Inconvenient News,
       by smintheus

Friday, April 06, 2007

  The Commencement season Booby Prize

Thanks to Desert Beacon, I can reassure you that the upcoming Commencement Day speech probably won't be as dreadful as it could have been. The reason is that it's very unlikely George W. Bush will make an appearance on your campus.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usNormally a President is very much in demand around graduation time, but the Miami Herald is reporting that this year, the schedule is light. Very, very light.

Could you want a better yardstick for how far Bush's popularity has fallen?

For generations, U.S. presidents have bid graduates a personal ''Godspeed'' at Ivy League schools, military academies and giant state universities. Next month, President Bush will deliver a rare commencement address at a community college: the Miami Dade College Kendall Campus, on April 28.

The White House said Monday that it's only the second time in history that a sitting president has spoken at a community college commencement.

The first time was last year, when Bush's popularity had already tanked.

Bush may also be looking at his potential audience.

Though his popularity is at a historic low, he remains more popular among Cuban Americans, said Fernand Amandi, executive vice president at public opinion research firm Bendixen and Associates.

''Any president whose approval rating is in the high 20s is at risk of being heckled and booed,'' said Amandi.

That presumably is why Bush stayed away from the Washington Nationals' Opening Day.

[Bush] was invited to throw the ceremonial first pitch today at the Washington Nationals home opener against the Florida Marlins. But he declined.

White House spokeswoman Dana Perino says “the president loves baseball,” but blames “scheduling reasons” for his absence from RFK Stadium today.

Actually, his public schedule didn’t look that crowded... By not going to today’s game, President Bush spares himself the indignity of possibly being booed and jeered as he walks out to the mound...

Invited to throw the first pitch at the 2006 Reds-Cubs Opener in Cincinnati, Mr. Bush walked to the mound with two wounded veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He was also escorted by John Prazynski, whose son Tyler was killed in action in Afghanistan the preceding year. Cheers and applause drowned out the boos.

At last year's Opening Day in Washington, the Vice President was booed so loudly that Fox News felt obliged to mute the sound. The rare sightings of Bush and Cheney at unscripted public events are modern equivalents of the Roman Emperors' appearances in the amphitheater—occasions for trepidation, lest the common mob express displeasure. Or at least so it seems. In the WaPo we're told that getting booed was no concern at all this year for the President.

With Bush's approval ratings stuck below 40 percent in recent polls, [Bush spokeswoman Emily] Lawrimore was asked whether the president feared he'd get booed. "No," she replied. "Certainly not."

But at graduation ceremonies, Bush would have to be allowed to speak his mind. That was much more likely to provoke public ire. Accordingly, the President will be delivering only a handful of commencement addresses.

And notice where else he's speaking:

Bush will also speak at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy and St. Vincent College in Latrobe, Pa. Its president, Jim Towey, is the former director of Bush's Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives.

Well, he pretty much is obliged to speak at one of the service academies, so the Coast Guard cadets could not escape this year. And Bush's one other appearance this year will be at a moderately obscure college run by an old buddy.

So you'll probably escape from the graduation season relatively long as you don't have to hear any of Laura Bush's idiotic commencement addresses.

crossposted from Unbossed

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