Sunday, November 30, 2014

The Retreat to Identity: Note for a lecture, "E Pluribus Unum? What Keeps the United States United"

New York Times

The Retreat to Identity
NOV. 29, 2014
Ross Douthat

LAST summer, around the anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, I wrote a column making — gingerly — a case for optimism
about race and politics in America.

My argument was basically this: As much as racial controversy has marked the presidency of Barack Obama, our race-­related policy cleavages are still less dramatic than at any previous point in America’s history. It isn’t just that there’s no contemporary equivalent of the conflict over Jim Crow, in which one side had to be defeated utterly for racial progress to be possible. It’s that on many racially entangled issues, from education to criminal justice to various socioeconomic challenges, the key policy debates are less polarized than in the 1970s and 1980s, and the impact of potential reforms on whites and blacks seems much less zero sum.

But after watching as Ferguson, Mo., seethed and smoldered, it’s worth offering a case for greater pessimism. Not because the optimistic arguments are no longer credible, but because we’ve just had an object lesson in why they might be proved wrong.

This lesson isn’t exactly new; indeed, it’s been offered by both parties throughout this presidency. Ultimately, being optimistic about race requires being optimistic about the ability of our political coalitions to offer color-blind visions of the American dream — the left’s vision stressing economics more heavily, the right leaning more on family and community, but both promising gains and goods and benefits that can be shared by Americans of every racial background.

In the Obama era, though, neither coalition has done a very good job selling such a vision, because neither knows how to deliver on it. (The left doesn’t know how to get wages rising again; the right doesn’t know how to shore up the two-­parent family, etc.) Which has left both parties increasingly dependent on identity -­politics appeals, with the left mobilizing along lines of race, ethnicity and gender and the right mobilizing around white Christian-heartland cultural anxieties.

For a while the media has assumed that this kind of identity-­based politics inevitably favors the left, because 21st­-century America is getting less white every day.

But that’s too simplistic, in part because the definitions of “white” and “minority” are historically elastic. If a “white party” seems sufficiently clueless and reactionary, it will lose ground to a multicultural coalition. But as African­-Americans know from bitter experience, “whiteness” has sustained itself by the inclusion of immigrants as well as by the exclusion and oppression of blacks. That history suggests that a “multicultural party” may always be at risk of being redefined as a grievance-­based “party of minorities” that many minorities would prefer to leave behind. (And leadership matters, too: A protean figure like Barack Obama can put together a genuine rainbow coalition, but it’s not clear how many other politicians can do the same.)

The key point here, though, is that whichever coalition is ascendant in this scenario, a politics divided primarily by identity is likely to be more poisonous than one in which both parties are offering more­ color-­blind appeals.

Unfortunately, identity is also the most primal, reliable form of political division. And Ferguson has provided a case study in exactly how powerfully it works.

There was a moment, early in the debate over the death of Michael Brown, when it felt as if this story might vindicate the case for optimism about racial politics — that the original tragedy might be sufficiently transparent, the subsequent police misconduct in quelling protests sufficiently clear­-cut, for Ferguson to become a more powerful exhibit in the increasingly bipartisan case for various criminal justice reforms. But then it became clear that the situation was murkier — that the cop had witnesses and physical evidence supporting his side of the story, that police had to deal with looters as well as peaceful protesters. As John McWhorter wrote in Time magazine, by the time the grand jury handed down its non­-indictment the original narrative about Ferguson could only survive with “a degree of elision” and “adjustment.” Which meant, predictably, that the potential for consensus receded, and how people felt about the story became primarily a matter of identification instead. Do you identify more with a black teenager or with a cop? With protesters menaced by playing­-soldier cops or with business owners menaced by the protest’s violent fringe? With various government
spokesmen or with, say, Al Sharpton?

Again, this is not unusual; this is how political division and racial division often interact.

And there’s still nothing inevitable about this interaction. Rand Paul, the Republican who’s pushed hardest to change the old paradigm on race and crime, is still talking about criminal justice reform in the wake of Ferguson. The path to a less identity-­driven kind of politics is still open. But it’s clearer today how easy, how human, it will be to leave that path untaken.

A key article on the tragic situation in Ukraine: "We Have no homeland: Ukraine dissolves as exiles flee"

Guy Archer shared a link.
1 hr ·

The Globe and Mail offers the most authoritative news in Canada, featuring national and international news
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Redefining the American Dream: Note for a lecture, "E Pluribus Unum? What Keeps the United States United"


Survey: Redefining the American Dream

Nearly Half of U.S. Adults Say Top Financial Goal is Retirement

Date: August 22, 2011
Contact: Paul Golden 303-224-3514,
DENVER—For some, the American Dream can be found in the comforts of a modest home surrounded by a white-picket fence. But a new survey from the National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE) finds that almost half of American adults say the financial goal that is most important to them is having enough money for retirement.
Forty-seven percent of U.S. adults aged 18 and older say having enough money for retirement is their top financial priority, compared to just 17 percent who feel homeownership is their top financial goal. The online poll was commissioned by NEFE in cooperation with, and conducted by Harris Interactive.
"Homeownership has been a traditional indication of achieving the American Dream," says Ted Beck, president and CEO of NEFE. "But whether it’s due to the decline in the housing market or because of challenges experienced during the economic downturn, people grasp the importance of planning for the future and seem to be having a shift in their approach—from physical to more financial security-based values."
In thinking about their own financial situations, 57 percent believe they are achieving the American Dream. But the chase isn’t without its obstacles. A majority of U.S. adults (70 percent) agree that a significant obstacle to achieving the American Dream is their inability to save enough, and 54 percent agree that managing their debt is a significant barrier. 
For tips, resources and information on how to achieve your financial goals, visit and

Take the LifeValues Quiz

Understanding your financial values is one key to success in managing your money. NEFE’s LifeValues Quiz helps people identify the values that drive their financial decisions. To learn more and to take the quiz, visit

Survey Methodology

This survey was conducted online by Harris Interactive on behalf of NEFE from June 28-30, 2011, among 2,257 U.S. adults aged 18 and older. Data were weighted using propensity score weighting to be representative of the total U.S. adult population on the basis of region, age within gender, education, household income, race/ethnicity and propensity to be online. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, click here.
- See more at:

Short-listed entry for The Incomprehensibility Prize (from The Times Literary Supplement)

J.C., TLS, November 14, 2014, p. 36:

The following entry in OUP [Oxford University Press]'s Literature: New and noteworthy titles catalogue is among the short-listed entries. It advertises Repetition and Identity by Catherine Pickstock, who proposes:

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that non-identical repetition involves analogy, rather than the Post-structuralist combination of univocity and equivocity, or of rationalism with scepticism. This proposal, which is happy for reality to make sense, involves, however, a subjective decision which is to be poetically performed. A wager is laid upon the possibility of a consistency which sustains the subject, in continuity with the elusive consistency of nature. This wager is played out in terms of a performative argument concerning the existential stances open to human beings. It is concluded that the individual sustains this quest within the context of an inter-sujective search for an [sic; see] historical consistence of culture. But can ethical consistency, and the harmonisation of this with an aesthetic surplus of an "elsewhere", invoked by the sign, be achieved without a religious gesture?

Millennials Love Transit Most, Boomers Still Stuck on Cars


A new study shows generations bucking their upbringings, with sheltered Millennials choosing the bus.
In 2013, transit ridership in the United States hit a 50-year high, with the nation’s transit systems logging 10.7 billion rides. A new survey from the new transportation-focused philanthropy TransitCenter, seeks to discover who those riders are and what motivates them to get on the trains, buses, and streetcars of American cities.

The answer, according to Who’s On Board: 2014 Mobility Attitudes Survey? Transit riders are disproportionately young, members of ethnic minorities, and—most important of all—they live in relatively dense neighborhoods where high-quality transit is available. The most important factor for them in choosing transit is travel time and reliability, not fancier amenities such as wifi.

The survey, which gathered data from 11,842 respondents in 46 metropolitan areas, found that the generational divide over transit that many observers have noted over the past few years is real: People under 30 are far more likely to ride public transportation and to express positive feelings about it than older people, regardless of what part of the country they live in or what kind of neighborhood they grew up in.

The survey looked at five geographical categories: the South, the West/Southwest, the West Coast, the Midwest, and what it classified as “traditional cities,” which included cities with “mature and widely used transit systems”—San Francisco, Boston, Philadelphia, New York, and Washington, D.C.
In the “traditional cities,” 43 percent of people under 30 reported riding transit at least once a week, compared with 12 percent of those between 30 and 60 and just 9 percent of those over 60. Even in regions with much lower overall ridership, the trend of young people using transit more held true: 20 percent of those under 30 in the South say they ride transit once a week, compared with 10 percent of those 30 to 60 and 2 percent of those over 60.

The preference for transit also showed up when those under 30 had kids, suggesting that the trend isn’t just about being childfree and easy. Across all income brackets, parents under 30 used transit significantly more than those between 30 and 60. Forty-five percent of the under-30 parent group with incomes above $75,000 said they use transit weekly, compared with 16 percent of parents between 30 and 60 in the same income bracket.

Interestingly, these same young people reported being raised in disproportionately autocentric environments: They were less likely to have been encouraged to walk or bike by their families as children or to have had easy access to transit, and were more likely to have gotten the message from parents that transit was unsafe (as well as the message from peers that it was uncool).
Still, they expressed disproportionately transit-friendly attitudes, even as their elders are continuing to reject the transit option. In the words of the researchers, “The Millennial generation seems to be defying its sheltered, suburban upbringing by delaying the acquisition of a driver’s license and choosing transit. Meanwhile, Baby Boomers, who grew up using transit and were encouraged to do so, are defying their upbringing by avoiding transit now.”

Another key finding is that many respondents say they would like to live in a different kind of neighborhood than the one where they do now. Nearly two-thirds, or 58 percent, of respondents said they would like to live in neighborhood with a mixture of residential, business, and shopping, rather than a strictly residential neighborhood. That didn’t mean that respondents wanted to leave the suburbs for the city, though—that figure combines those with preferences for urban, suburban, and small-town mixed-use neighborhoods.
Only 39 percent of those surveyed are living in such a neighborhood now, suggesting a mismatch between available housing stock and people’s desires. The neighborhood most often chosen as the “ideal” by respondents, with 28 percent favoring it, was a mixed-use suburban neighborhood.

“The findings indicate that attitudes among young people suggest there’s going to be strong and growing support for transit in the decades to come, across the country,” says David Bragdon, executive director of TransitCenter. “This study shows there’s a lot of demand for transit and our local officials need to step up and meet that demand.”

Other key points in the survey:
  • Respondents were five times more likely to take transit if they were offered pre-tax commuting benefits by their employers.
  • Transit use varied widely by race and ethnicity. Thirty-nine percent of African Americans reported using transit at least once per week, as did 37 percent of Hispanics; 32 percent of American Indians and Alaskan natives; 18 percent of Asian and South Pacific respondents; and just 10 percent of whites.
  • In general, transit use decreased as income increased, but respondents in the highest bracket—$150,000 and up—reported riding transit more than any other group except those in the lowest bracket, who make less than $25,000.
  • Concern for the environment ranked last among reasons to use transit across all age groups.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Lincoln's Executive Order, The Emancipation Proclamation - Note for a Lecture, "E Pluribus Unum? What Keeps the United States United"

From: Todd Brewster, Lincoln's Gamble: The Tumultuous Six Months That Gave America the Emancipation Proclamation and Changed the Course of the Civil War (2014) [Presentation on video by the author]

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JB- How to save the Union? This thought-provoking book suggests that the Great Emancipator actually thought -- quite ironically -- that American unity could best be achieved by separating the races (probably not news to Lincoln experts). Yep, unity through separation (JB?) ... 

pp. 58-59:

Whatever the correct story of the Emancipation Proclamation's authorship, as Lincoln wrote it ... perplexing questions had to be going through his mind. He needed to craft an order that could withstand judicial scrutiny, but how? Could the slaves be freed without a constitutional amendment and, if so, under what power of Congress? They were, after all, "property," at least in a legal sense, and the Constitution protected private property from government taking. Yet if not as an act of Congress, how was emancipation to be realized? Certainly an executive order of emancipation would be beyond the powers of the president, but not, Lincoln concluded, if such an order were issued as furtherance of the executive's war powers. ... [H]e [Lincoln] was determined to emancipate the slaves as an act of military necessity.

For Lincoln, then, the Emancipation Proclamation had to be written with great care to emphasize this power and only this power. The ironies were rich: if he freed the slaves as an act of military necessity, its justification was not moral, but strategic. None of the usual Lincoln poetry about the evils inherent to one man's serving as a master to another -- none of this -- had any place in the document. Since military strategies are by definition provisional, to be lifted once the mission is complete, emancipation as Lincoln was writing it could only be temporary. Then, too, as an act of war, the freeing of the slaves for reasons of military necessity could only be done for the slaves in the Confederate states, in the states actually in rebellion. Since there was no military necessity to free slaves in states that were not in rebellion  -- Kentucky, for instance, and Maryland and Delaware, or even in those parts of the states in rebellion where the Confederacy had already surrendered -- those slaves would be left in their shackles, untouched by the proclamation. This meant that ... Lincoln, a man history admires for his profession of moral absolutes, was authoring a document of astonishing relativity -- freedom for a time only and only for some, not all.

pp. 63-64:

[M]ost white Americans, even Northern white Americans, were for preserving the Union but against emancipating the slaves. ...

Emancipation might ... prove a failure even as a military tactic, either because the freed slaves would choose to stay with their masters and fight for the South, bolstering the Southern cause rather than eroding it, or because freeing the slaves would precipitate what so many, including Lincoln, had long dreaded: an all-out race war, a bloody expression of long-suppressed rage that would spread uncontrollably, engulfing the nation. Congress's decision to end the slave trade in 1807 had been driven in part by this fear, for if the flow of slaves from Africa continued unimpeded, it could have led to what some worried would be a "dangerous" imbalance of the races, threatening white rule.

p. 81:

Given that laws prohibiting miscegenation were in force until 1967, when the Supreme Court in Loving v. Virginia overturned the state's 1924 Racial Integrity Act, it may be too much for us to expect that ... Lincoln, or even the most Radical Republicans pushing to end slavery in the mind-nineteenth century, sought a society that blended races into a vast reproductive melting pot. They had probably not even thought that far, and they could never have imagined that less than 150 years later the nation would elect a president who was a product of interracial marriage.

p. 90:

What alternative, what middle ground between emancipation and the continuance of slavery, was there that could end the war, keep the Union intact, and at the same time address the moral wrong that he [Lincoln] and so many others believed slavery to be?

Th[is] ... question had an answer, unsatisfactory as it may have appeared to Lincoln at the time, and loathsome as it was to so many progressive minds of the day: colonization. Free the slaves and then send them away along with all other free members of their race, send them to some far-off place so that the dreaded race war would never materialize, so that the end of slavery would not mean the beginning of equality, so that Negro and white man would not need to find peace with each other, so North and South would end their blood-spattered quarrel, so America could remain a white, Anglo-Saxon nation -- and all as the ghastly and merciless institution that had started it all was brought to an end.

p. 91:

It was a fascinating dichotomy: while the religious leaders saw colonization as a way of eventually ending slavery, plantation owners saw it as a way of protecting slavery from those who sought to subvert it. Yet both converged on the same plan.

p. 93:

By 1847, the country of Liberia [see] ... had declared its independence. Still, the colonization never had the impact that its founders intended; opposition from abolitionists at home and from African tribes in Liberia, who were resentful of the intrusion on their shores, kept the numbers of repatriating blacks low.

pp. 100-103:

On August 14, 1862, in what ... [was] described later as the first time that an American president had hosted "colored men" at the White House, Lincoln, his draft of the Emancipation still known to only the cabinet and a few close friends and advisers, entertained five black American leaders with the purpose of encouraging them to start a mass exodus from America and rid the nation of its "race problem" forever. ...

"You and we are different races," Lincoln said. "Even when you cease to be slaves, you are yet far removed from being placed on an equality with the white race....It is better for us both, therefore, to be separated." Lincoln told the group that it was their presence in a white society -- not slavery, not Southern secession -- that was the root cause of this terrible war, and slavery had done this to the white race. ...

Among the most vocal critics of the emigration plan was the former slave Frederick Douglass. ...

Douglass seized upon Lincoln's claim that the slaves were responsible for the war. "A horse thief pleading that the existence of the horse is the apology for his theft or a highway man contending that the money in the traveler's pocket is the sole first cause of his robbery are about as much entitled to respect as is the President's reasoning at this point. No, Mr. President, it is not the innocent horse that makes the horse thief, not the traveler's purse that makes the highway robber, and it is not presence of the Negro that causes this foul and unnatural war, but the cruel and brutal cupidity of those who wish to possess horses, money and Negroes by means of theft, robbery, and rebellion."

p. 110:

He [Lincoln] knew that he would not free all the slaves -- he was firm in his belief that he did not have constitutional power to do so -- and yet he had already freed some of the slaves through the Confiscation Acts [see], which he had signed (even though he had not supported them because he thought these, too, were unconstitutional). Slavery had been abolished in the District of Columbia through a legislative act signed by Lincoln in April [1862].

pp. 158-160:

The best that Lincoln could do ... to lighten the appearance of an executive power grab [by the Emancipation Proclamation] was to incorporate quotes from legislative acts that, while superfluous to the proclamation, at least suggested that the Congress had expressed its will in similar terms -- that it, too was inching toward emancipation even if it did not have the constitutional power to grant it. He included in the Preliminary Proclamation [September 1862 --which preceded the final version of Proclamation on January 1, 1863] of the Article of War, for instance, passed in March [1862], which had finally ended the practice of Union soldiers returning fugitive slaves to their rebel masters. He also included the text of the second Confiscation Act. There, Congress had declared the slaves of the Confederate civilian and military officials involved in the rebellion (and those "who shall in any way give aid or comfort thereto") "forever free of their servitude." That phrasing -- "forever free" -- was significant here because in the meat of the Preliminary Proclamation  Lincoln used the same phrase to apply to all slaves being held in rebel states: "That on the first day of January in the year of our Lord, one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, all persons held as slaves within any State, or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free[see also below, pp. 231-235]." Lincoln seemed to be suggesting that he was only doing what Congress wished it could do but could not by the dictates of the Constitution. ...

pp. 211-213:

In [December]1862, it was not Lincoln ... but the secretary of state ... who delivered all 8,443 words of Lincoln's Annual Message [to Congress]. ...

Offering that he could not improve on the spirited language he had used in his first Annual Message, one year earlier, Lincoln reiterated his belief that the only difference between North and South was that "one section of our country believes slavery is right and ought to be extended, while the other believes it is wrong and ought not to be extended." This, he wrote, was not sufficient reason to rend the country, and anyway, such a split would lack the prospect of longevity. Since the geography itself could not change nor could an impassable wall be built between North and South, the earth would always unite the people of Indiana with the people of Kentucky and the people of Kentucky with the people of Tennessee. Why, one could walk across the border, wade across it where it was formed by a river. If anything, the contiguous nature of the states would continue to force them together, "however much of blood and treasure the separation might have cost." ...

Lincoln proposed three constitutional amendments. One would make "forever free" those slaves who "enjoyed actual freedom by the chances of war." This referred not to those who would be freed by the Emancipation Proclamation -- his address, it was becoming clear, was an attempt to avoid the necessity for making the Preliminary Proclamation real -- but, instead, those who had been seized according to the Confiscation Acts or who had on their own effort or through some other series of accidents or actions otherwise made it to freedom. ... By contrast, the next two amendments were confounding in their nature, scope, and detail. Lincoln proposed compensation in the form of federal bonds to states that opted for a gradual emancipation by the year 1900, and should any state reintroduce slavery -- after all, nothing here made slavery illegal; it just regulated the practice -- it would have to repay the federal government with interest. Finally, he proposed federal funding for that persistent idea of colonizing "free colored persons" someplace outside the United States, though only with their consent. He acknowledged that Haiti and Liberia were willing to accept "such persons" as full and equal citizens, yet most American blacks, regretfully, did not seem inclined to move to those countries despite its being "in their interest" to do so. He worried that, for African-Americans, sudden and complete emancipation could only lead to lives of "vagrant destitution." Therefore, his plan of gradual emancipation and colonization would give them a better chance at success in freedom. If accepted, Lincoln's post-Civil War world would have looked like this: an end to the fighting now, slavery legal but on the path to a gradual disappearance over the next forty years, slaveholders compensated for forgoing the practice, freed slaves encouraged to leave the country, and all that a cost, so far, of 419, 979 casualties (230,196 of those on the Union side alone). This, in December 1862, was the plan of the man who would one day be known as the Great Emancipator.

pp. 231-235:

[O]n December 29 [1862], three days before New Year's Lincoln brought [his cabinet members] a draft of what would be the final Emancipation Proclamation text and read it aloud. ...

This draft differed slightly from what had been promised before. It still freed the slaves in the states in rebellion, justified emancipation as a war measure, and pledged the full forces of the federal government, including the efforts of the army and navy, to "recognize and maintain" that freedom. But in this newest version, Lincoln tried to soften fears that Union forces would encourage the dreaded "servile insurrection." The notion that slaves would eventually rise up "like so many wild beasts" ready to "devastate and devour" their former masters was shared in the North and South. Ironically, this fear had even been used as an argument for emancipation. ...

Of course, if ever there was an image ripe for those fearful of servile insurrection, it had to be this one: freed slaves in crisp blue Union uniforms returning to the states where they once lived in captivity, armed for blood. ...

Throughout his drafts of the proclamation, Lincoln had written that the slaves are "then, thenceforward, and forever free." Perhaps because of his concern over the inherent clash between the limited nature of military necessity and the word forever, Lincoln had, in this final draft, substituted the more ambiguous term henceforward, as in "all persons held as slaves within said designated States and parts of States, are, and henceforward shall be free." But this still invited a critical challenge. If emancipation is not abolition, and if the powers to emancipate for military necessity are inherently temporary, then why couldn't those freed by the Emancipation Proclamation simply be re-enslaved once the war was over? ...

pp. 242-243:

Lincoln did have compunctions and was very uncertain. He had wanted to end slavery, but not this way, and even now, perhaps especially now, he feared the consequences of this act, that it might extend the war, not hasten its end; that it could permanently divide North from South; that it would lose him the Border States; that it would lead to a massacre of the slaves or their masters; that a society incorporating black and white could only result in a future of racial antagonism and violence. What is now heralded as one of the greatest acts in the advancement of human liberty, an act that christened Lincoln the Great Emancipator, that brought men and women to their knees in his presence as if he were divinely touched, was, in the mind of its author, a roll of the dice. ...

"We are like whalers who been long on a chase," Lincoln said not long afterward, reflecting, with trepidation, about what lay ahead. "We have at last got the harpoon into the monster, but we must now look how we steer, or with one 'flop' of his tail he will yet send us all into eternity."

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p. 249:

[E]mancipation and the subsequent recruitment of black soldiers helped to turn this from a war of armies into a war of societies, for that was how a civil war, or at least this civil war, had to be fought. ... To win, the North needed ... to squash every resource, free every slave, and, as Sherman finally showed, terrorize the population into submission. This [was a] new kind of war, a "total war," as historians have long described it . ...

p. 250:

The Emancipation Proclamation brought conclusion to a war that Lincoln had never wanted and to a vile human institution he despised but that he expected would survive his presidency and beyond. It led to the establishment of "equality" -- a notion that Lincoln had resisted, at least in its full-blown form -- as an American value on a par with "liberty" and made America officially a biracial (and, ultimately, a multiracial) country, which he had seen as an unrealistic and unsustainable dream.

Friday, November 28, 2014

An Irony of American History ...

On September 24 [1862], just two days after he issued the Preliminary Proclamation [on Emancipation], Lincoln issued a second order, Proclamation 94, suspending habeas corpus for the entire nation.

--Todd Brewster, Lincoln's Gamble: The Tumultuous Six Months that Gave American the Emancipation Proclamation and Changed the Course of the Civil War (2014), p. 171

Democracy at Work ... Hillary Clinton gets 300K to open her mouth at UCLA.

From The Washington Post

Plans for UCLA visit give rare glimpse into Hillary Clinton’s paid speaking career

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By Rosalind S. Helderman and Philip Rucker November 26

When officials at the University of California at Los Angeles began negotiating a $300,000 speech appearance by Hillary Rodham Clinton, the school had one request: Could we get a reduced rate for public universities?

The answer from Clinton’s representatives: $300,000 is the “special university rate.”

That e-mail exchange and other internal communications, obtained this week by The Washington Post under a Freedom of Information Act request, provide a rare glimpse into the complex and meticulous backstage efforts to manage the likely 2016 presidential candidate’s lucrative speaking career.

At UCLA, efforts to book Clinton and then prepare for her visit were all-consuming, beginning almost immediately after she left her job as secretary of state on Feb. 1, 2013, until she delivered her Luskin Lecture for Thought Leadership speech on March 5, 2014.

The documents show that Clinton’s representatives at the Harry Walker Agency exerted considerable control over her appearance and managed even the smallest details — from requesting lemon wedges and water on stage to a computer, scanner, and a spread of hummus and crudité in the green room backstage.

Gene Block, UCLA’s chief executive and chancellor, presents a medal to Hillary Rodham Clinton after her speech at the school March 5. (Nick Ut/AP)
Top university officials discussed at length the style and color of the executive armchairs Clinton and moderator Lynn Vavreck would sit in as they carried on a question-and-answer session, as well as the kind of pillows to be situated on each chair. Clinton’s representatives requested that the chairs be outfitted with two long, rectangular pillows — and that two cushions be kept backstage in case the chair was too deep and she needed additional back support.

After a lengthy call with a Clinton representative, UCLA administrator Patricia Lippert reported to campus colleagues, “She uses a lavalier [microphone] and will both speak from the audience and walk around stage, TED talk style. We need a teleprompter and 2-3 downstage scrolling monitors [for] her to read from.

During a walk-through of Royce Hall five days before the lecture, the e-mails show, Clinton’s team rejected the podium planned for her use during her 20- to 30-minute speech, setting off a scramble on campus to find a suitable podium and rent a new university seal to match.

In the nearly two years since stepping down as secretary of state, Clinton has made dozens of paid appearances across the country at industry conventions and Wall Street banks as well as at universities. Her UCLA fee, like those at other universities, went to the Bill, Hillary Chelsea and Clinton Foundation, the family’s nonprofit group.

But critics have argued that the carefully staged events and high speaking fees could complicate Clinton’s ability to run a populist campaign built around the economic struggles of the middle class.

Versions of Clinton’s standard speaking contracts have surfaced publicly this year — including her luxury travel requirements — but the contracts do not contain the extensive detail seen in the UCLA communications.

It is unclear how personally involved Clinton was in the UCLA negotiations and whether the requests from her agency were being directed by her or merely from underlings anticipating her preferences.

A Clinton spokesman declined to comment on the speaking arrangements.

It is commonplace for celebrity speakers to request special accommodations — and Clinton was no exception. Her representatives asked for a case of still water, room temperature, to be deposited stage right. They also asked that “a carafe of warm/hot water, coffee cup and saucer, pitcher of room temperature water, water glass, and lemon wed­ges” be situated both on a table on stage as well as in another room where Clinton would stand for photos with VIPs.

For the green room, Clinton’s representatives requested: “Coffee, tea, room temp sparkling and still water, diet ginger ale, crudité, hummus and sliced fruit.” They also asked for a computer, mouse and printer, as well as a scanner, which the university had to purchase for the occasion.

When university officials decided to award Clinton the UCLA Medal, Clinton’s team asked that it be presented to her in a box rather than draped around her neck. That request was sent to the university’s chancellor, Gene Block.

“Chancellor Block has agreed to accommodate Hillary Clinton’s request to have the medal presented in a box,” Assistant Provost Margaret Leal-Sotelo wrote in one e-mail.

Lippert replied: “I can either have the jewelers box open or closed, in case the Chancellor doesn’t want to risk opening it.”

By contract, Clinton’s approval was needed for any promotional materials. Clinton gave permission for the university to record the event, but “for archival purposes only.” For public distribution, Clinton’s speaking agency approved only a two-minute highlight video to upload to YouTube. “Please make sure it is available only for one (1) year from the date of posting,” a Harry Walker Agency official added.

Clinton posed for individual photos with 100 VIPS, or 50 couples — “We get a total of 50 clicks,” one university official explained — as well as two group photos. Lippert wrote to colleagues that Clinton’s representatives wanted the group shots “prestaged,” with participants assembled and ready to take the photographs before Clinton arrived “so the secretary isn’t waiting for these folks to get their act together.” Reiterating the request, Lippert added, “She doesn’t like to stand around waiting for people.”

Like many major universities, UCLA regularly pays high-profile speakers to visit campus. Many of the visits are funded through a private endowment and not with tuition or public dollars. Clinton’s appearance was privately funded as part of a lecture series endowed by Meyer Luskin, an investor and president of Scope Industries, a food waste recycling company.

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In 2012, former president Bill Clinton delivered the inaugural Luskin lecture at UCLA for $250,000. Upon learning that Hillary Clinton’s fee would be $300,000, Guy Wheatley, a UCLA development official, wrote in an e-mail: “Wow! She get’s $50K more than hubby!”

Luskin told a university official to make sure the event raised at least $100,000. The university sold more tickets — which ranged in price from $250 for one seat to $2,000 for two seats, a photo with Clinton and access to a post-lecture reception with the college deans — and provided fewer free tickets to students.

UCLA Communications Director Jean-Paul Renaud said in a statement that Clinton’s speech helped “expand dialogue among scholars, leaders in government and business, and the greater Los Angeles community.” He said that the university acted “as a responsible steward of financial resources” and that ticket revenue funded the College’s Greatest Needs Fund, which includes undergraduate and graduate student support.

On campus, university planners fielded repeated requests for complimentary or reserved tickets — for scholarship students, for donors, for faculty and staff.

Organizers faced criticism that more students could not attend, particularly after an early morning event to allow students to enter a lottery for one of 413 free tickets turned into a shoving match. But students without tickets were able to watch a live stream of the event in an overflow location, Renaud said.

Other controversy surrounded Clinton’s visit. When an online survey asked the public what questions should be posed during a 40-minute question-and-answer session, university officials noted in e-mails that the majority of the suggestions were about the 2012 terrorist attacks in Benghazi, Libya.

Days after the lecture, administrators discussed an e-mail that had arrived from graduate Charles McKenna, a lawyer who said he was concerned that the university was charging more than $250 for a ticket to hear a public official speak.

“In effect, this is a campaign appearance, as Ms. Clinton is undeniably looking into a presidential run in 2016,” McKenna wrote. “Why is a public university charging the public for the pleasure of providing Ms. Clinton the benefit of a high profile platform?”

One UCLA official advised against responding to McKenna’s e-mail “unless he pushes.” Another UCLA official then looked up the man’s giving record and responded that while he was a donor, he had not given large amounts.

In an interview Wednesday, McKenna said he never received a response to his e-mail. “If you’re a big shot, you get attention,” he said. “I’m not a big shot, by any stretch of the imagination.”

Rosalind Helderman is a political enterprise and investigations reporter for the Washington Post.