Is America ready for a guru-in-chief in the White House?

Who’s up for a Guru-in-Chief in the White House? I know it sounds offbeat but Marianne Williamson is running for president and this appears to be her hook. She’s looking to fill the slot of America’s spiritual advisor and what better way than to do it than as the leader of the free world? Williamson thinks America needs a moral awakening and she’s stepping up to lead the way.

If you’ve ever walked down the self-help section of your local bookstore, you’ve seen her name. Williamson first came roaring onto the scene under the wing of Oprah, back in the days of her daily chat show. Oprah took it upon herself to make a lot of people famous because she so easily fell for the latest psychobabble or trend of the day. Dr. Phil and Marianne Williamson both were early beneficiaries of Oprah’s neverending quest for self-improvement. Williamson has been quite successful among the Hollywood crowd as well as Oprah followers.

I heard her name mentioned among potential Democrat primary candidates but didn’t realize she’d actually jumped in until I saw an article in the Des Moines Register last night. I guess they are taking her seriously.

Williamson met Thursday with Register reporters and editors and spent an hour in an informal, “get to know you” chat about her background and vision for the country. She seemed soft-spoken and almost shy as she greeted each person in the room individually. But as soon as she sat down, she took charge, asking one of her two campaign staffers and a female traveling companion to kindly vacate the room so they wouldn’t distract her.

Williamson, 66, grew up on Houston. Her father, an immigration lawyer, traveled the world and brought young Marianne along — even to war zones and behind the Iron Curtain — to educate her about the human condition. Her message of returning a basic sense of morality and decency to American government is uplifting and engaging.

“I believe a moral and spiritual awakening is necessary in this country,” Williamson said. “And nothing short of that will fundamentally disrupt the patterns of political dysfunction.”

Her announcement is out on YouTube and it is quite long. It’s not one of those catchy three minute overly produced videos. This video runs a little over 43 minutes. She’s delivering an address to a crowd in an auditorium-style setting. The woman does love to talk to an audience.

She has no hope of gaining traction, of course, but her fan base is psyched and ready to send her money. The Des Moines Register takes the angle that in Trump’s America, enforcing immigration law is wrong and the usual trope of Trump’s a racist bigot rises to the forefront of her reasons for running.

It’s heady stuff, with undeniable appeal to those who are troubled by signs of moral bankruptcy and lack of human compassion in the current administration: separating parents and children at the border, denying asylum to immigrants fleeing crime and poverty, making 800,000 federal workers bear the cost of political power struggles, reinvigorating the forces of racism and bigotry.

She is fond of quoting FDR and his idea that the presidency was all about moral leadership. From what I’ve listened to of her interviews, she’s fond of calling capitalism immoral and she’s a big fan of Bernie Sanders. So, yeah, she’s of the socialist wing of the Democrat party. Williamson has been very successful thanks to capitalism and the public exposure from a titan of capitalism, Oprah, yet she’s impressed with Bernie’s socialist ideas. Irony, much? She has a new book out, too, so there’s that. (Des Moines Register)

She clarifies that while there is a religious aspect to her spiritual teachings, she’s not seeking to impose her own brand of morality on others. And she says she’s not running to elevate her message — although she does have a new book coming out. “I’m not doing this to get my voice out there. My voice is out there.” She said women are trained to seek effect by “whispering in the ear” of the powerful. “I’m asking for a seat at the table.”

By any conventional political measure, Williamson has a difficult path to the nomination. If she catches on with Democrats, it won’t be because of her agenda but because of her charismatic persona and ability to again inspire hope for change in Washington. Hey, it wouldn’t be the first time a long-shot candidate has won with a message of hope and change.

No mention yet of a potential Oprah endorsement of her favorite spiritual adviser. Maybe she can do a special interview with Oprah on primetime to get her campaign message out. If Kamala Harris can get a town hall on CNN so early in the campaign primary season, why not?