Barack Obama and the Oprah Factor
Mark Halperin argues, persuasively, that the active support of Oprah Winfrey is unlikely to be a major factor in Barack Obama’s electoral success.
Winfrey’s endorsement — and her announcement that she will appear with Obama at campaign events in Iowa, South Carolina, and New Hampshire on December 8 and 9 — helps bring the following four things to Obama: campaign cash, celebrity, excitement and big crowds.
The four things that Obama has on his own in great abundance — without Winfrey’s help — are campaign cash, celebrity, excitement and big crowds.
More substantively, he argues that Obama’s main hurdle to the nomination is convincing voters that he’s experienced enough to be commander-in-chief. Winfrey’s not going to be of much help, there.
He’s right. Still, there’s no obvious down side to her support. Unlike, say, the Chuck Norris endorsement of Mike Huckabee (or, better yet, the Ric Flair endorsement of Mike Huckabee) there’s no ridicule factor likely to come out of it.