In a Fresno Bee op-ed by Bill McEwen dealing with the dust-up over Sarah Palin's impending appearance at Cal State, Stanislaus, the author correctly tags California State Sen. Leland Yee's crusade for what it is -- pure political grandstanding:
Instead of privately asking the school's foundation to reveal what it was paying Palin, Yee's office sent out a news release stating that "the CSU should immediately disclose how much money is being diverted from students to pay Sarah Palin's exorbitant speaking fees." The release also called Palin "out of touch."Read the full Bill McEwen commentary here.
First off, "exorbitant" is in the eyes of the beholder. The market dictates what a speaker gets.
There's no better example of this than former president Bill Clinton, who collected $40 million in speaking fees in his first six years after leaving the White House.
Second, Palin -- whether you agree with her views or not -- is a political powerhouse and part of the national discussion.
The folks at the Stanislaus foundation know better than Yee who would pack the house and the profits that might result. Yee has no more business passing judgment on the event's featured speaker than he does picking the color of the appetizer napkins.
Third, public money for student education isn't being used to compensate Palin. Yee, who is highly involved in education issues and holding university foundations accountable, surely knew this before grandstanding for the left.
Conservatives nationwide, with justification, see this as a liberal politician from a nearly bankrupt state picking on Palin, darling of the Tea Party movement, for his own political gain.