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Ham's Commencement Speech Rule

Mary Katharine makes a great observation in her Examiner column today.

I have a theory that the fewer headlines a commencement address gets, the more likely it was actually written for its ostensible audience -- the students. Edwards' speech got a lot of ink this week, as did his new Web site, which encourages those same 20-somethings to "speak out" at all of the nation's Memorial Day parades. You know, for those who have the time and inclination to disgrace their forebears before getting jobs.

Hillary Clinton got less attention, but still a goodly amount, for her speech to Claflin University in South Carolina. In it, she outlined her plan to make college cheaper, using government funds of course, for all the students graduating after the ones sitting in front of her. Had I been her speechwriter, I think I would have added that the student center was gonna finally get that Chick-fil-a they'd always wanted, too. Sorry, Class of 2007!

Well, some say, Edwards and Clinton are political figures. Their speeches must necessarily be flagrantly political. Not necessarily.

She then takes a look at commencement speeches from Elizabeth Edwards, Gen. John Abizaid, and Tony Snow and puts them to the test.


Comments (10)

Lori...I had the honor to b... (Below threshold)
Dallas:

Lori...I had the honor to be a commencement speaker this year.(In your home state, NC)

You know what I know for sure?...the speech is not about the speaker...it is about the students and our future.

It was the greatest honor of my life...but that's not what I told them. I honored them and their accomplishment.

What a priviledge...and thank God I am not a politician.

Quit saying the will use 'g... (Below threshold)
Scrapiron:

Quit saying the will use 'government money'. There is now such thing. If the students want to slander the people that made and kept this country free they must remember that those encouraging it are the ones they will pay ( to the high dollar governent bloodsuckers) higher taxes to when they do go to work.
Since they have finished they're education their first project should be to investigate and see how many millions of dollars (taxpayer money of course) that Slick and the Weasel, Edwards, Kennedy, Hanoi John and Bagdad Bob have stashed in off shore banks to avoid taxes in the U.S. The come back and tell me what hero's the dhimmi's have for politicians.

I HATED my commencement spe... (Below threshold)
Eric:

I HATED my commencement speaker. His name was John Brademas and it was 1988 the year George H.W. Bush was running against Michael Dukakis. John Brademas' entire commencement speech was a campaign commercial for Michael Dukakis. It was boring, tedious and made little mention of the students or of the world we were facing other than how Ronald Reagan had ruined the world and Michael Dukakis was going to fix it.

The year before the school had John Tower as commencement speaker. One of my roomates was at that commencement and to this day says it was one of the most inspirational speeches he ever heard. I've always been jealous of that.

I'd want someone like David... (Below threshold)

I'd want someone like David Hasselhof or Alec Baldwin this year. That would be a great send off...

Well, there's politics and ... (Below threshold)
pennywit:

Well, there's politics and there's politics when it comes to graduation speeches. It's one thing, for example, when Secretary of State George Marshall announces a grand plan to rebuild Europe. It's another thing when a politician couches politics into a more general call for action -- a presidential candidate, for example, entreating students to involve themselves in the political process, perhaps with a wink and a chuckle along the lines of, "You know I probably have some ideas about that ... "

And it's quite another when a politician or other critter recites talking points.

--|PW|--

Yep..how dare graduates be ... (Below threshold)
nogo postal:

Yep..how dare graduates be told this
"It is time for you-- all of you -- to take responsibility for your country, for your government, for your community," Democratic presidential contender John Edwards said. "This is not about waiting for leaders or someone else to solve these problems for you. It will never happen. You have to take responsibility."

After all it is better for these graduates to have a nanny govt make decisions for them..
After all he should have told them..

"Now that you have graduated..you have no individual responsibility over how you conduct your life..just obey seat belt laws..helmet laws..
gun laws..don't worry about a thing..your government/nanny will take care of you..after all..
taking responsibility for your own life and your own actions..is not the American way..

Yep its politics..ju... (Below threshold)
nogo postal:

Yep its politics..
just wait..you won't have President Bush interject this into any commencement address

WASHINGTON (AP) - 0517dv--immigration--reform Key senators in both parties and the White House announced agreement Thursday on an immigration overhaul that would grant quick legal status to millions of illegal immigrants already in the U.S. and fortify the border

yeah..I know off topic..just wanted to toss this in..as you seem to be ignoring this...

It's rude is all.... (Below threshold)

It's rude is all.

It's rude is all.H... (Below threshold)

It's rude is all.

Ham makes some excellent points and says that Edward's wife did a good job of giving a speech directed to the graduating class, so it wasn't just Dems on one side and Reps on the other.

The speech ought to be for the graduating seniors.

I bet that these poor kids ... (Below threshold)
La Mano:

I bet that these poor kids don't realize that THEY will be the ones that would pay for Hillary's escapades.




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