No one asked him, but that didn’t stop P.J. O’Rourke from composing a commencement address for Rutgers University, which attracted attention because of students’ successful efforts to ditch the originally scheduled commencement speaker, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. O’Rourke offers The Daily Beast a transcript of his as-yet-undelivered remarks.
I hear Condoleezza Rice stood you up. You may think it was because about 50 students—.09 percent of your student body—held a “sit-in” at the university president’s office to protest the selection of Secretary Rice as commencement speaker. You may think it was because a few of your faculty—stale flakes from the crust of the turkey pot pie that was the New Left—threatened a “teach-in” to protest the selection of Secretary Rice.
“Sit-in”? “Teach-in”? What century is this?
I think Secretary Rice forgot she had a yoga session scheduled for today.
It’s shame she was busy. You might have heard something useful from a person who grew up poor in Jim Crow Alabama. Who lost a friend and playmate in 1963 when white supremacists bombed Birmingham’s Sixteenth Street Baptist Church. Who became an accomplished concert pianist before she tuned her ear to the more dissonant chords of international relations.
Secretary Rice was Phi Beta Kappa at the University of Denver and received a B.A. cum laude in political science—back before the worst grade a student had ever heard of was a B-.
The professor who influenced her most was Josef Korbel, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright’s father.
Secretary Albright and Secretary Rice don’t agree on much about international relations. But they don’t sit-in or teach-in at each other’s public appearances.