The Obama endorsement may be good news for Oprah who always seems to need a cause and good news for Obama who needs all the help he can get. It is bad news for the rest of us including some liberals and Democrats.
Oprah psyches up her gushing adherents to the tune of 8.4 million viewers a day. Her website boasts 2.3 million unique visitors a month. Her magazine, newsletter and the Oprah Alert e-mails reach another 4 million Americans although they are obviously redundancies from the aforementioned groups.
She plans to yield her sprawling 42 acre property presumptuously called “The Promised Land” to the fund raising efforts of the Obama campaign. By some estimates she may be able to raise somewhere between 3 and 5 million dollars for Barack’s race for the White House. She indicated that it may not end there and that she may sponsor and produce ads for Obama.
Oprah’s endorsement for the Obama campaign slips out from under the “equal time” rules of the FCC because the rules do not apply to news programs, documentaries or interview shows in which a single candidate is the only focus point of the show. Republican lawyers will want to take a closer look at these laws now since Matthew Mosk of the Washington Post reported in Houston’s Chronicle’s online site September 6 2007 that in an audio forum aired recently Oprah said “the Obama’s will be her only political guests.”
That Oprah could sway a huge contingent of folks is not in dispute. Phil Rosenthal said in the Chicago Tribune Web Edition September 7, 2007 “The Oprah brand is undeniably a powerful thing. Most TV shows have an audience. She has a congregation.”
That her influence can beat the heretofore 0/0 record of celebrity influence to pull a presidential race over the finish line is in question. Two remaining questions will plague her effort and have begun already.
The first is the Ross Perot kind of vote sucking that pulled George H. W. Bush from office and gave Bill Clinton the necessary margin to step in. The heat will be felt first in Hillary’s camp and the whole Democratic machine will suffer from the schism. Votes gleaned from Hillary can only translate into votes garnered for the GOP candidates. The only question is how many?
The second question has to do with evangelical Christians from either party. To many believers Oprah is less gilded and more Hollywood chrome plated. The snafu with James Frey’s “A Million Little Pieces,” giving away cars on prime time and helping kids in Africa while ignoring our own youth do not get her any points with Christian conservatives.
To the more discerning and biblically well read among the evangelicals the nature and message of Oprah’s much touted “The Secret” authored by Rhonda Byrne falls under the category of more prosperity gospel hype. This book is a clarion call to all who want to feel good, self affirm and get rich. Nothing new here, appealing to what everybody already wants is no secret.
Neither The Secret nor the rest of the prosperity gospel hype Christianity is now plagued with comes with a disclaimer but if the fine print were included it would read like this. In case of a stock market crash and or an entire economic crash the shelf life of these claims is limited to one week…maybe.
It is also no secret that Obama stands in full opposition to the repeal of Roe V Wade and is openly endorsing gay marriage. By association this is Oprah’s stand as well and it will take more than her fifteen minutes of fame to sway over two hundred years of American faith in the sanctity of life and a reasonable national morality. America doesn’t need a doctrine that sways in every new wind that blows across the fruited plains.
In the mean time Obama’s got Oprah, Edwards has got labor, Thompsons’ just got started and Keyes has almost got drafted. Keyes? Yes if you’re truly conservative then you might want to take a look at Dr. Alan Keyes who is seeing a growing number of Americans interested in getting him petitioned into the race. Dr. Keyes is the founder of the grassroots Renew America movement that appeals to both young and old across both red and blue states.
Those who are concerned about our headlong rush into everything pop culture oriented are not as likely to be swayed by TV’s currently reigning female deity. Conservatives may not be able to get the entire nation to return to higher values in Toto but they are not going to give up hard won ground without a serious fight.
The days when pioneers and plainsmen struggled just to survive may have long since passed but those roots will not be pulled up willingly or easily by mainstream Americans.
Conservatives will have to choose carefully, stump ferociously and stand up and be counted to pull this one off. It does well to remember that holding the line may not seem very illustrious in a world of marvelous new changes but no orderly change is possible in a world that has fallen into confusion.
Ariel Durant who was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and authored “The Story of Civilization” put it this way “The conservative who resists change is as valuable as the radical who proposes it.”
Conservative minded Christians always take their cue from their Rock. “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.” Hebrews 13:8