Larry Elder

Now compare Obama's background to that of Oprah Winfrey. Winfrey, by contrast, was born to unwed teenage parents in Mississippi. She was raised by her grandmother until the age of 6, when she was sent to live with her mother in Milwaukee. She was raped by a cousin when she was 9, and later molested by a friend of her mother's and by an uncle. She never told anybody about the abuse, but repeatedly ran away and got into trouble. At 14, she gave birth to a boy, who died shortly after birth. An apparently out-of-control Oprah was sent to live with her father in Nashville. Her father, who had been serving in the armed forces at the time of her birth, enforced strict rules and discipline, including curfews and high grades in school. He required his daughter to read a book every week and write a book report on it.

Hope for minorities in America?

If black America were a separate country, its earned income was $679 billion in 2004. How many blacks know that blacks serve as CEOs for Time Warner, American Express and Merrill Lynch? Only 3 percent of registered voters said they could never vote for a black, and 4 percent said they could never vote for a woman. Care to name the most powerful star in America? Black actor Will Smith. The total worldwide box office of Smith's films exceeds $4 billion!

About Obama, Winfrey said, "I'm reading his book right now called 'The Audacity of Hope,' and I think his sense of hope and optimism for this country and what is possible for the United States is the kind of thing that I would like to get behind."

Yes, some day American voters will elect a black president. "60 Minutes" interviewed Winfrey just as her talk show went national. Asked about her future, she said that she considered her future so bright that it "blinds my eyes." Indeed. Her astonishing success shows that the "hope" express left the station a long time ago.

Larry Elder

Larry Elder is a best-selling author and radio talk-show host. To find out more about Larry Elder, or become an "Elderado," visit