Remember when I wrote about the 13-stop North American tour that Bill and Hillary Clinton were going to make where people were charged pricey amounts to watch them talk on stage, though if you were willing to fork out even more hundreds dollars, you could also get a brief meet-and-greet with them? I wondered at that time whether we hadn’t had our fill of the Clintons and whether enough people would be willing to pay such amounts.
It looks like my skepticism was warranted. Maureen Dowd, a columnist for the New York Times (whose awfulness in that role is partly masked because of even worse columnists like Thomas Friedman) was one of those who (or at least her paper) shelled out big bucks for a ticket and now feels that she should have held out for discounted tickets.
I’m looking around Scotiabank Arena, the home of the Toronto Maple Leafs, and it’s a depressing sight. It’s two-for-the-price-of-one in half the arena. The hockey rink is half curtained off, but even with that, organizers are scrambling at the last minute to cordon off more sections behind thick black curtains, they say due to a lack of sales. I paid $177 weeks in advance. (I passed on the pricey meet-and-greet option.) On the day of the event, some unsold tickets are slashed to single digits.
I get reassigned to another section as the Clintons’ audience space shrinks. But even with all the herding, I’m still looking at large swaths of empty seats — and I cringe at the thought that the Clintons will look out and see that, too. It was only four years ago, after all, that Canadians were clamoring to buy tickets to see the woman who seemed headed for history.
Dowd wonders what made the Clintons decide on this plan.
It can’t be the money at this point. Have they even spent all the Goldman gold yet? Do they want to swim in their cash like Scrooge McDuck?
“What scares me the most is Hillary’s smug certainty of her own virtue as she has become greedy and how typical that is of so many chic liberals who seem unaware of their own greed,” Charlie Peters, the legendary liberal former editor of The Washington Monthly, told me. “They don’t really face the complicity of what’s happened to the world, how selfish we’ve become and the horrible damage of screwing the workers and causing this resentment that the Republicans found a way of tapping into.” He ruefully worries about the Obamas in this regard, too.
I think that Hillary Clinton may well run again for the presidency unless she senses that she has no chance, even though she lost to a truly execrable candidate in Donald Trump. There are many possible reasons. She may believe that it is her destiny to be the first woman president. She may feel that she lost the last election unfairly. She may want to seek revenge on Trump for the humiliations he has heaped on her and continues to heap on her. And for the Clintons, there’s always the deep appeal of money and power. They crave the spotlight. That is what drives them.
Toronto was originally the second scheduled stop on the tour, the first one being on November 18, 2018 in Las Vegas. But the Las Vegas one was rescheduled for May 5, 2019 so the tour has got off to an inauspicious start. They held a second event in Montreal the following day but a report on that event says that the “Montreal stop was well-attended, but wasn’t a sellout [and] appeared to have drawn a bigger crowd here than in Toronto.” The next event is on December 4th in Sugar Land, Texas. Maybe the later events will draw larger crowds but if not, maybe this lack of enthusiasm gives them the signal that it is time for them to exit the stage of active politics.
I think Peters is right to be worried about the Obamas also succumbing to the Clinton disease. The lust for money can become an addictive drug for former politicians who, while in office, were eagerly courted by the rich and powerful and after leaving office feel that the only way they can continue to socialize on equal terms with those people is to be themselves very wealthy.