"This isn't a Democratic idea. This isn't a Republican idea. This is an American idea," GW tells Calvin College graduates in Grand Rapids, Michigan yesterday, outmaneuvering Democratic efforts to undermine Republican hearts-and-minds strategy in this important swing state. (White House photo)
It happens every spring. The college or university invites a VIP to address the graduating class, TV cameras roll, and it's one more anti-American soundbite for the evening news. By far the most notorious example of the genre this season -- the talk of the blogosphere -- is PepsiCo's President and CFO Indra Nooyi’s speech to Columbia Business School graduates last Sunday. We loved Donald Sensing's take on her "litany of nattering negativism":
Basically, Ms. Nooyi said that America is the big [middle] finger of the world’s hand, and, said she, "You know what I’m talking about. In fact, I suspect you’re hoping that I’ll demonstrate what I mean."
However, for all its anti-America bias, I am undecided whether to boycott Pepsi products for that reason or because it simply is a really lousy speech. Bad public speaking should not be rewarded.
My homiletics professors in seminary had several ironclad rules for presenting sermons for which transgressions were sharply penalized in grades. One of them was simply, "Always end with a word of grace . . . It is terribly ineffective theologically and rhetorically to send an audience (or congregation) out with only negative words to dwell on."
Speaking of terribly ineffective rhetoric, we were delighted to learn from insider Blue Goldfish, a Calvin College grad, that bad-faith efforts by national Democratic consultants working behind the scenes of a "student" protest to generate negative publicity surrounding GW's graduation speech yesterday -- blogged here -- backfired big time. Blue Goldfish has names and affiliations -- delicious reading -- but here's the gist:
About a third of Calvin's faculty and former faculty joined with a few students, administrators, alumni and "friends" to take out an ad in [Saturday's] Grand Rapids Press and use the phrase made slightly famous by Jim Wallis [who happens to be a Democratic consultant] and Sojourners Magazine "God is not a Republican or a Democrat" on graduate arm bands as President Bush delivers a commencement address at that campus in a few days.
A number of Calvin students have set up a Google discussion forum called "Our Commencement Is Not Your Platform," described as "A place to dialogue and organize for those opposed to George W. Bush commandeering Calvin's 2005 Commencement."
Like all of GW's enemies, these folks believed their own rhetoric about the chimp in the White House and fatally "misunderestimated" the "strategeric" thinking of the Poker Player in Chief. Realizing what they were up to, GW appropriated Jim Wallis' "God is not a Republican or a Democrat" and made it his own:
As Americans we share an agenda that calls us to action -- a great responsibility to serve and love others, a responsibility that goes back to the greatest commandment.
Update: Raking it in: InstaLanche!