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Saturday, March 8, 2014


A cranky opinion for


The following is the opinion of a cranky old man with very little expertise on the subject opined.  Opposing opinions are welcome.  They are wrong, but welcome, and please, no name calling and that means you, you big stupid-head.

I was not going to submit a Cranky Saturday Opinion post this week, but my own State University, Rutgers, changed all that.

Rutgers has invited Condoleezza Rice to be this year’s commencement speaker.   Many Rutger's professors and students are quite upset at this choice.  They are trying to have the invite withdrawn.

Who can blame them?

Condoleezza Rice was a professor of political science at Stanford University, one of the most prestigious colleges in the US.  She served on the National Security Council as advisor to President George H.W. Bush during the dissolution of the Soviet Union and German reunification.  She was the National Security Advisor for George W. Bush, and later served as Secretary of State.  

Condoleezza Rice is an extraordinary person on many levels.  As a teen she was an accomplished figure skater.  She is a concert pianist of near professional expertise.   Her degrees and accolades from several of our most prestigious schools are too numerous to list. 

Why are Rutger’s professors and students angry at Ms. Rice’s becoming the commencement speaker? 

They say that while serving under George W. Bush she allowed torture of Al Quida Terrorists (waterboarding), and she played a major part in advocating and supporting the War in Iraq.  These professors and students claim the War in Iraq “has been arguably the worst and most destructive decision in the history of U.S. foreign policy.”  Those who would argue that probably have never been taught about the War in Vietnam or they would never make that argument.  Of course the Vietnam War was started by a Democrat Administration, escalated by a Democrat Administration and ended by a Republican Administration so a Liberal university just might not remember that one.  

These professors and students also forget the climate of the Country at the time these decisions were made.  Let me remind them.  After 9-11 most of the country was pretty pissed off.  Waterboarding a few people that had blown up our city and murdered our citizens didn’t really upset too many people at the time, especially if the waterboarding might prevent future attacks.   Probably we shouldn’t have waterboarded these terrorists.  We probably shouldn’t have even bothered to capture these terrorists.  We probably should have simply blown them away as President Obama had Osama Bin Ladin blasted several times in the head.  

Given the choice I would prefer waterboarding to having my brains blown out…but that’s just me.


I don’t want to get into an argument over the Iraq War, or waterboarding.  Both were probably a mistake.  It takes time for history to make that final determination.  What disturbs me is that a person of the stature of Condoleezza Rice, a person with qualifications beyond reproach, can be marginalized and demonized because some professors and students disagree with policies that took place in the administration she supported.

I understand that some people hate George W. Bush so much that they would like his eight years as President to be swept under the rug.  I know people believe he was a complete idiot, and his administration is to blame for anything bad that has happened in this country for the last fourteen years.  Maybe George W. Bush is an idiot, I disagree but I am tired of arguing against that point of view, however, for sure, Condoleezza Rice is no idiot.

 Condoleezza Rice is not  a politician.  She has shunned any offers to run for political office.  Many want her to run for President and she continually declines.  Whatever decisions Condoleezza Rice made or supported while in the Bush administration she made because she thought these decisions would best support and protect her country.

Rutgers University wants to stop Condoleezza Rice from speaking because she is the worst possible threat to their Liberal ideals.  She is a conservative black woman without political aspirations.  She is beholden to no one, so she cannot be tagged with the derogative Uncle Tom label.  Condoleezza Rice cannot be tagged as racist, she is black.  She cannot be tagged as misogynist, she is a woman.  She cannot be discarded as an idiot or a fool; she is clearly one of our countries brightest citizens.

The only explanation for her conservative positions is that she believes they are good policies.  She is an immensely intelligent black woman who argues sincerely for conservative positions and policies.  If the liberals in academia cannot dismiss her contrarian positions because of race, gender or ignorance, then they must shut her down.  They do not want her to have a forum.

Condoleezza Rice is not a terrorist.  She is not a George W. Bush toady.  She is not a war criminal.  She has something to say.  What she has to say may not be in lock-step with liberal beliefs.  What she has to say might make young people think, might let young people consider another point of view.  I always thought that is what is supposed to happen in institutions of higher learning.

Condoleezza Rice is a highly intelligent black woman.  She is a conservative. 

What are some Rutger’s professors and students afraid of?

Let her speak!


The preceding has been the opinion of a cranky old man, and not necessarily that of management…Mrs. Cranky.   


  1. I agree they should be glad to have her, and I'm sure her speech would really be worth hearing. I was against the Iraq war and I didn't like George Bush, and I lean left, but I hate that knee-jerk thing of dismissing anything someone has to say just because they're on the other side of politics from you. Our world is getting too polarized. Never shut yourself off from wisdom, that's just hurting yourself.

  2. I could hardly agree with you more, although, as I am an Englishman who lives in England, who is invited to speak at which American university has nothing whatever to do with me but I just thought I should put in my two-pennyworth.

  3. I always though Condoleezza Rice was a class act. She'll be sixty this year!

  4. I think it was the discovery of an unpaid parking ticket from 2004 that sent them over the edge. That, and the fact that she's waaaaay smarter than they are.


  5. I agree, let her speak. They can always pull their Ipads out and read a book if the address if their sensibilities are too bombarded.

  6. I love her. She's sharp as a tack too. I've watched her hold her on in many arguments. She's awesome.

    Have a fabulous day. :)

  7. It can be instructive to listen to what someone with different political positions than yourself has to say. And there is the First Amendment. So the Rutgers oppositionists should just take a chill pill. Good post, Joeh.

  8. I liked you before my friend, I love you now!

  9. Let her speak indeed. Though she is unlikely to reveal why she let the Vice President cow and bulldoze her into failing to tell Bush II what the consequences of the "war of choice" were likely to be. At least General Powell, another bright and honest black, realized he had made a mistake and owned up to it....

  10. I would be interested in hearing from any intelligent black woman reader of any political persuasion as to whether TB's comment that Condi Rice must have been bullied or cow-towed by a powerful white man as the only explanation for her position at the time is racist in nature. No I don't believe that TB is racist, but to me the comment smacks of racist assumptions.

  11. I guess she would be a very good guest and talk about her experiences and encourage women if nothing else.

  12. My understanding of this is limited, but I've read that the board making these selections for commencement speakers broke their own rules by not allowing feedback or even suggestions for a commencement speaker this year. As a liberal it frustrates me that I can't champion Condoleezza Rice but I do think she was a questionable choice for a commencement speech. If they wanted to invite her to a political forum to share her views, that would be more fitting.

  13. Stanford, huh?
    I knew there was a reason not to like her.

  14. they don't deserve and certainly couldn't appreciate such an upstanding example of class and dedication.

  15. I have a certain fondness for Condoleezza Rice. She seems to be a no-bullshit kind of gal. I wanted to call her Condi, but that makes it seem like we're BFFs. I had no idea she was a figure skater and a pianist. But she always did appear a bit more intelligent than GWB.

  16. If they believe she is a fool, they should let her speak and prove she is a fool. But I think she approves their opinions wrong. Besides, colleges are suppose to be places of different opinions. It seems at collages to day you must think just one way and if you disagree, you are stupid, racist, and over horrible person. Condoleezza Rice worked hard to be where she is. She is a free thinking woman.

    If she ever did run for national office, she would be a the top of my list.

  17. I was just reading about Condoleezza Rice in Parade magazine - her campaign with 2 other highly intelligent women who are raising awareness about the negative connotation of the word "bossy" when referring to females in leadership positions.

    Regardless of her politics, I like her; always have. I consider myself non-partisan - there were things that I agreed with when she held office and others that I didn't. Her speaking at Rutgers should not be an issue for all the facts that you mentioned in this post. She is exceptionally intelligent and also personable. I read her memoir and would recommend it to any young person who is worried about his or her career. Condi Rice took a while to channel her smarts.

    As for her role in the Iraq war - I tend to be one who does not beat a dead horse. Knowledge from the past is necessary to prevent future mistakes, but we need to move on and deal to our current situations. I can't see this post as I type, but I think you said that history will determine ones legacy and I agree.

    And lastly, the commenter who saw her as weak and negated her authority and position - that does not surprise me. With two boxes checked in the tokenism column (female and black), many people automatically or subliminally "go there." For that reason, I'm not quick to cry racist or sexist.