Oprah’s talk show is so reviled by certain commentators that they basically accuse her of becoming a scammer by moving a success story from Chicago to the green rooms of Manhattan’s most glamorous nightspots and the seats of her political pals.
Like Spike Lee, others have likened a showbiz celebrity leaving his or her sold-out house to someone moving to a gated community.
Most critics have little regard for Ms. Winfrey, but about 800 mainly affluent and well-connected Midwestern women attended her event in Las Vegas that night in 1992. Since I was born and bred in Chicago, I go out of my way to connect with people from there and I must tell you that these women who attended were one of the most impressive and gracious I have ever seen.
Now, I would be lying if I said there were not anyone at that event who made me unhappy about where this is leading, but to use the words of O Magazine’s legendary editor Tina Brown: Is Oprah a role model or an influence peddler?
If Oprah is a role model, those who like what she says and does, will pay attention. If Oprah is a cheerleader for a Democratic party that is in a desperate search for women with experience and judgment — and rhetorical skills — and power, then her impact is going to be positive for the party, its candidates and its conservative base.