Opinion

Kamadia: Oprah Winfrey as poor a choice for president as Trump

Aly Kamadia, Special to Postmedia Network 

(Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

The word “arrogant” doesn’t automatically come to mind when most of us think of Oprah Winfrey. But what better word would describe her if she were to run for president of the United States in 2020?

One reason she should not be “actively thinking” — though she apparently is, according to unnamed friends in news reports — about running is both obvious and familiar to anyone who opposed the Donald Trump presidency: He had absolutely no political or military experience.

Would you take your car to a dentist’s office if its brakes needed repair? Would you let your favourite celebrity perform heart surgery on you?

Inexperience alone is sufficient to disqualify Winfrey from a 2020 presidential run. But it’s hardly the only reason.

The Democratic party finds itself in a depressing situation. The Republicans hold a majority in the House and Senate. The Democratic party lacks a core message more than a year after Trump’s victory. The right message and conveyor can deliver victory.

Will you ever forget the slogan “Make America great again,” delivered by a political outsider who was spitting at the establishment during a time when populist sentiment surged?

In 2020, who will deliver punches to an unqualified, self-serving media star, billionaire president? It would be foolish to reply with an inexperienced, unqualified, media-star, billionaire competitor.

What can we say about the state of American democracy given that Hillary Clinton’s experience and that of more than a dozen Republican-primary contenders, including governors and senators, wasn’t enough to defeat an inexperienced celebrity billionaire? Has America learned nothing, more than a year after the 2016 election, given that some otherwise serious voices support the idea of a Winfrey 2020 presidential run?

The United States has roughly one-third of a billion people, with legions of experienced and astute public servants. But rather than tapping into talent that is well-suited for the job, money and fame have infested politics, territory in which neither has any business.

Thus we hear Winfrey enthusiasts claim she is smarter than Trump. So what? Notwithstanding Trump’s masterful sales skills and unrivalled theatre (even his most bitter enemies can’t deny Trump’s ability to put on a show), millions of Americans are more intellectual.

But yes, intelligence is an excellent quality for a president to have. Perhaps the type of intelligence capable of navigating a second gilded age of inequality where some people take home billions while others remain homeless.

The type of intelligence skilled enough to deal with a potentially hostile Congress, or a massive bureaucracy, including elements that seek unprecedented powers, such as the national security state.

A mind that’s fashioned with a sophisticated world view, and that understands the threat of terrorism while also keeping an eye on a rapidly rising China. (The Asian competitor remains the only country positioned to challenge the United States in the coming years.)

The celebrity-president who claims to be a “very stable genius” has left no evidence for us to conclude he has such statesperson-like intelligence, let alone genius.

But after spending decades in millions of people’s living rooms, despite her warmth and empathy, there isn’t any evidence to be confident in statesperson-like intelligence from a politically untested Winfrey either.

If running under such circumstances isn’t arrogant, what might you call it?

Aly Kamadia holds a BA and MA in political science, and wrote a master’s paper on presidential political ­branding. He is a freelance writer and director of Kamadia and Associates.