President Barack Obama is once again receiving big-money fees for giving talks to financial firms, according to a new report from Bloomberg, but is that really so bad?
First, the new facts: Bloomberg reported Monday that Obama spoke before the Carlyle Group last week, at the famed private equity company’s headquarters in Washington, D.C., where he reminisced about his White House days and talked “policy.” The former president was criticized back in April as he was making his return to the public stage when it emerged that he’d accepted a $400,000 fee for agreeing to speak at a health care conference sponsored by Cantor, Fitzgerald, an investment banking firm that lost more than 600 people on 9/11.
That speech will be taking place next week at a three-day event organised by Cantor Fitzgerald for current and prospective clients where he will make remarks and take questions. Now, Bloomberg has reported that in addition to the speech he is due to give next week, the former president has already been paid $800,000 for two speeches he delivered to Wall Street firms – Northern Trust Corp, which he spoke to last month, and an the Carlyle Group address last week to the Carlyle Group.
The question most people seem not able to answer is about whether it matters that Mr Obama is lining his pockets with Wall Street money after his presidency? I think that the answer you get depends on how you look at it. One school of thought will say he’s no longer president, so it doesn’t matter that he’s getting rich from Wall Street money, while another will say it matters because it shows why his policies were very kind to Wall Street.
I’m of the school of thought which believes that it matters very much in the sense that it helps us understand Mr Obama’s hesitancy in dealing any kind of punishment on Wall Street during his presidency. It also helps us make sense, though belatedly, of all his Wall Street favoring policies. It helps us understand why he did not push for any legislation that would have reined in the excesses of the Wall Street banks, as he promised to do during his election campaign.
While it might not matter in the same way that Hillary Clinton’s did because Mr Obama isn’t expected to have any further ambition of running for a political office, it would still matter when he begins to endorse candidates for electoral positions, as he will most likely be doing in the future. So, yes, he isn’t likely going to run for office ever again, so we can’t hold him personally accountable, but we can, and will remember this when he begins to endorse.
His getting paid by these Wall Street firms has confirmed to us what he truly is, and will make whoever he endorses for any political office a Wall Street agent like himself, which will promptly disqualify them in the eyes of all true liberals and progressives.
Therefore, while Mr Obama can cash his earned checks from Wall Street and get away with it, his political reputation has not survived unscathed. That is a good thing for all true liberals because it has done the work of finally removing any lingering doubts they might have had left about Mr Obama’s true political ideological leaning.