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Thanks, Oprah-Maybe

December 10, 2007

Megastar Oprah Winfrey is actively campaigning now for Democrat presidential candidate Barack Obama. This could be a Democrat version of Sean Hannity's Stop Hillary Express. However, we may do well to be careful about those things for which we ardently wish, even a Clinton defeat.

According to a recent article, Winfrey has never actively campaigned for a candidate until now. And her star power already seems evident not only in Iowa but in South Carolina, where an Obama event has been moved to the 80,000-seat University of South Carolina football stadium after running out of tickets for an original plan of 18,000. Whether her support on the campaign trail will garner substantial votes for Obama remains to be seen. But it certainly presents a new problem for the already beleaguered junior Senator from New York.

Winfrey's support may help Obama siphon votes from Clinton in two key demographics: blacks and women. Although that may seem self-evident, the fact is that Obama had not made significant inroads with either group vis a vis Clinton until recently. His not-ready-for-prime-time campaign has received a much-needed boost from Oprah's presence. The question is whether the momentum surge generated by Winfrey's joining the campaign will have staying power and actually propel Obama to some early primary victories and maybe even some later ones.

To the extent that Obama presents himself as an honest and trustworthy alternative to the smarmy Clinton machine, he may indeed catch fire from Winfrey's endorsement. Polls and focus groups aren't needed to determine that the American people-that is, the real American people, not those to whom elitist Democrat politicians refer-are hungering for a straight-talking, honest leader. If you don't believe that, then you haven't been paying attention to recent elections-such as the one in Louisiana that propelled the brilliant young conservative Bobby Jindal to the governor's office.

Much has already been written in previous editions here about Jindal's seemingly improbable rise to the governorship of a heavily Democrat state and his rapidly rising star in national Republican politics. But it's important to note, as a recent, incisive interview by Rush Limbaugh so effectively captured, the sincerity of this man in what he believes and his courage in boldly stating those beliefs. And that is what voters like you and me want-someone who has principles and does not back away from them at the first sign of media or opposing party harassment. Of course, we certainly prefer that conservative values are deeply imbedded in those principles, which happily in Jindal's case they are. Unfortunately, with Barack Obama we get the obverse.

Let us not forget, in our zeal to bury Hillary's candidacy, that in Obama we have someone who is even further left on some key issues than she is. And in Obama, we may have someone who actually believes in what he's saying beyond the next focus group, unlike a certain other candidate who bends with every political wind. That means trouble if Obama makes it to the White House and refuses to bend on even the most blatantly liberal, harmful-to-the-country ideas.

Just one example jumps to mind: Obama's stance on partial-birth abortion. Although he claims to be sympathetic to those who oppose the procedure, Obama can't help himself in extending a "woman's right to choose" to include this gruesome, medically unnecessary option. But it's on the foreign policy front that Obama emerges as perhaps the most dangerous candidate to our national interests, with positions worse than Hillary's.

Obama's willingness to establish a "dialogue" with thugs like Castro, Chavez, and Kim Jong-Il when they have shown little inclination to do more than figuratively spit in our nation's face, is at best startlingly naïve and at worst a total sellout to American values. He then layers on his plan to increase foreign aid by $50 billion, much of it going to countries that despise us. For many, many years, foreign aid has proven to do little if anything to advance or protect American interests and our so-called "standing in the world." Like spoiled children, the recipients of foreign aid have come to expect it from us, and any talk of reducing or eliminating it results in the equivalent of a two-year-old's tantrum in the middle aisle of Toys 'R Us when he or she doesn't get the toy they want.

So this is the candidate in whom Oprah Winfrey has expressed such hope and admiration. That says a lot about her lack of credibility with conservatives. However, it remains to be seen how much influence she might have with everyone else.

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Copyright ©2007 Phil Perkins