Matt Towery

It's happened again. Another conservative African-American leader with the "taint" of a GOP past is invited to speak to a university. A small group of "enlightened" professors or students decide that the speaker is offensive to the highbrow standards of academia. A drumbeat starts and in a matter of days he or she is forced to withdraw in favor of a more "acceptable" replacement.

What open bigotry. What an assault on the entire concept of a true education in "the liberal arts." And what an incredible assault on preserving and honoring our freedom of speech.

I will be the first to say that Condoleezza Rice was never a favorite of mine during the years of George H.W. Bush. Likely I fell for the image pushed by the press that she was a "facts be damned" booster of Vice President Dick Cheney's "let's get 'em at any cost and without solid proof" style of rough-shot foreign policy.

But regardless of my ignorance of Rice's job performance, what in the world would a faithful execution of her duties as Secretary of State under a president have anything to do with her worthiness as a commencement speaker at a second- or even third-tier university such as Rutgers? I mean it's a fine school (tying Texas A&M for 69th on last year's U.S. News list of top national schools), but Oxford or Cambridge it's not.

Perhaps that is best illustrated by Rutgers' decision to pay New Jersey's version of Honey Boo Boo, the one and only "Snookie" of MTV reality fame, over $30,000 for an appearance there. How dreadful.

Of course, just like the lack of coverage and outrage over the Benghazi cover-up or the IRS scandal, Ms. Rice's unfair treatment by a select group of "intellectual" protesters at Rutgers was treated as par for the course by mainstream media.

But it was not "par for the course" treatment. It was racist, cruel and anti-intellectual bully-like behavior by "learned" men and women. Had they directed their ire at a white equivalent, such as Hillary Clinton, their protests would have brought fire and brimstone upon their heads. And, hey, it's no secret: I'm a fan of Hillary.

Al Sharpton, who has been accused of everything under the sun by critics, can speak wherever he pleases without protest or hassle. And that's fair because this is America and if someone invites the man to speak, then speak he should.

Matt Towery

Matt Towery is a pollster, attorney, businessman and former elected official. He served as campaign strategist for Congressional, Senate, and gubernatorial campaigns. His latest book is Newsvesting: Use News and Opinion to Grow Your Personal Wealth. Follow him on Twitter @MattTowery