I'm not sure what I was thinking this morning when I decided to join a crowd estimated at over 35,000 to hear the president speak at a rally in support of Democratic candidates. It took three hours to get in, people were packed so tight you could barely move, and it was difficult to see the stage through all the arms holding up cell phone cameras. But I wanted to see for myself that the president can still attract and fire up a big crowd, and that all this talk about an "enthusiasm gap" between Democrats and Republicans is overblown. This crowd was overwhelmingly supportive and enthusiastic. And the only evidence of opposition I saw was a pathetic demonstration of about 10 Young Americans for Freedom bravely holding up some counter-signs at the entrance to the rally. I was also struck by the fact that the crowd was so anxious to hear the President, and less interested in listening to all the other warm-up speeches, even though the rally was ostensibly in support of candidates Jerry Brown, Barbara Boxer and Kamala Harris, all of whom gave very short, forgettable speeches to the impatient audience. (Maybe we were just tired from standing for hours and were more than ready for the main event.)
Barack Obama really is a rock star Not only does he carry the weight of the world on his shoulders now; he also seems to be carrying the whole Democratic Party. I know in some parts of the country there are Democrats distancing themselves from him, and I'm not sure whether that is a good strategy or not. Here in California the candidates seem grateful for his support, and don't even try to compete with his star appeal.
And don't forget, that if you want to move forward, you put the transmission in "D," whereas if you want to reverse, you put it in "R."