Still Chewin' Corn While The Rest Of The World is On To Maple Syrup
I'm the lone wolf on this one.
My assertion that Oprah Winfrey helped push Barack Obama over the top in Iowa at last week's caucuses failed to gain any traction, either among the national pundits, my politically inclined buddies, or the handful of folks who read this blog.
One of them, Sherry, weighed in with this observation: "Yes Oprah does have the "Midas" touch -- could sell Popsicles to an Eskimo, but I really don't think we can attribute Obama's win in Iowa to her. Nice person to have in your corner, I'll agree. But to say women came out like a herd of sheep to vote for Obama because of Oprah is somewhat -- yes I'll say it - insulting. I'd like to think that "Midwestern woman" take the election of our next president a bit more seriously than heresay -- at least I'd like to think so. At least I hope so."
Then there's the woman who suggested (seriously, I think) that Iowans might've been confused, thinking they were voting from Oprah instead of Obama, what with the two names starting with "O" and sharing so many letters.
Let me try this again.
In no way am I suggesting that women--in Iowa, or anywhere else--will lemming off cliffs if Ms. Winfrey tells them to. Voters have minds of their own, and hopefully they do more than mindlessly absorb the commercials they're barraged with in deciding who is worthy of their support. I also don't think it's an insult to suggest that a voter might heed the advice of someone they admire in helping to formulate a decision.
In fact, if any one woman should be insulted here, it's...Oprah.
So much was made of her foray into Iowa on Obama's behalf--the breathless stories about overflow crowds, her apparent ease she showed in morphing into a political advocate, the impact it would have on Hillary Clinton's campaign (the most powerful woman in America shunning a fellow female to advocate the candidacy of...a man?). What would happen to the value of the Oprah Blessing if Obama tanked in Iowa, many wondered. Was she needlessly endangering her brand? What did it say about her passion for the Illinois lawmaker, that she was willing to put her rep on the line?
And then, when Obama rolled to victory Thursday night amid a wave of new caucus-goers, many of them women who'd never taken part in the Iowa primary process, did Winfrey get even a modicum of the credit for helping him energize the base? I'm not saying Oprah is THE reason Obama won--but I have no doubt she was a factor.
Then again, no one is giving Chuck Norris any props for putting Mike Huckabee over the top.