Sep 05 2008

Oprah’s Right To Choose

Category: Obama,Oprahamuzikman @ 10:14 am

Much has been made about Oprah Winfrey’s decision to throw her support behind Barack Obama. She has campaigned with him and for him. She has raised campaign funds for him. Perhaps most significantly she has hitched her considerable trademark to him and bestowed upon him her personal seal of approval.

Much has been said and written about whether or not this endorsement or any celebrity endorsement has any significant effect on a political election and one can find a variety of opinions on the subject. If nothing else, apparently Oprah will get credit for popularizing the description of Obama as “The One”. The fact that this smacks more of idol worship than of informed decision making is perhaps the subject of another blog.

The reason(s) for Oprah’s endorsement have also been the subject of considerable conjecture. I think it is safe to say two possible reasons can be removed from the discussion.

First, it is not because Oprah thinks this is a historical moment for African Americans. Her refusal to schedule Clarence Thomas on her show during his recent book tour seems to indicate political ideology trumps Civil Rights. After all, can there be a more powerful example of black achievement than his ascendancy to The Supreme Court of the United States?

Second it is not because Oprah thinks this is a historical moment for Women’s Rights. She has been profoundly anti-Hillary and again is using her veto power on the subject of inviting Sarah Palin to her show.

Oprah can do whatever she likes with her TV show. She has earned the right. And by the way, she too is a tremendous example of achievement, not only for the African American community and for women, but for anyone seeking inspiration for success. But let’s not pretend her reasons are lofty, noble, or worthy of a time-share in Valhalla. Oprah endorsed Obama for political reasons, plain and simple. Her viewers are not ignorant of the fact either. This from her community message board:

I’ve been watching O for years and I’ve increasingly come to the realization that her politics are far more important to her than the principles she espouses for ratings.

The good news for Clarence Thomas and Sarah Palin is that they are going to be just fine. I doubt either will lose any sleep over an Oprah snub. The good news for Americans is that we do not select our President and Vice President based on celebrity endorsements. But whether it is good news for Oprah to reveal herself to be just another “toe-tag’ liberal….well, that remains to be seen.

Tags: ,