Man, do I feel sorry for the West Point graduates who had to slog through that stem-winder of a commencement address by President Obama. I hope they received battle pay. In one of the most applause-devoid speeches of Obama’s career, the Commander-in-Chief used the opportunity of being West Point’s graduation speaker not to offer up some words of wisdom or caution as the cadets move up in the world. Instead, it was all about him–or, more specifically, a long, tedious defense of his many foreign policy failures, followed by a garbled, confusing attempt to lay out the so-called “Obama Doctrine” of intervention in world affairs. He roundly received overwhelming criticism for the speech, even from Obama fan-boys like Ronan Farrow and Eugene Robinson. “Having a strategic vision doesn’t seem to be the administration’s strong suit,” remarked Retired Colonel Jack Jacobs on MSNBC.
But what about this less-reported-on moment?
“I believe in American exceptionalism with every fiber of my being, but what makes us exceptional is not our ability to flout international norms and the rule of law; it is our willingness to affirm them through our actions.”
Oh, really? With every fiber of your being, Dear Barry? Permit me to doubt. They say a true gaffe is when a politician accidentally communicates what he or she really thinks. And that’s exactly what happened the last time Barack weighed in on American exceptionalism back in 2009. Might it be that Obama chose his West Point speech this week as the venue for a definitive do-over? Because here’s what he said about that concept before:
So, if the original remark is to be taken as his true, unfiltered thoughts on the matter, Obama has no fundamental understanding whatsoever about what American exceptionalism is. Rather, he sees all nations as equal.
Giving him the benefit of the doubt, it’s quite possible that one of Obama’s flacks gave him a little history lesson in the intervening years since he first answered that unexpected question. But enough to shake the “every fiber” of his being? Meh, probably not.
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