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A new era of celebrity presidents

Heather Wilhelm uses a National Review Online column to contrast public reactions to two inexperienced celebrities as potential American presidents.

Donald Trump, it is fair to say, is not boring. He’s also our first official inexperienced celebrity president, ready to pump up the volume to 11 and beyond. Over the past year, various pundits have huddled, yeoman-like, huffing and puffing about how this whole situation is “not normal” and tragic and terrifying and the end the world as we know it. Amusingly, for an alarming number of those very same pundits, it took only one special lady, a goofy Hollywood awards show, and a week of frenzied headlines to rip off a series of sanctimonious masks. If the inexperienced celebrity president turns out to be Oprah, you see, it would be not only perfectly okay for the nation but “healing” to boot!

I mean, seriously, people. The woman gave one decent speech at the Golden Globes and suddenly we’re apparently ready to hoist a beaming Mao-style Oprah statue over the Washington Mall. The lesson seems fairly clear: Boring, at least for the moment, is over in American politics, and the “shrinking violet” presidency is a gravely endangered species. This is a bipartisan phenomenon. It is not limited to Donald Trump.

What is seemingly limited to Donald Trump, however, is an extra-special ability to drive the media over the edge. If you’ve been paying attention, Donald Trump’s first year as president has gone far better than most of his election-season critics — including yours truly — expected. We have seen multiple embarrassments and glitches. We have also seen a series of significant successes. I humbly suggest that we wait and see what comes.

Mitch Kokai / Senior Political Analyst

Mitch Kokai is senior political analyst for the John Locke Foundation. He joined JLF in December 2005 as director of communications. That followed more than four years as chie...

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