On Sunday, President Obama continued his commencement speech tour, this time at Rutgers University in New Jersey, where he told graduates that Muslims around the world are our most valued partners in the fight against “violent extremism.” As he did last week at Howard University’s graduation ceremony, Obama exuded supreme confidence in his own intellect while bragging about the great things he has done for America. Essentially, Rutgers graduates received a stump speech decrying the state of political debate in the buildup to this year’s presidential elections, calling it a “strain of anti-intellectualism.” “So, class of 2016,” he said to a very excited crowd, “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,” Obama added. “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.”
Which is weird, because he also said this:
Isolating or disparaging Muslims, suggesting that they should be treated differently when it comes to entering this country, that is not just a betrayal of our values. That’s not just a betrayal of who we are, it would alienate the very communities at home and abroad who are our most important partners in the fight against violent extremism.
Without naming him, Obama aimed much of his speech at Donald Trump for suggesting border security, including properly vetting Muslims entering our country to help stave off terrorists. “The world is more interconnected than ever before, and it’s becoming more connected every day,” the president said. “Building walls won’t change that.” He launched another veiled attack at Trump and possibly forgot his own lack of experience before holding office:
You know, it’s interesting that if we get sick, we actually want to make sure the doctors have gone to medical school, they know what they’re talking about… [and pilots to fly airplanes] And yet, in our public lives, we suddenly think, ‘I don’t want somebody who’s done it before.’
In his Howard University address from last week, Obama bragged that he has helped America become better than it ever has and he repeated something similar this week:
When you hear someone longing for the ‘good old days,’ take it with a grain of salt… [B]y almost every measure, America is better, and the world is better, than it was 50 years ago, or 30 years ago, or even eight years ago.
Keeping the theme of intellect at the epicenter of his speech, the president moved on to talk about climate change:
Facts, evidence, reason, logic, an understanding of science; these are good things. These are qualities you want in people making policy. These are qualities you want to continue to cultivate in yourselves as citizens. That might seem obvious…
The rejection of facts, the rejection of reason and science, that is the path to decline…
Listen, climate change is not something subject to political spin. There is evidence, there are facts, we can see it happening right now. If we don’t follow through on the progress we made in Paris, the progress we’ve been making here at home, your generation will feel the brunt of this catastrophe.
Someone from the audience shouted, “Run again!”
“Can’t do it,” he said with a wishful grin.