Clicking on banner ads enables JWR to constantly improve
Jewish World Review Sept. 26, 2000/ 25 Elul, 5760

Kathleen Parker

Kathleen Parker
JWR's Pundits
World Editorial
Cartoon Showcase

Mallard Fillmore

Michael Barone
Mona Charen
Linda Chavez
Ann Coulter
Greg Crosby
Larry Elder
Don Feder
Suzanne Fields
James Glassman
Paul Greenberg
Bob Greene
Betsy Hart
Nat Hentoff
David Horowitz
Marianne Jennings
Michael Kelly
Mort Kondracke
Ch. Krauthammer
Lawrence Kudlow
Dr. Laura
John Leo
David Limbaugh
Michelle Malkin
Jackie Mason
Chris Matthews
Michael Medved
MUGGER
Wes Pruden
Debbie Schlussel
Sam Schulman
Amity Shlaes
Roger Simon
Tony Snow
Thomas Sowell
Cal Thomas
Jonathan S. Tobin
Ben Wattenberg
George Will
Bruce Williams
Walter Williams
Mort Zuckerman

Consumer Reports


Oprahfication of presidential
political: It's all about feelings

http://www.jewishworldreview.com --
IT HAS BEEN SAID that the Democratic Party is the feminine party and the Republican Party, the masculine. In other words, Dems are more attuned to feelings, and Reps more to the mind, if not precisely the intellect.

In such light, women apparently are deemed to respond to their feelings more than their minds -- an insult we'll parse another day -- and men more to their implicitly superior intellects.

Extending the implication, it is further understood that if candidates want the women's vote, they had better temper those tricky issues with some genuine feelings. And what better venue to display one's emotional content than before the nation's premier Mother Confessor, the Queen of Feelings -- Oprah!

Both George W. Bush and Al Gore appeared on Oprah Winfrey's daytime televised talk show in the past few days, completing the foretold Oprahfication of America. Already the goddess of the couchless confession had segued into seer of American letters. Her "Oprah Book Club Selection" imprimatur, splashed across a book cover, nearly ensures a bestseller, such that wannabe authors now report genuflecting before homemade Oprah shrines erected next to home computers.

Branching out the past couple of weeks, Oprah is now political mentor to the millions of mostly female viewers who want to know whom to trust for president. It's not about issues, all that crazy head stuff. It's about feelings. Oprah says so on her Web site:

"To me there's this wall that exists between the people and the authentic part of the candidate . . . My goal is to try to get to know the men behind the wall."

Oprah said she hoped her shows would help viewers answer some of the bigger questions: "Whom do you trust? Who feels right to you? Whom do you like?"

In order to get to the bottom of these issues, Oprah posed questions, the dominant effect of which was to make one nostalgic for Walter Cronkite. Even Barbara Walters' famous line of questioning -- "If you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be?" -- is intellectually riveting compared with Oprah's "What's your favorite cereal?"

That question went to Gore (Wheaties), while Bush's boots were held to the fire over his favorite sandwich -- peanut butter and jelly. On white bread. Both men love their wives and God. Bush loves tacos, while Gore loves Chinese food. Gore loves the Beatles, and Bush loves the song, "Wake Up Little Susie."

I hate both of these guys. Would it be too much to ask for a little Chopin and Pumpernickel?

At least we can assume that they're both honest. Surely political posturing would produce more creative responses.

Oprah, too, might have been more creative -- or at least discreet -- with her own physical posturing, which left little to guesswork. If body language were translated into words, Oprah's would look something like this:

"Al, you da' man! (Actually, I think she did say that). And, "Dubya, you are so full of Texas wafers, it'll be another presidential election before I can erase this pucker of disbelief off my face."

Which was, of course, the point. Not to remove "the wall between people and authenticity" but to endorse Gore before the audience that seems to count most in this horse race -- women in the middle who trust their feelings and, of course, Oprah.

When the outcome of a presidential contest boils down to the feelings of daytime television viewers, we might all begin to feel a little worried and wistful of walls.


JWR contributor Kathleen Parker can be reached by clicking here.

Up

09/19/00: It's not subliminal: Hypocrisy of moral outrage is obvious
09/15/00: So wear, oh wear, are we headed?
09/11/00: Do Steinem's wedding bells sound feminist death knells?
09/08/00: Grounded in her fears about flying
08/31/00: Dudettes that don't
08/29/00: AlGore wants to be his own man -- does he know who that is?
08/21/00: Dems manufacture emotions at convention
08/17/00: Hollywood divine? AlGore is miscast
08/08/00:Outreach: Good strategy and long-run policy
08/04/00: A sharp look back at the Vietnam War
08/01/00: Bush's choice of grown-up Cheney is a stroke of genius
07/24/00: Fired up and grossed out over stupid Canadians
07/20/00: Lack of judgment --- our critical flaw
07/18/00: 'Progress' for women often a step back
07/11/00: School essay watchdogs cannibalize our children
07/06/00: Youths fear marriage --- blame boomers
06/28/00: Eminem might just have a point
06/21/00: Bridging the day-care divide
06/15/00: N.Y. baby case ends up with multiracial scrambled eggs
05/31/00: The war only time wins
05/25/00: The opposite of sex
05/18/00: World War II gave us our true heroes
05/11/00: Boy Crazy! stacks deck against guys
05/09/00: Finding out where the boys are
05/05/00: A born Ms. Leader -- Barbie for prez
04/25/00: From here to paternity
04/14/00: Boys should be boys, not viewed as criminals in training
04/11/00: Oh, for a standard of what is socially, morally acceptable
04/06/00: Womyn's Contempt for Commitment --- and the bastards it creates
04/04/00: Sue-happy American society is out of control
03/30/00: Duct-taped baby serves as warning
03/28/00: Stay-home parents know that their kids need them
03/24/00: No 'Great Expectations' when schools shun the classics
03/21/00: It's common sense to restrict Internet usage in libraries
03/17/00: You want to be just a mom? For shame!
03/14/00: Colonoscopy: Important, but bad TV
03/10/00: I made a mistake about trigger-locks
03/08/00: After this school shooting, no easy target for our contempt
03/03/00: Car crash helps bridge our divide
02/28/00: Nasty politics? Americans like it down, dirty
02/14/00: College testing via Lego-building -- yeah, right
02/02/00: Bubba should spare us phony love theatrics
01/26/00: What sets off Those Who Speak for Women
01/13/00: Fools in love: Premarital counseling could help school kids
01/11/00: Who funds these studies!?
12/29/99: Grandparents' rights impinge on family autonomy
12/13/99: When did fathers become fair game?
12/09/99: Don't be stupid about at-risk kids
12/07/99: Pokemon is no substitute for a father
12/02/99: Blaming the victim --- men
11/30/99: Baby-killer's story has less-than-Precious ending
11/23/99: Pendulum swings back toward discipline, responsibility
11/18/99: Put the babies first in this mighty mess
11/11/99: Skip the applause for this baby news
11/09/99: Gore could benefit from a secret in Wolf's clothing
11/03/99: Who needs 'birds and bees' when we have MTV?
11/01/99: Women Can't Hear What Men Don't Say
10/26/99: Children's needs must take priority in divorce system
10/19/99: The deadbeat dad is less a scoundrel than an object of pity
10/15/99: Bullying boys ... and girls
10/12/99: Divorced dads ready to wage a revolution
10/04/99: A father's best gift? His presence
09/30/99: Sorry, guys, Faludi is no friend of yours
09/28/99: Science's new findings: Scary future for families
09/23/99: The great blurring of need and want
09/21/99:Focus on more than baby's first 3 years
09/16/99: Commentary from kids sheds no light on day-care debate
09/14/99: Fathers' group seeks to right inequities
09/09/99: Son now has a license to grow up
09/07/99: A slap in the face of domestic violence
09/01/99: No, ma'am: Legislation on manners misses the mark
08/26/99: For better boys, try a little tenderness
08/24/99:The ABC's of campaign questions
08/19/99: Male 'sluts'
08/11/99: Language doesn't excuse bad behavior
08/09/99: When justice delayed is still justice
08/03/99: Unemployment? Not in this profession
07/30/99: It's not about race -- it's about crack babies
07/22/99: Tragedy tells us what's important
07/19/99: Study denouncing fathers sends danger signals
07/15/99:'Happy marriage' belongs in the Dictionary of Oxymorons next to 'deliciously low-fat.'
07/11/99: 'Brother Man': An American demagogue in Paris
07/08/99: Only parents can fix broken families
07/06/99: America is home, sweet home
07/01/99: Tales out of Yuppiedom
06/28/99: Men aren't the only abusers
06/23/99: Is the entire country guzzling LSD punch?
06/20/99: The voice remains -- as always -- there beside me 06/16/99:Stating the obvious, a new growth industry
06/14/99: Calling for a cease-fire in the gender war
06/10/99: We owe children an apology

©1999, Tribune Media Services