Oprah, Don’t Do It
PARIS ― I miss a lot of must-see TV on this side of the Atlantic. But by the time I’d dropped off my daughter at school Monday morning, it was impossible not to notice how many people in my social media feeds felt something politically significant had transpired during the Golden Globe Awards on Sunday night. Apparently, Oprah Winfrey had all but declared her candidacy for president of the United States.
Ms. Winfrey ― dressed all in black in solidarity with the #MeToo movement and accepting the Cecil B. DeMille award for lifetime achievement ― delivered a smart and movingly optimistic speech touching on topics from racial injustice and gender inequality to the importance of a free press in a democratic society.
温弗瑞身穿黑衣，以示声援#MeToo（我也是）运动，在接受塞西尔・B・戴米尔(Cecil B. DeMille)终身成就奖时，她发表了一篇睿智而乐观动人的演讲，内容从种族不平等和性别不平等到新闻自由在民主社会的重要性。
It was a beautiful performance by an inspiring woman ― the first black one to receive the honor ― who is, unlike our current president, a self-made billionaire. And it punctuated a week that has been defined by cathartic, almost orgiastic schadenfreude over Michael Wolff’s gossipy takedown of Donald Trump and the latter’s depressingly undignified response to it.
Seth Meyers, the host for the ceremony, teed up the Twitterati for talk of an Oprah run during his opening monologue: “In 2011, I told some jokes about our current president at the White House Correspondents Dinner, jokes about how he was unqualified to be president. And some have said that night convinced him to run. And if that’s true, I would just like to say, ‘Oprah, you will never be president.’”
Influential media figures were intoxicated by the notion. “Our president is giving her state of the union,” Roxane Gay tweeted.
“Switched back to the Golden Globes to watch Oprah get her award,” Joy Reid wrote. “Never let it be said that I don’t respect the president of the United States.”
Even Bill Kristol, newly woke, couldn’t resist joining in: “Oprah: Sounder on economics than Bernie Sanders, understands Middle America better than Elizabeth Warren, less touchy-feely than Joe Biden, more pleasant than Andrew Cuomo, more charismatic than John Hickenlooper. #ImWithHer.”
就连刚睡醒的比尔・克里斯托尔(Bill Kristol)也忍不住加入：“奥普拉：比伯尼・桑德斯(Bernie Sanders)更懂经济，比伊丽莎白・沃伦(Elizabeth Warren)更了解美国中部，比乔・拜登(Joe Biden)更能打动人心，比安德鲁・科莫(Andrew Cuomo)更友善，比约翰・希肯卢伯(John Hickenlooper)更有领袖魅力。#ImWithHer（我支持她）。”
Dan Pfeiffer, a former senior adviser to President Barack Obama, doesn’t think the idea is far-fetched. “I slept on it and came to the conclusion that the Oprah thing isn’t that crazy,” he wrote on Twitter. Neither does Stedman Graham, her longtime partner, who told a reporter, “She would absolutely do it.”
贝拉克・奥巴马总统的前高级顾问丹・法伊弗(Dan Pfeiffer)认为这个想法并不遥远。“我入睡时反复想着，最后得出结论，奥普拉参选的事不是那么疯狂，”他在Twitter上写道。奥普拉的长期合伙人斯特曼・格雷厄姆(Stedman Graham)也有同感，他对记者说：“她绝对会这么做的。”
I am not immune to Oprah’s charms, but President Winfrey is a terrible idea. It also underscores the extent to which Trumpism ― the kowtowing to celebrity and ratings, the repudiation of experience and expertise ― has infected our civic life. The ideal post-Trump politician will, at the very least, be a deeply serious figure with a strong record of public service behind her. It would be a devastating, self-inflicted wound for the Democrats to settle for even benevolent mimicry of Mr. Trump’s hallucinatory circus act.
Indeed, the magical thinking fueling the idea of Oprah in 2020 is a worrisome sign about the state of the Democratic Party. That Ms. Winfrey could probably beat those considered likely front-runners ― Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Kirsten Gillibrand ― is testament to how demoralized and devoid of fresh political talent the post-Obama party has become.
In a way, the conversation on the left (and the anti-Trump right) around Ms. Winfrey is more troubling than the emotional immaturity and anti-intellectualism pulsing out of the red states that elected Mr. Trump. Those voters have long defined themselves in opposition to the intellectual seriousness Democrats purport to personify.
If liberals no longer pride themselves on being the adults in the room, the bulwark against the whims of the mob, our national descent into chaos will be complete. The Oprah bandwagon betrays the extent to which social causes and identities ― and the tribal feelings they inspire ― have come to eclipse anything resembling philosophical worldviews. American politics has become just another team sport, and if suiting up a heavy hitter like Ms. Winfrey is what it takes to get the championship ring, so be it.
The idea that the presidency should become just another prize for celebrities ― even the ones with whose politics we imagine we agree ― is dangerous in the extreme. If the first year of the Trump administration has made anything clear, it’s that experience, knowledge, education and political wisdom matter tremendously. Governing is something else entirely from campaigning. And perhaps, most important, celebrities do not make excellent heads of state. The presidency is not a reality show, or for that matter, a talk show.
To her credit, last year Ms. Winfrey told CBS, “There will be no running for office of any kind for me.” But when the conservative columnist and Trump critic John Podhoretz published an essay in The New York Post in September headlined “Democrats’ Best Hope for 2020: Oprah,” she retweeted it.
值得赞许的是，去年温弗瑞在接受CBS台采访时说，“我不会竞选任何公职。”但是去年9月，保守专栏作家和特朗普的批评者约翰・波德霍雷茨(John Podhoretz)在《纽约邮报》(New York Post)上撰文，题为《民主党人2020年最大的希望――奥普拉》，随后温弗瑞转发了这篇文章。
“If any figure in the United States bears watching over the next couple of years as our political culture continues the radical transformation that led to the election of Donald Trump, it’s Oprah,” Mr. Podhoretz wrote. “I believe she’s uniquely positioned, should she wish to commit herself, to seek the Democratic nomination for president and challenge Trump in 2020.”
Let us hope, for the sake of our nation, that she does not want it.