Arizona State University has invited President Obama to give its commencement address. It is also the custom for ASU, and most other universities, to award an honorary degree to the commencement speaker. Not so this year. The geniuses responsible at ASU have decided not to award Mr. Obama the customary degree because as they so disingenuously put it he hasn't accumulated a large enough body of work to merit a degree.
Barack Obama has reached the pinnacle of American politics and fame in being elected not only the POTUS, but as a result of attaining this distinction, the Leader of the Free World. Mr. Obama did this without benefit of having a father who was a past president of the US, nor a grandfather who was a US Senator. He accomplished this without having had his father and grandfather serve as admirals in the US Navy. Mr. Obama's father, in fact, abandoned him, his mother was absent for a good deal of his formative years, and he had the extra burden of being a bi-racial young man in a country still struggling with its racist past.
Mr. Obama, by dint of his own determination to succeed and through hard work and dedication to learning, earned scholarships to some of America's most prestigious institutions of learning. He was elected the first African-American head of the Harvard Law Review, graduated magna cum laud and became a community organizer instead of heading for a fast-track lucrative job in a first-tier law firm.
He was elected to the Illinois state legislature, wrote two best-selling books himself--no ghostwriters involved, got elected to the US Senate, ran for president and beat out one of America's most powerful, popular, and well-known political families-- the Clintons, won the Democratic nomination, and went on to vanquish a long-established US Senator and Vietnam war hero, while carrying traditionally Republican states, like Virginia and North Carolina.
Apparently, those accomplishments are paltry compared to the honorees who have had the benefit of ASU's degrees conferred upon them in the past--one of which was a Chinese Communist.
"His body of work is yet to come," said Sharon Keeler, a spokeswoman for the university. "That's why we're not recognizing him with a degree at the beginning of his presidency."
ASU's decision, announced on Thursday, has already floored members of the academic, political and media communities. At once bizarre and insulting, critics are curious as to what, exactly, a sufficient body of work resembles under the university's standards. After all, in addition to being the first African-American elected to the office of the president in our nation's history, Obama has served in the United States Senate and authored two best selling books.
In light of it all, it's worth looking back at who Arizona State University has offered honorary degrees.
Here is a list. And here is the honor give to the Chinese Communist fellow:
Wu Qidi: the vice minister of education of the People's Republic of China was given an honorary degree at ASU in May 2006."
Mr. Wu Qidi wasn't even the CHAIRMAN of education--only a vice chairman.
Incidentally, ASU gave both Sandra Day O'Connor and Sen. Barry Goldwater honorary degrees when O'Connor was only 3 years into her 25 year career on the Supreme Court and when Goldwater was eight years into his 30 years of serving in the US Senate. Those examples are hardly representative of a "body of work."
It's very clear what ASU and the people who made the decision are up to.
Mr. Obama received REAL degrees from far more prestigious universities than ASU. He hardly needs their pissy sheepskin adornment to validate his very real, very honor-worthy accomplishments.