President Obama, the preeminent crusader against the evils of Wall Street, took some heat from his Progressive pals a few weeks ago when it emerged that as his first paid speech appearance he would receive $400,000 for roughly an hour of his time from, well, Wall Street, or rather Cantor Fitzgerald.
But the irony didn't end there. In an effort to combat the public outcry, the beloved former President defended his efforts by arguing that the decision to take $400,000 from Cantor Fitzgerald couldn't possibly mean that he's a sellout because, well, he already sold out to Wall Street during his initial Presidential campaign back in 2008. You can't sell out again if you've already sold out before...come on people, it doesn't work that way. Here is part of his actual statement:
"With regard to this or any speech involving Wall Street sponsors, I'd just point out that in 2008, Barack Obama raised more money from Wall Street than any candidate in history - and still went on to successfully pass and implement the toughest reforms on Wall Street since FDR."
But, according to the Express, the $400,000 fee from Cantor is nothing compared to the $3.2 million that President Obama got for his speech in Milan at the Seeds and Chips gathering in Milan today, a conference on the impact that technology, innovation and climate change will have on food availability and production worldwide.
“Thanks this edition of Seeds&Chips and thanks to President Barack H. Obama’s extraordinary participation in the Global Food Innovation Summit, the city of Milano - and Italy – are once again the world hub of food and food innovation, a journey that began with Expo 2015,” stated Marco Gualtieri, founder and Chairman of Seeds&Chips. “New technologies can offer us the solutions to tackle some of the major global challenges: food security, nutrition, combatting waste, sustainability and climate change. I believe that Italy can be a key player in this sector by joining innovation and our long-standing tradition of excellence in food. There are hundreds of startups, businesses and companies who are active in this field and at Seeds & Chips our overall goal is to gather them all under one roof with a synergistic action that will enable Milano and Italy to become an international reference point for innovation in food and food-tech”.
So why is this possible? Can Obama really drop $3.2mm worth of knowledge in 1.5 hours? Of course not. Dilbert creator Scott Adams describes the post-presidency speaking circuit best as a "Pre-bribe":
It is illegal to bribe a president. But it is totally legal to pre-bribe one.
Here’s how a pre-bribe works.
When a president leaves office, you offer the ex-president an enormous speaking fee. Let’s say $400,000. The ex-president does the speech and banks the money. The ex-president has no power at that point, so the speaking fee can’t be seen as a bribe because there is no quid pro quo.
But what about the president that is in office while this happens? Do you think the current president notices when the the prior president gets a $400,000 payday for an hour of work?
It would be hard to miss.
So let’s say the company that hired the ex-president asks for a meeting with the current president. Do you think the company gets that meeting? And do you think the current president bends over backwards to get them whatever they need?
He does if he wants a $400,000 payday after leaving office. That’s a pre-bribe.
And here is what $3.2 million will buy you...1.5 hours of invigorating knowlege transfer fromthe former POTUS: