Obama said in 'secret' speech, 'We didn't have a scandal that embarrassed us'

Hit and Run's Robbie Soave called the speech "weird."  Indeed, Barack Obama's "secret" speech at an MIT sports policy conference didn't deal much with sports.  But the former president did toot his own horn quite a bit.  He also praised "diversity" and climate change science and bemoaned the divide in American politics.

Attendees were instructed not to "record, photograph, tweet, or report on the event" before they were even allowed to sit down.  It's a mystery why organizers and the president's entourage went to such lengths to keep what he said a secret.

Reason Podcast obtained a copy of the speech, which you can play at the bottom of the linked page.

1) Obama thinks Google, Facebook, etc., are "a public good as well as a commercial enterprise," and should consider whether they are corroding our democracy.

Obama described social media platforms as a "hugely powerful potential force for good," but then immediately hedged.  "What's also true is that our social media platforms are just a tool," he said.  "ISIS can use that tool.  Neo-Nazis can use that tool.["] ...

2) It's okay to argue about how we should address climate change.  It's not okay to deny the underlying science. ...

This kind of debate is healthy for a democracy, said Obama.  But, "I can't have that same debate with somebody who just holds up a snowball in the middle of the Senate chamber in winter and says, 'look there's no climate change because it's snowing!'  Which happened by the way.  I didn't just make that up."

3) Obama really likes basketball – and he'd like it more if the NBA had a junior league.

The subject of the event was sports analytics, and the former president – known for his love of basketball – did not disappoint on that front.  He discussed his own years as a mediocre high school basketball player, remarked that playing basketball with other people revealed much about their character, and opined that the NBA would be well-served by junior league "so that the NCAA is not serving as a farm system for the NBA with a bunch of kids who are unpaid but are under enormous financial pressure." ...

4) Diversity isn't about "charity or political correctness, it's just common sense."  And it's why his White House was scandal-free, according to the president. ...

"In today's culture, if you are not deliberately doing that, you are going to fall behind, and someone is going to beat you," he said. ...

5) Obama thinks the stereotype about lazy government employees is wrong. ...

"At least at the top levels of the federal government, people work harder than in the private sector," he Obama. "When I came out of the White House, everything looked like it was in slow motion. I felt like I was Neo in The Matrix. Our folks were putting in 80-hour work weeks and barely getting vacations and under unimaginable pressure."

Again, why the mystery?  I think Obama misses the limelight and wanted to generate an inordinate amount of buzz for an ordinary talk.  He apparently didn't even want to criticize Trump by name and mentioned Trump's administration only in passing. 

But Obama did demonstrate that he is as clueless as ever.  He may not have thought Benghazi, "Fast and Furious," IRS targeting, or a half-dozen other scandals weren't "embarrassing," but everyone else thought they were.  Oblivious to the end.

There is talk that Obama will take a more active role in the 2018 midterms.  No matter what conservatives and the GOP think of him, he is popular with the Democratic base and minority voters.  He could be a difference-maker by goosing Democratic turnout in key districts.

Then again, every midterm election, Democrats and the media confidently predict that minorities and other Democratic constituencies will turn out in droves.  It hasn't happened yet, and I'll believe it when I see it.

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