After delivering a powerful speech at the Golden Globes, Oprah Winfrey is being touted as a potential Democratic Presidential candidate. In response, at least one liberal website – DailyKos – posted an article bashing her for allegedly supporting America’s destruction of Iraq beginning March 2003. It is true that she aired a program in October 2002 that was light on facts and heavy on pro-war propaganda.
But to Oprah’s credit in the months immediately preceding “Shock and Awe,” she gave significant television exposure to anti-war activists like Phil Donahue. She earned Michael Moore’s praise for televising a 1980s photo of Donald Rumsfeld shaking Saddam Hussein’s hand.
In February 2003, Oprah did a 2-show series on the run-up to war. During the series, Winfrey told her audience that now was the time to speak out if they believed it would be wrong for Bush to launch an attack. The series included a debate between pro-peace activist Jessica Matthews and pro-war NYT columnist Thomas Friedman. At its conclusion Oprah “sided with Matthews” and against pro-war Friedman. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oprah%27s_Anti-war_series
I’m certainly not endorsing Oprah for President but I endorse the idea of her running for President. There is no obviously viable superior alternative, who is definitely running or likely to run, except arguably Bernie, and he will be 79 at the next inauguration.
There are concerns. The self-help philosophy she extols is unequal to the task of righting the economic wrongs that permeate our world. Only strong government action and aggressive policy changes will suffice.
She seems to have a soft-spot for phonies like Dr. Oz, “Dr. Phil”, and anti-vaxxer Jenny McCarthy. For me to feel genuinely comfortable with her as a candidate, I would need to see her distance herself publicly from these charlatans. We still don’t know where she stands on job-destroying trade deals, single-payer health care, higher taxes on the rich, i.e., herself, global warming and American imperialism.
All that said, she is an extraordinarily accomplished and charitable women. The child of a housekeeper, she nevertheless made it to the top of an incredibly competitive field dominated by white men from affluent families. Oprah’s rough childhood, including her having been abused by a family member, may have given her more personal insight into the plight of the poor, people of color, and women in America than any Presidential candidate ever I daresay.
Given her history, her remarkable business acumen, her compassion, and the bravery she showed in taking on (kinda) the media elites who were stampeding for war in 2002-03, Oprah could prove to be a great President in the mold of kind but steely Eleanor Roosevelt.