It’s the height of hypocrisy.
Seriously, it could not be any more hypocritical, or it would just sound made up.
Former President Barack Obama is hauling in millions from Wall Street banks — the very institutions he harangued throughout both of his presidential campaigns.
Throughout their political careers, both Hillary Clinton and Mr. Obama berated banks and the “fat cats” who run them as heartless corporations (while filling their own pockets with their cash). Mrs. Clinton made millions giving speeches to the huge financial institutions, swatting away charges of hypocrisy. This apparently didn’t really sell with Mr. and Mrs. America, who didn’t elect her president.
Now it’s Mr. Obama’s turn to make bank.
Last month he spoke to clients of Northern Trust Corp. for about $400,000, a person familiar with his appearance told Bloomberg News.
But that’s not a one-off. “Last week, he reminisced about the White House for Carlyle Group LP, one of the world’s biggest private equity firms, according to two people who were there,” Bloomberg wrote.
Bloomberg went on to note that he would “give a keynote speech at investment bank Cantor Fitzgerald LP’s health-care conference,” which happened Monday.
You can bet they brought a hefty chunk of change: The Cantor Fitzgerald speech was worth about $400,000, according to Agence France-Presse, citing “a person briefed on Obama’s planned appearance.”
And not every paid appearance by Mr. Obama is even known.
“Obama’s appearance at the Carlyle conference in Washington was previously unreported. The private equity giant has enjoyed some of the best political connections in the world, with executives and advisers who have included former presidents, prime ministers and cabinet secretaries. Obama discussed his life and the decisions he made in the White House, the people who heard him said,” according to last week’s Bloomberg report.
At his apparent going rate, just those three speaking engagements we know about brought Mr. Obama a $1.2 million haul. He hasn’t even been out of office a year, and the very places he bashed while in office are paying him big bucks to swing by and speak.
So of course the media has been all over the story, exposing the raw hypocrisy, right? Wrong. Totally wrong. No one’s said hardly a word, barely a peep.
Mrs. Clinton made 92 total paid speeches between 2013 and 2015, just after leaving her job as secretary of state, and charged anywhere from $250,000 to $300,000, according to reports. Using the low end of that scale, she pulled down $23 million — much of it from places like Goldman Sachs and other Wall Street financial institutions.
If Mr. Obama follows that path, he’ll haul in nearly $37 million before the 2018 midterm elections.
And he doesn’t even need the money. He and wife Michelle reportedly will be paid $60 million for their memoirs. The couple owns three or four houses (who can keep track), in Hawaii, Palm Springs, Chicago and beyond.
So why do it? Why risk the horrible media reports that could come in the face of such craven hypocrisy?
Because he can. And he knows no one will say boo. He’s right, too.
Remember: If you point out the former president’s hypocrisy, you’re a racist.
• Joseph Curl has covered politics for 25 years, including 12 years as White House correspondent at The Washington Times. He can be reached at email@example.com and on Twitter at @josephcurl.