I’m not with her.

No. Oprah Winfrey should not run for president, no no no no no. No. Don’t even pretend it’s a good idea. Don’t take it seriously. DO NOT DO THIS, AMERICA.

I want our next president to be a quiet, hard-working, younger-than-me-or-at-least-not-a-lot-older policy nerd. Charismatic, yes, but not goddamn Oprah. We shouldn’t even be talking about it, because talking about it makes it sound possible, and you know how that’s worked out so far.

So let’s stop this silliness right now.

Then you might consider reading this very sad story from Politico, about the widening divide between neighbors in little Pepin County, Wis., which went 58 percent for you-know-who in 2016, bewildering and baffling its many Democratic residents. Both factions have used the results as a pretext to stay angry and divided from the very people they live, work, shop and perhaps even worship next to on a regular basis.

Trump is surely not the only reason for America’s worrisome and worsening partisan strife, with 80 percent of people in recent polling saying they see the country as “mainly or totally divided.” But his election framed that chasm in stark terms, an emotional choice that felt bitterly personal on both sides. And since taking office, the 45th president has only stoked the discord with his comments about “ungrateful” blacks, the criminal propensities of immigrants, his anti-Islam rhetoric and his equivocations on behalf of white supremacists. People here, in this demographically homogeneous, almost entirely white community, have plenty to say about all this—they just have chosen not to say it to each other. If there is a wall that Trump has built, it’s not the “big, beautiful” one on the Mexican border—it’s the figurative wall that has risen in places like Pepin County, Wisconsin.

I sat at a bar in Durand called the Cell Block one afternoon and listened to Bill Ingram, a GOP member of the county board, bluntly describe Republicans as “good” and Democrats as “evil.” I spent another evening in a cabin on a dark hill as deer hunters downed cans of Keystone Light while discussing what they viewed as a Trump-boosted economic surge—and the next night at a cozy, artsy concert venue where aghast liberals drank $4 bottles of craft beer and lamented the “erosion” of democracy. Myklebust characterized Pepin County as a Venn diagram with two circles that no longer touch.

Not surprising, really. I found myself nodding along to much of it.

Sorry for the late update today. Just got jammed up after a bitter-cold weekend when not much happened, other than seeing “I, Tonya,” which we both enjoyed very much. I recommend it.

Posted at 4:12 pm in Current events |

39 responses to “I’m not with her.”

  1. Deborah said on January 8, 2018 at 4:20 pm

    Yes, of course Oprah wouldn’t be the best choice for president. But believe me, if she is the Dem candidate selected through primaries I will without a doubt vote for her. Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that, but there will be no damn purity tests as far as I’m concerned. Seriously, we HAVE to get the craven Republicans out of power.

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  2. Jakash said on January 8, 2018 at 4:37 pm

    “So let’s stop this silliness right now.” Hear, hear!!

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  3. Dexter said on January 8, 2018 at 4:44 pm

    Gawd, what a lotta drivel was The Globies. I tried to watch a little, but it was just not worth my time. Did you see the president of the foreign correspondents or whatever, dressed in that sequined housecoat? Oh she wore the little pin but was not attired in black like all the other MeToos. Oprah? She was saying boilerplate stuff, only in her crazed super-energetic style, and the audience were nodding heads like so many balancing ducks in a water glass…jeezuss! President? Oh for fuck’s sake: NO !

    To accent the possible final chapter in my goofy-car-buying hobby-from-necessity path, today I am on the verge of buying…ready? — a Suzuki sedan! The seller knocked off $900 and promises to tow away the broken van and pay me junk money for it…how can I resist? Warning: I am not a stable car buyer…NEVER ask me for car-buying advice!

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  4. Poohbear said on January 8, 2018 at 5:25 pm

    Lurker here. The thing I don’t get about the Oprah speech is why everyone is so in awe of her speech when she makes anyone and everyone who works for or with her sign a non-disclosure agreement. A woman who professes that we all “want to be heard” and we all have a “right to speak our truth” shuts down free speech every chance she gets. And also does no one remember that she was not only good friends with Bill and Camille Cosby but held them up on her show as the ideal loving, wise and intellectual couple? All while Bill was drugging women, raping them and turning them around to look in the mirror and talk about how they are glowing when he finished?! Where in the hell has all of her outrage been for that? Not a single tweet or statement about Bill and not a single reporter with the guts to ask her why she was silent about her friend but is “with all women” and speaking out since Weinstein.

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  5. adrianne said on January 8, 2018 at 5:44 pm

    Once again my old colleague, Michael Kruse, knocks another one out of the ballpark with his reporting for Politico. He is a gem, and a helluva reporter.

    On Oprah, this is just temporary giddiness (although we could do worse). Keep your eye on Kirsten Gillibrand, junior U.S. senator from New York. I think she’s going places, and she’s pretty young, with two telegenic kids.

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  6. David C. said on January 8, 2018 at 6:03 pm

    Suzuki pulled out of the US market. Parts and service may be a huge headache, Dexter.

    I agree. Hell no, Oprah. My qualification are: no amateurs, no geezers, and no retreads.

    I’d be surprised if the situation in Pepin Co. is as bad as Politico makes it out to be. I live in a Wisconsin county that’s half Fox and half free. I don’t see a lot of overt animosity. I hear wingnuts talking bullshit, but I’ve always heard that.

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  7. Sherri said on January 8, 2018 at 6:42 pm

    Oprah is as qualified as Carly Fiorina was. I want a policy nerd, too, but I do get annoyed at the automatic dismissal of Oprah as unworthy because she’s a celebrity. She is a little more than that; she at least built something, rather than destroying it.

    I’d be happy with Gillibrand or Harris, but honestly, I think Oprah might be more effective than Bernie Sanders.

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  8. alex said on January 8, 2018 at 7:10 pm

    Oprah doesn’t scare me shitless half as much as Joe Biden making noises about running for president.

    I remember the previous story on Pepin County and I think the liberals there were blindsided just as they were here and in a lot of places. Those of us who never watch Fox News or listen to talk radio incorrectly assumed that these propaganda outlets had a small audience and limited influence, but they’re in fact the real reason for the divide, and it predated Trump.

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  9. Jakash said on January 8, 2018 at 7:13 pm

    “The Oprah-for-president cause
    Led some to consider her flaws.
    These skeptics then noted
    That she has promoted
    Fad diets, bad science, and Oz”


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  10. David C. said on January 8, 2018 at 8:03 pm

    I think Biden is DOA, Alex. The way he treated Anita Hill still goes down bad.

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  11. basset said on January 8, 2018 at 9:23 pm

    Dexter, you oughta be fine on maintenance parts for quite awhile. Suzuki hasn’t been gone all that long and they still operate in much of the rest of the world, and filters and such tend to be pretty generic. IIRC the last time I looked in the electronic filter-picker device on the shelf at Walmart they still listed filters that would fit Studebakers. Body panels and interior pieces might be more difficult.

    Local Nashville TV had to talk about Oprah tonight, of course – my old station hired her as a reporter at some painfully young age and they ran video of her reporting from some election night somewhere, along with interviewing a couple of old-timer anchors who said she’d probably do just fine. I’m just hoping that another Barack Obama will come along – someone I’ve never heard of who turns out to be really competent and a rational adult.

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  12. alex said on January 8, 2018 at 9:30 pm

    I saw video of Biden getting called out on Anita Hill at a women’s event a few months ago, before he started his lame-ass apology tour (or even realized that he needed one), and his phony retail politician act in response was so effing tone-deaf and offensive that I don’t have any more respect for his ass than I do for the stable genius.

    For what it’s worth, Oprah would beat the living shit out of the stable genius in a celebrity popularity contest, which is what the presidency is coming down to, and at least she’s a person of good will who would set a better tone. Nobody would even be talking about this if the bar hadn’t fallen so low as it has.

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  13. Suzanne said on January 8, 2018 at 9:33 pm

    I am afraid that tRump broke the public’s appetite for any policy wonk that would make a good POTUS. I know too many people who voted for tRump BECAUSE of his lack of experience. Politics, you know, isn’t supposed to be a career, the say. So, by this logic, an excellent mechanic should be able to come into a dental practice and with little trouble, pick up the finer points of tooth extraction. Similar skills, after all. But ask them if they’d go to that dentist…

    I will vote for Oprah if she gives everybody a new car!

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  14. LAMary said on January 8, 2018 at 10:23 pm

    Oprah has her heavily photoshopped picture on the cover of her magazine every month. Consider that.

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  15. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 8, 2018 at 10:42 pm

    Adrianne, I don’t mean to argue about Michael’s gifts as a reporter, but these lines gave me pause:

    “I found it largely cleaved into two factions: the typically more conservative natives, most of whom voted for Trump, and the typically more liberal newcomers, the urban and suburban transplants, most of whom did not. The latter group hadn’t moved to a red state—a red state had moved to them.”

    Wait a minute. The natives, the longtime residents, voted for Trump. The newcomers were not Trumpsters, more often Hillary voters if not Bernie supporters. Okay. But “the latter group hadn’t moved to a red state . . .” Well, they did. Perhaps not the state, not even the county per se, but the natives hadn’t changed. There was always a critical mass there, as in my county, of Red State conservative nativists, they just hadn’t been the majority. That’s what I’m curious about — who stopped voting? What put them in the driver’s seat? Because they had — as Kruse notes — always been there. Why did they become a majority? Did a segment shift, or was there a contingent that just shrugged and let voting alone this time? That’s an interesting and important question, in my opinion.

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  16. Jolene said on January 8, 2018 at 11:28 pm

    Here’s what Dahlia Lithwick has to say about Oprah and last night’s speech.

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  17. susan said on January 8, 2018 at 11:42 pm

    Jolene, did you mean this link?

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  18. Jolene said on January 8, 2018 at 11:51 pm

    Yes. Not sure how I got that wrong, but thanks for the fix.

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  19. Dexter said on January 9, 2018 at 2:06 am

    Suzukis: The people who run the place only sell cars they inspect 100% and replace anything that leaks or looks worn…this one has new belts, new water pump, new power steering parts, fresh oil change, good tires…and feels tight with no rattles. The guy said it’s “like a new car”, with only 84K miles, and he said it uses GM parts for the most part, so we’ll see. I CarGuru’d it and the price is $1,800 less than a Guru “great deal”. So…what the hell, man…another adventure in weirdo car ownership beckons…it’s a sickness. Now if my Go Fund Me account has garnered any suckers, er… benefators….
    Just kidding about the Go Fund Me thing…I do think the concept is wonderful for people who are down on their luck or burned out of their home or have lost everything some way. I only contributed once…a Facebook friend for 12 years was booted out of her apartment when the place was about to be gentrified, and until she could get everything lined up with the authorities for a Section 8 apartment in Staten Island, she lived under a stairwell in a radio station building…she eventually got a nice apartment in Staten Island, and adopted a one-eyed cat. All is well, and hell, I would have just spent the $50 on lotto anyway.

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  20. basset said on January 9, 2018 at 7:10 am

    Didn’t think of the GM connection but he’s right about that – the Chevrolet Sprint is/was actually manufactured by Suzuki. And the Suzuki pickup, what few they sold, was a rebadged Nissan.

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  21. basset said on January 9, 2018 at 7:17 am

    Gotta love some of these names of cars that Suzuki built for other manufacturers, listed here under “OEM Deals” – I want a Cultus, or maybe a Scrum or a Town Box:


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  22. Deborah said on January 9, 2018 at 8:01 am

    I’m not crazy about Biden either, because he’s an old white guy mainly. If he is the dem nominee I will vote for him though. If he runs he should choose Kamela Harris as his running mate, then only serve one term and then Harris could run and win what would have been his second term.

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  23. basset said on January 9, 2018 at 8:18 am

    Another link, another topic… more on the Bannonization of what used to be our national discourse:


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  24. FDChief said on January 9, 2018 at 9:50 am

    My guess is that a lot of these Cletus-safari pieces (of which the Pepin story is just one more) are generated by the shocked discovery last November that a nation founded with white supremacy baked in and characterized by over two centuries of genteel (and not-so-genteel) racism still abounds with surly, selfish, ignorant racist shitheels happily willing to burn the 21st Century down if it also hurts the untermenschen they loathe.

    The stoking of this nativist, anti-thinking, who-you-gonna-believe-Fox-News-or-your-lyin’-eyes clan of suburban hillbillies has been the Republican project since Goldwater. This piece simply limns the brutal result; a gang of intransigent Jacksonian Republicans with a side serving of Know-Nothing that, like their slavery-embracing forebears in 1859, prefer to destroy the Republic rather than accept the defeat of their vile credo. We’re already in a civil war; it’s only those idealist lefties who refuse to see it. The GOoPers know they are, and they’re in it to win it.

    As Driftglass likes to say; the nation cannot remain half-Fox and half-free. It must become all one, or all the other.

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  25. Suzanne said on January 9, 2018 at 10:14 am

    I agree FDChief. I read Charlie Sykes’ book “How the Right Went Wrong” and while he does use an article from The Federalist as a credible source,still thinks P Ryan is a good conservative policy wonk, and believes there is a future for “real” conservatism, it’s worth reading for his timeline of how Rush Limbaugh, FOX News, Ann Coulter and their ilk have completely taken over the conservative movement, brainwashed their minions, and convinced them that any vote for anyone other than a Republican (be they conservative in the classic sense, or racist thugs, or perverts, or whatever) is literally a vote for an apocalyptic doom led by Satan. Reason, he admits, won’t work with them; everything is now good or evil. Even he, a member of the conservative media admits that the current situation proves all the bad stereotypes of conservatives that liberals and moderates always spoke of. Parts of the book made me angry, but it was also informative.
    Or, in a nutshell, he lays out that there really is a Fox Derangement Syndrome.

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  26. FDChief said on January 9, 2018 at 10:39 am

    The problem I have with the “once-upon-a-time-there-was-a-sane-GOP” trope is that the sane GOP – the Rockefeller Republican wing that accepted the New Deal America – was always locked in combat with the back-to-1929 Taft wing. Then the Civil Rights era moved the Dixiecrats over to the GOP and it was game-over for the 20th Century.

    So IMO Rushbo and Fox are as much symptom as problem. The rot in American “conservatism” was always deep and has now eaten the brains. I don’t see a way back short of destroying the GOP and starting over. And I have no idea how that happens.

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  27. Bitter Scribe said on January 9, 2018 at 10:48 am

    Count me in the never-Oprah column. She has an ego to rival Trump’s—who the hell puts out a magazine devoted entirely to herself? She also has Trump’s thin skin, as evidenced by the vendettas she goes on against journalists and others who offend her. Her judgment has also been questionable: Dr. Oz, Dr. Phil, the Cosbys as noted above, and especially Jenny McCarthy and the anti-vaxxers.

    Sure, she’d be better than Trump. That’s not the point. The guy who goes “dilly dilly” in the Bud Light commercials would be better than Trump. She has no business running for president and I hope to God she doesn’t. It would just make American politics more of a confusing farce than it already is, if that’s possible.

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  28. Suzanne said on January 9, 2018 at 11:15 am

    I know a woman (well, knew. She dead now) who had a daughter that worked for Oprah. Said Oprah was a real bi*ch. Another woman a know (who is still very much alive) told me years ago that she went to the Oprah show in Chicago and was with a group that got to go backstage and meet O. She said she’s beautiful, etc. but that she was very disappointed to see how she treated her staff.
    But then again, that’s what we have now, without at least a bit of class or intelligence. At least Oprah can string a sentence together. What would clinch it for me, I think, is her embrace of dubious science people.
    Nonetheless, if we all get a new car…

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  29. Jakash said on January 9, 2018 at 11:35 am

    To be taken with a grain of salt, needless to say — how many future candidates have sworn for years that they would never run? — the dean of Chicago media reporters, a long-time observer of Oprah, states flatly: “…there is nothing in her character or makeup to suggest that she would submit to the intense scrutiny of a presidential campaign or that she has any interest in the actual job of being president — even if it were handed to her without a fight.”


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  30. Sherri said on January 9, 2018 at 12:01 pm

    I don’t want any of these other billionaires, either: https://www.politico.com/story/2018/01/09/2020-wealthy-democrats-steyer-winfrey-trump-328187

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  31. Snarkworth said on January 9, 2018 at 1:08 pm

    I was interested in new blood early in the 2016 round. I wanted to give Martin O’Malley a second look, but he was gone before I got the chance.

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  32. Suzanne said on January 9, 2018 at 1:10 pm

    What do you bet he takes a couple of his precious coal miners with him?

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  33. Suzanne said on January 9, 2018 at 1:14 pm

    And Sheriff Joe is setting his sights on become Senator Joe

    “You’re gonna need a bigger crazy train”

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  34. Jeff Borden said on January 9, 2018 at 1:14 pm

    I’ve interviewed Oprah four times, but I can’t say I learned a great deal. Like most famous people, she is very guarded, very careful, very reticent to reveal much. She’s also a bit of a fabulist. She once told me she bought a Chevrolet Chevette while working in Baltimore and passed on the radio option to save money. Oh, horse shit. However, unlike the Orange King, everything she has she earned. She built an empire from scratch. President? No, please. As a seasoned performer, she knows how to deliver a great speech and I can see myself showing it in my public speaking classes, but please, no Oval Office.

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  35. Peter said on January 9, 2018 at 1:48 pm

    Hey, I got Crazy Joe’s campaign slogan: “Replace Flake with a REAL Flake!”

    MAGA – Make Arizona Gringo Again….

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  36. Deborah said on January 9, 2018 at 3:16 pm

    I worked on a design project called The Center on Halsted, an LGBT community center in Boys Town and Oprah’s private chef was very involved in the project. He had nothing but good things to say about her. Also she lived a block away from us but I never saw her around the hood, of course she was probably chauffeured around town.

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  37. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 9, 2018 at 4:15 pm

    Both parties played footsie with racism for almost hundred years after Reconstruction proved too hard a challenge for democracy to complete, but the difference is that between 1957 and 1968 the Democratic Party did the hard work on cleaning as much racism out of its program and platform as any elective association could, while the Republican Party chose to accept the advantage of picking up support of those being evicted. I don’t know enough of the internal details to even guess as to what they thought they were going to do with the Dixiecrats — maybe there was some initial idea of reforming them — but the loss of anti-Communism as their chief prop and stay gave the worst of ethnic nationalism a central place in the GOP, and the loose affiliations that were and are all now that make up the Republican Party had no real interest in doing anything about racism. Add in that they did and do think of racism as essentially a personal problem, not a systemic evil that requires systemic solutions, you have the now-populist program that’s inflated the undead lungs of Republicanism. Fox News was the lightning bolt onto the Tesla coils that reanimated the corpse of one-time cold warriors into an orange-coiffed monster & his kin.

    “The Modern Prometheus.”

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  38. Sally Vasquez said on January 10, 2018 at 6:32 pm

    Have said for years that Oprah has no class. That still stands. Her “save the world attitude” turns me off. Still, I used to watch her show.

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  39. Connie said on January 11, 2018 at 9:56 am

    62 in Sept just like Bassett. Husband is six years older, retired.

    I am waiting for paperwork to be signed by my doctor before i can order my hand controls for my car. But anyday now. And sometime this year I will get a new prostheses with a bending ankle, which probably means learning to walk all over again.

    Someone asked me about physical therapy and the gym. When I start at the gym I will probably book a couple of trainer sessions to get started, which is way cheaper than physical therapy. My health insurance pays for a max of 30 pt sessions a year and I used all 30 last year. I am saving this year’s sessions for the the new bendy ankle foot and for my next training step which is mastering walking on bumpy surfaces like my back yard lawn. So that is me in the new year.

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