I’ve heard my share of commencement speeches both live and via C-SPAN. Typically, speakers offer words of encouragement and advice to graduates. Rags to riches stories aren’t commonly told these days, but commencement speakers often recount tales of achievement against the odds, sometimes by the speaker, sometimes not.
I once heard a commencement speech devoted to heaping praise on the college president (Jim Kim of Dartmouth). That was an outlier, though.
I’ve never heard a commencement speech in which the speaker whined about a defeat and provided updates on how she was coping with it. But that is what Hillary Clinton offered graduates of Yale in her commencement speech yesterday.
From the Daily Caller:
“I remember the first months after that 2016 election were not easy. We all had our own methods of coping,” Clinton said, noting she went for “long walks in the woods,” spent “hours going down a Twitter rabbit hole” and had her “fair share of chardonnay.”
“No, I’m not over it. I still think about the 2016 election. I still regret the mistakes I made. I still think, though, that understanding what happened in such a weird and wild election in American history will help us defend our democracy in the future.”
To promote such “understanding,” Hillary pulled a gag, playing off the tradition of people wearing odd hats to graduation at Yale:
It took Clinton less than two minutes to bring up the 2016 election during her commencement speech on Sunday. “I mean, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em,” Clinton said, whipping out a Russian hat.
She should have pulled out an earlier Hillary prop — her “Russia reset” button.
To be fair, Clinton never “joined” Russia. But she came closer to doing so than President Trump ever has.
I’m referring not just to the Russia reset, which included appeasing Putin by abandoning missile defense to protect our allies, but also to Clinton’s approval as Secretary of State of a uranium deal favorable to Russia.
Hillary didn’t get a Russian hat for her efforts. But her Foundation got oodles of cash and her husband received hefty speaker fees.
Hillary had a “rags to riches” story to offer Yale graduates, having left the White House “dead broke” and “in debt.” She made a good call in declining to tell that story.
Whether it was a good call to whine about her defeat in 2016 is a different question.