Furor Over Obama Paid Speech Shows only Republicans are Allowed to Make Money
Republicans sure love them some Bernie Sanders.
I did not expect to be defending Bernie Sanders in an abortion-related controversy, but here we are. https://t.co/B5LARvtaj3
— Ramesh Ponnuru (@RameshPonnuru) April 25, 2017
It’s so wrong for the Democratic party to leave no space for abortion opponents. Like the GOP leaves for pro choice Republicans. Oh wait.
Bernie already had them but then he defended Ann Coulter:
— Nader Hashemi (@naderalihashemi) April 25, 2017
Few people have come out of the last few months looking better than Bernie https://t.co/Ik5aRksX2K
— Shadi Hamid (@shadihamid) April 25, 2017
So Hamid is impressed Bernie defends Ann Coulter. He isn’t so impressed with President Obama though:
I'm not a big fan of the whole he's a leftist but he has a boat genre but $400,000 for a speech is kinda absurd: https://t.co/hjiZxAM8n3
— Shadi Hamid (@shadihamid) April 25, 2017
So let me get it straight: Obama’s a bad guy for taking money for a speech. But Ann Coulter is a martyr for not being offered money for a speech?
I wasn't invited to Berkeley and given a fat check to speak. By the Coulter standard, my constitutional free speech rights are violated.
— Amanda Marcotte (@AmandaMarcotte) April 26, 2017
Very good question by Marcotte. When Hillary gave paid speeches Bernie castigated her and impugned her integrity. He didn’t call it ‘free speech.’ He sent his supporters to her rallies to throw dollar bills. But he thinks Coulter is a free speech martyr. She has a right to be paid for his racist filth.
But this all touches on a larger issue. Yglesias has a very interesting piece on this. Though I disagree with his conclusion I do think he sets it up well.
“Obama’s $400,000 Wall Street speaking fee will undermine everything he believes in”
“To fight the rising tide of populism, mainstream leaders need to raise their ethical game.”
Now I disagree entirely with this. What is so grating is the hypocrisy. Only Center Left liberals get hit with this canard. Basically if you’re a liberal and you make money in any sort of private endeavor then it’s ‘Aha, so you’re hypocrite.’
But Yglesias does at least admit there is a double standard.
“The fundamental concept of Donald Trump’s ethnonationalist demagoguery is that white middle-class Americans are locked in a zero-sum conflict with foreigners and ethnic minority groups. That’s Marine Le Pen’s message in France and Geert Wilders’s message in the Netherlands, and it is ugly and false.”
“Obama and other center-left leaders around the world do not espouse that view primarily, I think, because they believe it is simplistic and wrong. But a crucial vulnerability of center-left politics around the world is that their sincere conviction — a faith in the positive-sum nature of cosmopolitan values and appropriately regulated forms of global capitalism, tempered by a welfare state — is easily mistaken for corruption. The political right is supposed to be pro-business as a matter of ideological commitment. The progressive center is supposed to be empirically minded, challenging business interests where appropriate but granting them free rein at other times.”
“This approach has a lot of political and substantive merits. But it is invariably subject to the objection: really?”
“Did you really avoid breaking up the big banks because you thought it would undermine financial stability, or were you on the take? Did you really think a fracking ban would be bad for the environment, or were you on the take? One man’s sophisticated and pragmatic approach to public policy can be the other man’s grab bag of corrupt opportunism.”
“Leaders who sincerely care about the fate of the progressive center as a nationally and globally viable political movement need to push back against this perception by behaving with a higher degree of personal integrity than their rivals — not by accepting the logic that what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.”
So in other words, conservatives are allowed to make money. Liberals must take a vow of poverty to prove their not hypocrites.
“Perhaps my wrongest take of the 2016 campaign was issued right before Election Day, when I acknowledged that in the abstract Nate Silver was right that Hillary Clinton wasn’t a lock in the Electoral College but dismissed Donald Trump’s chances anyway because of Obama’s high approval ratings. Undecided voters would never break for Trump under those circumstances, I thought, since Obama and Clinton were so ideologically similar.”
“And so they were. But the gap between them on issues of corruption and personal integrity was enormous. The Clinton family had earned tens of millions of dollars over the years thanks to buckraking speaking fees that raised fundamental questions in people’s minds about the motives of both their public policy and their philanthropic work. The Obama family hadn’t.”
The Obama family hadn’t because they weren’t in that position to previously. Not that they are, they are prepared to make some money. In a way, Obama’s speech also vindicates Hillary. This proves one point I’ve made all along: She doesn’t have less integrity.
There is nothing lacking in integrity about making money per se. Or are we suddenly Marxists?
But it’s sad that people lose sight of policies for a phony issue like paid speeches-but only for the Center Left. The whole point of the Center Left is they believe there is both a government and free market role. Yglesias’ argument is to make this argument they have to take a personal vow of poverty.
“Beyond politicians’ speaking fees, people are, of course, troubled by larger questions of revolving doors between the private and public sectors. What would be nice would be to devise some convenient bright-line rule presidents could propose that would prevent the government from being suborned by special interest.”
Realistically, it can’t be done. “Nobody can ever work in the private sector before or after joining the government” isn’t a viable rule. What’s troubling isn’t any one specific case. It’s the sheer accumulation of them, leading to the perception that service in Democratic Party politics was viewed in general as just a stepping stone to a higher-paid gig in New York or Silicon Valley.”
But this seems to be the premise: that liberals have to prove they’re not hypocrites by basically never having made a cent in the private sector before they were in office or after. Yglesias concedes that conservatives are held to lower standards but just thinks that’s the way the cookie crumbles-can’t be changed.
“You see from the success of Emmanuel Macron in France and Justin Trudeau in Canada (or before them Helle Thorning-Schmidt in Denmark) that center-left politics remains perfectly viable around the world when its leaders are trusted. But you also see from the ongoing meltdown of the UK Labour Party how the perception that Tony Blair used his prime ministership primarily to vault himself into the ranks of the global financial elite can poison a political tendency’s reputation. The Blair years saw historic reductions in inequality and child poverty, but Blairism has become a swear word to Labour’s own members because it is seen as lacking integrity.”
A totally illogical attitude to take but ‘that’s the way the cookie crumbles.’ Let’s just have Tory rule forever.
“Populist nationalists, for better or for worse, are held to a lower standard in this regard precisely because they are committed to a zero-sum politics. As Princeton University’s Jan-Werner Müller writes in his excellent short book on populist authoritarianism, “[T}he perception among supporters of populists is that corruption and cronyism are not genuine problems as long as they look like measures pursued for the sake of a moral, hardworking ‘us’ and not for the immoral or even foreign ‘them.’”
This whole meme makes no sense. That liberals have to take a poverty vow but Trump and Ivanka can do what they like.
In fact wealthy liberals who seek higher taxes for themselves are people who really believe in US Government. As Obama himself used to say5/
— KG (@kmgunder) April 26, 2017
This is what never made any sense. Hillary’s platform was not what Wall St wanted. But that didn’t matter just that she hadn’t taken a poverty vow.
P.S. As we saw in my poll out last week, the long awaited poll results are in, and right now I’m just 11 points down vs. Peter King (GOP-NY-District 2). And the voters don’t even know who I am yet.
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