Enter Stage Right hands out its awards...

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 December 4, 2000

There is a lot of snickering in Canada these days at the expense of Americans. On November 27, Canadians held a general election which reelected Liberal Party Leader Jean Chretien for a third consecutive term. While some Canadians didn't cheer that, notably us conservatives in the crowd, we were pleased to be able to hold an election which saw millions of ballots hand-counted and the results released within a few hours. Only three seats need recounts -- again completed within days despite the fact that one race was decided by seven ballots.

That said, our efficient first "past the post" system got a Liberal government elected so something may be said for America's current problems. What does deserve some cheer was the performance of Canadian Alliance Leader Stockwell Day.

Stockwell DayDay, in his first federal election, wasn't the perfect candidate. He made some mistakes and sometimes failed to deal with attacks effectively. One could argue that he and the Canadian Alliance weren't aggressive enough in promoting their vision for the nation. That said, only the Liberal Party and the Canadian Alliance were able to increase their popular vote and the number seats in Parliament. The Canadian Alliance was also the only party to increase its votes in every province across Canada despite the fact that it only elected two Members of Parliament in Ontario. Also some good news for the party, Scott Reid, new member for Lanark-Carleton near Ottawa, is a libertarian.

Stockwell Day will likely be the only current leader to be around to guide his party into next federal election and in the intervening few years he will become a vastly better campaigner who will be able to clearly enunciate his conservative vision for the nation. Any talk of replacing Day with someone even less known to Canadians would be a mistake. The Canadian Alliance Party was only created in March 2000 and its predecessor, the Reform Party, was just over a decade in age itself. Day needs some time to mature and he certainly will do that when he regularly faces Chretien in the House of Commons. In the meantime we'll just have to live with the Liberal Party.

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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