Goodwin does not command "up to" $40,000 as reported in the Gray Lady. Her speaker's fee is $40,001 "and up" given the code 6 rating her bureau displays on her page.
The Times rationalizes the size of her fee based on its content: motivational speakers get more.
Ten days ago, Goodwin spoke to a gathering of legislators in Anchorage. She could have spoken out of her rich personal background as an aide to Lyndon Johnson. Topics? Successful transitions from legislator to executive or games executives play with legislators. Instead, she delved into a topic that she admits was new to her when she started writing Team of Rivals. And this is the content served up for a fee that starts at $40,001:
The qualities that made Lincoln outstanding, Goodwin said, should still be the benchmark today: the ability to set aside anger, jealousy and other destructive emotions, in order to make the right policy calls for the country.By the way, could we not say that the hallmark of the Lincoln Administration was its refusal to set policy? It had no occupation policy, no reconstruction policy, no freedmen policy, no military srategy, no foreign policy; it was a policy free zone driving the generals and cabinet officers and legislators mad.
The larger tragedy is that Goodwin, as a celebrity, has personally met more legislators than anyone in her Alaska conference audience plus she had a ringside seat at the Lyndon Johnson circus. She has original content to share with her paymasters. And yet, she will resort to canned speeches on half-baked historical insights based on her incomplete reading and understanding of material that seems fundamentally beyond her.
Her pay seems an inverse ratio of value.