- - Wednesday, July 23, 2014


Many of the Democrats who tell the world from the bumpers of their hybrids that they’re “Ready for Hillary 2016,” regard Hillary Clinton as something of a rock star. She does, too.

The former secretary of state expects to get $275,000 for a speech to a school, a charity or even a capitalist enterprise with more money than it needs. Her fee sometimes exceeds that of the likes of Paris Hilton, the heiress who’s famous for being famous and who got a cool quarter of a million not long ago for thrilling the guests with her presence at an A-list birthday party at a Lake Tahoe casino.

A class warrior like Mrs. Clinton understands that the average Joe could get the wrong idea from all those zeroes on the check. She’s really just one of us; not so long ago her family was “not only dead broke, but in debt.” She assuages the liberal conscience by donating her speaker’s fees to the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation. That sounds selfless, but Bill, Hillary and Chelsea and their foundation are one and the same.

Whether she likes it or not (and we think she likes it), she qualifies for entry to the “1 percenter” club after less than a day’s work. The Harry Walker Agency, the speakers bureau, commands a premium price for her services. A university, industry trade association or other organization eager to hear her talk about her books must agree to her terms.

The nonprofit Public Accountability Initiative filed a freedom-of-information request to see her contract with the University of Buffalo for a $275,000 speech there last year. She answered a few questions, too. The contract ran to nine pages, close to the length of her speech. She specified that the university provide “a presidential glass panel teleprompter and a qualified operator” and “a fee of $1,000 for the services of a stenographer” to transcribe the eloquence for posterity and “solely for [Mrs. Clinton‘s] records.”

The contract spelled out everything, including requirements that the auditorium where she is to speak must be “a well-heated, lighted and licensed place for the appearance, in good condition,” and that Mrs. Clinton must have “final approval” of every detail. She decides who introduces her and must approve all “sets, backdrops, banners, scenery, logos, settings, etc.”

The nation’s former top diplomat insists on the “openness” for which she was not famous in Foggy Bottom, insisting that reporters be barred at receptions before her speech. All photography must be approved in advance in writing, and no recording or broadcast of the speech is permitted.

“The topic, format and length of the lecture or speech shall … be at the sole discretion of Speaker,” the contract further stipulates. “The only approved speech title will be ‘Remarks by Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.’” Accurate, perhaps, but not very imaginative.

But if Mrs. Clinton really wants the life of a rock star, she must raise her game with more creative demands. One famous rock group, Van Halen, insisted not only on getting a bowl of M&Ms, but that the brown ones must be removed from the bowl before the band arrives.

Mrs. Clinton is entitled to cash in on her fame for as long as she can. There’s a sucker born every minute, as P.T. Barnum is said to have never said. But the poverty act should get the hook. It’s at the top of the list of the things nobody believes.

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