Obama's big speech to college students: "We cannot sit this one out!"

If you want to know why he sounds so shrill and desperate at the end of the clip, that’s because he is. One last factoid from that WSJ poll I just wrote about:

The NBC/WSJ pollsters attribute the tightening to increased enthusiasm for the upcoming midterms by African Americans (who saw a six-point gain in high interest) and Hispanics (who saw an 11-point gain).

But young voters, who helped fuel Obama’s presidential victory in 2008, are now sitting on the sidelines. Just 35 percent of those ages 18-34 are enthusiastic about the election in November, versus 65 percent of seniors who say that.

At the Standard, Mary Katharine Ham reminds us that Generation O isn’t liberal across the board, but they’re surely liberal enough that big turnout versus small turnout could mean the difference between a Democratic Three Mile Island and a Democratic Chernobyl in November. Which, I guess, explains why The One has lately started sounding like an angry daddy scolding a spoiled child for not doing as he’s told. Check out this bit from the very end of the Rolling Stone piece that Ed wrote about earlier. The interview was already over when Obama stormed back into the room to lay a paternal “and another thing!” on Wenner:

One closing remark that I want to make: It is inexcusable for any Democrat or progressive right now to stand on the sidelines in this midterm election…

Everybody out there has to be thinking about what’s at stake in this election and if they want to move forward over the next two years or six years or 10 years on key issues like climate change, key issues like how we restore a sense of equity and optimism to middle-class families who have seen their incomes decline by five percent over the last decade. If we want the kind of country that respects civil rights and civil liberties, we’d better fight in this election…

We have to get folks off the sidelines. People need to shake off this lethargy, people need to buck up. Bringing about change is hard — that’s what I said during the campaign. It has been hard, and we’ve got some lumps to show for it. But if people now want to take their ball and go home, that tells me folks weren’t serious in the first place.

CBS aptly describes it as a “stern, lecturing tone,” which is always attractive in a politician, and Tapper has taken to openly snarking about it in his blog posts per the last line here. All in all, it’s playing about as well with liberals as you’d expect, with the head of the Progressive Congress Action Fund calling it “a remarkably condescending message.” Keep up the great work, champ. Exit question: I might have missed something over the past 20 months, but how is Obama some sort of obviously superior choice to the GOP on civil liberties? His one big concession to the left was officially ending enhanced interrogation, but he’s retained rendition as an option in case he needs foreign interrogators to work a suspect over and has kept or even expanded most of Bush’s other war powers. In fact, not only does The One now claim the power to target U.S. citizens like Anwar al-Aulaqi with drone strikes abroad, but he’s willing to go to court to try to shield his decisions about that from judicial review. Some improvement.