April 18, 2008

In 2007, Obama gave $26,270 to Rev. Wright's church

The Washington Post reports:

Barack Obama released his 2007 tax returns yesterday as the latest move in a running dialogue with Hillary Clinton over which presidential candidate has been more open about personal finances.

Obama's tax returns showed that he made $4.2 million last year, most of it ($3.9 million) a result of profits from his best-selling books. He reported paying $1,396,772 in federal taxes and making charitable contributions totaling $240,370. Those donations included $26,270 to the Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, which was the parish of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr., his controversial former longtime pastor.

The funny thing is that I bet Rev. Wright considers Obama an ungrateful tightwad. After all, Obama makes $3.9 million in one year off his two books, for one of which Wright's "Audacity of Hope" sermon provides the title and for the other it provides the central climax.

Does Obama do the Christian thing and tithe? Hardly. Instead of 10%, Obama chips in 0.7% of his income.

Betrayed, I tell you. Betrayed.

Just like with Oprah Winfrey. She starts making 9 figures annually, but does she tithe as a reward to Rev. Wright for all the spiritual uplift he's provided her?

No. In fact, she quits the church.

Poor Rev. Wright will have to spend his retirement years living in a mansion in a gated community on a public golf course, Odyssey in Tinley Park, and not a particularly superb one either, only $78 to play on weekends.

Do you think Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr. might be in the mood to sign a contract to write a book himself? Something with a title like "Me and My Spiritual Mentee, Sen. Esq. Barack H. Obama, Jr." only catchier. Publication date, say, October 1, 2008?

I was also wondering if anybody has made more money off of nonfiction books that fewer people have finished than Sen. Obama (Stephen Hawking, maybe?). But then I started thinking about what percentage of all best-selling books that don't reveal who the murderer is on the last page or whether the kids escape being eaten by the tyrannosaurus ever get finished. I bet it's low.

Update: A reader points out that one definite answer to the question of "Who has made more money off unfinished books than Obama" is Obama's opponent's husband, Bill Clinton, who has made $29.6 million in advances and royalties for his 1008 page autobiography (and miscellaneous quasi-books). Heck, I could barely finish reading Bill's opening sentence, with its 11 prepositional phrases:

"Early on the morning of August 19, 1946, I was born under a clear sky after a violent summer storm to a widowed mother in the Julia Chester Hospital in Hope, a town of about six thousand in southwest Arkansas, thirty-three miles east of the Texas border at Texarkana."

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer


Anonymous said...

You could watch library checkouts as a loose proxy for what's actually being read in the US. If you want ideas recorded as text, why, they give those away for free at the library - not to mention everywhere else. If you want an objet d'status, you go to Borders.

There might be some marginal exceptions, truly mass market stuff like Harry Potter that gets people in a consumer lather, but otherwise I'd bet it holds.

Jim O said...

Hey! I finished both of the Hawking books that I started to read, though doing so wasn't easy. Both of them started with very interesting, accessible premises, and then move into utterly impenetrable etherea. Much like this comment.

Ron Guhname said...


Clinton thinks he's Whitman:

OUT of the cradle endlessly rocking,
OUT of the mocking-bird’s throat, the musical shuttle,
OUT of the Ninth-month midnight,
OVER the sterile sands, and the fields beyond, where the child, leaving his bed, wander’d alone, bare-headed, barefoot,
DOWN from the shower’d halo,
UP from the mystic play of shadows, twining and twisting as if they were alive,
OUT from the patches of briers and blackberries,
FROM the memories of the bird that chanted to me,
FROM your memories, sad brother—FROM the fitful risings and fallings I heard,
FROM under that yellow half-moon, late-risen, and swollen as if with tears,
FROM those beginning notes of sickness and love, there in the transparent mist,
FROM the thousand responses of my heart, never to cease,
FROM the myriad thence-arous’d words,
FROM the word stronger and more delicious than any,
FROM such, as now they start, the scene revisiting....

Anonymous said...

"Obama's tax returns showed that he made $4.2 million last year, most of it ($3.9 million) a result of profits from his best-selling books."

Wait a minute. He made $3.9 million from his books? What's a hard-back book run, $20? And what's the going rate for royalties, 15%? That comes to $3 a book. Did he really sell 1.3 million books in 2007? And that's assuming their hardbacks. It would be considerably more than that if they were paper-backs.

Wouldn't that put him up there with the kings of the check-out stand bookracks - Clancy, King, and, well, whoever it is nowadays? And as Steve has demonstrated, obviously not that many people have actually read Obama's books, so what gives?

Did someone buy up crates of his books, which now sit, unread, in some warehouse? Did someone just pay him a bribe, excuse me, I meant.....a generous advance?

Anonymous said...

Ya cant beat Nixon's "I was born in the house my father built..." (sniffle...)Great unread books:except for "Fear of Flying"(which was unreadABLE but I still,like most Americans,ground my way through it because the cover had a semi-naked woman on the cover),except for that,I'd say EVERY book by Erica Jong. Most political autobiographies are sleep inducing.

Anonymous said...

Shit, Obama deserves the presidency.

He is one of few African Americans who pays a shit-loads of tax (33% of his income) and we haven't heard a squeak out him about how unfair it it.