The Very Serious People got all worked up that Bill and Hillary Clinton make a lot of money making speeches: oh how unseemly and nefarious it is to cash in on their public service.
They’re not the only ones doing it, of course.
As critics over the years have chided Bill Clinton and also his wife for the industriousness with which they have pursued opportunities to get paid a lot of money in this manner, Bush, too, has been doing exactly what he said he would be doing.
Since 2009, POLITICO has found, Bush has given at least 200 paid speeches and probably many more, typically pocketing $100,000 to $175,000 per appearance. The part-time work, which rarely requires more than an hour on stage, has earned him tens of millions of dollars.
Relative to the Clintons, though, he’s attracted considerably less attention, almost always doing his paid public speaking in private, in convention centers and hotel ballrooms, resorts and casinos, from Canada to Asia, from New York to Miami, from all over Texas to Las Vegas a bunch, playing his part in what has become a lucrative staple of the modern post-presidency.
The difference is that George W. Bush is a Republican, so it’s okay. In fact, it’s as American as open carry. And another blessing is that his contract states his speeches can’t be recorded, which spares us hearing him talk. If I wanted to hear him, I wouldn’t pay $150,000; I’d go to Youtube.