President Obama, a former law-school professor, headed back to the quad this evening, and delivered, in the words of the New York Times, an “impassioned appeal to a cheering throng of college students.” His message: “You’ve got to stick with me, you can’t lose heart.”
THE PRESIDENT: . . . . So now the pundits are saying that the base of the Republican Party is mobilized. The prediction among the pundits is this is going to be a bloodletting for Democrats. That’s what they’re saying in Washington.
THE PRESIDENT: And what they’re saying is — and the basis of their prediction is that all of you who worked so hard in 2008 aren’t going to be as energized, aren’t going to be as engaged. They say there is an enthusiasm gap and that the same Republicans and the same policies that left our economy in a shambles and the middle class struggling might ride right back into power.
THE PRESIDENT: Now, that’s what they’re saying. I’m not making this up. You guys read the papers. You guys are watching the television. They’re basically saying that you’re apathetic, you’re disappointed, you’re “oh, well, we’re not sure that we’re going to turn out.”
Wisconsin, we can’t let that happen. We cannot sit this one out. We can’t let this country fall backwards because the rest of us didn’t care enough to fight. (Applause.) The stakes are too high for our country and for your future, and I am going to get out there and fight as hard as I can — and I know you are, too — to make sure we keep moving forward.
The president’s campus strategy — lecturing collegians about slacking this fall — reminds me of Michael Moore’s message from 2004: