Bert Lance, the single Carter administration figure to resign amid suggestions of scandal, is learning what Watergate veterans already know: political disgrace can mean lucrative bookings on the lecture circuit. Through the prominent New York speakers' bureau, Harry Walker, Inc., Lance generally charges at least $2000 or more per speech. And his own departure from Washington is not far from his mind when he talks about government.
"You're a group of good humor," he told a crowd at a "Think Positive Rally" in Iowa City early this month. "I was told by some people during my hearings that one of my responses ought to have been the story about the lady who went into the butcher shop to buy a chicken.
"She said to the butcher 'I'd like to buy a chicken for dinner' and he said, 'Well, do you see one that appeals to you' and she said, 'The left one over there looks pretty good.'
"he handed it across the counter and she held it up by the neck and pinched the breast to see how firm it was and pinched the thigh to see what sort of color it had and twisted the leg to see how strong the joint was and did the same to the wing and handed it back to the butcher and said 'This won't do.'
"The butcher said 'Lady, of course that's your prerogative, but to tell you the honest-to-goodness truth, I doubt that you could pass that kind of test yourself."
Lance told his audience he was "ripped up by the media every day" late last summer, though he assured journalists backstage he was "not bitter about the Washington press corps. "Lance, who was a last-minute replacement for George Romney at the Iowa rally, refused to disclose his lecture fee.
"One of the good things about not being in government," he told a reporter tersely, "is that I don't have to answer that."(FOOTNOTE)
Footnote: Lance says he's undecided on whether to write about his months spent a director of the OMB, but his wife's book, This Too Shall Pass, is due out in the spring. Lance stays in touch with the President (from his mansion in Calhoun, Georgia) and next month in Atlanta he hosts a $1000-a-couple salute to Jimmy Carter to raise funds for 1978 Democratic congressional candidates. (END FOOT)