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Theatre and Oprah

Written By: - Date published: 6:25 pm, January 9th, 2018 - 42 comments
Categories: International, liberalism, Media, Politics, us politics, useless - Tags:

Across the front pages of purportedly serious newspapers, column inches have been given over to some nonsense about Oprah Winfrey possibly putting her hand up for the Democratic nomination in 2020. I’ll settle for quoting Bill Galston from the Guardian.

If the idea that anyone with celebrity and 100% name recognition can be president is the legacy of our misbegotten times, that would be the most pernicious idea of all. The contempt for the art of politics has held sway on one side of the political aisle; if it takes hold on the other, God save us.

Actually. To the Washington Post, Guardian, Independent and any other outlet giving any traction to this tosh, no matter how much they’re intending it to be for entertainment value only, can I just ask “Will you please just fuck the fuck right off!”

I mean, I get it that the muddled middle of politics wants to find a way back from endlessly fielding off challenges to its primacy from both the left and the right. And I get that it really doesn’t have anything to offer beyond a new bit of glitzy wrapping on bullshit that no-one wants. But Oprah? Really?!

Is the idea that if she gets a whoosh! of a favourable response, then that will somehow make having Donald the fucking Trump as President better or bearable, because people will be deemed to prefer a different kind of celeb as Pres? (Importantly, a clueless one who will play the fucking game.) Is it meant to suggest that the US Political establishment and any of its minions haven’t completely lost their marbles, or their last connection to the voting public and reality?

“See? We really do know what you want! We understand.”

What a joke.

The sooner the dull clowns of ‘the establishment’ get shoved from their political bandwagons, the better for all of us. Let them trip, skip or tumble (I don’t care how they go) into the darkness of history with all their enabling celebs and their ceaseless downright nonsense. Oh, and maybe they’d like to take their screeds of wasted newsprint, packaged into small designer rolls, that they might put to some practical use when they find themselves lost and desperate on one of history’s forgotten highways.

 

42 comments on “Theatre and Oprah”

  1. Anne 1

    Bill, that’s one of the best posts you have submitted – at least in my view. 100% support from me. If it ever came to pass then it means the USA has gone to hell in a handcart and will never return!! Trouble is, they’ll take the rest of us down with them.

    Its the ultimate in “politics of hysteria”.

    • Bill 1.1

      Thankyou Anne. The stabby keyboard ones usually wind up having a certain je nais sais quoi about them 😉

      • Anne 1.1.1

        Je comprends. My stabby comments usually end up pure gibberish because I have a bit of arthritis in my fingers. 🙁

        • tony 1.1.1.1

          Anne, I too have arthritis in my fingers and I take a teaspoon of hemp seed oil daily and while I can feel discomfort the pain has gone! cheers Tony

          • Anne 1.1.1.1.1

            Cheers tony. I don’t have any pain as yet. They just don’t work properly and a few of them are a bit crooked hence they don’t always land on the correct keyboard keys – especially if I’m riled. 😉

  2. mauī 2

    Yes, this means we get Dr. Phil as Governor of mental health and Dr. Oz as Head of the Department of Health.

    Democrats answer to Trump is Oprah, lol gotta love it.

  3. red-blooded 3

    I commented in a similar vein on Open Mike today. Yes, Oprah presents a kinder face than DT, and yes, she made an uplifting speech at the Golden Globes, but is that all it takes to become president of the USA? Surely we won’t see both major parties playing that game? (And to be fair, this has just been media speculation, not anything from the Dems.)

    If DT has proved nothing else, he’s proved that it’s actually quite complicated being President. Rich amateurs should stick to what they’re good at. In the US, that includes political donations and endorsements (wouldn’t it be great if it didn’t?), but they should leave running the actual country to the people who have devoted themselves to learning how it works.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 3.1

      Rich amateurs should stick to what they’re good at.

      Like the Koch’s for example? This ain’t no level playing field. I’ve no axe to grind for Ms. Winfrey, and I’m not a US citizen either. So I should probably stfu, but I can’t help noticing that Obama knew the ropes and look how that turned out.

      Assuming she ran, she’d have a pretty decent set of experienced (and crucially from my perspective, not white supremacist, not climate denier) advisers on hand in the Democratic Party. She’d also have fairly broad appeal, name recognition etc.

      At the moment she’s the worst possible candidate apart from all the other ones. Clutch at that straw, I nearly did.

  4. mickysavage 4

    What do you expect from a nation where the TV is king …

    Good post BTW. I was thinking of a similar post myself!

  5. francesca 5

    Thank you Bill
    Couldn’t agree more

  6. Muttonbird 6

    Whoopi Goldberg would be a way better servant for socially responsible policy.

  7. Anne 7

    Its as if they imagine that a Dem/celeb would be the perfect antidote to Trump. God Almighty… as my late father would have said. No, he wasn’t a religious man. 😈

  8. Macro 8

    Whoever is elected President in 2020 should beware….
    With only 2 exceptions every POTUS elected to office since 1840 in a year divisible by 20 has died in office.
    https://www.snopes.com/history/american/curse.asp

    1840 … William Henry Harrison
    1860 … Abraham Lincoln
    1880 … James A. Garfield
    1900 … William McKinley
    1920 … Warren G. Harding
    1940 … Franklin D. Roosevelt
    1960 … John F. Kennedy

    Just a little irrelevant observation. But I would think that people would be rather reluctant to chance their arm on becoming President in 2020.
    😈

  9. TB 9

    I’d be all for the reincarnation of FDR…

  10. Ken 11

    Why are Americans unable to speak without breaking into Martin Luther King-style rhetoric?

  11. SPC 12

    What the media needs is more celebrities providing click bait headlines to distract the American people from the end of the nations economic and political and diplomatic leadership.

    Trump soap opera meltdown, pussy grabber faces spectre of reality TV competition,, times up for white man incumbency, doubts over intel of little fingered social media addicts, on fathers taking daughters to work day POTUS declares Ivanka his running mate for 2020, Oprah chooses Chelsea Clinton as running mate, Trump appoints the UN Ambassador Secretary of State, Megyn Kelly appointed to key role in Oprah campaign team …

    • Graeme 12.1

      And really, what is all that different to “traditional” political progression and discourse. Especially in a USA context with their almost continual, and overlapping election cycles.

      US politics has been a reality show since inception, and I’m not sure we’re much better. It’s about influencing people (voters) to buy your product or ideas. So political entities do what is required.

  12. North 13

    Bill – can’t but agree with Anne @ 1. Your post is excellent……redolent of a first draft slammed out off the top of the head of an author having no cynical regard to ‘packaging’. The broad question I see posed is this……”America, are you addicted to shiny things ? Don’t you in reality just love ‘Swamp’ ?”. The question’s relevant here too as Graeme says @ 12.1. Faaarknhell !

      • Anne 13.1.1

        I have witnessed the Winfrey method first hand and seen the results. An American woman I know came to live in NZ 10 years ago with her husband. He left her two and a half years ago. She was understandably devastated and plenty of people rallied around trying to help her get through it. Then she got into the ‘self help courses’ that have proliferated since the Winfrey phenomenon went global. She wanted to grow her self esteem… learn how to be a leader… how to ‘think outside the box’ and all the rest of the hocus-pocus described in North’s link.

        Three years later she’s broke. Her self-esteem is what it was from the start – basically normal. She’s a nice person but she ain’t no leader and she has no idea how to think outside the box. In short, she is who she is… and 90% of the money she spent on these profit making courses was a complete waste.

  13. roy cartland 14

    Of colour: check
    Female: check
    Has political experience: [tumbleweed wind blows]

    What about Michelle Williams, who started the meeto movement that all those m/billionaires are now taking credit for? Or Ksharma Sawant, the elected socialist behind the 99%?

    God forbid we ever have someone who isn’t sitting on top of a massive stack of money telling us what to do from the highest office.

  14. red-blooded 15

    Well, the Guardian are now reporting that she’s considering it, saying on Monday CNN reported that she is “actively thinking” about it, citing two close friends, whom it did not name. And the Los Angeles Times quoted Stedman Graham, Winfrey’s longtime partner, as saying: “It’s up to the people … She would absolutely do it.”.

    She’s got the whole “American Dream” backstory ✔️
    She’s seen as empathetic and caring ✔️
    She’s a woman (✔️ from me, but from the US electorate..?)
    She’s supported the Dems openly in the past ✔️
    Donald Trump has spoken about her glowingly and said at one stage that he’d like her as a running mate ✔️
    She’s a bloody good orator ✔️
    She’s got powerful friends and allies ✔️
    She’s got lots of crossover appeal – a strong following in the working classes, esp women (good for spiking Donny Boy’s guns) ✔️
    She’s a hell of a lot smarter than Trump ✔️

    BUT I agree with the discussion North linked to at 13.1 – Winfrey’s message is essentially a neoliberal “You don’t need to change the world, just change yourself” line. Plus, I agree with the political scientist quoted at the end of The Guardian’s piece: Bill Galston, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution thinktank in Washington and former policy adviser to President Bill Clinton, said: “If the idea that anyone with celebrity and 100% name recognition can be president is the legacy of our misbegotten times, that would be the most pernicious idea of all. The contempt for the art of politics has held sway on one side of the political aisle; if it takes hold on the other, God save us.”

    Here in NZ, some have argued that Jacindamania was based in part on this, but Ardern has given her life to politics and is an experienced operator. She may be new to leadership of the party and of government, but she’s been a policy wonk for years and has proven herself in opposition.

    Anyway, interesting times…

    • North 15.1

      Wasn’t noting Jacinda when I commented @ 13 on the disturbing phenomenon of the “shiny things” and the measure by which it seduces here in New Zealand. It was the Crosby Textor/Michelle Boag construct John Key.

      • red-blooded 15.1.1

        Fair enough, North. I wasn’t thinking of your comment when I mentioned Jacinda Ardern – just thinking about some of the early commentary in the wider media when she took on the leadership.

  15. Xanthe 16

    I am not so quick to dismiss, one thing about Oprah is that her funds are not derived from political patronage or dirty dealing. nor is she beholden to the DNC . These are a very significant plus for me

    • Et Tu Brute 16.1

      One thing to remember; celebrities don’t face as much negative attention and probings as politicians. It is comparatively easy to look clean as a celebrity, there isn’t the same ‘public interest’ argument. Of course you can royally screw up, but it is also easier to hide behind a smile. You can bet right now there are funded research teams preparing background papers on her and investigating her various investments around the world. I know, for example, there were a few headlines on sexual abuse in her schools in Africa – not her fault and when you employee so many people across continents it happens – but you know how political operatives can exploit this.

  16. Stuart Munro 17

    So – say Oprah gets in.

    What’s the next populist debasement the Republicans trot out to contest the election – remember it must be so seedy it almost makes people yearn for Trump, the way Trump almost made people feel about W.

    Or would the worm finally turn – because turning against a black woman president would be so much easier.

  17. North 18

    Mad thought but let’s say the Dispositionally Bent Orange Gropen Fuhrer Genius get’s rolled (or simply loses in 2020)……chances of violent insurrection in the US ? Kooks of the NRA, KKK, Go[o]d Ole Boys, “Blood and Soil” Nazis, Rust Belt Trailer Trash, the “God Gave Us Trump” brigade ? Nothing ‘US’ would surprise frankly.

    • Anne 18.1

      the Dispositionally Bent Orange Gropen Fuhrer Genius…

      What a magnificent description of you know who. 😀

  18. mosa 19

    You only have to look at the people in the audience who were supporting this insanity to realise that none of them live in the “real America ”

    It seems to me that Oprah is trying to do a Hillary and capture disillusioned female vote who by supporting her will be bitterly disappointed when they see through all the make up, face lifts and bullshit.

    She has no remedy or answers to the malaise that effects the majority of non wealthy Americans.

    If the Democratic party endorse her then they have failed again to nominate a candidate who can really reflect what they once stood for.

    Glitz , celebrity status and glamour over substance and the courage to act.

    Mr Sanders must be watching and becoming more horrified by the day with this ridiculous spectacle.

    • North 19.1

      @ 19 – “…….will be bitterly disappointed when they see through all the make up, face lifts and bullshit.” Mmmmm…….will wait until mid-terms to see whom you’re actually talking about there Mosa. Not discounting of course that in the round outcomes won’t say much in a union of “very fine people” (Nazis), women (news anchors) “bleeding from wherever”, and one (pathologically narcissistic) child “genius”.

  19. eco maori 20

    I say Oprah will make a good President of the United States.
    1 She made her own fortune 2 she a lady that’s +10 alone to me 3 one can see she is genuine 4 She’s intelligent one has to be to get to were she is.5 She humane 6 she backs equality for all people.
    7 She’s a excellent person FOR OUR young ladys to aspire to 8 she backs the Democrats who are pro sustainable energy 9 She’s brown this is good for all the Brown people on our Papatuanukue.
    10 The first African American lady as President of the United States of America. Kai pai

  20. Jum 21

    You’ve had Reagan and Bush’s, backed by the ultra-greedy. She’d be an improvement, but didn’t a psychic say Trump would be their last president?

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