Edward Luce on Oprah Winfrey and the fate of her ‘Brand’. A comment by Political Observer

A selective commentary  on Mr. Luce’s questions and observations:

If Ms Winfrey is the answer to Mr Trump, what was the question?

Like the rise of Mr Trump, the political rise of Ms. Winfrey is about the desperation of the American electorate. Not to speak of the collapse of the whole of the American Political Class: New Democrats and Republicans. This aided by the fiction of ‘Russian Meddling’ in Americas election, confected  by a mendacious Hillary Clinton and her minions, who have created a political crisis, out of her bruised ego and a complete lack of anything like evidence. That just might be the beginning, of a set of reason for the ‘why of Oprah Winfrey’ ! 

All a Winfrey administration would bring is personal brand destruction.

Mr. Luce frames the proffered  ‘failure’  of Ms. Winfrey in the Neo-Liberal singularity of ‘Brand‘. Except, that Mr. Luce forgets that Mr. Trump had no real political experience, but established his ‘Leadership Credentials’ via his television Three Ring Circus. Or that Ronald Reagan ran for governor of California on the strength of being the president of the Screen Actors Guild, and on his animus toward Students like Mario Savio, at Berkeley. And The Black Panthers, who once surrounded the state capital with armed black militants! Some of us were present at the time and watched this political drama unfold! Not Mr. Luce! Reagan rise was about carefully cultivated political hysteria about student radicals and the Black Panthers.

The US constitution was designed to exclude mob rule.

Mr. Luce is right about the Constitution, being designed by slave holding white men, who were afraid of too much democracy: The Electoral College was the brake provided by those visionaries on the threat of ‘mob rule’! Walter Lippmann was one of those 20th Century visionaries who advocated the rise of a class of Technocrats as another check on that dreaded ‘mob rule’, call him an American Political Mandarin: Mr. Luce’s  unrecognized  precursor.  Too bad the imperatives of the National Security State has negated that republic and replaced it with the rule of Technocrats , elected and unelected.

Quelle surprise! Enter stage Right The Great Communicator Ronald Reagan as an example of a pol, who knew two things from his acting days: hit your marks and know your lines. Mr. Reagan only got into trouble was when he went off script or fell asleep. Bitburg? More Neo-Liberal framing ‘spending capital’ and ‘protecting your brand’ as imperatives not to be ignored!

By contrast, Ronald Reagan, who was twice elected as governor of California and had once before run for the nomination, was qualified for high office. He began life as an actor but he did not reach the White House because of that. A life in politics taught Mr Reagan the art of compromise. Politics is about spending capital to achieve messy results. Being a celebrity is about protecting your brand.

The remainder of this essay seems to be obsessed with the faltering, Corporatist New Democrats, as the hope of a desperate electorate. Call Mr. Luce’s jejune speculations, moored in a belief that the Two Party System is some how still viable.  While it is in a slow motion collapse: what eludes Mr. Luce’s thought is the possibility ,the hopes of the American Electorate can be realized via The Greens and The Libertarians.

Political Observer



About stephenkmacksd

Rootless cosmopolitan,down at heels intellectual;would be writer. 'Polemic is a discourse of conflict, whose effect depends on a delicate balance between the requirements of truth and the enticements of anger, the duty to argue and the zest to inflame. Its rhetoric allows, even enforces, a certain figurative licence. Like epitaphs in Johnson’s adage, it is not under oath.' https://www.lrb.co.uk/v15/n20/perry-anderson/diary
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