One thing you can say about Barack Obama: the man can deliver a great speech.

So it’s interesting, if not downright fascinating, that the White House has chosen to highlight his 2005 Commencement Speech at Knox College. This is a mediocre speech filled with clichés of the moment lifted from airport bookshelves. “As Tom Friedman points out in his new book, The World Is Flat,” Senator Obama intones, “over the last decade or so, these forces—technology and globalization—have combined like never before. Now business not only has the ability to move jobs wherever there's a factory, but wherever there's an internet connection.”

Tom Friedman? This theme of a changing economy is utterly standard fare for Republicans and Democrats, repeated endlessly with no particular insight. It’s not terrible, just predictable and uninspiring.

But according to a breathless missive from White House flak Dan Pfeiffer, this dull speech from an obscure Senator is of historical import.  “Eight years ago, not long after he was elected to the United States Senate, President Obama went to Knox College in his home state of Illinois where he laid out his economic vision for the country.” 

Really? This cult like elevation of the banal to the extraordinary resembles the great comic film Galaxy Quest, in which another planet has built a civilization around intercepted episodes of the Star Trek television show. The well intentioned but hapless aliens don’t understand that it’s just…. a show.

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