As the Democratic Party’s base has become increasingly progressive, its leaders have resorted to demonizing the “top 1 percent” and Wall Street bankers during campaign season. No one benefitted from such weaponized rhetoric more than Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaObama says US 'desperately needs' Biden legislation ahead of key votes Obamas to break ground Tuesday on presidential center in Chicago A simple fix can bring revolutionary change to health spending MORE during his 2008 presidential campaign. He smeared Wall Street “fat cats” time after time on the trail.
“I did not run for office to be helping out a bunch of fat cat bankers on Wall Street,” he said in December 2009.
Now, only months after he’s left the White House, Obama is set to receive $400,000 from those very same fat cats for a one-hour speech at a conference put on by the investment firm Cantor Fitzgerald. That’s nearly 10 times more than the average U.S. yearly salary, just for one speech. It’s also double the amount that the Clinton’s infamously charge for similar speeches.
Of course, Obama is a private citizen now and can do whatever he pleases to earn income; but the massive payment is the height of hypocrisy since Obama utilized anti-Wall Street remarks to propel himself into the White House. He had no problem trashing fat cat bankers when it was politically convenient; and now he has no problem accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars from those same bankers when it’s financially convenient.
It’s all about personal enrichment, apparently.
Ultimately, however, this shouldn’t come as a surprise to anybody. Politicians from both parties regularly cash out when their terms are up. Former George W. Bush, for example, made millions off of at least 200 speeches, pocketing between $100,000 to $175,000 per appearance, after leaving office. But Democrats — especially “class warriors” like Obama — end up looking like the bigger hypocrites since they are the ones who constantly and flagrantly rail against “greedy,” rich businessmen and bankers.
Since the $400,000 payment was announced, Obama has faced zero criticism from fellow Democratic politicians. Even the likes of Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenIn defense of share buybacks Democrats urge Biden to go all in with agenda in limbo In Washington, the road almost never taken MORE—who loves criticizing the 1 percent, despite being in the 1 percent herself — have remained muted. Meanwhile, Obama has been slammed by Republicans, and is even being criticized by the mainstream media.
The Washington Post, hardly viewed as a tough Obama critic, wrote, “The brand of populism clearly has a very broad appeal, and now Democrats are being put in the position of deciding whether their former president should take $400,000 from Wall Street for a speech. At least, it risks suggesting the party’s anti-Wall Street posture is in some cases just that — posturing.”
And that, it seems, is the core of the problem. Those on the left regularly claim to stand for the working class and the little people. But over the last several decades, the Democratic Party have morphed into an out-of-touch party for the rich and elite. Their rhetoric is simply that — rhetoric — and doesn’t match up with the actions of many Democratic politicians.
The fact is that the fat cats love the Democratic Party. Under Obama, Wall Street got richer and the stock market tripled. Meanwhile, Main Street America floundered while good-paying manufacturing positions were lost to minimum wage jobs. Then in 2016, the fat cats at America’s private equity firms and hedge funds gave $48 million to Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonDemocrats worry negative images are defining White House Heller won't say if Biden won election Whitmer trailing GOP challenger by 6 points in Michigan governor race: poll MORE’s campaign — they only gave $19,000 to Trump.
Voters may be starting the notice the Democrats’ Wall Street hypocrisy. A new ABC News /Washington Post poll shows that if the election were held again today, Trump still would beat Clinton — and he would win the popular vote, too. Indeed, the poll “finds no evidence of buyer’s remorse among Trump supporters.” The Democrats are struggling with party identity; if the party’s leaders don’t practice what they preach, it’s only going to hurt them come election time.
Many people voted for Trump, in part, because he won’t be able to enrich himself from the office of the presidency. He is already a billionaire. Most Americans believe he would never give speeches to Wall Street just to make a quick buck after leaving office. He does not want or need Wall Street’s money. It’s refreshing to finally have someone in office who cannot be bought or sold.
Kristin Tate is a conservative columnist and author of the book "Government Gone Wild: How D.C. Politicians Are Taking You For a Ride And What You Can Do About It." She was recently named one of NewsMax's "30 Most Influential Republicans Under 30." Follow her on Twitter @KristinBTate.
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