No matter that he has more than a year to go before actually quitting the premises and entering private life. Just because he is still a public servant doesn't mean he can't get a head start on the grifting sweepstakes. As a matter of fact, he got started on his
Obama has appointed a special White House aide whose only task is to ensure that his final year and half in office serves as a "glide path" to a rich and rewarding future.
He has designated Hollywood director Steven Spielberg chief scriptwriter for the narrative of his life. He fully intends to keep glamorizing, and doubtlessly fictionalizing, his biography. The I Am Legend show will continue.
And Obama has every intention of remaining a powerful leader of the free world, a sort of emperor emeritus influence peddler with star power:
Obama doesn't want to emulate Bill and Hillary Clinton, who (notwithstanding the Lincoln Bedroom rentals) foolishly waited until they were out of office before starting their own grift in earnest. Not only were they dead broke when they left the White House, they discovered to their chagrin that their sudden loss of hard, official power and influence really put a dent in fund-raising for their library and family foundation. The Clintons were not in a position to trade favors for quite awhile. Hillary was right about having to work really, really hard over many years to amass all those millions.In their conversations with Mr. Obama and his advisers, people from Silicon Valley and Hollywood are pressing for a heavy reliance on cutting-edge technology in the library that would help spread the story of Mr. Obama’s presidency across the globe. Ideally, one adviser said, a person in Kenya could put on a pair of virtual reality goggles and be transported to Mr. Obama’s 2008 speech on race in Philadelphia.Some discussions at the dinners have focused on the role Mr. Obama might play internationally after the diplomatic opening with Cuba, the nuclear deal with Iran, the confrontations with Russia and the drawdown of American forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Therefore, the Obamas have already begun hosting a whole series of ego-stroking late-night schmooze-fests with the rich and famous to expressly discuss how best to accomplish the future care, feeding and glorification of Barack and Michelle Obama. Times reporters Michael Shear and Gardiner Harris chronicle one White House dinner for a hedge fund billionaire, a couple of bestselling authors, a Hollywood actress and a Silicon Valley venture capitalist:
The long-running dinner this past February is part of a methodical effort taking place inside and outside the White House as the president, first lady and a cadre of top aides map out a postpresidential infrastructure and endowment they estimate could cost as much as $1 billion. The president’s aides did not ask any of the guests for library contributions after the dinner, but a number of those at the table could be donors in the future.The $1 billion — double what George W. Bush raised for his library and its various programs — would be used for what one adviser called a “digital-first” presidential library loaded with modern technologies, and to establish a foundation with a worldwide reach.
In days of yore, this might have been construed as bribery. But in the age of legalized corruption, it's just neoliberal business as usual. And with all the shallow media attention being focused on the insane antics of Donald Trump and the perfidy of Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama is able to come off smelling like a rose, reeking of sober statesmanship.Supporters have urged Mr. Obama to avoid the mistake made by Bill Clinton, whose associates raised just enough money to build his library in Little Rock, Ark., forcing Mr. Clinton to pursue high-dollar donors for years to come. Including construction costs, Mr. Obama’s associates set a goal of raising at least $800 million — enough money, they say, to avoid never-ending fund-raising. One top adviser said that $800 million was a floor rather than a ceiling.So far, Mr. Obama has raised just over $5.4 million from 12 donors, with gifts ranging from $100,000 to $1 million. Michael J. Sacks, a Chicago businessman, gave $666,666. Fred Eychaner, the founder of Chicago-based Newsweb Corp., which owns community newspapers and radio stations, donated $1 million. Mark T. Gallogly, a private equity executive, and James H. Simons, a technology entrepreneur, each contributed $340,000 to a foundation set up to oversee development of the library.
|...and nor will it never end, not if they can help it.|