Maybe Joe Biden was giving himself a mulligan following his not terribly impressive commencement speech to the 2021 class of Coast Guard cadets. A crowning point of that performance was when he flubbed his retelling of a joke Ronald Reagan had made years earlier and then calling the graduates “really dull” for not laughing.
Whatever the motivation, over the weekend Biden delivered another commencement speech from the White House. But this one was directed at no class in particular. It was the first generic, one-size-fits-all commencement speech ever delivered by a U.S. president. Judging from the quality of the content and grace with which it was delivered, it is unlikely to provide a model for future occupants of the Oval Office. The speech, which lasted only 2 minutes and 46 seconds, was too long.
The biggest flaw in the speech was that it was a repackaging of Biden’s greatest hits from the past four months. He told graduates that upon entering the real world they will be confronted by and forced to deal with America’s most pressing problem, systemic racism, followed by its second most press problem, climate change.
He seemed to have no clue that he was preaching to the choir. The hyper-progressive messages that Biden, a lifelong centrist, is now committed to harping on every time he is given the chance got their start on college campuses several decades back. These “challenges” are precisely the sorts of ideals that the majority of graduating collegians will grow out of as they mature and see the world in a more realistic light.
Of course, no Biden speech would be complete without struggles to read the teleprompter, the occasional stumble over a word, and the misread sentence. Nothing says sincerity more than reading a speech written by someone else and delivering it with all the feeling one would muster in attempting to read aloud a passage in a foreign language.
Congratulations to the Class of 2021. You’re graduating at an inflection point in our nation’s history – and you have a genuine opportunity to change the trajectory of our country. Seize this moment. I can’t wait to see what you accomplish. pic.twitter.com/pl3Or74lxg
— President Biden (@POTUS) June 5, 2021