by Bob Quasius – Liberals in academia are at it again! A year after Condi Rice accepted an invitation to speak at Rutger’s commencement ceremony, liberals launched a nasty smear campaign to humiliate Condi Rice, seeking to force Rutgers to withdraw the invitation.
How dare this intelligent and successful conservative black woman invade sacred liberal turf!
The Rutgers University administration bravely refused to buckle to pressure. However, in the end Condi Rice decided to put the graduating students’ interests ahead of her own, and bowed out gracefully. She showed us once again that she is a class act. Her statement from her Facebook page puts Rutgers liberals to shame:
“Commencement should be a time of joyous celebration for the graduates and their families. Rutgers’ invitation to me to speak has become a distraction for the university community at this very special time. I am honored to have served my country. I have defended America’s belief in free speech and the exchange of ideas. These values are essential to the health of our democracy. But that is not what is at issue here. As a Professor for thirty years at Stanford University and as it’s former Provost and Chief academic officer, I understand and embrace the purpose of the commencement ceremony and I am simply unwilling to detract from it in any way. Good luck to the graduates and congratulations to the families, friends and loved ones who will gather to honor them.”
It’s not hard to see why Rutgers wold want Condi Rice as their commencement speaker. She’s an awesome speaker! Her commencement speech at SMU was both inspiring and uplifting, as all commencement keynote speeches should be.
It’s also not hard to see why she gracefully bowed out. Commencement is for the graduating seniors, not the speakers. At Princeton University she gave the commencement speech despite objections from liberals, and the result was noisy protests by hundreds.
A similar speaking engagement at Boston University likewise drew protests, and one professor even quit.
What was Condi Rice’s offense?
Rutgers liberals demanded the university administration un-invite her in order to humiliate her. What was Condi Rice’s offense that merited public humiliation? The Rutgers Faculty passed a resolution demanding Rutgers un-invite Condi Rice, including phrases like:
“played a prominent role in his administration’s efforts to mislead the American people about the presence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and the existence of links between al Qaeda and the Iraqi regime”, ”
“the lies thus promoted led to the second Iraq war, which caused the death of over 100,000 men, women and children, and the displacement of millions of others.”
“as a public institution of higher learning, should educate its students about past historical events, not pretend they never took place,”
“Rutgers “should not honor someone who participated in a political effort to circumvent the law.”
Did Condi Rice Lie About Iraq?
Condi Rice has often been excoriated by liberals for “lying” about Iraq, but did she really intentionally lie? In an interview with NPR in 2011 she admitted she was wrong:
“The intelligence was as clear as any intelligence I’ve ever seen and I’ve been in this business a long time. … When you had intelligence assessments that said Saddam Hussein has reconstituted his biological and chemical weapons and could reconstitute his nuclear weapon in a year if he got foreign assistance — by the end of the decade if he didn’t — I’ve actually never seen clearer indications than that.”
“The problem is, the intelligence wasn’t right.”
However, there’s a huge difference between repeating bad information from others and deliberately lying, as the Faculty resolution states. The National Security Adviser and Secretary of State don’t produce intelligence information; they consume intelligence produced by the intelligence community. Condi didn’t make up lies about Iraq and weapons of mass destruction; she repeated what she was told by the intelligence community.
Moreover, at the time there was certainly a credible belief that Iraq had WMDs as Saddam Hussein had used WMDs in the past, constantly obstructed UN inspectors, and constantly mentioned WMDs in secret communications with his leadership.
Apparently either Saddam Hussein himself believed he still had WMDs or he wanted others, principally the Iranians, to believe he still had a WMD stockpile. There are also credible theories Saddam’s WMDs were quietly sent to Syria for safekeeping.
Is Condi Rice a politician?
The Daily Targum, Rutgers student newspaper, opined those with ‘questionable politics’ should not be invited as commencement speakers. In fact the editorial said they don’t want politicians as commencement speakers at all. ‘Questionable politics’ is liberal doublespeak for “conservative” and moreover politicians are often invited as commencement speakers.
Where was the The Daily Targum and Rutgers Faculty when Elizabeth Warren and other liberals were commencement speakers? Elizabeth Warren is certainly a politician with baggage after misrepresenting herself as Native American to gain affirmative action benefits in academia.
Who gets to decide whose politics are questionable? Condi Rice is widely respected, and has often been prodded to run for public office. However, she’s adamant she doesn’t enjoy politics, explaining:
“I didn’t run for student council president. I don’t see myself in any way in elected office. I love policy. I’m not particularly fond of politics.“
She’s widely admired in Republican circles and would have been a slam dunk as Mitt Romney’s running mate, but she wasn’t even on the list because she didn’t want to run. She’s willing to help Republican candidates in an advisory role, but she is totally disinterested in running for public office.
So Why the Controversy?
Controversy about commencement speakers is nothing new. A survey by the Young America’s Foundation found of the top 100 universities listed by U.S. News and World Report, 62 have selected liberal commencement speakers and only 17 selected conservatives (the ideological leanings of the rest was unclear). Clearly, not many universities are willing to invite conservative commencement speakers!
However, usually conservatives are targeted for protests, though there are exceptions. Obama himself was once targeted, not long after becoming president, but by students, not faculty.
Hillary Clinton has been a commencement speaker numerous times, but how often has academia complained? Hillary Clinton has been embroiled in numerous major scandals, such as Whitewater, turning $100,000 profit on a $1,000 commodities investment despite 1:250 million odds and no knowledge whatsoever of commodities investments. Add to this TravelGate, Vince Foster, and Benghazi and it’s plainly evident Hillary has monumental scandal baggage.
Now why don’t we hear Academics objecting to Hillary Clinton commencement speeches? Answer: she’s a liberal and so too are most academics. Rutgers in particular is a notorious bastion of liberalism in a deep blue state. Ditto for Princeton and Boston University, the scene of other Condi Rice commencement protests.
The truth about Condi Rice
Condi Rice has enjoyed an extraordinary career in academia and in public service. She obviously is extremely bright, as evidenced by earning her PhD in international relations at age 21, despite all the disadvantages of growing up in Birmingham during segregation. She is probably one of our brightest ever Secretaries of State.
This quote reflects Condi’s outlook in life and awesome success despite her humble origins and status as a minority woman:
“The essence of America – that which really unites us – is not ethnicity, or nationality or religion – it is an idea – and what an idea it is: That you can come from humble circumstances and do great things.”
There are no major scandals in Condi Rice’s past, and in the one legitimate are of criticism about the Iraq war she repeated information from others, and in my honest opinion she was misled. At least she’s honest enough to admit she was wrong. However it’s obvious she was misled.
So what? We’ve all been misled at some point in our lives. Does that make her any less of a success story? Not hardly! In truth, she’s a conservative and extremely successful black woman, and that upsets liberal notions of victimhood. It’s no coincidence conservative women and minorities often complain about the unduly harsh scrutiny and criticism they receive from liberals.
Can we get Condi Rice back as Secretary of State?
Sadly, since Condi Rice left office our foreign policy has been in full meltdown. Major wars are brewing in Eastern Europe and the Middle East.
Hillary Clinton and John Kerry are two of the worst secretaries of state in U.S. history. Hillary Clinton’s tenure was truly “amateur hour” at the State Department, and John Kerry is proving just as inept.
I would love to see Condi Rice back at the helm at the State Department. However, there’s not much chance Condi will return as long as our incompetent-in-chief, Barack Obama, is president.
Editor’s Note: reposted from Cafe Con Leche Republicans – original link.
Bob Quasius is the president and founder of Cafe Con Leche Republicans.