Apropos President Obama’s Afghanistan speech two nights ago, Gabor Steingart, Der Spiegel’s senior correspondent in Washington, writes:
Just minutes before the president took the stage inside Eisenhower Hall, the gathered cadets were asked to respond “enthusiastically” to the speech.
If this is true, it raises some important questions.
For starters, it makes the Corps of Cadets’ restrained reception of the President’s remarks a significant story in and of itself — far beyond the passive “enemy camp” explanation proffered by Chris Matthews. The fact that this exhortation (or direction, depending on from whence and whom it came) wasn’t widely reported and factored into the post-speech analysis would be only the latest example of the mainstream media’s laziness and/or tendentiousness.
Second, it raises questions about who urged such a reception — and why. This was a serious speech on a sober subject by the Commander in Chief, and the restrained demeanor of the corps was entirely appropriate. I read one report that even the response to the earlier announcement of an amnesty for minor disciplinary offenses —customarily granted at the request of a distinguished visitor and usually raucously greeted— was notably subdued. Who, then, decided to urge the cadets to assume the role of a cheering section?
Maybe Mr. Steingart simply misunderstood the situation. But genuinely inquiring minds should want to know.