FAIRFIELD, IA -- If Barack Obama, in two appearances earlier in the day, fed hungry Democrats a few morsels of his wisdom, the senator served a seven course meal at day's end.
Obama called Fairfield "ground zero for the politics of hope." The pumped-up crowd whooped and whooped. Fairfield's sheriff told me that the crowd of roughly 1,000 was larger than those he sees when presidents visit.
Veteran Obama watchers told the novitiaties that they were witnessing Obama's full, unabridged, campaign-summarizing stump speech. One reason may have been the presence of C-SPAN cameras; Obama was live. Another might have been the venue: Fairfield really is a cistern of liberalism. And meditation. The town center is ringed with stories that testify to the town's uniqueness. "Revelation" "Somebody Cares." "Healthy Inspirations." Or maybe Obama saved his best performance for last.
In an era when everybody's heard every line of every conceivable stump speech, a good performance can be sublime. Obama came close.
This part of Obama's message really rings home in Fairfield: "What's missing here is not good plans, it's leadership," he says.
That line encapsulates his campaign's argument. In one neat phrase, it attempts to dispatch the questions about Obama's lack of government experience and dismiss the conventional argument that the content of one's plans matters more than the ability to see them into being.
A good performance can also be exhausting; Obama's lucky that the day ends now, that the convoy is rolling to our RON hotel, and he can get a good night's sleep.