The Pimping Of Politics

Ben Smith wonders how paid speaking gigs change politics:

Buried in its profile of Ann Coulter, the Times reports that she makes 90% of her income on paid speeches, and recently charged $25,000 to speak at the Wake County Republican Women’s Club in Raleigh.

Those hefty figures are a glimpse at what is, in some ways, the real economy of politics. Most of the people you see talking on television or quoted in stories -- who aren't in elected office -- make substantial parts of their livings giving speeches to private groups. Paid speaking, cleaner than lobbying, easier than the practice of law, cleaner than hitting up pension funds, well, safer than graft, has become the primary source of income for a broad range of political figures, beginning with Bill Clinton, who reported $7.5 million from paid speech in 2009.

Twenty years ago, Jake Weisberg outed the journalists who were following the corporate money on the speaking circuit as "buck-rakers." Now the journalists are upped by performance artists like Coulter. Cable news is where they pimp themselves. The actual whoring takes place elsewhere. Follow up here.

2006-2011 archives for The Daily Dish, featuring Andrew Sullivan

Life as an Obama Impersonator

"When you think you're the president, you just act like you are above everybody else."

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

VIdeo

Life as an Obama Impersonator

"When you think you're the president, you just act like you are above everybody else."

Video

Things Not to Say to a Pregnant Woman

You don't have to tell her how big she is. You don't need to touch her belly.

Video

Maine's Underground Street Art

"Graffiti is the farthest thing from anarchy."

Video

The Joy of Running in a Beautiful Place

A love letter to California's Marin Headlands

Video

'I Didn't Even Know What I Was Going Through'

A 17-year-old describes his struggles with depression.

Just In