George W. and Oprah
by Timothy Rollins
I saw the Oprah Winfrey interview with Texas Governor George W. Bush and to tell you the truth, I was a little worried going into it. Oprah has made no secret of her liberal leanings and has made contributions to the Democratic Party going as far back as 1992. However, the show turned out to be remarkably fair and well balanced. It seems that Oprah fell back on her journalistic background and did a remarkable job in her interview.
Oprah is the queen of getting out the feelings in people. In her interview with the governor, she brought out that side of him which in all likelihood, will relate well with women. It may even close the gap between Bush and Gore and definitely negate any bounce that may have come with Gore's French kissing Tipper at the Convention last month, which I felt was as inappropriate as all get-out.
The program got off on a note that may cause problems for Gore. Whereas Gore greeted a disappointed Oprah with a handshake, Bush greeted her with the usual 'celebrity style' kiss on the cheek, which had Oprah in a pretty good mood. This action by Gore-the handshake-only served to reaffirm the statement made recently by a Georgia congresswoman when she stated that Gore had "a low Negro tolerance level".
With so much of the mainstream media covering the soft, warm fuzzy side of Al Gore, it was nice to see some of the personal side of Governor Bush come out for the benefit of the women who look for that in a candidate. This is especially true given who the current occupant of the White House is and his staining of the highest office in the land.
What I hope will come of the Oprah interviews is that both men and women will take a closer look at the candidates and study not just their warm side, but their stand on the issues as well. This will allow them to make an informed decision when they cast their ballots on November 7th. The course of action for the nation is at stake here-and not just for at least the next four years either. With all the problems that are going on in the world and with Clinton putting off as much as he can on his successor, the next Chief Executive must be counted on to put the nation's interests above his own. Al Gore is too closely tied to Clinton to really be his own man, and having Gore in the White House will just be four more years of Clinton. At that time, Hillary may mount her own bid for the Presidency and that would surprise no one.
So all in all, I must tip my hat to Oprah Winfrey for her interview with Governor Bush. It was well handled, and she showed him the appropriate respect due a sitting governor. She did not engage in any pit-bull tactics in her asking of questions and conducted the interview with a certain dignity that seems to be totally absent in so many of the other talk shows that are running on television, and for that, she should be commended.
Gore and Bush are the only politicians that Oprah has had on her show in the 15 seasons the show has been running and Oprah handled them both well. She has a powerful forum and means by which others set their schedules in order to catch her show daily.
Let us hope that others in the news and entertainment industry can follow Oprah's lead in this instance and seek to have a more balanced approach to the candidates-not only in this election, but also in all areas of the public arena.