I hate to spoil everybody’s fun, but I don’t believe for a minute that Oprah Winfrey will run for president.
Her inspiring acceptance speech Sunday night at the Golden Globes and the “Oprah for President” boom it touched off on social media immediately provoked giddy speculation of a possible White House bid in 2020. The story gained legitimacy Monday when CNN’s Brian Stelter reported that two unnamed close friends of Winfrey said she was “actively thinking” about running for president.
Sorry, but I’m not buying it.
Over the 27 years Winfrey hosted her talk show in Chicago, I got to know her as well as any journalist around. Unless she became a totally different person since then, there is nothing in her character or makeup to suggest that she would submit to the intense scrutiny of a presidential campaign or that she has any interest in the actual job of being president — even if it were handed to her without a fight.
As much as she may enjoy basking in the attention of the moment, the Winfrey I know is smart enough to realize that her life is infinitely more meaningful and satisfying outside the political maelstrom.
“There will be no running for office of any kind for me,” she told her best friend Gayle King in October on “CBS This Morning.” It was true then and now.
“The idea that the presidency should become just another prize for celebrities — even the ones with whose politics we imagine we agree — is dangerous in the extreme,” wrote Thomas Chatterton Williams in a New York Times op ed piece.
“If the first year of the Trump administration has made anything clear, it’s that experience, knowledge, education and political wisdom matter tremendously. Governing is something else entirely from campaigning. And perhaps, most important, celebrities do not make excellent heads of state. The presidency is not a reality show, or for that matter, a talk show.”