The most telling moment of the campaign this week was not Mitt Romney or Joe Biden’s speech to the NAACP convention, but President Obama’s Tuesday appearance in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Nor was it the content of Obama’s message that made his utterances noteworthy. It was the small venue: yet another community college. Now, Kirkwood Community College is no doubt a fine place, but Sports Authority Field at Mile High it is not. And one is unlikely to come across a better indicator of presidential shrinkage.
The White House took desperate pains to note that the president talked to an “overflow crowd.” What it did not mention was that an overflow crowd in a community college gym could not fill the seats in, say, the OSU stadium. There was a time when Obama regaled audiences of 30,000, 75,000, 80,000 people. Now he speaks to true believers at high schools. By the end of the campaign he may well find himself, like Spinal Tap, playing to a threadbare crowd at Themeland Amusement Park in Stockton, California (a city which, fittingly enough, is bankrupt). The sign outside: “PUPPET SHOW AND PRESIDENT OBAMA.”