Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Palin Can't Get Domestic Speaking Gigs? That's Not Unusual

by Holly Bailey

Is Sarah Palin having trouble landing speaking gigs? Citing an anonymous “industry expert,” the New York Post’s Page Six reports today that Palin isn’t attracting much interest on the lecture circuit. The reason: She’s so polarizing. “The big lecture buyers in the U.S. are paralyzed with fear about booking her, basically because she’s a blithering idiot,” the unnamed source tells Page Six. “Palin is so uninteresting to so many groups—unless they are interesting in moose hunting… What does she have to say? She can’t even describe what she reads.” Ouch.

But in Palin’s defense, is she actually trying to book gigs in the U.S. anyway? It’s worth noting that plenty of current and former polarizing political types on the lecture circuit usually make most of their money speaking in other countries—especially their first year out. Back in 2001, when he was still caught up in all the drama of his final days in the White House, Bill Clinton collected nearly $9.2 million for giving 59 speeches—39 of which were overseas. More recently, George W. Bush hit the speaker’s circuit. With the exception of a speech in Michigan, Bush’s talks have all been abroad, in Canada, Asia and Europe. (No word on how much he’s earning—though he’s reportedly asking for at least $150,000 a pop.) There are exceptions: Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice hasn’t had trouble landing domestic gigs, giving speeches in Pennsylvania, California and Michigan. She earned reported $150,000 to talk to a meeting of the National Football League’s owners association this past spring.

Palin was signed a month ago by the Washington Speakers Bureau—the same group who reps Bush and Rice. Last week, she earned a reported $150,000 for a speech in Hong Kong. No word on what her next move will be—though the fact her debut speech attracted mixed reviews can’t be reassuring to her bookers. But we’d venture to guess that Palin is still pretty marketable to an overseas audience—After all, no other potential GOP 2012 candidate attracts more attention than she does, and the world never has a lack of curiosity about our political celebrities. The question Palin’s bookers must be wondering is whether the former gov’s memoirs will add to her marketability or if it will lead to overexposure.

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