If anyone doubted that Hillary Clinton is a polarizing figure, all he had to do was look at the brouhaha caused by the National Automobile Dealers Association's selection of her as a keynote speaker at its convention next year in New Orleans.
It didn't help that right on the heels of the announcement, The New York Times ran a Page 1 story about how she is using speeches to further her political career.
The story also mentioned that the going rate for a Hillary Clinton speech is $200,000.
I have always felt that the NADA convention was a bit above the fray, so to speak, and that attendees should be happy to welcome anyone to speak on just about any subject.
It would appear that I was wrong.
Peter Welch, NADA's new president, must have had quite a shock at the response to her selection.
To be honest, if Clinton had agreed to speak for, say, $5,000, I doubt there would have been much outrage -- perhaps a bit of irritation, but that's about it.
The episode did demonstrate that the American new-vehicle dealer, who I've always felt is the last of the entrepreneurs in North America, basically has no love for liberals.
But I have to applaud NADA for holding its ground on the matter. Even conservative dealers need to hear all sides of the story firsthand. I would hope, however, that NADA was able to negotiate her fee, which seemed a bit extravagant.
Taking center stage at the NADA convention is quite an honor as well as an opportunity for just about anyone who has a story to tell.
I suppose it's a bit presumptuous to assume that someone might address this illustrious group for nothing. But the speaker should at least understand the value of the exposure to his or her own agenda.
I am not sure what lessons have been learned from this episode.
It will be interesting to see what sort of crowd Clinton draws. I can't think of anything more embarrassing to her than speaking to a half-empty auditorium.
There have been controversial speakers in the past at the NADA convention, and I am sure there will be in the future.
That's OK, but speakers should not get a financial windfall from their appearances.