When President Obama delivered the commencement address at Rutgers University in New Jersey over the weekend, he did not mention any Republicans’ names. In fact, over the course of his fairly long address, the word “Republican” did not come up at all.
Obama did not, however, leave any doubts as to who he might have been referring to with some of his more pointed jabs.
Midway through his remarks, for example, the president turned his attention to the climate crisis, and mercilessly mocked Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.): “A while back, you may have seen a United States senator trotted out a snowball during a floor speech in the middle of winter as ‘proof’ that the world was not warming.” After the audience laughed at the far-right senator’s antics, Obama added, “[I]t’s up to you to insist upon and shape an informed debate. Imagine if Benjamin Franklin had seen that senator with the snowball, what he would think. Imagine if your 5th grade science teacher had seen that. He’d get a D – and he’s a senator!”
But his most forceful rhetoric was reserved for the GOP’s presumptive nominee.
Although he didn’t mention Donald Trump by name, President Obama used his commencement address at Rutgers University on Sunday to make his most forceful case yet against the Republican Party’s presumptive presidential nominee. […]Obama took on the premise of Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan…. He slammed Trump’s call for a border wall…. He criticized the presumptive GOP nominee’s Muslim ban…. He ripped into Trump’s command of the facts…. And he highlighted Trump’s lack of political experience in politics.
Subtle, it wasn’t.
The speech is worth checking out in its entirety, but this portion stood out for me:
“Class of 2016, let me be as clear as I can be. In politics and in life, ignorance is not a virtue. It’s not cool to not know what you’re talking about. That’s not keeping it real, or telling it like it is. That’s not challenging political correctness. That’s just not knowing what you’re talking about. And yet, we’ve become confused about this.“Look, our nation’s Founders – Franklin, Madison, Hamilton, Jefferson – they were born of the Enlightenment. They sought to escape superstition, and sectarianism, and tribalism, and no-nothingness. They believed in rational thought and experimentation, and the capacity of informed citizens to master our own fates. That is embedded in our constitutional design. That spirit informed our inventors and our explorers, the Edisons and the Wright Brothers, and the George Washington Carvers and the Grace Hoppers, and the Norman Borlaugs and the Steve Jobses. That’s what built this country…. [W]hen our leaders express a disdain for facts, when they’re not held accountable for repeating falsehoods and just making stuff up, while actual experts are dismissed as elitists, then we’ve got a problem.”
You can almost hear the eagerness with which the president wants to hit the 2016 campaign trail.