SocraticGadfly: #TheResistance loves it some #Oprah2020 I do not, nor Zuck the Huck; #NeverOprah

January 10, 2018

#TheResistance loves it some #Oprah2020
I do not, nor Zuck the Huck; #NeverOprah

I know, I know, I'm a bit late to the social media party, but I wanted to fire a blunderbuss at the whole idea of celebrity Democratic candidates for president and not just Oprah Winfrey.

OK, in the last six months, three celebrities of various sorts have been getting talked up by Democrats of some sort as 2020 presidential candidates.

The latest? Oprah Winfrey after her Golden Globes appearance.

This would be the same Oprah who has a borderline quack, Dr. Mehmet Oz, as a regular show member. And, Dems? Per your bashing of her, he's definitely more of a medical quack than Dr. Jill Stein.

And I haven't even mentioned notorious antivaxxer Jenny McCarthy.

She also has Dr. Phil McGraw, who had "professional ethics" problems His dad, also a counselor, was censured for the normal reasons a psychological counselor might get into ethical trouble. Think #MeToo.

Other than that, she's simply vacuous on a number of issues. Not dumb, necessarily, but no trail.

Her solution for problems in general is New Age positivity. Nope, that doesn't really work, especially when that's just of the quackery she promotes. Or promoting the warmongering of Shrub Bush. (Besides that link, she had him and his memoir on in 2010.)

So, no! Per somebody else, we know how celeb candidates have fared in the past. (Meanwhile, TheResistance is already claiming its unfair to say Oprah is just like Trump when the closest wording to that has been "Oprah is another celebrity billionaire, just like Trump," which is totally true.)

Second has been Mark Zuckerberg.

That would be a person whose business has admitted to manipulating customers psyches, spying on them, booting customers it doesn't like and violating federal housing laws on the advertisements it accepts. He's also a manipulator of loophole-ridden California state law on public benefit charities.

Of course, that's not that different than Barack Obama, a quasi-celebrity when elected. His campaign invented digitally targeted ads, his administration increased Bush's spying on Americans and prosecution of leakers, and violated housing ethics in forcing homeowners to bear almost all the housing market's pain after the Great Recession.

Zuckerberg's solution, otherwise? Use more Facebook!

Third has been Mark Cuban.

First problem is that he's a tech-neoliberal type, just like Dear Leader. Second is that he's currently a Republican! Third is that, other than being a Republican, we know even less about his ideas for the country than Winfrey's or Zuckerberg's.

Even worse for the left-liberal or Berniecrat portion of the crowd? All three are multi-billionaires. In essence, this is a call for a return to feudalism, or an oligarchic riff on elective monarchy like the Holy Roman Empire.

Beyond that, things don't look better.

Otherwise, you have some Democrats talking up Joe Biden, who would be gerontocrat for sure, turning 78 shortly after election day 2020. Berniecrats continue to push his name for re-election, despite him being older than Biden, the Sanders Institute being the latest proof yet he's just another Democrat, and the possibility that his wife might be indicted before then. Others mention Kristen Gillibrand, a self-reinventor so over the top she makes Hillary Clinton look like she has an actual core.


That said, the fascination with celebrity is nothing new, and goes back before the modern entertainment world.

For such a peace-loving nation, the country has elected multiple war hero presidents.
1. George Washington
2. Andrew Jackson
3. Zachary Taylor
4. Ulysses S. Grant
5. Dwight D. Eisenhower.
This ignores the raft of post-Civil War presidents who had lesser roles (Garfield was elected to Congress in media res!), Poppy Bush's World War II experience, and one special case which I'll treat below.

It's hard to grade Washington as the first president, but let's call him and Ike both "above average," while noting Washington's slave-ownership and Eisenhower's racist ideas and go-slow stance on civil rights.

Jackson was organized and efficient, but below average for ethics issues such as Indian removal and racism.

Taylor, despite occasional rehab attempts, was one of the worst presidents in history. Despite Ron Chernow's attempt to rehab him, I'll keep Grant as one of the worst presidents in history, too.

Theodore Roosevelt is a quasi-war hero. He certainly let himself be marketed as one. And, he got there by being an action-adventure hero, at least to his social class back east. And, while he did a lot for the environment, his racism, his personalization of trust-busting, and his cluelessness on banking rank him a notch or more below the top.

We've elected a couple of other quasi-celebrity presidents, though, too.

I'm speaking of Jack Kennedy and Barack Obama, both of whom did little in the Senate other than being photogenic.

So, by that count, we've got eight quasi-celebrity presidents. Nine if you want to slip Reagan in. Ten if you're counting the current occupant of the White House.

Ten out of 45? That's 22 percent. Not totally un-American now is it?

I mean, look at the fetish of British royal-watching in America. Same thing. Helps if the royal, like Diana, is photogenic.

Of the military prezzies? Well, Ike looked like your dad or granddad. But give Washington modern teeth and a modern hairstyle and he'd buff up. Jackson would have "tubercular chic" or something reasonably attractive, plus the "mystery" angle of carrying a bullet inside. Other than being a bit on the short side, Grant would be OK. Taylor would be the only real camera-breaker. TR?

Gad ... can you imagine Teddy Roosevelt with a Twitter account?


paintedjaguar said...

Don't forget that George Washington was also one of the richest men in the colonies. A twofer! And besides being in the movies, Reagan had gigs as host of a very popular TV show and as a touring shill pushing right-wing propaganda.

Unknown said...

Angelika Merkel is a German, just like Hitler, so we shouldn't elect her --- blah.

That is unfair!

However, I think she would make a terrible candidate and likely a terrible president, though I the odds of her 'growing into' the job seem higher than Trumps.