"I'm running against an actor . . . you remember who shot Abraham Lincoln." - California Democratic governor Edmund G. "Pat" Brown, 1966, in his spirited - and unsuccessful - run for re-election against Republican opponent Ronald Reagan
I'm so glad that, back in the 1860s, John Wilkes Booth never ran for public office.
Ronald Reagan may have opened up opportunities for actors of both major parties to enter politics, but Donald Trump's election to the Presidency has opened up new opportunities for celebrity media personalities and businesspeople as well. Like Trump, many of these have folks no experience in politics or the military to run for the land's highest office - people with even less of a political background than Reagan, whose rising star Lyndon Johnson saw coming. And no media star is more interested in testing the waters than Oprah Winfrey.
The cable television mogul, former talk show host, actress, magazine publisher, diet-plan pitchwoman and women's lifestyle guru - more of a Jill of all trades than a Renaissance woman - has been repeatedly urged to run for President, just has Trump had been for decades ("Everybody wants me to do it!" - Trump on running for President, 1988). She said she's never considered herself qualified enough to do so, but last week she coyly opened the door to the possibility, suggesting that she'd been inspired by Trump's win. That is, if a no-talent like Trump could get elected President, then a no-talent like she certainly can!
I've probably alienated my female readership with my obviously sarcastic tone, but I'm sorry - Winfrey (no, I won't call her Oprah, I don't know the woman, and it's not like she's one of the Beatles!) may be good at doling out pop-cultural apple sauce to women who need spiritual guidance that can be digested after it's been edited for television, and she may be talented enough to make a lot of money off it, but that doesn't qualify her to be President any more than building ugly skyscrapers qualified Trump to be President. Winfrey's only saving grace is that she'd be a better leader than Trump, but heck, even Kanye West would be a better leader than Trump, even though he's alienated white people by claiming that rap is rock and roll. President Winfrey - right, even Harpo Marx would have made a more plausible President! (Harpo is Oprah spelled backwards.)
Oh yeah, she's not the only famous mogul to be considering a 2020 presidential run. Two media CEOs are also looking at a possible bid for the Presidency, one better known than the other.
Mark Cuban is best known as a media and sports entrepreneur, being the co-owner of a media consortium and the owner of the Dallas Mavericks basketball team. A vocal critic of Trump, he finds the current President's approach to economic issues asinine (no argument here) and has no patience for pontificating on social issues. He's Trump with brains. But he's also a Barnumesque showman; he's one of the main "shark" investors on the ABC American Broadcasting Company (ABC) reality show "Shark Tank," a show on watch budding entrepreneurs compete for investments from wealthy benefactors.
Trotskyism is beginning to look so attractive.
Of course, if you want pure imagination of the sort Willy Wonka sang about, you have to go to Disney, whose CEO Bob Iger has expressed interest in becoming this great land's 46th President.
Iger has been the chairman of the Walt Disney Company since 2005, and from all accounts has made the company a more formidable player in the entertainment business than at any other time since Mr. Disney himself was at the helm. He came over from ABC when Disney bought ABC's owner, Capital Cities, in 1996. Two of Iger's biggest accomplishments as Disney's CEO are his acquisition of the Pixar animation studio for the company in 2006 and his acquisition of George Lucas' studio and Star Wars franchise in 2012. Of the three potential celebrity presidential candidates mentioned here, he's probably the most plausible of the three since, despite being in show business, he's not a showman himself.
Iger's best asset as a candidate may be his wife. He's married to Willow Bay, who first rose to fame as the Estée Lauder company's exclusive spokesmodel in the late eighties before pursuing a career in television news, hosting a weekly show about basketball with the laughable Ahmad Rashad and then going on to anchor CNN's business-news program "Moneyline." She went on to be a Huffington Post editor and interviewer. But of course, her past as a model would certainly give Iger's hypothetical presidential campaign a modicum of glamour.
Willow Bay as First Lady? A former cosmetics model with no skeletons on her closet and no pornography in her portfolio? The anti-Melania? Yeah, I could go for that! :-D And the best part is, Willow Bay, whom I've featured on my beautiful-women picture blog, is so much more personable and recognizable than Iger that I consider him to be her trophy husband.
(Pointless trivia I couldn't fit anywhere else: If Mark Cuban or Bob Iger were to be elected President in 2020, either one would become the first Jewish President of the United States.)
Having said all that, I would prefer that all of these media celebrities hoping to out-Trump Trump just forget about it and realize that, now more than ever, politics is too serious not to be left to the politicians. And while the idea of Willow Bay, whose name does sound like a resort, as First Lady is a tempting notion, I'm hoping to see Maryland District Court Judge Catherine Curran O'Malley occupy the same position once held by Eleanor Roosevelt and Jacqueline Kennedy.
Now we have to figure out how to get Her Honor's trophy husband elected President.
But if the Democrats nominate Oprah Winfrey, you can count on me voting Green again. :-(