Sarah Palin’s Lecture Contract Clauses, From Jets To Pre-Screen Questions

As I mentioned earlier, Sarah Palin has made around $12 million after quitting as governor of Alaska. Six pages of her speaking contract were found in a dumpster. This revealed demands including big jets, a suite with two rooms at a deluxe hotel, water bottles with bendable straws at the lectern, and pre-screened questions. Regarding the jet:

“The private aircraft MUST BE a Lear 60 or larger (as defined by interior cabin space) for West Coast Events; or, a Hawker 800 or Larger (as defined by interior cabin space for) East Coast Events, and both are subject to the Speaker’s approval. The Speaker Reserves the right to change the flight plans at any time,” the contract states.

I agree with Ben Smith that the most significant clauses regard pre-screening of questions:

“A moderator or a designated representative (designated by the customer and approved by [Washington Speakers Bureau]) shall ask questions directly of the Speaker,” says the contract, under the heading, “Audience Q&A.”

In a separate section covering events conducted remotely, via a satellite feed (usually for a lower fee), the contract reads: “For Q&A, the questions are to be collected from the audience in advance, pre-screened, and a designated representive (by Customer and approved by Speaker via WSB) shall ask questions directly of the Speaker to avoid delay time with a roving microphene in the audience.”

I ran those provisions past a veteran of the speaking bureau industry, who found it surprising and “definitely NOT standard”: Most paid speakers, and certainly the handful of six-figure speakers, take some audience questions, he said, and pre-screening of questions is virtually unheard of.

This does not come as a surprise. If the questions weren’t pre-screened, how could she write the answers on her hand?

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Joe Lieberman Thanks God For GOP Momentum

In a moment which might come to define him as much as kissing George Bush in 2005, Joe Lieberman made a statement today which many Democrats might never forget:

“There were a lot of people, particularly Democrats, who were declaring after the 2008 election that we were beginning a period of Democratic dominance that would go on for decades,” Lieberman said during an interview with the conservative Newsmax magazine.

“Now, all of a sudden, the momentum is with the Republicans. And that’s — thank God — that’s the way people have spoken, you know? That’s our democracy.”

Lieberman actively campaigned for the Republican presidential candidate in 2008 and now has expressed support for Republican gains in Congress. At least he did vote with the Democrats on health care reform–but only after he helped kill the public option and Medicare buy-in.

Sarah Palin Makes $12 Since Leaving Office

When former half-term governor Sarah Palin stepped down this seemed like a questionable political strategy. There was speculation that the real reason she stepped down, beyond being in a job she was not qualified for, was to cash in. If so, her plan has worked. ABC News reports:

Since leaving office at the end of July 2009, the 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee has brought in at least 100 times her old salary – a haul now estimated at more than $12 million — through television and book deals and a heavy schedule of speaking appearances worth five and six figures.

That conservative estimate is based on publicly available records and news accounts. The actual number is probably much higher, but is hard to quantify because Palin does not publicize her earnings. She reputedly got a $7 million deal for her first book, with the bulk of that money due after her resignation as governor, and will earn about $250,000 per episode, according to the web site The Daily Beast, for each of eight episodes of a reality show about Alaska for the The Learning Channel. She has managed to keep a lid on reliable figures for her earnings from a multi-year contract with Fox News and a second book deal with HarperCollins.

I am very happy to see that these ventures have been a success for her, and I hope that she continues to find similar ways to make money, as long as this keeps her out of public office. The only downside is that we no longer have her keeping an eye on Russia.

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Republican Gets Health Care Ideas From Dilbert

Steve Benen quotes Sue Lowden’s ideas on getting down the cost of health care:

Lowden is a former state senator and chair of the Nevada Republican Party. She’s also, according to nearly every recent poll, the favorite to defeat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D) in November. Lowden is not, as one might imagine, a supporter of recent improvements to the broken health care system, and she was asked at a candidate forum the kind of policies she’d prefer to see. Among her proposals:

“…I would have suggested, and I think that bartering is really good. Those doctors who you pay cash, you can barter, and that would get prices down in a hurry. And I would say go out, go ahead out and pay cash for whatever your medical needs are, and go ahead and barter with your doctor.”

I wonder if she had read today’s Dilbert strip (above) before making this suggestion. We know Scott Adams was joking, but apparently this Republican candidate is serious.

One problem is that pay to one’s doctor is a small part of health care costs. Presumably she means bargain as opposed to bartering to bring down the cost. For the sake of discussion, let’s say that a patient took her advice and I agreed to take 25 percent of the price for my office calls. That’s fine for someone who just needs one or two visits, but a person with serious chronic problems could still run up a huge bill over time. Insurance just might come in handy here (especially if the insurance cannot drop them because of having chronic medical problems).

The bigger problem which comes up when I have uninsured patients is not payment for the office calls but payment for everything I order outside of the office for diagnosis and treatment. Just because I agree to cut the charges for office calls (if Lowden meant bargaining) or agree to accept her goat (if she really means bartering), doesn’t mean that the reference lab I send the patient’s blood to will give them a break. The same is true if x-rays are needed. If surgery is needed the patient then not only needs to make a deal with the surgeon but also the facility where the surgery is performed.

If medications are needed it might be possible to give samples (but pharmaceutical companies are getting stingier with them). It might even be possible to get the patient free medications from a patient assistance program if their income is low enough to qualify. They also better be able to wait a while to get their medications.

This would be quite a challenge for a healthy person to go to all the work, and tolerate the delays, in order to receive medical care at a discount. (Hey, isn’t delays the reason conservatives say we should be terrified of the Canadian system?) If someone happens to be sick, this process goes from unlikely to succeed to virtually impossible. It’s just another unrealistic Republican suggestion for health care.