Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Anyone else find this odd?

Former President George W. Bush will give his first post-presidency U.S. speech in Erie, Pa., on June 17 to the Manufacturer & Business Association, which serves companies in Pennsylvania, Ohio and New York. The top of his remarks will be open to media coverage. Other domestic speeches will be announced soon.

Not long ago, this was the most powerful man in the world. A few years back, people who appeared to be sane said he could one day wind up the fifth face on Mount Rushmore. And now his first American post-presidential speech is to this group?

A little background on the organization:

In a move that is reflective of just how much Erie's economy has changed, the Manufacturers' Association of Northwestern Pennsylvania will no longer be simply the Manufacturers' Association.

The group just sent out a notice saying that, effective tomorrow, it will have a new name.

It will be called the Manufacturer & Business Association -- a move its says will "reflect the organization's collective, unified, and powerful business voice of more than 4,600 member companies".

As part of the move the association tonight will name Realtor Sue Sutto to its board. Sutto will be the first non-industrial member of the board of governors. Two more non-industrial members will join the board in 2010....

It takes place at the other end of the state, but chances are you've got the theme from The Office going through your head right now. Me too.

Bill Clinton didn't exactly distinguish himself with his first post-presidential speech, which was at a junk-bond conference, but it was a conference sponsored by Morgan Stanley, fer crissake.

I'm sure this far-from-the-big-leagues debut is going to be presented as a brilliantly shrewd choice, a sign that Bush is talking to regular old small-business folk, not the hoity-toity. But, er, he was president of the United States. Sorry -- he was hoity-toity, whether he likes to think so or not. And now, apparently, he's not. To say the least.


UPDATE: Oh, OK, I see -- one of the organizers of the event is Christian Darbyshire, who, along with his partner, Andy McCreath, regularly books big-cheese speakers (Bill Clinton, Alan Greenspan, Lance Armstrong) for speeches, usually in the pair's hometown of Calgary, and usually in return for boatloads of money. Darbyshire and McCreath also organized the speech Bush will give next week in Calgary. (When Darbyshire isn't doing this, he does PR for such companies as the Canadian branch of the matchmaking service run by TV's scary "Millionaire Matchmaker.")

So I guess Bush is being well paid, at least. But jeez, doesn't anyone else want to throw this guy a speaking engagement? Apparently not.

Oh, and also see this D-list public appearance by Bush last month.

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