- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 9, 2018

James Woods, governor of California? Why not? The Golden State has a long history of electing leaders from the deep end of thespian pool. From Ronald Reagan to Arnold Schwarzenegger, Californian voters actually seem to enjoy casting ballots for Republican actors,” reads a petition launched Tuesday, which indeed is calling upon the politically attuned and aggressive Mr. Woods to throw his hat in the ring.

“An effort to shake up the California governor’s race by placing James Woods on the ballot is gathering steam. The online signature-gathering effort intends to assist fed-up Californians in taking a stand against one-party rule and the increasing likelihood that two Democrats will appear on November’s gubernatorial ballot amid a Republican shutout,” says talk radio host and conservative activist Melanie Morgan, a Marin County resident who is coordinating the effort to recruit Mr. Woods.

She is particularly adamant that Gavin Newsom, currently lieutenant governor of California and former mayor of San Francisco, get some competition when election time arrives.

“Californians deserve a choice in this year’s crucial election and it’s a mistake to allow Gavin Newsom to cakewalk right into the governorship without a fight,” Ms. Morgan says.

Mr. Woods, who staunchly supports President Trump, might prove a formidable foe. He has over 1 million Twitter followers, and his opinions are well-calibrated, timely, frequent and provocative. The competition, however, has attracted attention for other reasons. HBO host Bill Maher has proposed Mr. Newsom as a 2020 presidential candidate, a notion that such publications as the San Francisco Chronicle, GQ and The Hill already have broached. Ms. Morgan is tracking the developments and other political matters here

THE PROVERBIAL DROP IN THE BUCKET

President Trump has proposed spending $18 billion over the next decade to construct the new and improved border wall between the U.S. and Mexico. There is much ado about the cost. But one analyst offers a reality check.

“That $18 billion would equal just 0.0338 percent of the $53.128 trillion the Congressional Budget Office currently estimates the federal government will spend over that same 10-year period,” writes the meticulous Terence P. Jeffrey, editor in chief of CNSNews.com.

“It also equals only 2.7 percent of the money the federal government will spend on the food stamp program (the ‘Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program’), which will eat up $679 billion in the 10 fiscal years from 2018 through 2027, according to CBO’s estimate,” Mr. Jeffrey notes.

OPRAH WINFREY, JIMMY KIMMEL 2020

America went into Oprah-centric politics within moments of her Golden Globes speech. Practical observers have now arrived, wondering if Oprah Winfrey will run for president in 2020. President Trump himself — who has twice claimed she would make a good candidate — declared Tuesday that she would not run, and if she did, he would win the election anyway.

“Oprah might really be the Democrats’ best bet,” declares Matthew Walther, national correspondent for The Week who questions the effectiveness of such potential hopefuls as “septuagenarians” Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernard Sanders.

“Oprah’s political amorphousness is, apart from her name recognition, her greatest strength as a potential candidate. Oprah, like Trump, is a post-political politician. Politics as the dull business of governing or even the old-fashioned art of electioneering no longer exists in this country. Political life has been subsumed into the never-ending process of digital media consumption and 24/7 live-action role-playing that has also swallowed up everything from sports to family life to religion. Like Trump himself, who managed to be a billionaire largely because he was good at pretending to be one and marketed his act successfully, Oprah was a prophet of the age at which we have now arrived, the great champion of uninhibited emotion, the ethical pursuit of glamour, and consumption as a spiritual exercise,” Mr. Walter continues.

“I do not actually expect Oprah to run for president. This is in part because I think she is wiser than Trump and a much savvier businesswoman. Maybe the Democrats can ask Jimmy Kimmel instead,” he adds.

RUN, OPRAH, RUN

So, what if Oprah Winfrey does run for president in two years? The idea is open to interpretation.

“The question is, does she want to be demoted from queen of the universe to president of the United States? That’s the only question. If she wants to do it, she can do it. She is probably the most beloved human being on Earth. She is probably the most beloved carbon-based life form on Earth. If she runs, she will destroy anyone in front of her,” Van Jones, a CNN contributor, told the network.

“What could possibly feel better than voting for a smart, successful African-American woman who gives away cars on TV? It’s like election Oxy! What would Oprah Winfrey actually do as president? Who cares! Only haters ask questions like that. In modern American politics, what you would do just doesn’t matter. What matters is who you are. And there is no bigger ‘who’ in America than Oprah — aka Madame President,” points out radio host Michael Graham in a Boston Herald op-ed.

CONFIRMING WHAT IS ALREADY KNOWN

Some analysts have suggested that the Democratic Party is keenly interested in certain demographic groups primarily because of their potential to become vital voting blocs. A leaked in-house memo appears to confirm that.

“The fight to protect Dreamers is not only a moral imperative, it is also a critical component of the Democratic Party’s future electoral success,” reads a lengthy private advisory memo released Monday by Jennifer Palmieri, president of the Center for American Progress Action Fund, and Executive Director Navin Nayak, obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation.

“If Democrats don’t try to do everything in their power to defend Dreamers, that will jeopardize Democrats’ electoral chances in 2018 and beyond. In short, the next few weeks will tell us a lot about the Democratic Party and its long-term electoral prospects,” the advisory notes.

POLL DU JOUR

66 percent of U.S. employers plan to train and hire new workers with potential, 64 percent plan to hire recent college graduates.

58 percent report their job searches stay open for 12 weeks or more.

45 percent have jobs they can’t fill.

39 percent plan to hire former employees.

36 percent will increase salaries for existing staff, 30 percent for new employees.

Source: A CareerBuilder survey of 888 U.S. human resource managers conducted Nov. 28-Dec. 20, 2017, and released Tuesday.

Follow Jennifer Harper on Twitter @HarperBulletin

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