The worst commencement speech

The White House has posted two May 19 transcripts of “remarks by President Biden at a campaign event” (here, at CRED Café, and here, at Huntington Bank Convention Center). The White House should have listed a third — Remarks by President Biden at the Morehouse College Class of 2024 Commencement Address.

In view of Biden’s office as President and his audience of black college graduates, it may be the worst commencement speech ever given in the United States. It is full of lies about the White House, about the prevalence of racism in the United States, about the obstacles to black achievement, and so on. As a campaign speech, it was full of the traditional Biden demagogy. For example:

We’re delivering affordable high-speed Internet so no child has to sit in their parents’ car or do their homework in a parking lot outside of McDonald’s.

Instead of forcing you to prove you’re 10 times better, we’re breaking down doors so you have 100 times more opportunities: good-paying jobs you can raise a family on in your neighborhood — (applause); capital to start small business and loans to buy homes; health insurance, prescriptions drugs, housing that’s more affordable and accessible.

He bragged about his lawlessness in buying votes with our money:

I’m relieving the burden of student debt — many of you have already had the benefit of it — (applause) — so I [you] can chase your dreams and grow the economy.

When the Supreme Court told me I couldn’t, I found two other ways to do it. (Applause.) And we were able to do it, because it grows the economy.

To put it charitably, he encapsulated his ambivalence and confusion about Israel’s struggle against a genocidal enemy:

That’s why I’ve called for an immediate ceasefire — an immediate ceasefire to stop the fighting — (applause) — bring the hostages home. And I’ve been working on a deal as we speak, working around the clock to lead an international effort to get more aid into Gaza, rebuild Gaza.

Analyze this:

But let’s be clear what happens to you and your family when old ghosts in new garments seize power, extremists come for the freedoms you thought belonged to you and everyone.

Today in Georgia, they won’t allow water to be available to you while you wait in line to vote in an election. What in the hell is that all about? (Applause.) I’m serious. Think about it. And then the constant attacks on Black election workers who count your vote.

Insurrectionists who storm the Capitol with Confederate flags are called “patriots” by some. Not in my house. (Applause.) Black police officers, Black veterans protecting the Capitol were called another word, as you’ll recall.

They also say out loud, these other groups, immigrants “poison the blood” of our country, like the Grand Wizard and fascists said in the past. But you know and I know we all bleed the same color. In America, we’re all created equal. (Applause.)

Extremists close the doors of opportunity; strike down affirmative action; attack the values of diversity, equality, and inclusion.

When it comes to the “diversity” regime, some are more equal than others. Speaking of “extremism,” Biden condemned the “extremists” on the the Supreme Court who ruled last year against legalized discrimination and in favor of equal treatment for all in higher education.

Did he mention that “they’re going to put y’all back in chains”? He didn’t need to.

How inspirational can you get? This inspirational:

[G]raduates, this is what we’re up against: extremist forces aligned against the meaning and message of Morehouse. And they peddle a fiction, a caricature what being a man is about — tough talk, abusing power, bigotry. Their idea of being a man is toxic. I ran into them all the time when I was younger. They got — all right, I don’t want to get started. (Laughter.)

Beau Biden made the obligatory cameo appearance.

For a cosmetic treatment of this speech that verges on the comic, see Laura Egan’s Politico story. if this wasn’t the worst commencement speech in American history, it wasn’t for lack of trying.

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