When Harry Truman left the White House in 1953, historian David McCullough records, "he had no income or support of any kind from the federal government other than his Army pension of $112.56 a month. He was provided with no government funds for secretarial help or office space, not a penny of expense money."
One of the reasons Truman and his wife moved back into their far-from-elegant old house in Independence, Missouri, "was that financially they had little other choice."
Nevertheless, Truman refused to cash in on his celebrity and influence as a former president. He turned down lucrative offers, such as the one from a Florida real-estate developer inviting him to become "chairman, officer, or stockholder, at a figure of not less than $100,000." He would not make commercial endorsements, accept "consulting" fees, or engage in lobbying.
Apparently unsatisfied, Obama has recently put himself on the market to be paid $400,000 for each speech that he makes.
"I could never lend myself to any transaction, however respectable," Truman later wrote, "that would commercialize on the prestige and dignity of the office of the presidency." He did sell the rights to his memoirs for a handsome sum to Life magazine. But he turned down every other enticement to trade on his former position for private gain.
Compare Truman’s attitude with that of the Clintons and now of the Obamas. Barack Obama has made $20 million since arriving in Washington in 2005. Before that, he was making $85,000 a year as a law professor. But apparently unsatisfied, he has recently put himself on the market to be paid $400,000 for each speech that he makes. He is selling himself to Wall Street. This after he failed to prosecute the Wall Street bankers over the 2008 crash.
Remember when Obama was promising Hope and Change? Remember when the Nobel Prize committee foolishly gave him the Peace Prize in the hope that he would make the changes that he promised? And ask yourself this: do we need this sort of hypocrisy any longer? It’s one thing to be a politician but quite another to be a liar. Personally, looking back at 2008, I would never have thought that Barack Obama would have turned out this way, but let’s look at what he came from. He, like Bill Clinton, came from economically deprived roots. And now that he has “made it,” he can’t help grabbing for every dollar offered to him.
In many ways, he is the epitome of what our nation has become. Harry Truman was the last of our Presidents to believe that the office of the President should not be commercialized. Now the office of the President goes to the highest bidder.
Woe onto us.