The editorial board of the New York Times released a piece Monday titled “The Cost of Barack Obama’s Speech” which discusses the $400,000 price tag on the former president’s scheduled speaking engagement on Wall Street. Beginning with a quote by Obama himself on how fundraising disconnected him from the people he began his political career to protect as he found himself among the ranks of the 1 percent, the piece timidly suggests that America’s first black president could have broken the recently established post-presidential mold and chosen not to profit from his position by raking in ludicrous speaking fees.
In an email to staff members, Truthdig Editor-in-Chief Robert Scheer remarked on what the newspaper conspicuously left out of its commentary.
“The Times avoids the Obama payoff to Wall Street’s lavish financing of both of his presidential bids: a continuation of the massive Bush bailout of the very banks that created the Great Recession while doing next to nothing to aid the tens of millions of beleaguered homeowners swindled by his Wall Street underwriters,” writes Scheer.
Read an excerpt of the Times piece below and the rest here.
Since Gerald Ford enriched himself with speaking fees and board memberships after leaving office, every former president but Jimmy Carter has supped often at the corporate table. It’s not beyond imagining that Mr. Obama could break with a practice whose ills he observed so astutely, and which contributed to the downfall of the Democrat he hoped would cement his legacy. The tens of millions that Hillary Clinton raised from speaking to corporate interests most likely haunts her now — or should.
The Obamas are starting a foundation whose work will include “training and elevating a new generation of political leaders in America,” Eric Schultz, an Obama adviser, said in a statement. “President Obama will deliver speeches from time to time. Some of those speeches will be paid, some will be unpaid, and regardless of venue or sponsor, President Obama will be true to his values, his vision, and his record.”
The Democratic Party badly needs such an example to follow. As the presidential election clarified so painfully, the traditional party of working people has lost touch with them. In a poll released last week, more than two-thirds of voters, including nearly half of Democrats themselves, said the Democratic Party is out of touch with the concerns of the American people. For the first time in memory, Democrats are seen as more out of touch with ordinary Americans than the party’s political opponents. There’s little doubt that Democratic leaders’ unseemly attachment to the party’s wealthiest donors contributed to that indictment.
Posted by Natasha Hakimi Zapata
Posted by The NON-Conformist