Stars for President

There is a scene in the film Back to the Future that I think of often lately.  In it, Marty McFly, after traveling to the past in a time machine invented by Doc Brown, is trying to convince a much younger Doc that he is indeed from the future by knowing the president of the United States in the future.

The scene is actually funnier here in 2018 than it was in 1985 given the propensity of show business types to decide that, based on their vast experience in the make believe world of show business, they should bring their questionable talents to government.   If that sentence doesn’t give you a hint how I feel about the trend, then go back and read it again.

There was a time when candidates for major political office touted their experience in governing just as someone interviewing as, say, CEO of a defense firm would highlight experience in managing large industry in their resume.  Can you imagine someone applying as chief of surgery in a large hospital  by touting their experience in building cars at General Motors … or playing a doctor on Days of our Lives?  It used to be that the most valuable experience for a presidential candidate was the ability to work with the legislative branch and assure the passage of legislation through compromise.  As trust of politicians declined in the face increasing partisanship, voters began to look to outsiders … people who have not been part of the federal government system.   Businessmen became candidates … think Carter, Bush, Romney and, of course, Donald Trump, the idea being experience in private business was transferable to government.  According to The Hill, studies have shown that businessmen make bad presidents.   So now, we seem to be looking to show business Stars as our outsiders.  I don’t believe that will end well.

At the outset, let me ask … was Donald Trump elected because he was a businessman or because he was a Reality TV Star?   If I look at his campaign and the way he runs his white house, I have to choose the latter.  Has he advanced the conservative agenda?   Certainly but, you must agree, not to the degree to which he would have if he knew how to work with Congress.  Meanwhile, he has demeaned the office and divided our nation.  I used to think my worst fear in 2020 was that the Democratic Party would nominate Bernie Sanders, forcing me to choose between Trump and avowed Communist.   Then I read that former WWE star Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was considering a run for president.  According to the Huffington Post, it’s no joke … he’s seriously considering it. His co-star in the film Jumanji thinks Johnson would be a good president.   He’s such a good leader in a situation, I just feel like he needs to run the world one day, Karen Gillan has said. I think he should. I would vote for him. With recommendations like that … The Rock running The World … how could we go wrong?

Then … following her speech at the Golden Globes … the latest potential candidate became Oprah Winfrey and she is intrigued by the idea.  Freaking wonderful.   Yes, her liberal credentials are unquestionable and her business acumen unmatched, at least in the bubble of show business and media.   She is undoubtedly a great philanthropist and her support of human rights has been exceptional.  But there is another side … her ignorance of the basics of science.  According to Newsweek, all too often Oprah winds up putting herself and her trusting audience in the hands of celebrity authors and pop-science artists pitching wonder cures and miracle treatments that are questionable or flat-out wrong, and sometimes dangerous.  It was Oprah, after all, who allowed Jenny McCarthy (talk about credentials) to peddle her nonsense about vaccines causing autism in children, a myth that has resulted in the reappearance of diseases once controlled.   She brought us Dr. “Raspberry Ketones” Oz and health expert Suzanne Somers, graduate of Three’s Company Medical School.  Do we want to trade in a president who dismisses scientific evidence on climate change with one who believes that there is a Law of Attraction that magically gives us what we want if we just visualize it properly?   That’s the proposition of The Secret, the book of nonsense promoted by Oprah some years ago.  Shall we all visualize Kim Jong-Un as anything other than a nut job to prevent war?

I don’t mean to pick on Oprah, not that my opinions matter one bit to her.  But really, can’t we select our political candidates at least in part based upon their experience in governing in a democratic society?  Lets not let Stars for President delude us into thinking because they are successful in the bubble that is show business, they can run the greatest country in the world.

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2 Comments on “Stars for President”

  1. barrythewiz Says:

    At least Carter, Bush, Reagan & Romney all had experience as a governor. And even with that….. Well, you finish the sentence. You’re right on OE. The demand for an outsider is not the answer. We need competent, dedicated people who are prepared to get the job done.

    • rita altman Says:

      I absolutely hear what you are saying , but I think this whole phenomenon has to be taken in the crazy context of todays’ world.
      I would love to see an experienced, brilliant, caring person run for President. Is there someone out there like that???

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