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Maybe Obama Is Doing Paid Speeches Because He Thinks Big-Money Special Interests Are Fine


Maybe Obama Is Doing Paid Speeches Because He Thinks Big-Money Special Interests Are Fine

Ben Mathis-Lilley

The news that Barack Obama will be paid $400,000 to deliver a speech at a September health care conference sponsored by the Cantor Fitzgerald investment bank has provoked wildly different reactions among self-identified progressives. To generalize, one group thinks it's a big mistake for someone who aspires to remain prominent in progressive activism to participate in an event that perpetuates the "revolving door" influence of corporate special interests.


What would you have him do with the rest of his life? He never was one to cut brush on the ranch. I take no position on what he's reported to be receiving months from now.

Personally, I'd like to see him on the Supreme Court. But then I don't have much to say about any of it right now.


Obama was very good at concealing the 'Con' and making 'His' base believe he was a supporter of the masses first, the Corporations second.


Well, he could seek a job in the office of Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren. He's kinda young to be retired. I suppose it could be fun to go sailing with a billionaire who is apparently a member of the British Aristocracy now!


They both know all too well that wouldn't work. Once you've been President, you really can't "seek a job" anywhere because, like this article, everybody's looking at you and judging you and those who hire you.


"... the evidence suggests that his true feeling about big money in politics is that it's" simply a fact. Well, that's the way I see it. I hope to hell that we can eventually gain some traction against this, but with republicans likely in charge at the Supreme Court for decades, this hope may not amount to much. And any hope in Congress would likely need about a 75% majority of democrats (maybe 80%), and that is unlikely. If I was Obama, I'd take the money and try to do some good with it.


His was also going to be "the most transparent presidency ever" .. hahaha!
And he was going to "revisit NAFTA" but pursued TTP and TTIP instead ..
He perfected HRC's "two-messages" strategy - one for the masses, another for the bankers ..
I'm not the least bit surprised he's cashing in ..
As to "what else could he be doing" .. Jimmy Carter would be a good example to follow ..


Workers are "judged" every day in America, and they have to take it.

He could be elected as a senator from Illinois again, or be a Supreme Ct. justice or be a congressman or be a governor or a mayor . . . or work for any of these.

Perhaps he could write a book on big money in politics.


WTTW Channel 11, the Public Broadcasting station in Chicago, has a long running foo foo food show. Selected young foo foos dine at chic Chicago restaurants and report back their culinary judgements for the foo foo public. The young Barack Obama, an up and coming politico, was a participant in this group of chic cosmopolitan tasters. Maybe he and Branson will get together and partner up in the fine food business, that might even lead to their having their own brand of pots and pans, right up there with Emeril and the other pot pushers. Like many foo foo eateries, style, and being seen, is as important, or more important, than the food. Obama is part of this milieu, his administration was one style over substance, an appeal to the foo foo set, wasted years.


It's gonna put four hundred grand in his pocket. Maybe that's all the explanation required.


Are you kidding? Google Ex president salary and you see "For 2013, the amount was $199,700 per year.
This number does not take into account the extras the former leader is entitled to including a $96,000 stipend for office staff payroll and free postage for life."

He can do whatever the heck he wants and doesn't need to be paid by anybody. Why not work towards peace, abolishing nuclear weapons, homelessness, eradicating malaria or any other useful cause? I had my issues (as do many progressives) with Carter as President, but he managed to keep himself busy with useful projects after 1980.

I would be more disappointed if Sanders did such a thing - I expected as much from Obama (regardless of a few good things he did towards the end of his second term).


Let's review some of what happened during Obama's presidency.

The advisers who helped him run his inspiring 2008 campaign all became big-money corporate lobbyists.

He backed the Affordable Care Act's creation of a health-care system that's very generous to the health insurance and pharmaceutical industries, both of which were consulted extensively during the composition of the the bill.

He appointed bankers like Tim Geithner, Larry Summers, and William Daley to some of the most influential positions in his administration.

He chose not to push for criminal prosecutions of financial executives whose involvement in fraud had helped cause the 2008 economic crash.

But-but...he was so articulate, and didn't have such a bad haircut.

We all wish sooo much that he was back or Hillary had won so that Democrats could be dropping progressive bombs on civilians in Syria. (I read, and I have no confirmation, that the 'Mother of all Bombs' that Trump dropped on Afghanistan was a plan formulated during the Obama administration. Certainly the bomb itself existed long before Trump.)


I understand that Obama will be dedicating himself to getting money out of politics. He seems to be doing just that.

Direct Democracy


War and political corruption define The Empire.


(a) I know people at many points along the income spectrum to whom the amount of their pension is of less concern than what to do with their lives. The Obamas were never lie-around- luxuriants. I'm glad he's been having some fun.

(b) Does anyone have any information on the content of this "health-care conference" in September? Just because it's sponsored by an investment firm doesn't mean his speech will have no value to the world. I think he probably is working toward what matters to him. Note his first public appearance was an open-collar sitdown with millennials. Everybody's so glad to have a future commitment to twist their knickers over that they're not looking at the man. But again, as he said in his last State of the Union address, he's not running any more. It's not our business.

And yes, I agree that Carter is our greatest ex-Pres and sets a high-mark model. It's been less than 100 days since Obama's been off the hook. Give him a minute. How long was it before Carter moved on beyond Habitat for Humanity?


Venn Diagrams are so fun.

Imagine a circle of those who call themselves "Progressives" but are totally fine with Obama taking this enormous amount of money for one speech; in fact they defend it. (Some commenters here obviously fall in this circle.)

Then imagine a circle of those Democrats who really wanted Hillary to be president- and I'm not talking about those who held their noses and supported her winning because of lesser evil thinking and how bad Trump was (is.) I'm talking about those who 'loved her' and were enthused about her and believed it was her time. (Again we have some here in this circle.)

I wonder how much these circles overlap? You know what? I suspect they are pretty much congruous. (The posters here in one seem to be in the other, oh well.)

Personally, I think Obama is a POS and he fooled me in 2008. He's suave, cool, urbane, educated, and definitely knows how to speak to cultural liberals. But he's a Neo-Liberal and, while not as extreme as HRC, is a supporter of the American Imperial Project.

This nation, and the world because this nation is such a bully tramping all over it, is up poop creek because both parties are disgusting, the 1% own them both, the cultural conservative is captured by one due to manipulation of religion and patriotism, the cultural liberal is captured by the other due to phony identity politics, and the people and the workers aren't going to revolt until things get much worse, and they will get much worse, a lot worse- which is why we're up poop creek.


You are correct. What you have to say about this, your apologetics for corporate governance (what else is new) doesn't amount to much.

I mean gosh, what else can the man do?


Let's keep in mind the Obamas have a $65 million book deal with Penguin. $400K is chump change.

Democrats - the ones who really have influence in this party, like Obama - never miss an opportunity to show you that they don't give a sh-t about ordinary people.


Gosh my knickers are all twisted and corporate dominance of our government is none of my business.

(busily taking notes)


Reaching for a tissue. All this sentimentality for the man is really getting to me. I'm sobbing. Obama I'm really sorry!