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Don't run, Oprah. Teach!

By Clarence Page, Tribune Content Agency on

Do we really need another politically inexperienced billionaire in the White House?

Even if it's Oprah?

That's the big question looming over media superstar Oprah Winfrey after the electrifying and inspirational speech that she delivered at Hollywood's Golden Globe awards.

Her remarks in accepting the Cecil B. DeMille Lifetime Achievement award did not include direct references to politics or President Donald Trump. She didn't have to. The room was filled with women stars dressed in black evening gowns and allied men wearing "Time's Up" pins, symbols of the new collective of women actors, writers and other executives to fight sexual misconduct in the industry.

Oprah's heartfelt stories and podium-pounding climax sparked cheers and applause that reminded me of rising Illinois State Sen. Barack Obama delivering the room-shaking 2004 National Democratic Convention speech that launched his path to the White House.

Small wonder, then, that her speech ignited a national tweetstorm on social networks touting Ms. O as the anti-Trump long sought by Democrats.

And why not? Even Trump likes Oprah. Or at least he used to. A Trump-Oprah ticket would be "very formidable," said Trump in a 1999 interview with MSNBC's Chris Matthews. Ivanka Trump was slammed predictably by some on Twitter after she tweeted praise for Oprah's "empowering and inspiring speech," despite what many heard as an anti-Trump message.

That's an understandable reaction, considering Winfrey's past endorsements of Obama and Hillary Clinton. What really excites many Democrats is the possibility of an Oprah candidacy.

And if you try to judge her presidential prospects by conventional standards, such as "What's her foreign policy?" or "Has she got an economic development plan?," you miss the point. As Trump's thoroughly unconventional campaign against the obviously more knowledgeable Hillary Clinton showed us, the details of policy are a snooze compared to the passion of your persuasion on the speaking stump.

But color me skeptical. The excitement surrounding Oprah says more about the appetite that many of us Americans have, after a year of the Trump presidency, for a knowledgeable, compassionate, charismatic, principled and inspiring voice of reason --in a manner that doesn't handle English so awkwardly that it sounds like her second language.

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(c) 2018 CLARENCE PAGE DISTRIBUTED BY TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES, INC.
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