John Feehery: Speaking Engagements

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Oprah the Capitalist

Posted on May 26, 2011
Without Oprah Winfrey, there would be no President Obama.

And Republicans should be okay with that.

Let me explain.

While Oprah campaigned for Barack Obama in the last election, that was the least of her contributions to the “Yes We Can” campaign.

Her example was far more important. She paved the way for Obama in ways that I don’t think have been fully appreciated by the American people.

She single-handedly broke down barriers between black and white. Her talk show audience is 80% white, (and mostly women).

Oprah was the first mega-media star to confront serious social issues in a way that was informative, provocative and non-threatening all at the same time.

She followed in the footsteps of Phil Donohue, but took his game and raised it to a completely different level.

Almost everybody who was anybody came to Chicago to talk to Oprah and her interviews were revealing, news breaking and interesting.

Oprah was also the first media Robber-Baron. She could make or break somebody, especially authors who needed a platform.

She has made hundreds of millions of dollars, and she is the most dominant African-American media powerhouse in the world.

She is also a wonderful example of American exceptionalism.

She came from nothing. She is not particularly attractive. She is not an athlete. She can’t sing. She started with no money. And being African-American and a woman was not an advantage when she started in the business.

But she is smart. She does have stage presence. And she works her ass off.

Conservatives always say that if you work hard, you can make it in this country, even if you start from nothing.

Guess what? Conservatives are right. And Oprah Winfrey is their proof point.

Many conservatives might not like Oprah. They might find her brand of social liberalism to be offensive. They might not like something she said or a show she did.

They don’t have to agree with her. But they should respect her for what she has accomplished.

She has proven that the American Dream is open to anybody who works hard to achieve it.

She is more than a proof point though. She is Oprah Winfrey, capitalist.