Oprah and Obama

Wed, November 28, 2007


Oprah and Obama. Obama and Oprah.

OK, enough alliteration.

But here’s my question. With Oprah’s announcement this week that not only is she officially supporting Barack Obama for the Democratic presidential nomination, but will also campaign for him, where does that leave the other candidates?

Because isn’t a nod from Oprah the uber-endorsement?

The one that lifts otherwise mid-level books into the best-seller category? The one that gets you your own syndicated television deal? So one has to wonder, what can the nod from one of the wealthiest American TV personalities give to a campaign that’s close, but not quite hitting on all cylinders according to the polls?

Or, I suppose another way to look at it is this — how does the Oprah imprimatur impact Hillary, Edwards and all the other Democrats?

While many of us are clearly happy to follow Oprah on her reading recommendations, will her first-ever official foray into the political arena solidify her position as America’s opinion maker or will it make her loving fans rebel?

It’s one thing to take her advice for which book is going to sit on our nightstands or which shows she thinks will hit with American audiences. But I have a feeling politics may be taking Oprah’s fiefdom a bit too far. This one has “backfire” written all over it. To me, it seems like Oprah is trying to take her influence a bit too far.

It’s one thing to have fund-raisers and support a candidate. But for some reason it just doesn’t feel right to have the queen of daytime TV stumping for a candidate and bestowing the official Oprah seal of approval.

She knows the influence she has. And I suppose Oprah must think it’s her right and responsibility to use it for a candidate she really believes in.

But for some reason, I just can’t get over the feeling that her recommendations should stay in the bra and jean intervention categories. Her legions trust her on those things, but maybe she’s over-exercising her Oprah-blessing by designating Obama as her official candidate.

So I ask you — if you read Oprah’s books and put your faith in her advice on fashion, can you make the political leap to go with her political leanings?

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18 Responses to “Oprah and Obama”

  1. Professor J Says:

    I don’t know. . . I guess she has as much a right as Barbara. But I do wonder if the Oprah magic will work in the political arena.

  2. ALI Says:

    i think oprah’s influence will definately matter-she is supporting a candidate she believes in and can identify with. i don’t know that it will be enough to get him elected-but it would be interesting if it did.

  3. Taste Like Crazy Says:

    Oprah’s endorsement isn’t going to matter a bit if Obama isn’t able to win Iowa.

    Now, if he’s able to grab Iowa, then her endorsement might mean something.

    On NPR yesterday, they were talking about how even though Oprah supports Obama, the majority of black voters still prefer Clinton.

    They like what Bill did and they expect more of the same from Hillary.

    Whatever happens, this promises to be a very interesting race.

    Oh, and you’ve been tagged for a meme.
    Meme link

  4. Becky Says:

    Just think. If Oprah can sell Obama, they can rename it the Oprah House and fill it with hand-stitched O pillows, 300-count sheets in the Lincoln bedroom and school uniforms for all the staff. And she can shoot “My Favorite Things” from the Rose Garden. A $6,500 Hermes bag in every pot. Oops. Scratch that. We don’t do Hermes anymore.

    Obama just better watch his back and pray he doesn’t become the source of her next “most humiliating experience of her life.”

  5. Julie Pippert Says:

    *snort* LOL at Becky’s comment.

    I do not care for a lot of Oprah’s book suggestions…but I am sure a lot of people do not care for my book suggestions. of course, I’m not big, rich, famous and powerful so it’s not a fair comparison, but I’m just trying to say it’s subjective.

    And that’s the same thing for political endorsements.

    Fair enough for her to make a suggestion, but then people need to research and decide on their own, “Will this candidate appropriately represent me?”

    It requires critical thinking rather than, “Oh Oprah said!” which I suppose in a way negates the intended purpose of the endorsement.

    And she has got a sea behind her…it will be interesting to see…

    Using My Words

  6. Mrs. Chicky Says:

    I think she’s gunning for a cabinet position. From within she can really start her goal of taking over the world.

  7. Blog Antagonist Says:

    I have Oprah issues. I don’t think she lives in the real world any more, but I guess that’s neither here nor there.

    For a while there, all her book suggestions were so dreary and maudlin and while undoubtedly well written, just really a huge downer. And it bugged me that people began to read them just because she said they were good and would parrot her opinions about literature.

    I worry that the same holds true for politicians.

    And then there will be those like me who will suddenly develop an irrational aversion to him because she supports him.

    She should do us all a favor and just remove herself from the political arena.

  8. Paige Says:

    I look at it this way: A lot of celebs came out for Gore too and it didn’t do a bit of good. Though I don’t seem to recall her being as visible in the last election, I’m not really sure whether her stamp of approval will mean a thing to Joe and Jane Voter, mainly because, like Blog Antagonist said, I’m not really sure she lives in the real world anymore.

  9. Selfmademom Says:

    You are right, but think about it – the man who starred in “Twins” is now the governor of California. In politics, I think anything can happen!

  10. Mary Says:

    Hey, I live in a state that once boasted the second most unlikely celebrity governor, Jesse Ventura. When you mix politics and Hollywood, anything can happen. Angelina Jolie can meet with the Pope. I’m not sure she ever has, but it doesn’t sound beyond belief, does it, considering she’s the official UN Ambassador for something or other.

    There is perhaps a blurring of ‘powers to influence’ in the culture. There’s the power of celebrity that can be levied in other directions. I guess we don’t really take note when that power is levied to create and sell us on a new reality show, clothing line or perfume. But we do notice (and should) when celebrity power is used to sway us politically, rather than just commercially.

    I think it’s inevitable, in such a personality-driven pop world, that we will see more and more celebrities endorsing and stumping. Will Oprah mean more than most?

    Guess we’re going to find out.

    But my guess is that Oprah’s political picks won’t be as potent as her literary and entertainment nods. And I really like Obama (and anyone else running on that team).

  11. James Says:

    Oprah’s endorsement will hurt all other candidate’s chances except for maybe Hillary’s. Oprah’s followers (or fans, as some call them) are so easily persuadable. Oprah tells them to read a book, and it’s read by millions instantly. I just hope Oprah’s staff researched her choice for political endorsement more than her past book recommendations.

    Don’t get me wrong, I like Obama. But Oprah’s involvement makes this race more about which candidate is a bigger celebrity instead of who the best man or woman is for the job.

    Ask yourself, how many people who know nothing about politics will vote for Obama because Oprah likes him? I say millions.

    It’s too bad because there are other qualified candidates who deserve to win this race (like Joe Biden) but receive less coverage because they’re not as exciting to put in the news.

    If someone votes for a candidate solely because Oprah said to, then that person is an absolute idiot. If you vote for Obama, do it because you like his stance on issues, not because a talk show host endorses him. And while you’re at it, research a few other candidates, you might actually like one of them too!

    Let’s not forget one important fact…Oprah is a TALK SHOW HOST!! Everyone makes her out to be so much more, but she’s essentially a talk show host, not a political expert. Oprah, stick to daytime tv and stay out of politics.

  12. Lawyer Mama Says:

    The influence that celebrity has in politics is scary to me. I’m not a huge Oprah fan. I mean, she does some good talk shows, but I don’t like the fact that she has such influence over how books are sold and WHAT books get prominence in book stores, etc…. If people start following her political pronouncements, well, I guess we’ll see….

  13. J. Lynne Says:

    Oh, this whole thing just annoys the crap out of me. I wish that celebrities would stay out of politics unless they are running themselves.

    And I hate to say it because it makes me sound racist and I’m not, but I think the whole Oprah/Obama thing is all about race, which further ticks me off, because I want people to vote for the person who can best do the job rather than vote based on their gender or ethnicity.

    Which is why I got all ticked off last night when NBC announced they are doing a segment tonight on the news with African-American women and the tough choice they will have to make between Obama and Hilary.

    I want to know what happened to the other candidates.

  14. Kelly Says:

    It annoys me when people are offended when people with money and power choose to enter politics. Oh wait, it’s only the celebrities with money and power that people seem to get annoyed with. Shouldn’t people instead be more annoyed with the voters who blindly follow and blindly vote? Those are the people that annoy me.

    Good topic BTW.

  15. PunditMom Says:

    If you want to read some really wild comments on this issue, check these out …


  16. Mary Alice Says:

    I really admire everything Oprah has been able to accomplish. She is someone little girls can look up to and admire….from nothing to an icon. I think if she were a man there would be a lot more fuss made out of her rags- to- riches – by –your- own- shear- strength- of -perseverance story. Her story is the quintessential American dream. Sure, she is out touch to some extent with the realities of life, but most people with that kind income are out of touch. I believe she has as much right as anyone to campaign for who she feels is the best candidate. Her opinion will not sway me one way or the other. I trust myself to look at the issues, watch the debates and make up my own mind.

  17. Andrea Says:

    I guess the Oprah has as much of a right as I do to express her opinion and support her favorite candidate.

    I like Obama, but I don’t want him to win because Oprah told us to vote for him. I would like to think that celebrities don’t have much influence over politics. But I think star power had something to do with Reagan, the Terminator and Jesse “The Body” Ventura getting elected into office.

    I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

  18. Don Says:

    I hate her now. I used to love her and now I hate her. She’s never endorsed a candidate before. It’s completely because he’s black.

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