Just because you don’t hear much about W. any more doesn’t mean he’s kept himself completely off-stage, restricted to infrequent novelty news about his attempts at self-therapy by painting ugly pictures. Shoot, he’s a former president! One-time leader of the free world! And now that he has all this time on his hands, by golly, he’s like … humanitarian or something.
Like, for example, his agreeing to speak at a fundraiser for a homeless shelter. In his home state of Texas. Just this past February. And for only a meager payment of … ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS!
Yeah – dollar sign, number one, five zeroes. That’s what Politico’s Michael Kruse recently reported in his story about Bush, which was inspired by recent criticism of the Clintons’ paid speaking events. Seeking to balance the scales, Kruse learned that for every year since leaving the White House in 2009, Bush has averaged over 30 addresses and over $4 million in speaker fees.
But $100,000 to speak at an event for a homeless shelter in McKinney, Texas? That was Bush’s regular fee, Samaritan Inn director Lynne Sipiora told Politico, and amounted to 10 percent of the donations her facility received.
But maybe he rightfully earned that amount. Bush should be an expert on the topic of homelessness, after all. The number of homeless Americans grew 49 percent in the last two years of his presidency, peaking at 634,000 when he left the White House in 2009. And that surge was certainly aided by a quadrupling in the number of home foreclosures during his last term.
Bush doesn’t have a record of compassion regarding the homeless, either. His campaign once alleged that Al Gore’s staff was hoarding up the homeless to vote, even claiming that to be a legal violation.
So if this guy who’s directly responsible for so much homelessness suddenly had a change of heart, for once sympathizing with their needs … shouldn’t W. just turn that $100,000 back over to the shelter?
Featured image by U.S. Army via Flickr