Of course he was just trying to be nice to the partisan crowd. Just as he was trying to be nice when he claimed that people in Michigan view Penn State students as "intelligent." In a remarkable display of honesty and realism, the crowd voiced doubts about the ability of the football team. They also modestly denied being exceptionally intelligent.
Moore was everything I hoped he would be. I thoroughly enjoyed the entire evening. Even though he must be incredibly rich by now, he still strikes me as an absolutely regular, down-to-earth guy from working-class Michigan. (Precisely my roots, by the way, on my mother's side of the family. My Polish-immigrant grandfather worked in a factory in Detroit and many of my relatives work in the auto industry). I did not find him obnoxious or self-promoting, as some have described him. Vocal, yes. Insistent and blunt, yes. More than anything, I see him as an artist with a clear vision of the good and bad in humanity and in current society, an artist who is working his ass off to make this country a better place for ordinary people. Penn State was the 40th stop on a 60-city tour. He's genuine. He's the real thing.
Moore heaped praise upon President Eisenhower for creating the interstate highway system and warning us about the dangers of the military-industrial complex and of getting sucked into Vietnam. He pointed out that "even the most evil President in history, Nixon" created the EPA. He asked the primarily liberal crowd if it is not in fact the case that the Republicans they knew are good, hardworking, decent people. He voiced objections not to Republicans in general, but to the narrow, closed-minded, extremist ideologues who seek divisiveness rather than inclusiveness. He suggested most Americans agree upon the major issues and want the same things, and that Bush's only chance of winning is if the majority stays home rather than voting. I think he got that right.