I don’t think so either, although that’s a hunch and nothing more.
— POLITICO (@politico) January 9, 2018
Does she even want the job? Trump had some nationalist ideas for the country and a chip on his shoulder about all the political-media elites who looked down on him despite his fame and wealth. Oprah has none of that. The elites love her, much of the public loves her, and to the extent that she has an ideology beyond “self-actualization,” she seems to be a garden-variety liberal. If she ran, her reasons for running would be even thinner than Trump’s were: She’d stand a decent chance of winning, possibly more so than any other Democrat. That’s it. That’s the whole reason for an Oprah candidacy.
Wait, did I say she’s a garden-variety liberal? Hold the phone:
“No the most pain I feel is—my accountants will tell you this—every time I write a check to the IRS, it’s a ceremony,” Winfrey said. “They come in, for years they came in with wine, now they come in with tequila—it’s a tequila signing ceremony.”
According to Americans for Tax Reform, Winfrey has also criticized the Death Tax in the past.
“I think it’s so irritating that once I die, 55 percent of my money goes to the United States government,” Winfrey said. “You know why it’s so irritating? Because you already paid nearly 50 percent when the money was earned.”
Second look at Oprah primarying Trump?
Ed made a shrewd point this morning connecting the appetite for celebrity presidents to the decline of public faith in institutions. It’s one thing to be governed by charmless technocrats who are contemptuous of the public they serve, but being governed by charmless technocrats who are contemptuous of the public and who are bad at their jobs? The average voter gets nothing out of that bargain. Might as well roll the dice on an outsider whom they already know and like. (Ed’s also right that if Trump’s presidency tanks, voters will revisit that logic in 2020.) But there’s a paradox. Because America’s technocracy operates more or less the same way no matter who’s in charge, the value of picking a “safe,” qualified president has declined. When the technocracy, not the public, makes all the important decisions, we can afford a “ceremonial” president like Trump or Oprah whose chief duty is making their respective bases feel good about themselves. Michael Brendan Dougherty:
The wonk’s role is well-fitted to the centrist political ideal in the post–Cold War West. For them, government is most highly admirable when it is totally denuded of questions of value or morality (these having obvious and uncontroversial answers), and reduced to a purely technical exercise. The politician working with the wonk finds that his job is reconciling the public with what’s good for them. And this fits the machinery of the executive branch, which is filled with hundreds of thousands of civil servants, overseen by a much smaller retinue of political appointees almost all chosen from within the governing class of the country. Where this model of government is most advanced — in Europe — policy questions are routinely taken away from the passions of democratic peoples, and quarantined for expert management.
Taken together, these trends are more or less the abolition of traditional democratic politics. And so there is little use for the traditional politician, a person of judgment and charisma who represents the community from which he or she emerges, using his own wisdom in reconciling the diverse interests and needs of his nation and constituency.
Elect Trump and you’ll get a more or less conventional center-right presidency, just as the Republican technocracy likes it, whatever Trump himself may have to say about trade or NATO. Elect Oprah and you’ll get a more less conventional center-left presidency, just as the Democratic technocracy likes it, whatever Oprah herself has to say about “personal empowerment” or whatever. The technocracy’s on the ballot in November every four years more so than any candidate; in fact, that was essentially the GOP pitch to Trump-skeptic Republican voters in the fall of 2016. “Yeah, Trump’s weird, but think of the judges.” The GOP technocracy would pack the courts with solid conservative appointees, all rubber-stamped by Trump. They delivered! Oprah would deliver for Democrats the same way.
Here’s Rush indicting Democrats on grounds that their infatuation with a celebrity candidate proves how vacant their party is. A little self-awareness wouldn’t kill you here, buddy.