Maybe They're Paid for the Amount of Damage They Did to the Constitution?


ashcroft statue.jpg

While trolling (and I do mean trolling) through the Web site for the upcoming National Conservative Student Conference, I stumbled across this fascinating speaker's fee page at Young America's Foundation, which lists the $$$ requested by speakers big (Bill Bennett, Ann Coulter, Zell Miller[?], who demand $20,000-plus and, doubtless, a bowl of mono-color M&Ms) and small (YAF President Ron Robinson, YAF spokesman Jason Mattera, YAF Director of Campus Programs Patrick X. Coyle, who will show up for $0-$1,000 and bring their own food to boot).

Most curious to me: Former Attorney General John Ashcroft is listed as demanding $20,000–putting him the top category–while equally former (and clearly fatter) Attorney General Ed Meese only snags $3,000-$5,000, the same amount of green pulled down by former Rep. Bob Barr, B-52s' backup singer Phyllis Schlafly, and National Review "girly-boys" (to use La Coulter's own phrase) Jonah Goldberg and Rich Lowry.

Why is Meese selling at such a discount? Didn't he go out of his way to help rev up Reagan's War on Drugs and persecute (prosecute doesn't really get at it) good, upstanding citizens in the name of porn prohibition, among other sins? Or, perhaps more accurately, why is Ashcroft selling at such a premium, assuming anyone actually pays him that much? I mean, really, who other than Jean Carnahan would ever cough up that much to have him in the room?

Post theories of market failure below.


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  1. B-52s’ backup singer Phyllis Schlafly

    I don’t really know what you mean by this, but it seems like a pretty funny insult to me. LOL

  2. I don’t get why these people are paid to speak at all. Seems like if nobody hired them, they’d probably go insane from NOT speaking.

    Of course, I’d pay Ann Coulter for one long as she didn’t speak.

  3. Back in the 80s, Republicans were opposed to corruption. Massachusetts’ Republican Governor Bill Weld, then a federal prosecutor, first became an important political figure by leading a mass-resignation from Justice because of disgust with Meese’s dirty ways. As a result, Meese left office with a stink about him.

    If only he’d been born twenty years later and been a Bush crony instead of a Reagan crony, he could have crapped all over the Justice Department and still commanded the big speaking fees.

  4. Of course, I’d pay Ann Coulter for one long as she didn’t speak.

    I’m going to be sick.

  5. L.I.T is going to be sicker.

  6. >>B-52s’ backup singer Phyllis Schlafly

    Beehive-esque hairdo and retro (or in this case, outdated) fashion sense?

    In any case, I doubt it’s a reference to her wacked-out sense of humor, though wacked-out describes her in other ways…

  7. hey smacky, what else is she good for?

  8. While in high school, I once attended a debate between Ed Meese and Nadine Strossen.

    Interesting debate.

    They’re both idiots.

  9. I dunno. Maybe Ashcroft has that whole jebus thing going for him? Also, Meese is some guy from the 80s. I’m more suprized Zell is going for that much. That guy was a one trick pony. He’s like that guy, on that show, with Tim Allen, who wasn’t Tim Allen. A while ago.

    $20,000 in the post-industrial wasteland of SW Ohio could last a whole year if you’re willing to live in a double-wide. $60,000 you could live like a king. Wonder what they do with all that money. (Other than Bennett.)

  10. She might make a good toothpick. Or a scarecrow.

    I’ll get back to you if I can think of any other uses.


    That’s how I felt after seeing Ralph Nader speak. I was alternately fascinated with and baffled by his directionless rhetoric.

  11. L.I.T. flirts with the really good idea – paying them not to speak.

  12. “Wonder what they do with all that money. “

    Hookers and blow.

  13. mediageek,

    I kinda like Nadine. What did she say that was so idiotic?

  14. Nick, the reason for this “market failure” is that there are personal factors involved beyond simple popularity. Someone who’s got a lot of free time and who enjoys traveling and giving speeches will price themselves lower than someone who’s busy and doesn’t.

  15. I think I’d pay to see that photo of Ashcroft Photoshopped so his hands are full of the statute behind him.

  16. I’m kind of surprised Ashcroft didn’t cover up that statue behind him. Didn’t he cover up some other statues while he was in office because of some boobies?

  17. Instead of market failure, I think he priced himself right where he wants to be — too expensive for a student conference but chump change for a major corporation. Why would he want to talk to students?

  18. $20,000 for Ashcroft? Hell, Bill Cosby was fetching $50 – $70 K twenty years ago when I was in college.

    It’s hard out there for a Pimp …

  19. Actually, there is a lot of demand from niche markets for people like Ashcroft, usually in the South: Christian bar associations, Christian business groups, mega-church social organizations. And to my dismay, they can easily meet his fees.

  20. Shawn Smith wrote: “I’m kind of surprised Ashcroft didn’t cover up that statue behind him.”

    He eventually did — that’s one of the statues now covered by the infamous blue curtains. He just didn’t immediately have them covered when he took office.

  21. Just glad to see the Motor City Madman in the top group. The world still makes sense.

  22. OH MY GAWD!!!!

    Did I actually read a Libertarian place the Drug War as “Reagan’s”?

    Oh my GAWD? Are you guys seriously considering joining those of us interested in liberty by calling, ehem…a spade a spade?

    Any other libertarians at Reason willing to endorse that, or are “we” still peddling the tale that Reagan (or any conservative) believed in small government?

    And you even used the word “persecute”, I would say there’s hope for you folks yet. Except for the fact that I have it on good info that y’all’s jus’ hangin’ around waiting to support the next really big-pro-government judge/president/senator.

  23. Ed Meese is scum. Read about a great American hero who took him on, and won. Gotta love that Search Inside feature.

    Where are today’s men of courage and conviction?

  24. Johny:

    I don’t think anyone here, save the occassional conservatroll from NRO/Free Republic/LGF, thinks the Gipper was good for anything other than an unofficial Jelly Belly spokesmen.

    Thank goodness that check bounced… (Quick! Name that reference!)

  25. Lost_In_Translation, I’d replace Coulter with Malkin (who’s actually kinda cute).

    Johnny, I don’t know how many libertarians believe Reagan was actually good for small gov. (he definitely talked the talk though, which Harry Browne gave him credit for-changing the debate so that government might actually be the problem; Reagan didn’t walk the walk though).

  26. Whoops, that was supposed to be address to Johnny. Sorry.

  27. Phyllis Schlafly deserves much of the credit for defeating the Equal Rights Amendment, which means she’s done more tangible good for the cause of liberty than any of the scribblers at Reason.

  28. I was the YAF coordinator for Colorado circa the early to mid 70’s. Although I called myself a conservative (still do sometimes), I was a straight up libertarian (still am). Back then conservative often meant libertarian.

    The most I ever got from a speech was $3,500-worth lots more back then. Of coarse it wasn’t mine to keep. I was fund raising. I was pretty good at it. This particular talk was to a bunch of Coors folks-as in that was the last name of some of em. In my talks, I referred to the federal bureaucracy as “the filth in Washington”. I also gave lotsa other talks and debated with various types of lefties. This was before the neocon disease had so infected the body politic.

    I was so thoroughly a libertarian, that on one occasion when I shared a stage with David Nolan, the founder of the LP (which he founded in his living room in Westminister, a suburb here in the Denver area), we were supposed to have a kind of debate. Except for that we agreed on every single policy issue. The only item where we differed was that I saw some good coming out of a Reagan presidency, and he stressed that an LP candidate would be a far better choice. I now make it that the evidence shows that we were both right.

    BTW- I have a few very old issues of Reason and/or New Individualist Review that used to be David Nolan’s and have the mailing label with his name and address. I scored em at the LP HQ here in Denver a very long time ago-like maybe at the end of the cretaceous or around then…

  29. Johnny,

    Where have you been getting your “libertarian” information from? If you hang out here a little more, you’ll soon find out that most folks here have no problem calling a spade a spade (but since we’re all individuals with very differing opinions on a variety of issues, it never gets boring). It’s Republicans and Democrats who have a hard time doing that.

  30. I’m a B-52’s fan, myself. Gotta get me some on vinyl.

  31. I’m going to guess it’s the difference between what you’d pay to see a concert by whoever has the number 1 album this week and whoever had the number 1 album this week in 1981.

  32. Rolling Stones don’t count in this comparison.

  33. Is list price always the selling price?

  34. How much would they charge us to leave the country and never come back? Put me down for $20 on Ashcroft and another $20 for Bill Bennett. I would think Bill would be against the internet gambling bill. But Bill is big on billshit so who knows.

  35. They pay Ashcroft $20K to show up and not sing.

  36. Rick:

    Cindy Wilson was the blonde. Kate Pierson had the auburn tresses.

    Tin roof rusted!


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