West Point cadets go through many trials to earn a diploma from the U.S. Military Academy. Their commencement address should not be one of them. Alas, on Wednesday President Obama delivered a graduation speech there that was devoid of either wisdom or wit, making it one final obstacle for the Class of 2014 to overcome before matriculating.
As is Obama’s custom, he delivered a speech that was all about him. It was political and vapid, full of straw men to be slain in yet another massacre of political tropes he attributes to his opponents, but which no one actually believes. All of it was written to glorify himself, not to honor the service of those whom he was seeing off into years of service to their country.
The primary message was Obama boilerplate: Thanks to his unique ability to see the world as it really is, Obama has strengthened America and enhanced its global standing. The secondary message was all spin: weakness is strength; talk is action.
Everything he said could be rebutted by a single sentence attributed to James German, West Point Class of 1950: “Beautiful words and inspiring phrases are written by professional authors, but that which fills a man’s heart is written by deed.”