I like Oprah Winfrey. I enjoyed watching her TV show -- not regularly, but often. (My cousin was even on it once.) And I remember it from its AM-Chicago days. I think she's a smart, nurturing person whose intentions are good and strong, and whose skills and business efforts are impressive. And for all the increased talk after her Golden Globe speech about her running for President of the United States, along with her own lack of dismissal and those around her, I wish she wouldn't.
It was a wonderful speech. And she appears to be a terrific person. But I dearly wish that the past year has taught people that President of the United States is NOT an entry-level job. It's NOT a position for on-the-job training. It's NOT a job you're qualified for because you're a successful billionaire businessman -- whether or not you've had six bankruptcies or actually have a billion dollars.
President of the United States is a political job, whether or not you like politicians. You wouldn't have an operation performed by someone who's never done surgery before, let alone not gone to medical school. You would have someone defend your life in court, let alone defend you for just a car accident, who doesn't have a law degree or been to law school. You'd probably be reticent to buy a pair of shoes from someone who's never sold shoes before. Yet somehow there are people who seem think it's a great idea to make a total neophyte President of the United States, chief executive, commander-in-chief of the U.S. armed forces, and the most powerful person in the world who has absolutely NO background or experience for the job. And who think that after the experience of just one year in office by Donald Trump.
Yes, I know that Oprah Winfrey -- or Dwayne Johnson, or Tom Hanks, or Mark Cuban -- are not Trump. None of them appear to be misogynistic, congenital lying, egomaniacal, racist con men narcissists who may be losing their minds. But none of them have the slightest scintilla of experience for the job. And "good at business" and a very nice person don't cut it.
Being president takes the trained skills of a politician. You have to be able to deal with warring factions within your own party, none of whom you can fire if they get in your way. You have to be able to deal with half of Congress, indeed half the country who will fight you every day from the opposition party none of who you have any control of in any way. You have to run the treasury, educational system, economic system, the national interior, energy policy, space program, science development and homeland security. You need to protect the safety of the country and run the defense department, overseeing the American military. And you have to deal with over a hundred countries around the world, not one of which needs to be responsive to you, some of which would like to see you destroyed, and many of which have the military and weaponized means to do so, even to blow you off the face of the earth.
And Oprah gave a wonderful, meaningful speech and had a great TV show.
To be clear, for all the speech's deserved praise it was hardly a policy speech. It was a speech about how we shouldn't abuse women, which is deeply important and helped inspire people who have been wronged for a very long time, but something that should be a given in society. But it didn't grab Americans and lead them in a new policy direction where they're reticent to go.
I like Oprah Winfrey. And it was a great speech. And she has been a nurturing, supportive voice to many Americans. And if she ran for lower political office and built up her experience, then in years to come she might make an interesting candidate for president. But she's not close to there yet. I'd certainly trust her as president over a Donald Trump, but then I'd trust most people I meet in any given day, including total strangers, over a Donald Trump.
When Barack Obama ran for president, Republicans slammed him for having no experience for the job -- yet he'd been in political office for 12 years when he was sworn in to the Oval Office.
Donald Trump had literally zero political experience. And that hasn't worked out too well. Yes, he has all those aforementioned problems that come attached as hellish Trump baggage. But he comes with one other thing -- the lesson that President of the United States is NOT an entry-level position.
"You get a chicken in every pot! You get a chicken in every pot! YOU get a chicken in every pot!!!"
I like Oprah Winfrey, quite a lot. And admire her even more, I think. I just hope the coyness of her responses to the media and the responses from those around her are just the ebullience of the moment, and the understandable ego of the moment. She is just not ready today to be President of the United States, nor have anyone's actual, serious support to be president. If for some reason she really runs (and I don't think she will, but my guess means nothing), I sure hope she starts getting that readiness. And a speech at the Golden Globes does not count.
And in the end, if Oprah Winfrey does indeed decide not to run, I hope that she doesn't release a simple statement but instead says something like --
"I will not be running for President of the United States. It's not because I don't think I can win. That issue hasn't even entered my mind. It's because I have no experience to be President, leader of the free world, No qualifications. It's because I love my country and take the job too seriously. The presidency is not a job for celebrity, for someone who wins just because he or she can. It's far too important. And I only wish the current occupant of the Oval Office felt that, understood that and followed that, rather than putting America on a disastrous downward spiral. One which I believe any of the great and serious Democrats I've seen mentioned for the office can help resolve. President of the United States is not a business, nor an entry level job. As we've seen."
Leave a Reply.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
Feedspot Badge of Honor