Image by Alan Light-cc
A few weeks ago, Joy Behar a longstanding co-host of the morning gabfest “The View” made a typically lame “joke” at the expense of veep Mike Pence. Taking offense to the idea that Pence believes Jesus speaks to him in prayer — a not uncommon notion for people of faith — Behar claimed it was one thing to talk to Jesus, but another to believe Jesus talks back. That, she said in the cheapest of cheap shots, indicated “mental illness”.
And my, how the audience laughed and clapped.
Today, however, People Magazine has Oprah Winfrey declaring that if God will only tell her to — and make it perfectly clear — she will run for president in 2020:
Amid calls for her to consider a run for the White House — from fans as well as her closest friends — “I went into prayer,” she tells PEOPLE in the magazine’s new cover story. “ ‘God, if you think I’m supposed to run, you gotta tell me, and it has to be so clear that not even I can miss it.’ And I haven’t gotten that.”
As a believer, I have no problem with Oprah saying this, because I’ve made similar prayers. But I can’t help wondering whether Joy Behar will make a joke about Oprah’s mental capacity to be president, since Winfrey clearly believes God will speak to her in some manner, and make his will known.
I think two things will happen, soon:
- Oprah will discern that God has told her to run.
- Joy Behar will give her blessing to both Oprah’s candidacy and her expression of faith-in-prayer, and somehow such discernment will no longer be considered “joke-worthy.”
This could actually be a true benefit of an Oprah candidacy: people will be able to talk about prayer without risk of becoming a punchline for the cheap seats. Remember “Only Nixon can go to China”? Perhaps “Only Candidate Oprah can make prayer okay to talk about” again.
Those who find that idea offensive should consider that God often uses the most confounding people to work his divine purposes in the world. Moses was a stuttering murderer; David an adulterous murderer; Peter a lumbering, impulsive hothead. St. Bernadette, a girl who couldn’t pass her catechism class. We don’t get to tell God who to use.
While we’re talking about this, I might as well rerun here a piece of analysis that I originally posted at my last blog, until some readers — unable to distinguish between analysis and endorsement, and apparently unable to understand a disclaimer making precisely that distinction — went insane.
As I wrote back then, This blog post is purely a piece of analysis, not any sort of political endorsement. It was written after Oprah’s now-famous speech at the Golden Globes, which spurred the initial talk of her running for president. My only goal in writing it was to “think out loud” about why her candidacy would be a no-brainer for Democrats to get behind. I’m confident that regular readers of The Anchoress can face exposure to this without falling apart.
And just like that* the idea of a permanent political class full of Ivy League beacons being the good and necessary component of a well-run nation has been tossed away like the poisoned apple it always was. Good riddance to it.
In it’s place, President Oprah Winfrey, a Communications grad out of Tennessee State University and former Miss Tennessee.
Hey, I’m not talking smack. I think it’s past time for the our political pickings to be broadened beyond the Boston-NY-DC corridor and its determined, overpraised, fruit. Oprah Winfrey as a presidential candidate will permit the nation to once-again believe that giftedness can come at us, and can serve us, from myriad directions and backgrounds. Thank God! It’s long past time for us to look beyond the ivies.
An Oprah candidacy, (and we all know there will be one) will mean that the entitled, over-calculating, too-clever-and-too-cynical-by-half political class embodied by Hillary Clinton in 2016, and showing itself as too exhausted and corrupt to continue, is gone.
In it’s place will be the Celebrity President — a previously despised weed that has, overnight, become a dazzling, towering flower. Already very people who have derided a “TV Star President” seem ready for another one — this one an unquestionable billionaire and “stable genius” who, like the current one, will now have past associations looked into but (just a guess, here) not nearly as closely.
Make no mistake: The Democrats need Oprah, and they need her badly. Their message has been reduced to a shrill negative: “We’re not Trump” and her candidacy would allow them to create a cool positive: “We are Oprah!” Too long dependent upon the professional pol model we’re all sick of, and unwilling to permit a younger bench to flourish, their 2020 options are looking downright torturous: a possible entry by the then-77 year-old Joe Biden would carry too much historical baggage and be weighed down with the wrong chromosome; a probable “please-God-no-more” retry from Hillary who still believes she is owed a presidency; talk of dubious lightweights like New York’s Junior Senator Kirsten Gillebrand or Massachusett’s Elizabeth Warren making runs that we all know will crash and burn.
Oprah, on the other hand, would mop up the floor with any of them, because she is that gifted a communicator. Put her natural verbal skills, her ability to succinctly express ideas and her poise before the camera up against a sloppy, unmannered President Donald Trump, and one debate will wring him out, too.
Oprah’s a “celebrity/TV Star” who began as a journalist. Some, myself included, saw her return to journalism (as a special contributor to CBS News’ crown jewel, 60 Minutes) and newly adopted big eyeglasses as a signal that she was setting herself up for a political turn.
To be clear: I am not in any way, shape or form, endorsing Oprah for President, anymore than I ever endorsed Trump for President, or Hillary for President. I cannot say that emphatically enough. I am not in that game, and this is not about that. Politics, for me, has simply become theater I observe with mild interest, and occasionally analyze. That said, here is why Oprah will be a formidable candidate, even without the helping hand she will certainly enjoy from the press (they’re gonna need a new meme) and all facets of media.
- Oprah is a naturally gifted communicator — dare I say it, every bit as talented in that area as Ronald Reagan — with huge energy and a demonstrated capacity for hard work. She is able to speak knowledgeably on issues and clearly does her homework.
- She has known genuine poverty; she has known physical sexual abuse and physical violence in her life. She came up without privilege and she has transcended all of it. Nothing can better spell H-O-P-E to a strained coastal middle class or to a drained and addicted MidWest than that.
- She is not easily rattled. There is zero chance she will ever tweet about the size of her nuclear button. She is too precise to ever reference a nuclear button when that doesn’t actually exist.
- She is creative, and has demonstrated a willingness to take chances as she has gone about building a multi-media empire.
- She has struggled with ordinary issues in her life, like her weight, which makes her very relatable.
- She is a capitalist who knows what it is to build, to meet payrolls, to have people depending upon her success in order to keep their jobs. But she is also a demonstrated fan of distribution to others — You get a car! And you get a car! And you get a car! — which suggests she also understands that (as all of our recent popes have agreed) capitalism is an imperfect vehicle that cannot unrestrainedly trample over the poor, the unskilled, and the weak.
- She does not play golf, and she understands bad optics well enough not to tempt them. If photos with Harvey Weinstein are unfortunate and out there, last summer’s photos of her yachting with David Geffen are unlikely to be repeated.
- She will never embarrass her party.
I suspect the Democrats believe Oprah really is the only way they can return to power and entrench the status quo — make it all go back to the way it was BTD (Before The Donald!) — with all of the “right” people in charge, their obsessive abortion-interests “secured”, the Clintons finally put away. With Oprah, the world will be their oyster, “with an R in every month”, so to speak.
Of course, all of this could be nothing more than a magnificent trolling of the current Troller-in-Chief, meant to tease those itchy twitter fingers into wild action, furthering the current dream of deposing him through use of the 25th Amendment.
Since he always rises to bait, can’t you just see it? “Oprah looks great. She looks very, very good. She should stay on Weight Watchers.”
But I don’t think it’s a troll. I think Oprah is going to run, and if she does, be ready; she will have a better-than-excellent chance of winning.
Hillary will just have to deal.
And man, what interesting times we do live in.