- The Washington Times - Monday, January 8, 2018

“Know this: Our media is now actively advocating an Oprah run for president because nothing in the history of clicks and ratings would be better for business than Trump vs. Winfrey,” says Joe Concha, media columnist for The Hill.

“Oprah versus Trump would be ratings gold for the news media,” agrees Instapundit columnist Ed Driscoll, who adds that the idea of Oprah Winfrey launching a campaign for president also could serve as an effective distraction from Hollywood’s other recent ills — like sexual misconduct or dwindling box office revenues.

For the moment, however, the press is in love. Ms. Winfrey emerged as an instant heroic figure in the avalanche of coverage that followed her speech at the Golden Globe Awards on Sunday night — some soaring oratory that quickly prompted media admirers to insist she run for the White House. The Huffington Post called Ms. Winfrey’s moment “powerful.” She was leading a “decisive feminist takeover” as far as The New Yorker was concerned, while Forbes called her the star of the show. Quartz proclaimed “Hail to the chief, Oprah Winfrey is president now.”

Even Bill Kristol, editor at large for The Weekly Standard, offered not one but nine tweets on Monday parsing out the idea, beginning with “Oprah. #ImWithHer.”

Mr. Kristol followed with more substantial fare, noting, “Oprah: Sounder on economics than Bernie Sanders, understands Middle America better than Elizabeth Warren, less touchy-feely than Joe Biden, more pleasant than Andrew Cuomo, more charismatic than John Hickenlooper.”

He got in a perfunctory jab at President Trump as well: “And, of course: Oprah came from infinitely more challenging circumstances than Trump, is wealthier than Trump, has read more books than Trump, is more stable than Trump, and isn’t under investigation by the Justice Department unlike Trump.”

Billboard already has created a poll asking “Should Oprah run for president in 2020?” So far, about three-fourths of the respondents back the idea — which seems to appear and disappear on public radar at regular intervals. We’ve been here before.

Multiple journalists have recalled that Mr. Trump once hinted he’d run for president on a 1988 edition of “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” Eleven years later, the would-be president praised Ms. Winfrey as a potential campaigner, prompting The New York Daily News to run a cover story in 1999 headlined “The Donald tells the world I want to be prez, says he’s pick Oprah for running mate.”

Oh, but wait. Less than a year ago, Ms. Winfrey informed The Hollywood Reporter that she would “never run for public office” — which creates a convenient cliff-hanger, the most lucrative script of all.

AND THAT’S THAT

Is there a chance for reconciliation between former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon and President Trump? The nation has been subjected to four days of frenzy among insiders and journalists who were delighted by Mr. Bannon’s less-than-flattering contributions to “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House,” by Michael Wolff. A truce does not seem likely at this point.

“The president has made his views very clear about what we think of Steve Bannon, his conduct, which hasn’t changed of late. Steve Bannon’s comments in the book were inappropriate. Frankly, this book would not exist without Steve Bannon’s cooperation. We think it’s highly inappropriate and frankly, look, the president said it, the man has lost his mind, and good riddance,” White House Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah told Fox News anchor Harris Faulkner on Monday afternoon.

TENDING TO THE BORDER AGENTS

President Trump still has the border wall on his to-do list. Following his State of the Union address his month, Mr. Trump will journey to San Diego, California, to survey eight prototypes for the new barrier to be built between the U.S. and Mexico. The impressive concrete and steel structures loom like monuments just outside of town, standing 30 feet tall and 25 feet wide.

Congress, meanwhile, is addressing the needs of those law enforcement stalwarts who patrol and manage these often remote and dangerous border areas on a day-to-day basis.

On Tuesday, the House Border and Maritime Security Subcommittee will hold a pertinent hearing on Capitol Hill titled “On the Line: Border Security From an Agent and Officer Perspective.”

The witnesses include Brandon Judd, president of the National Border Patrol Council; Jon Anfinson, president of Local 2366, a border agent union in Del Rio, Texas; Rosemarie Pepperdine, a union representative of Local 2544 in Tucson, Arizona; and Anthony M. Reardon, president of the President National Treasury Employees Union.

“At this hearing, we will hear the border security perspective on a wide range of issues including: an increase in the number of assaults, hiring and retention challenges, and a firsthand look at the border security needs of the agents and officers charged with securing the border both at and between the ports of entry,” notes Rep. Martha McSally, Arizona Republican and subcommittee chairwoman. See the hearing streamed live at 10 a.m. ET here

MR. POMPEO CLEARS THE AIR

The tedious discussion of Michael Wolff’s new book “Fire and Fury” continues at a persistent dull roar. It has prompted one cabinet official, however, to clear the air on the author’s suggestion that President Trump is mentally unfit for office.

“The president said he is a stable genius. Is he?” John Dickerson, moderator of CBS’ “Face the Nation,” asked CIA Director Mike Pompeo on Sunday.

“I’m with the president nearly every day. We engage in complex conversations about some of the most weighty matters facing the world. I deliver to him this exquisite product that’s been developed by my officers. He engages in a way that shows his understanding of the complexity. He asks really hard questions. He delivers policy outcomes based on the information that we provide him,” Mr. Pompeo replied.

POLL DU JOUR

50 percent of Americans say they regularly get their news from television.

37 percent of that group say they “often” rely on local TV for their news; 36 percent of Republicans, 38 percent of Democrats, 41 percent of women and 33 percent of men agree.

28 percent rely on cable TV news; 32 percent of Republicans, 26 percent of Democrats, 28 percent of women and 29 percent of men agree.

26 percent rely on network TV news; 21 percent of Republicans, 30 percent of Democrats, 27 percent of women and 24 percent of men agree.

Source: A Pew Research Center American Trends poll of 4,971 U.S. adults conducted Aug. 8-21, 2017, and released Friday.

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