The 2000’s belonged to Oprah Winfrey. From Time, Life to Forbes, every media outlet and publication ranked Oprah as the most influential woman in America. Vanity Fair credited her with greater influence than the president. Oprah obliterated political, racial and economic boundaries. Anyone could ask what we thought, Winfrey wanted to know how we felt. Adept at measured opinion, she knew what to ask and when to listen. Oprah had no use for editorial rantings or blusters of reactionary postulation. Oprah made foibles human, transgressions answerable and triumph magnificent. Recommend a book – we read it. Expose controversy – we talked about it. Mention Illinois Senator Barack Obama in 2006 – America listened.
Appearing on Larry King Live in September 2006, Winfrey was asked about a fan who started a campaign “Oprah for President”. Down-playing the notion, Oprah suggested the fan -“take all your energy, and put it in Barack Obama”, enthusing over her “favorite senator” with hopes that one day he would run for President. In October 2006, Barack and Michelle Obama appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show to promote Obama’s book The Audacity of Hope. Oprah chided that if Obama decided to make a presidential run, she hoped he would announce intent on her show. Obama’s book hit No. 1 on Amazon and New York Times book lists, a week later Time magazine hit newsstands with a Obama cover and caption “Why Barack Obama Could Be the Next President”.
Announcing his candidacy on February 10, 2007 (not on Oprah, rather the steps of the Illinois State Legislature ) Obama trailed front runner Hillary Clinton for most of 2007. Considered a long shot, I firmly believe Oprah’s fund raising, endorsement and appearances at rallies catapulted Obama to official nominee on August 27, 2008.
Call me delusional but Bernie Sanders could be the Democrat nominee, we just need to find him an Oprah. Look at the facts – Hillary is a prig. Stiff, prudish, unimaginative, a two dimensional rubber stamp politician spewing rhetoric with practiced correctness. When she speaks, all I hear is blah, blah, blah. My disdain for Hillary is curious. Twenty years ago I might have jumped on the gender wagon forsaking content for girl power, the single bright light being that today finds me demanding substance. Bernie Sanders has more substance than Hillary could muster in a lifetime.
It may be too little, too late but don’t let media tell you who the Democratic nominee will be. We need to find Bernie an Oprah, and fast!