The Arizona Desert Lamp

President Obama to speak at ASU commencement

Posted in Politics by Connor Mendenhall on 20 March 2009

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Elsewhere in the world of executive adulation, Arizona State University quietly announced today that President Barack Obama will speak at this spring’s graduation. Your move, President Shelton. Don’t worry–the Special Olympics bowling guy is still available.

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7 Responses

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  1. Stephen Bieda III said, on 20 March 2009 at 3:40 pm

    President Shelton indicated that he would prefer not to have polarizing political figures come to the UA Campus. In this case, it is even more pointed due to security necessities that the UA would have to consider.

  2. Justyn Dillingham said, on 20 March 2009 at 4:50 pm

    I’ll bite: How would asking a sitting president to speak at a graduation ceremony serve as evidence of a supposed “cult of the presidency”? If we asked Bill Gates to speak, would that reveal a Cult of Microsoft?

  3. Garrett P. O'Hara said, on 20 March 2009 at 8:53 pm

    Wasn’t there a huge outcry when UA tried to invite then-President Bush, with teachers going so far as to host a protest petition on a university-owned College of Education server?

    Nobody rational should oppose having POTUS as your commencement speaker, of course. I mean, unless he’s Republican.

  4. Laura Donovan said, on 21 March 2009 at 12:54 pm

    I agree with Mr. Dillingham. Even though I really hate the cult of Obama, there’s nothing “cultish” about his appearance at ASU.

  5. Connor Mendenhall said, on 21 March 2009 at 1:34 pm

    Justyn: You’re right–the President will always be in demand, and a speaking invitation isn’t as much an expression of Presidential celebrity as, say, an appearance on the Tonight Show. But I dream of a day when a Presidential commencement address will seem as absurd as a speech from the city comptroller or the state supervisor of weights and measures–an influential magistrate, sure, but not commander-in-chief of our national destiny.

  6. mattstyer said, on 21 March 2009 at 6:48 pm

    Garret: It’s not that he’s a republican, it’s that he was a massive bungler who can’t speak well in public, let alone inspirationally.

    Connor: Is it just that the commanders-in-chief of our national destiny should only be prominent business people or good samaritans? Or that those kind of monumental leading figures shouldn’t exist at all? That really seems implausible. There’s no way for large scale society to exist without some of the cohesion coming from leading figures. The president will always be among the most influential of magistrates. It makes sense for a president to be a person of leading influence for the national destiny.

  7. Evan Lisull said, on 23 March 2009 at 10:19 pm

    But Matt, how do you explain the fact that a visiting US President (or, in Obama’s case, leading candidate) always draws bigger crowds in Germany than the prime minister, who is the chief magistrate in that country? The allure of the foreigner doesn’t cut it, either, as Merkel certainly would not draw as large a crowd in America as His Obamaness did in Germany.


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