No More Celebrity Presidents

I will just get straight to the point: Oprah Winfrey cannot run for president.

I don’t dislike like her, and it’s nothing personal.  To the contrary, I think she is a pioneer and a role model for many people who work in media.  For a woman who survived extreme poverty and sexual abuse in racially segregated Mississippi to emerge as a billionaire TV mogul, this is something to be admired.  She is also a kind, smart and an all-around great person.

However, this doesn’t make her qualified to be president.  It seems like a lot of people want her to run for the highest office simply because she is a TV celebrity.  We already have a TV celebrity president who is not working out well because he has no experience with governance and policy.  Having appropriate experience still counts for something today.  While some people would argue that Trump’s business acumen is enough for running the country, I have yet to see his boardroom skills translate well into how he runs the government.  To his credit, at least actor-turned-politician Ronald Reagan was governor of California for 12 years before running for president.

Also, Trump isn’t well-versed on the issues.  When I saw him during the immigration discussions last week, he looked like he was in over his head.  Where does Winfrey stand on any of the issues?  What is her position on immigration, healthcare or criminal justice reform?  I think she intentionally doesn’t take public positions on issues because she doesn’t want to offend the millions of people who love her brand.  If she is seriously considering a run for office, she can’t be neutral on anything.  And if she were to take a position, then the next question is how knowledgeable she is on the issue and how would she enforce it.  It might disappoint her supporters that she isn’t as well-versed on the issues either. Sure, she could hire the best political consultants, but if the captain doesn’t know how to steer the ship, we are all lost.

Also, this is just continuing a disturbing trend in how Americans select presidents.  As you might remember, many people voted for George W. Bush just because he is the type of guy they would like to have a beer with.  Voters are now, unfortunately, equating kindness and likability with competency.  Maybe if we had elected Al Gore, or Al Bore as some call him, perhaps we wouldn’t be still going through the global disaster better known as the so-called “War on Terror.” Maybe Hurricane Katrina would have been handled differently.  I would be the first to admit that Hillary Clinton has a boring, cold personality; however, I voted for her because she is smart, competent and I wouldn’t have to worry about her starting World War III unnecessarily like the current moron-in-chief.  Trump was mainly elected because of this country’s obsession with celebrity culture worship (mixed in with racism and tribalism), and now Oprah might be the next celebrity president.  And before you know it, we will have President Kim Kardashian, President The Rock, President Beyonce, President Caitlyn Jenner, or whoever celebrity has the most likes on social media.

Giving a good speech at the Golden Globes doesn’t equal to being a good president.  Oprah will not save us, but experience will.