Back those hopefuls who’ll run for office

When her talk show debuted in 1986, no one suspected Oprah Winfrey would become the richest, the most powerful and arguably the most beloved woman in the country – maybe even the world. But it

When her talk show debuted in 1986, no one suspected Oprah Winfrey would become the richest, the most powerful and arguably the most beloved woman in the country – maybe even the world.

But it happened. Now, almost 30 years later, Oprah is so revered that some people think she should run the country.

The most notable member of this faction
is Patrick Crowe, creator of the “Oprah for President” Web site and author of the book “Oprah for President: Run Oprah Run.”

He and the like-minded citizens who have volunteered at believe that Oprah would be the best tenant to take up residency at 1600 Pennsylvania
Ave. come 2008, because of her honesty, independent wealth and popularity. Sorry, Mr. Crowe, but I beg to differ.

It’s not that I don’t love and respect Oprah. As an aspiring journalist, I consider her to be one of the female pioneers in the industry. And my inner bookworm applauds her effort to promote
national literacy through her book club. I can appreciate her philanthropic efforts to help those in need by creating the Angel Network, which has raised more than $50 million to date. And I believe that she’s opened more than a few doors and paved more than a few roads for the black community.

I just tend to favor political candidates with actual political experience. Or at least, the desire to gain some. And Oprah, apparently, does not.

On Sept. 19, Oprah’s lawyers released a statement, which said she was suing Crowe for using her image and name to promote his site and book. While the statement was retracted by the talk show queen herself a few days later, Oprah still maintains that she will not run in the 2008 presidential election.

Yet the threat of legal action has not deterred the persistent Patrick Crowe from his campaign trail. Although I question his reason for continuing to endorse a candidate that does not wish to run, I can almost respect his dedication to the cause.Or at least I could, until I saw his shockingly pedestrian digital shrine to potential President Oprah.

I won’t pretend to be the most computer-savvy individual, but I do know a thing or two about Web site legitimacy. While there can be exceptions to this rule, any site that is based on an amateur Web posting site is generally questionable as a source of reliable information. And though I can’t prove that the “Internet consultants” that host Crowe’s site – along with dozens of others – are providing inaccurate information, I also can’t prove that they aren’t. Not a good sign when we’re talking about the future leader of the “free world.”

Perhaps I would be more willing to accept
the information if the content was seriously presented. After all, a presidential election should be no joking matter. Somehow, it just doesn’t seem appropriate to have a potential candidate’s Web site emblazoned with a link to her official theme song – penned by Crowe himself – or links to her work as an actress.

Crowe’s determination would also seem a bit more respectable if he had masterminded impressive and thoughtful marketing techniques to spread the word about his plan to convince Oprah to run. Alas, this is not the case. Crowe’s primary marketing strategy involves the “Dollars for Oprah” campaign, which asks individuals to transcribe “Oprah for president –” on their paper currency. Not only is this idea swiped directly from, which was designed to track U.S. currency, but it teeters on the border of illegality.

Crowe includes bolded instructions on the bottom of the “Dollars for Oprah” page to explain that the act is only permissible if the message is written on the perimeter of the bill – otherwise it could be considered defacing legal tender and that’s a big no-no.

Not something you’d want your future president to be associated with. My problem with the potential President Oprah does not lie with Ms. Winfrey herself. I feel safe in saying that if Winfrey ever decided to toss her name onto the ballot, she could almost certainly hire someone to convince
me – and the rest of the country – that she’d make an excellent addition to the White House.

Patrick Crowe, however, is probably not the man for the job.

Erica Palan can be reached at

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