In Ann Arbor’s Michigan Stadium, at the University of Michigan’s commencement ceremony, keynote speaker Barack Obama trumpeted the theme, “Government is us.” The President exhorted graduates to go forth from that place committed to the vision of working together with government to “Keep democracy going.”
In addition to advancing democratic ideals, Obama also used the festivities as a platform to respond to foes that portray government as oppressive and tyrannical. Basking in university-style love, honorary doctor of laws degree laureate Barack Obama shared with graduates how troublesome it is, “when government is spoken of as some menacing, threatening foreign entity.”
In 2009 the President was in Michigan and at that time did something unusual; Obama spoke honestly to residents of the Wolverine state telling them the sobering truth, “that some of the jobs that have been lost in the auto industry and elsewhere won’t be coming back.” Clearly Obama felt the text from that particular Warren, Michigan speech wouldn’t sit well with graduates about to embark on a career in a state with 14%, unemployment.
Instead, keynote speaker Barack Obama chose to utilize podium time to redefine free speech as “denigrating toward government and inherently bad,” and to classify as “angry,” any and all, opposition to overbearing bureaucratic control. The President also used the venue to suggest students discontinue listening to Beck and Limbaugh and to be on alert for dangerous right-wing extremists.
Attempting to tone down contentious rhetoric Obama reassured graduates that historically “Debates about the size and role of government are as old as the republic itself.”
Yet in an address spanning 31-minutes Obama omitted salient points that would have put the present political environment in a more balanced context. Take for instance his failure to mention America’s righteous anger over the ever expanding, government imposed tax burden.
Why didn’t Obama cite government takeovers or the nationalization of private industry? Barack also failed to re-examine national ire over government control of health care, the $16-trillion dollar projected long term national debt, or illegal immigrants stealing jobs the unemployed in Michigan would otherwise be doing?
Instead Obama portrayed government as a benevolent uncle whose only occupation is ensuring, “the roads we drive on and the speed limits that keep us safe.” The federal government Obama spoke of invoked Hallmark images of smiling men and women in uniform, inspectors in mines, and pioneering researchers in public universities.
Disregarding his own caveat that “overheated language could send signals to violent extremists,” the president blamed the financial meltdown on the “dangers of too little government.” Barack managed to demonize lack of regulation with such finesse; Freddie and Fannie’s involvement in the mortgage crisis, was never even broached.
Segueing into greed mongers on Wall Street Obama hammered home insufficient accountability to government as the culprit that, “nearly led to the collapse of our entire economy.” Translated into layman’s terms what Obama meant to say was, “Wall Street is responsible for both unemployment and the recession, and America needs more government regulation, not less.”
Coming full circle the President returned again to the First Amendment. The president urged both sides in the political debate to curtail zealous rhetoric, claiming “throwing around phrases like ‘socialists’ and ‘Soviet-style takeover, “fascists’ and ‘right-wing nut’ may grab headlines,” but “closes the door to the possibility of compromise.”
Does Mr. Obama mean conciliation similar to the type of bi-partisan cooperation America witnessed during the negotiation and one-sided passage of ObamaCare?
In another attempt to usher in national unity, Obama reiterated the belief that criticism of government, “At its worst, can send signals to the most extreme elements of our society that perhaps violence is a justifiable response.” Could Obama be referring to “extreme elements,” like the “right-wing nut jobs” the Department of Homeland Security cautioned about in its communiqué detailing the rising trend of dangerous pro-life advocates, returning military personnel and racially motivated hatemonger’s like Tea Party activists?
A thin-skinned Obama focused again on critics saying, “Passionate rhetoric isn’t new. Politics in America has never been for the thin-skinned or the faint of heart. If you enter the arena, you should expect to get roughed up.” Which begs the question, why then is Barry so adversarial toward his detractors? And why did Obama find it necessary to bring up Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck at a college commencement in Ann Arbor, Michigan? Is Obama admitting to being too faint-hearted for politics?
In addition, it did seem a tad disingenuous for the public disrespecter of Fox News and total disregarder of the opinions and concerns of the American people to suggest students “seek out opposing views.”
Barry said, “If you’re a regular Glenn Beck listener, then check out the Huffington Post sometimes. If you read The New York Times editorial page in the morning, then glance every now and then at The Wall Street Journal.”
Giving America an unintentional glimpse into how a president might respond to differing opinion, Obama then said, “It may make your blood boil. Your mind may not be changed. But the practice of listening to opposing views is essential for effective citizenship.”
Its official, the man who refuses to “listen to opposing views,” finally confirmed what many have alleged; President Obama is indeed an “ineffective citizen.”
Although forced to sit in the spring rain, enduring what must have seemed like the longest speech ever read off a teleprompter, University of Michigan graduates went away knowing that, without a doubt, Barack Obama believes criticism of government should be discouraged because such disparagement “ignores the fact that in our democracy, government is us.”
Yet as the honorary presidential doctor of law changed out of academic regalia, if one reflected back on those words, it’s obvious a more precise sentence from Barack Obama should have gone down in perpetuity, “In this autocracy, government is me!”