STEINBERG: Because electing one TV star egomaniac president taught us nothing

SHARE STEINBERG: Because electing one TV star egomaniac president taught us nothing

Donald Trump (center) and his son Donald Jr. were on Oprah Winfrey’s show back in 2004. | Harpo Productions, distributed by the Associated Press

A thought experiment:

So I buy a grizzly bear cub to keep as a pet in my home in Northbrook. He’s a cute, energetic little fellow, bustling around, knocking over the occasional table lamp but generally manageable. Time goes by, and he grows bigger. One day I’m late doling out the raw steak from Costco and “Smoky,” as I’ve named him, goes berserk and mauls me, chewing off my right hand.

I recover, eventually. The bear, alas, has to be put down.


So I’m sitting there, flipping through the channels, holding the remote in my remaining hand. I pause at the Nature Channel to watch a documentary about tigers.

“Hmmm, tigers,” I think. “Beautiful animals. You know … a Bengal tiger would make a great house pet, and things have been so quiet since Smoky left…”

Stop right there. Based on the information above, what would you think of me? You’d think that I’m an idiot, right? You’d want to grab me by the lapels, haul me out of my chair, and scream, “Enough with the wild animals, okay? Haven’t you gotten the message yet?”

How is than any different than the past few days, as Democrats, twirling in the blast furnace hell of a Trump presidency, turn their red-rimmed eyes to the heaven and fix upon … Oprah Winfrey.

Sunday night she delivered a speech at the Golden Globe awards.

“A new day is on the horizon!” she said.

“Oprah for president!” a colleague cheered, though in his defense he might have been summarizing the zeitgeist rather than adding his support.

“Our next president?” The Washington Post asked Tuesday.

“She would absolutely do it,” said Stedman Graham, Oprah’s perpetual escort.

Of course she would do it. Everyone wants to be president; it’s the biggest affirmation life can be bestow, assuming the election of Donald Trump hasn’t ruined it, the way Henry Kissinger winning the Nobel Peace Prize forever tarnished the honor.

The question shouldn’t be: “Would she do it?” Or even, “Would she win?” The question few seem to be asking is: “Would she be any good as president?”

And if your answer is, “Better than Donald Trump,” I’m sorry, that isn’t good enough. My dog would be a better president than Donald Trump. She’d tweet less, for starters.

Like our former bear owner, have we learned nothing? Has the Trump debacle taught us nothing?

What should we have learned by now? Maybe that a super-rich egomaniacal ex-TV star with no experience in government and only a passing relationship with reality might not be the best candidate for the most powerful office on earth. For starters.

Government is hard. It takes work. You can’t, as Donald Trump is finding out, fake it. You can’t, as Bruce Rauner has discovered, import your imperious business style to a state leadership position. You bark, but the help doesn’t jump.

Oprah is a control freak. She’s famous as a control freak. You can’t deliver her morning coffee without signing away your First Amendment rights. How do you think that secretive personality would transmit to our supposedly transparent government?

Ever look at a copy of O magazine? Who’s on the cover this month? Oprah? Who was on the cover last month? Oprah. Who will be on the cover next month? Oprah? Who’s always on the cover? The Queen of the World. Oprah.

To the Dems credit, voices were immediately raised in opposition. Gee, didn’t Oprah endorse a bunch of snake oil salesmen like Dr. Phil and Dr. Oz? Gee, didn’t she flog the magical thinking BS of “The Secret”? Hmm, how will we feel when that becomes the solution to Social Security? Just will yourself into a secure retirement?

That’s why Democrats are at a disadvantage. We don’t do hysteria well.

Maybe I’m being naive. Good government days are over. Trump’s victory tore the fabric of reality. Now Lara Croft can run for president.

Or Oprah Winfrey.

“I value the press more than ever before,” she said in her speech. “Speaking your truth is the most powerful truth we have.”

That would depend, wouldn’t it, on what that truth is? My truth is this: electing Oprah Winfrey president wouldn’t end our national disaster, but deepen it.

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