Oprah Vs Sarah

If I were a celebrity, I would never get publicly involved in a political race. Know why? Because the wider your appeal is to the public, the more popular you are and, therefore, the more money you make — and when you start getting involved in partisan politics, you alienate half the population.

That brings us to Oprah Winfrey. Oprah has gone all out for Barack Obama and now, she is refusing to give Sarah Palin a slot on her show,

“The item in today’s Drudge Report is categorically untrue. There has been absolutely no discussion about having Sarah Palin on my show. At the beginning of this Presidential campaign when I decided that I was going to take my first public stance in support of a candidate, I made the decision not to use my show as a platform for any of the candidates. I agree that Sarah Palin would be a fantastic interview, and I would love to have her on after the campaign is over.”

Now certainly, it’s Oprah’s show and she can do what she wants with it, but by supporting Barack Obama and refusing to allow Sarah Palin to appear on her show, she just gave the finger to every conservative woman who watches her show — and for what? I have to tell you, as far as I can see, Oprah’s support hasn’t done much of anything to help Barack Obama.

That’s usually the way it goes, by the way. There are only a handful of cases in the last few years when a celebrity has made any difference at all in a political campaign (Chuck Norris and Michael J. Fox are the only two that immediately come to mind).

Along these same lines, Heart getting all huffy about the McCain campaign using Barracuda as a theme for Sarah Palin is a similarly dumb mistake. It’s a twenty year old song and having it associated with the McCain campaign can only make more money for Heart, while complaining about Palin using it can only take money out of Heart’s pocket.

What’s wrong with taking the sort of classy approach that Big Boi from OutKast did when he found out their song, Bombs over Baghdad was being used to rally the troops?

“We make a record and then it is up to people to take what they want from it,” he said by phone this week from his home base in Atlanta. “We explain a song when people ask, but we can’t control how they feel about it.

“In our case, fans know where we stand pretty much. I talk to them in the street all the time. I really think Bush should have gone through the United Nations before going over there. But once the fighting starts, everything changes.

“You have guys over there with families here, and you have to support the troops and pray for them. So, if the song helps them keep their spirits up, I don’t have a problem with that.”

See? He still got his message out, that he opposed the war, but he did it in a way that didn’t turn anyone off. That’s smart. If you’re a professional entertainer, there are a lot of ways you can make an impact on the world WITHOUT alienating your fans. Oprah, Heart, and some of these other churlish celebs would be better off if they figured that out.

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