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Maureen Dowd attacks Chelsea Clinton for her speaking fees

Chelsea Clinton
Chelsea Clinton
Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images

Maureen Dowd, an acerbic, liberal New York Times columnist, is exercised by one of the Clinton family. In this case it is neither Bill not Hillary. Dowd is put out that Chelsea Clinton, the 34 year old once and possibly first daughter, is getting $75,000 to give speeches. In a Sunday piece, Dowd took great exception to someone getting what is more than a year’s wages for most people for talking for an hour.

“With her 1 percenter mother under fire for disingenuously calling herself “dead broke” when she left the White House, why would Chelsea want to open herself up to criticism that she is gobbling whopping paychecks not commensurate with her skills, experience or role in life?

“As the 34-year-old tries to wean some of the cronies from the Clinton Foundation — which is, like the Clintons themselves, well-intended, wasteful and disorganized — Chelsea is making speeches that go into foundation coffers.”

That the younger Clinton’s speaking fees goes into the coffers of the Clinton Foundation and not her own pockets is a fact that does not impress Dowd. The purpose of the foundation, after all, is the aggrandizement of the House Clinton. Better that she contribute to an outside charity or speak for free.

Hot Air took a more benign stance at Clinton’s speaking fees, coming hard as it has on her vast compensation for doing puff pieces on network TV. All the market will bear, after all, even if she had not accomplished very much except being born to the purple. But that, after all, is the point. Corporations are not handing out big checks to Chelsea Clinton because they are actually interested in her thoughts on subjects like, say, the eradication of water borne diseases. Their interest is in toadying to her mother, who may become president of the United States one day.

Hot Air notes, quoting the New York Times, that people who have actually accomplished something, like former Secretary of State Colin Powell and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush get less for talking than do any of the Clintons, about $50,000. Powell has a long, distinguished career as a public servant and an army officer. Bush, a member of another political family, is also mentioned from time to time in connection to the presidency.

Dowd’s waxing wroth is an example of the media looking upon the spectacle of the Clinton family and not being very impressed. This suggests that if Hillary Clinton does decide to run in 2016 she is not likely to get the fawning coverage by the media that she would imagine is hers by right. Thus the path to a Clinton restoration is steeper than has hitherto been imagined.