It’s been six-plus years since Barack Obama exited the White House, and the monetization of Hope and Change is now at full throttle. The unearned gravitas exemplified by his 2008 speech at Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate before 200,000 fawning admirers has now given way to celebrity tours at foreign sports arenas, with special ticket packages offered at a premium.
“An Evening With President Barack Obama” was held May 3 at Berlin’s Mercedes-Benz Arena. Two days earlier, Obama appeared at Amsterdam’s Ziggo Dome. On April 29, he was in Zurich.
“Ticket prices range from 77 euros [$84.71] to 495 euros [$544.46],” NL Times reported of the Amsterdam affair. “Additionally, the event organizer is selling a package of two tickets up front for 2,750 euros [$3,024.79]. The package includes dinner, a pre-party, and a photo with the former president.”
‘Fighting Injustice’ for a Fee
What exactly are audience members getting for such stiff prices? “A story about resilience, overcoming obstacles, and fighting injustice,” a Ziggo Dome promo declared, NL Times related. “As a lawyer, author, and 44th President of the United States, there is no voice more relevant to leaders than this. At this special event, he will talk about this tenure and the work of the Obama Foundation and inspire you with his thoughts on the future of leadership.”
Barack Obama has become a product.
The tackiness was on full display in Sydney, Australia, in March. News.com.au reported:
“Those who wish to hear Mr. Obama speak had to dig deep into their pockets for a ticket, with a standard ticket coming in at just under $200.
“The event’s ‘platinum package,’ which comes in at a whopping $895 and features a welcome cocktail at a one-hour drinks function, a commemorative lanyard and a signed copy of Mr. Obama’s book, has now sold out.
“With around 9,000 people to attend the Sydney ‘Evening With President Obama’ and 10,500 to see him in Melbourne, the former president could be up for a payday upwards of $1 million.”
Multiple Revenue Channels at Obama Inc.
The Obama money machine is not restricted merely to celebrity tours abroad. Barack and Michelle first raised post-presidency eyeballs when they snagged a massive $65 million book deal with publishing goliath Penguin Random House (PRH) in 2017 that even Obama-friendly establishment outlets acknowledged made no financial sense.
“Still other insiders said that fathoming the math is impossible, since the sum PRH paid is itself so far from the norm,” Publishers Weekly wrote of the deal. “As one foreign rights associate put it: ‘We’re all so blown away by the numbers on this deal that the sky’s the limit, right?’ She went on, ‘I’ve rarely seen seven-figure deals abroad, but these numbers are new to the game.’”
Then there is the Obama Foundation, which is threatening to outdo the infamous Clinton Foundation in accruing big-donor financial largesse in the sketchiest of ways. A December 2021 release by the Obama Foundation revealed how the “social justice” progressive themes championed by the two-term president were being utilized for a cheesy cash grab.
“On the heels of its announcement last month to bring more inclusivity to the traditional naming process, the Obama Foundation is announcing a new set of spaces within the Obama Presidential Center that will be named in honor of civil rights and social justice leaders whose significant contributions to society advanced justice and equality in America,” the statement read. Beyond that gibberish was nothing but a laundry list of well-heeled donors ponying up money and affixing trendy progressive social labels to their checks.
“Foundation board member Michael Sacks and his wife Cari Sacks … have opted to name a Museum exhibit on civic education and empowerment at the Center in honor of the late Timuel Black. Mr. Black was a Chicago native and civil rights leader who helped end segregation in Chicago Public Schools and housing in the 1960s through his work as an educator and administrator,” the Foundation declared. Sacks “is a hedge fund manager and major Democratic donor living in Chicago,” watchdog site Influence Watch noted. “In 2015, Sacks’s daughter was chosen to be a White House intern by President Barack Obama after Sacks and his wife donated nearly $700,000 to the Obama Foundation.”
“Foundation board member Connie Ballmer and her husband Steven Ballmer will honor Eleanor Roosevelt, former First Lady, activist, and diplomat, with the naming of the Fruit & Vegetable Garden to recognize her creation of the first garden on White House grounds, known as the Victory Garden,” the Obama Foundation continued. Steven Ballmer “is the former CEO of Microsoft and a major funder of progressive-left groups,” Influence Watch observed. He has an estimated net worth of more than $100 billion. The Ballmers are listed in the “$25,000,000 and above” category at the Obama Foundation “Founding Donors” page. That must be some vegetable garden.
And on it went.
Finally, let’s not forget about the lucrative multi-year Netflix production deal bestowed upon the Obamas in 2018. That’s still paying dividends in 2023. A new four-part series, filed under the “Social and Cultural Documentaries” genre, titled Working: What We Do All Day has just been released. In it, Obama follows the everyday on-the-job experiences of regular Americans. “For some, it’s a paycheck. For others, it’s a calling. This docuseries explores the meaning of work for modern Americans in a time of rapid change,” a blurb on Netflix explained. The theme seems especially inappropriate and woefully out of touch when the full scope of the Obama Money Train is taken into view.
All opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Liberty Nation.
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