After Bill Clinton, it’d have to be Oprah, of course!

As the Oprah for President website says:

Oprah Winfrey is famous, scrupulously honest, immensely popular and wealthy in her own right. While she has scant experience in politics, this is hardly a handicap in a world where most people have become disillusioned with “conventional” politics. She knows how to run a large and complex organization…

Even Michael Moore has gotten into the act on his Dude, Where’s My Country website with an action page encouraging folks to plead with Oprah to run for the highest office in the land.

While her lawyers have put the smackdown on lead supporter Patrick Crowe, Oprah now says that her legal posse “over-reacted.” She has also taken the rare step of a political action in endorsing superstar Sen. Barack Obama for president on Larry King. (Transcript from interview here) An excerpt:

“You know what I would say to him,’’ [referring to Patrick Crowe] suggests Winfrey, quickly changing the subject. “I would say, ‘Take your energy and put it in Barack Obama.’ That’s what I would say.’’

“Is that your favorite?’’ King asks.

“That would be my favorite guy,’’ Winfrey explains.
[...later on...]

“Sen. Obama is your senator,’’ King notes.

“He is my senator.’’

“And your choice.’’

“And my choice,’’ Winfrey says. “And I’m hoping he would run for president.’’

Post-Katrina and all jokes aside, a politicized Oprah would be a powerful force for change in America. She doesn’t have to run for president herself to influence political attitudes and engagement. She has taken the path until of many African-American celebrities — stay safe. Don’t take a stand. Don’t make your fans choose between you and your beliefs. Denzel Washington, Cuba Gooding and Michael Jordan come to mind as seriously Safe Negros. Danny Glover and Halle Barry — not so safe.

Excuse me while I have a sister-to-sister talk with Oprah:

Oprah — You can make a difference in crisis areas that affect all of us — like climate change, like national security, like immigration. How can you do so much to help Americans reduce their individual debt on your show while saying nothing about the historically huge and growing national debt future generations will face? How can you have families impacted by the war in Iraq and Afghanistan and not talk about the decision to send them there.

Oprah — Your silence is no longer safe. Your silence will no longer protect you and your staff. Your silence is a disservice to those who look to you for personal leadership. Above all, your silence threatens the daily lives of African-Americans.

Because you didn’t take a stand during the 2004 elections, we are saddled with an incompetent president who has led the country into debt, ruin and war in the form of Iraq and Katrina. You could have made a difference in that razor-close election. You can make a difference now. Yes, you are a major philanthropist. Words (as you know) can be as powerful as a million-dollar check.

Endorsing Barack Obama is a step in the right direction. It lends credence to important topics like these — on a hypothetical Clinton-Obama (or dare I say — Obama-Clinton???) ticket, whose press plane would be bigger?

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