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Ear to the Ground

McCain Is Booed at Graduation Speech

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Posted on May 19, 2006
McCain Booed
Librado Romero / The New York Times

Sen. John McCain, the keynote speaker at the New School University graduation, was received with jeers, boos and insults.

The Arizona senator got heavily jeered during his commencement address for a New York university. One student banner read, “Our commencement is not your platform.”


N.Y. Times:

The jeers, boos and insults flew, as caustic as any that angry New Yorkers have hurled inside Madison Square Garden. The objects of derision yesterday, however, were not the hapless New York Knicks, but Senator John McCain, the keynote speaker at the New School graduation, and his host, Bob Kerrey, the university president.

No sooner had Mr. Kerrey welcomed the audience to the university’s 70th commencement than the hoots began to rise through the Theater at Madison Square Garden. Several graduates held up a banner aimed at Mr. McCain, an Arizona Republican and likely 2008 presidential candidate, declaring: “Our commencement is not your platform.” Other students and faculty members waved orange fliers with the same message.

Mr. Kerrey, a former Democratic senator from Nebraska, was unapologetic yesterday about inviting Mr. McCain, his friend and fellow Vietnam War veteran, to speak. He noted early in his welcoming remarks that there had been intense media coverage of Mr. McCain’s graduation speech last week at Liberty University, headed by the Rev. Jerry Falwell, in which Mr. McCain strongly defended the Iraq war.

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By punji stick, May 22, 2006 at 3:39 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I am sorry, but booing is the only dignified respose to canned, made for TV, self-serving speech.

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By Hilding Lindquist, May 20, 2006 at 6:45 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I know, I know, I have it all wrong. John McCain goes to Liberty University and embraces G.W. (separate events, by the way), and Hillary Clinton comes out for criminalizing flag-burning ... to prove they are motivated by principle. How could I possibly have suggested otherwise?

But I hope no one believes that young people only have a right to make noise if they are firing weapons at our enemies. Isn’t jeering the flip side of cheering? In a public performance, the audience is entitled to choose ... are they not? 

And of course, there is nothing wrong with careerism. That’s why one of the definitions for it in dictionary.com is:

n: pursuit of professional advancement as one’s chief or sole aim.

and the other is:

n: the practice of advancing your career at the expense of your personal integrity.

It’s really not psychobable. It’s more like Robert Fulghum’s, “All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten”. Nothing very deep.

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By mill, May 20, 2006 at 6:44 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Interfering with Senator McCain’s free speech right through jeering and heckling is what fascists are about   ....  they want to shout down opponents rather than debate the ideas at hand

the Senator was invited by the school to speak - do the heckling students and faculty act that way in a classroom?  How could an intelligent exchange of views take place in that institution?

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By Joel Le Bow, May 20, 2006 at 3:34 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I am not pleased with matters when an institution
which should be open to all ideas and opinions provides a speaker with an audience that boos, jeers, interupts and in effect, acts in an unpolite manner when they don’t agree with the opinion expressed. If McCain is a “cariacture” of the “hero in our society”, what is the “carracture of our college audience as tolerant listeners”? As, you say, we are a mess at the top when our “educated” cannot listen quietly to an idea that displeases them.  At the top of that mess are the enormous tuitions charged to attend these institutions in order to “furhter their own career” (as you say). O.K., make the mistake of seeing my remarks as those of a Mc Cain supporter…I’m undecided at this point; but, take the “cheap shot” anyway…you’ll feel “fulfilled”
(self-pleased with your opinions).

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By Bob Wolf, May 20, 2006 at 3:24 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The above psychobabble is beyond foolish. There is nothing wrong with striving for accomplshment in one’s career.

The facts are that those children who had the poor manners to jeer are badly brought up, and utterly disrespectful and selfish. A lack of paddling as a child leads to ill manners.It is on one level regrettable that our all-volunteer military works so very well,as were these sad kids forced to spend a few years in the military,it would improve them on many levels.

I would not vote for McCain(depending admittedly on the alternative) but this is shameful behavior by spoiled little curs.

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By C Quil, May 20, 2006 at 2:35 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I can’t figure McCain out. He was held as a prisoner of war and tortured in Viet Nam, but he allowed a watered-down anti-torture bill to go through. He was the veteran of one useless war that killed so many young people for no good reason, and he stands up and defends another one.

His experiences have taught him nothing, and he certainly has nothing to teach the young people of the New School, except perhaps that he is the type of person they should try their hardest not to become.

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By James, May 20, 2006 at 1:12 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

There is a disconnect here between youth and age. The young grads are lacking in wisdom, and McCain`s age and experience presumably equipes him with wisdom. A mistake in understanding the circumstances the world has found itself, could possibly doom all of us, if McCain is correct.  If the Grads are right, we are lost anyway. Respecting our elders and receiving their counsul is the wisest course; but we won`t know the truth until later, when it`s too late to turn back.

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By K. Trout, May 20, 2006 at 11:28 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The North Vietnamese would have done U.S. democracy a favor had they shipped McCain to the Soviet Union.

John McCain a.k.a. Whore

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By Kilgore Trout, May 20, 2006 at 11:21 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The North Vietnamese would have done U.S. democracy a favor if they had sent McCain to the Soviet Union.

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By anonymoose, May 20, 2006 at 8:46 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Hillary & McCain give me hope for a third party candidate.

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By Hilding Lindquist, May 20, 2006 at 5:41 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Senator McCain is the new poster boy for the new religion: careerism, defined as the postulate that furthering one’s career is the greatest good. (Hilary Clinton has been the poster girl for awhile now.)

Doing what is necessary to move up another notch on the career ladder is the whadacallit? modus operandi? of this new religion which has become the invisible glue of the corporate life, constricting the movement of our political leaders as well ... anyone seeking power or wealth as the epitome of human existence. What a crock!

But I digress.

McCain has become a caricature of the hero in our society, and now wants to parlay this “political capital” into a seat in the high stakes game of presidential poker. He doesn’t want to be “himself”—fulfilling the potential of his humanness which may or may not include being President—he wants (desperately, I would add) to be PRESIDENT as his ideal fulfillment of self.

When we start examining what that means, “furthering one’s career as a fulfillment of self” we begin to see the damage it does to the individual. People cannot be themselves. They must always be the person those in authority will reward.

God, what a mess we are in at the top! Thank god for the young people at The New School. There is hope for a renewal of our humanity.

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