Four years ago on the CSU campus, 45,000 Obama fans gathered in the Oval.
Yesterday brought a crowd of 13,000 to CSU for an Obama effort to steal some news inches from the Republican National Convention. Tom Hacker of the Reporter Herald called it a crowd of “true believers.”
This year the crowd heard “”If you're going to get cynical, wait till you get older.” And the student newspaper headline greeting Obama was “Economic conditions leaving young electorate unemployed, disenchanted.”
The shrinkage in rhetoric is obvious. In 2008, Obama promised, “we are going to make sure you have the money to go to college, no ifs, ands or buts.” This week's Obama was reduced to “We fixed the student loan system.”
It's not just Obama and his crowds who have changed. “I believed in Obama in 2008,” CSU grad Kevin Hollinshead said. “It saddens me that he hasn’t come close to earning my vote a second time.”
A Fort Collins buddy explained the difference this way:
I'd say unaffiliated voters were enthusiastic about an Obama visit here four years ago. Today, they were complaining about the traffic jams he caused by coming back.
Four years ago, Democrats seemed genuinely and uncharacteristically optimistic, hopeful and energized by Obama. At the same time, Republicans seemed just ordinary Republicans going through the motions of being loyal to their candidate.
Today the Democrats appear to be just ordinary Democrats going through the motions of being loyal to their candidate, while Republicans seem genuinely and uncharacteristically optimistic, hopeful and energized about replacing Obama.