Rhetorical Recap: Great Speech; But “Oprah for President”?

Analysis of Oprah Winfrey Acceptance Speech, The Golden Globes Awards, Beverly Hills CA, January 7, 2018.

When an athlete delivers a big win to a “nation” of sports team fans, signs appear at the next home game bearing that athlete’s name followed by the words “for president.”

Oprah Winfrey hit a grand slam last night in front of her professional community. The signs popped up in social media. They read “Oprah 2020” but say, in effect, “Wow, great speech!”

Winfrey paired a celebrity tale of herself as a young Sidney Poitier* fan with an injustice tale of a little-known rape victim aided in vain by Rosa Parks and concluded with a rousing confirmation of the righteousness of the #metoo narrative and the timesup rallying call. She spoke in perfect sentences with perfect cadence in a perfect arc and made perfect eye contact for a perfect amount of time, aided by perfect cutaways to stars with tears in their eyes. She thanked the right people, stayed on topic, and avoided jokes, new age mysticism, and product pitches.

Along with a preternatural gift for oratorical eloquence, Oprah possesses a big and great reputation as unique as her first name, and phenomenal business as well as marketing savvy. She could make a credible run at the Democratic nomination and the presidency in 2020. Doable. But we don’t know how much she wants to run.

She would have to want a political life badly enough to endure at least a year and a half of constant immersion in it. She would need to assemble a top-notch campaign team and she would have to trust them. Her knowledge of economic, international, and military issues would be sharply challenged. She would have to separate herself from her business interests to win over Democrats and contrast herself with Trump. Her personal life would be put under a spotlight and a microscope.

Could she win? Yeah. Would it be good for the nation to have back-to-back amateurs as president? A much harder and more important question to consider should this boomlet sustain.

It was a magnificent speech. 

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