When I first saw Oprah Winfrey campaigning for Barrack Obama, I noticed how comfortable she looked behind the podium. There's no denying that President Obama and the Grand Dame of Television definitely share the charisma factor.
It has been suggested that they might now share political office, too.
The news has reported that President Obama is considering appointing Oprah Winfrey to fill the Senate seat for Illinois.
Huh? Did I miss something here?
Oprah Winfrey may know how to wave at the cheering crowds like a seasoned politician, but the fact remains that she isn't one. She has no qualifications for the office. I have nothing against Oprah. In fact, I like her. I think she's a class-act. She is a skilled television host, an excellent actress, and a humanitarian. However, being an entertainer doesn't necessarily translate into government.
Of course, the cross-over from Hollywood into politics has been done before, with varying degrees of success. People laughed when Sonny Bono cut his hair and took his seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. But the man served well for three years. Ditto for Fred Grandy, aka "Gopher" from television's The Love Boat, who was a successful member of the House of Representatives for eight years. Then there's former Governor Jesse Venture from Minnesota, and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger from California. And who could forget actor-turned-president, Ronald Reagan? Yes. It can be done.
But, in this case, should it be done?
This situation is a bit different. Oprah Winfrey is a television mega-star, practically worshipped by the masses. While her qualifications for the job may, more or less, be the same as Sonny Bono's or Fred Grandy's, Oprah crosses the line into icon-status. Is it wise to mix an icon with politics? What does it say about our culture when our government officials are so closely tied to the entertainment industry? Politics is a different business. Or at least it should be.
President Obama, in his short time in office, is currently enjoying 2/3 approval rating among the American people. It will be interesting to see what an appointment of Oprah Winfrey to the Senate will do to that rating. At the very least, it will reveal a lot about the priorities of the American people.