, and executives must know their shit backwards and forwards. And they get to know their shit backwards and forwards by having spent a literal lifetime learning that specific shit. And the way I know that is that I have spent decades working with them and learning that.

As a lawyer who represents corporations of all sizes in complex litigation, the most effective clients I work with are those who, although they are usually not lawyers, have a deep understanding of their industry right down to the smallest operational aspects of their company and also have a very good pre-existing understanding of the legal issues at play in whatever matters we're working on. It's great to advise an intelligent person who learns fast and is willing to do the hard work to understand my advice. It takes extra work to help educate them so they can understand and assess the advice. It's a lot better to advise an intelligent person who has already done that hard work and can understand and assess the advice without having to also be taught the underlying material and be taught by the same person giving the advice how they might go about assessing the advice and whether and how to follow it.

I expect the President to be intelligent enough to be able to rely upon experts to summarize the information pertaining to the decisions she needs to make.

I expect the President to already be sufficiently expert in the subject matter to be able to assess whether the people advising her are actually experts, and then accurately weigh and assess those experts' advice. For example, I expected President Obama to know enough about Constitutional jurisprudence to intelligently disagree with Laurence Tribe or whomever. Do you know how long it takes your average lawyer from a top school to learn how to effectively analyze a complex legal issue based on a brief someone else wrote? Years - and that's years after law school.

The President is given complex and conflicting legal advice on numerous subjects every single day. Who is better equipped to read a memo by the Solicitor General on recommended approaches to arguing a benchmark Constitutional case before the Supreme Court and then decide what direction the White House will give the SG? Hillary Clinton or Oprah? Heck, Trump or Ted Cruz?

I expect the President to know more on day one about every single issue and aspect of the U.S. government than, for example, someone who has worked as a Legislative Correspondent for a junior Congressman for a year. I expect the President to know more on day one than a novice would know after having served in that office for four years.

There's only so much time in each of the President's work days. I don't want any of that time to have to be spent teaching her what HUD stands for and what HUD actually does. I want her to already know what the FMLA is. I want her to know what the NLRB is, how many members it has, and what she believes should be the limits of its jurisdictional reach. I want her to know what an Executive Order is, how it works, and already have a well-developed understanding and personal view - independent of her advisors - of the proper Constitutional limits on both Executive Orders and the power of the President generally. And this is just a tiny number of examples that pop into my head as absolute bare minimum things.

Really the President should be a philosopher, is what I'm saying.

I agree. And I think the magnitude of the office will force all its occupants to be a philosopher, whether they like it or not, so, like you, I really want them to already be a good philosopher. But I want them to be an expert, too. I want my bus driver to have driven a bus before, I want my taxi or Uber driver to have a driver's license, I want my doctor to have a medical degree and a lot of experience, I want my lawyer to have a law degree from a good school and several years of relevant experience practicing law, I want my mining company CEO to have a deep knowledge of the mining industry, and I want my President to be an expert in American government and the Constitution.

I also believe that any hard-working, generally intelligent person can dedicate themselves to obtaining that knowledge and developing those skills. But it takes a long time, no matter how smart they are. Longer than the four years of a Presidential term. And it certainly cannot be learned while simultaneously trying to run a successful election campaign.

Jed Bartlet on WW was fun to watch as a fictional President because he was a philosopher but, more importantly, he knew more about virtually every subject that came up than anyone in the room. He constantly called out experts when he disagreed with them.

To give just one more example: Trump likes Neil Gorsuch for the Supreme Court for exactly one reason: The GOP said so. If Mitch McConnell and Reince Priebus had whispered in his ear that Merrick Garland is a textual originalist, conservative jurist in the mold of Antonin Scalia, Trump would not have known what any of those words meant until the word "Scalia" and would have nominated Garland. Suppose you've got a brilliant philosopher in the White House who knows nothing about Supreme Court jurisprudence, and she is tasked with nominating the next Associate Justice. How much time do you want it to take to teach her the history of the Warren Court, the procedural rules for confirmation, the political negotiations at play, and how to parse at the very least the various expert advisors' explanations of the judicial philosophies and history of each prospective nominee on some other expert's short list?

One of the most shocking/horrifying things about the Trump candidacy and Presidency is that Trump actually thinks he is up to the job. I want a President who knows at least twice as much as I do of the specific subject matter of the job. They don't need to know everything. Just twice as much as me. If someone like Oprah announces they're running for President and then doesn't immediately announce that they're going to be off the grid for the next year or so studying because they acknowledge that they're currently deeply unqualified for the job's specific duties, run away.
posted by The World Famous at 2:01 PM on January 11 [6 favorites]


I expect the President to be intelligent enough to be able to rely upon experts to summarize the information pertaining to the decisions she needs to make.

And while Oprah is a truly inspiring woman, she has a long history of giving platforms to dubious "experts." That's really not a "but not THIS woman" comment, and I'm surprised by the support when the megathreads have been full of comments along the lines of "the left needs to start from the bottom up" and "the Green Party only comes out once every four years to run a stunt candidate."

I don't want a President Oprah, or The Rock, or Tom Hanks, or Martin Sheen. It's the highest political office in the US, and the fool's experiment of electing someone with no political experience has failed. Maybe it could be done someday, I just hope to dog that it isn't anytime soon.
posted by Ruki at 2:24 PM on January 11 [4 favorites]


Pardon my ignorance as to the full implications of the "but not THIS woman" criticism of those who don't support an Oprah 2020 candidacy. Is the notion that one should support any woman running for President, no matter who she is? Because if Ivanka runs for President, I'm not going to support her candidacy, either. Would that be an exception to "but not THIS woman?" What are the minimum qualifications for a woman Presidential candidate for "but not THIS woman" rhetorical protection to apply? Must she be a Democrat?
posted by The World Famous at 2:38 PM on January 11 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I was disappointed to see that here, because there were so many well laid out reasons why not this woman, whereas with HRC, the "but not THIS woman" was because of a decades long bullshit smear campaign when she was clearly the most qualified candidate. I dearly want a female President, preferably a WOC, but I'm not going to hold her to lower standards than I would a male candidate, because that itself is misogynistic. Holding her to HIGHER standards is where we get into "but not THIS woman" territory, I think.

And for me, personally, she must not be a Republican.
posted by Ruki at 3:14 PM on January 11 [3 favorites]


Who is better equipped to read a memo by the Solicitor General on recommended approaches to arguing a benchmark Constitutional case before the Supreme Court and then decide what direction the White House will give the SG? Hillary Clinton or Oprah? Heck, Trump or Ted Cruz?

That is simply not a requirement to be an effective president. Obama is the only president, AFAIK, who has ever met that requirement in history. And the fact that Ted Cruz is good by your criteria just shows how deeply wrong it is.
posted by msalt at 1:11 AM on January 12


That is simply not a requirement to be an effective president.

I respectfully disagree. I consider the White House's responsibility to decide the positions the United States will take when it is a party before the Supreme Court on Constitutional issues to be one of the most important duties of the President, and the ability of the President to independently assess and analyze those issues and understand whether her advisors are giving sound advice to be one of the most important requirements of the Presidency.

Obama is the only president, AFAIK, who has ever met that requirement in history.

That assertion is so bafflingly and shockingly bizarre and demonstrably wrong that I'm floored. There are almost no former U.S. Presidents who were not highly qualified in this particular regard. Obama is a super smart guy with a great education, but the only president qualified to understand a Solicitor General's memo about an important Constitutional question? Even if you ignore the numerous Presidents who were lawyers, you're saying James Madison was unqualified to understand a memo from the SG on constitutional matters? Obama was great. His legal acumen and qualifications are beyond question. Do you know who else's were? Rhodes Scholar, Yale Law grad, former state Attorney General Bill Clinton. And the list of Presidents equally or more qualified than Obama in that regard is as long as my arm. William Howard Taft was a former judge and a law school dean, and after the Presidency was Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. I mean I can't even.

And the fact that Ted Cruz is good by your criteria just shows how deeply wrong it is.


I didn't say Ted Cruz is good. I said he, unlike Trump, can read a memo from the Solicitor General and understand the issues in it well enough to make a decision without having to be tutored on it for hours. Would Cruz make what I consider a good decision? I doubt it. But deciding what positions the United States should take on Constitutional questions in Supreme Court cases is one of the President's duties, and Ted Cruz, odious as he is, was Solicitor General of Texas and argued before the U.S. Supreme Court nine times, so I'd say that yes, he's more capable of reading and understanding that memo than Donald Trump or Oprah Winfrey - even though he would certainly decide to take positions that I find wrong and odious.
posted by The World Famous at 11:17 AM on January 12 [2 favorites]


Let's say that you really do believe that being able to cultivate contacts with particular forms of expertise (fiduciary, defense, infrastructure, what have you) is a valid substitute for personally having experience in these areas. Even so, surely you recognize that having spent years cultivating these contacts and finding ones you can rely on and trust, whose values you know align with yours, is preferable to needing an entire stable of them from scratch starting just months before you'd assume the presidency, right?
posted by DirtyOldTown at 12:53 PM on January 12 [2 favorites]


I mean, at the end of the day I'd vote for a sentient wedge of cheese if it were up against Trump somehow. So if Oprah did run, and if she did get the nomination, nothing I say in here would prevent me from casting my vote that way. It would be partly more about "not Trump" than it would be "yes this is my first choice."

But I'm actually used to that; I think the only time my choice for a Democratic nominee made it past the primaries was Gore. (If it were up to me, it would have been Bernie Sanders in 2016, Chris Dodd in 2008, and I think I even went for Paul Tsongas in 1992.) Before the nomination is official, I just get real picky; and if my choice doesn't make the nomination, then them's the breaks.

Before the nomination, though, I get opinionated is all.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:23 PM on January 12 [2 favorites]


Compromise: how about Oprah for Vice President? That way she can learn on the job and get the executive experience the detractors are talking about, and if she had to take over, the supporters get to see her in action earlier.
posted by Apocryphon at 10:52 PM on January 12 [2 favorites]


how about Oprah for Vice President?

I thought about that too. She would be excellent in the traditional role as the president's attack dog, saying harsh things the president can step back from. I don't know if she could deliver a state otherwise in doubt -- Illinois seems pretty reliably Democratic -- but that concept is kind of outdated anyway. Pulling in a different demographic that is vital in one or more key states seems to be the modern equivalent, and she certainly would do that.

There are almost no former U.S. Presidents who were not highly qualified in this particular regard.

Seriously? How about Trump, George W. Bush, George H.W. Bush, Ford, maybe Nixon, Kennedy and Eisenhower, just to name 7 of the last 9 presidents. You raise a good point on Clinton. Taft was 18 presidents ago. Madison was 41 presidents ago. You seem to have skipped a couple in between.
posted by msalt at 2:23 AM on January 13


Variety: You Can Listen to Oprah’s Golden Globes Speech on Spotify

QZ: A speech coach explains exactly why Oprah sounded so presidential
1. Winfrey’s speech makes the case for speaking out without ever asking anyone to speak out

Her speech focuses on the unseen influence of speaking your truth. Other commentator discuss the slippage between “your truth” and “the truth.” I’m interested in how Winfrey, through examples, allusions, and metaphors, makes an implicit argument that you should speak out, even though you might not see a direct impact.
posted by zarq at 7:36 AM on January 13


...how about Oprah for Vice President?

Colbert (youtube link): “If you need any more proof that Donald Trump is delusional, he thinks Oprah would take vice-president.”

From the same clip: “But I offer a note of caution. Do we really want to elect another billionaire TV star? Granted, this one is actually a billionaire. Actually a TV star. That said, I mean firstly one of the things that inspires me most about Oprah is that I believe she’s reasonable enough to consider the possibility that maybe being a billionaire TV star doesn’t necessarily qualify you to have the launch codes."
posted by zarq at 7:44 AM on January 13 [2 favorites]


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