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The Earth is Flat Award

A celebration of the inane, insipid and asinine...

web posted December 18, 2000

Where's the outcry?

Back in 1994, then Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich accepted a $4.5 million advance for his book To Renew America from HarperCollins, a publishing house owned by Rupert Murdoch. Gingrich was immediately savaged by critics and the "unbiased" press for hypocrisy because he himself had pushed for an ethics investigation of then-House Speaker Jim Wright, for a similar book deal in 1988. Ultimately, Gingrich returned the advance and the House amended its rules to prohibit members from accepting book advances.

So where's the outcry?

What's in the book Hillary?
What's in the book Hillary?

On December 15, Hillary Clinton signed a book deal for her memoir with Simon and Schuster which saw an advance of $8 million, coming close to matching the $8.5 million Pope John Paul II received in 1994, a non-fiction record and beating the $7.1 million received this summer by General Electric Chairman Jack Welch.

Not bad when your senate job pulls in a "mere" $145 000 a year.

With the exception of the ostensibly nonpartisan Congressional Accountability Project, who also took Gingrich to task for his advance, no one has spoke out over the bidding war over Clinton's memoirs.

"The public ought to question it when a member of Congress receives such an enormous advance," says CAP director Gary Ruskin. "It can have the aspect of a gift or a sweetheart deal, and it can give the impression as well that the member is exploiting his or her office for monetary gain."

While Clinton's memoir is expected to be a big seller as she promised her story would be "honest" and "dignified" -- does that include mention of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy? -- it might have more to do with her promise to address the Monica Lewinsky scandal that was everyone else's fault but her husband's.

While there are no formal rules for Senate members when it comes to book advances, Clinton should go the honourable route and only accept copyright royalties, that is, only receive money if the book sells. So why won't Hillary take that route?

The Clinton home in Chappaqua, N.Y. cost $1.7 million, they have legal bills of at least $4 million and Hillary needs a home in Washington, D.C. . If she chooses not to accept an advance, it could be as long as two years before she sees a dime. That's why she wanted that advance up front.

Lucky the mainstream media told you.

The Vinegar in Freedom Award

There is an old Serbian proverb that says vinegar in freedom tastes better than honey in slavery. This award is meant for events and people Enter Stage Right considers to be positive.

web posted January 15, 2001

Linda ChavezCharity, it would appear, is a double-edged sword. You can talk about it all you want but heaven help you if you actually engage in a charitable act. Linda Chavez learned last week that it does come back to haunt you.

Her leftist opponents may take glee in bringing down Chavez but here at Enter Stage Right we are lauding her for showing what conservatives are really about. Rather than running to the government to help out Guatemalan immigrant Marta Mercado, Chavez did what most of us only talk of doing: helping a fellow human being out. She took in a poor woman, drove her to English classes, helped integrate her into American society, gave her some spending money and got her on her feet.

What's stunning is that she didn't do it once, but several times as her press conference last week proved -- two Hispanic women and a Vietnamese immigrant. Rather than congratulate Chavez for her acts of charity, her opponents and the media chose to dwell on the fact that housing an illegal immigrant is contrary to the law. It would appear that it isn't an offense for the nation's top lawyer to lie under oath but providing charity as a private citizen precludes them from working for the people.

Perhaps it is better that Chavez won't be America's labor secretary. As a private citizen she did more to help her nation then the government ever has. She also proved that liberals talk charity but it's conservatives who actually roll up their shirtsleeves and do something about the problems of a nation.

Have someone you want considered for the Earth is Flat Award or the Vinegar in Freedom Award? Email ESR with your candidates!




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