Sometimes I make dumb choices. I was tired late Wednesday afternoon. I had to write, and I played "Hardball," too -- I think the New York Times' Bob Herbert and I made some progress convincing our friend Chris Matthews that Rudy Giuliani's Bernie Kerik problem is a big political deal. I also said goodbye to Sidney Blumenthal. So I was about to drive over to the Barack Obama rally after work, but I decided to head home instead.
Mistake. My favorite person outside my family and friends, former San Francisco Giants manager Dusty Baker, came out and spoke for Obama, calling him the best candidate for his son Darren, and the crowd loved it. My daughter was there with her friends -- make of it what you will, these high school seniors paid $15 each to see Obama; they are all taking this first vote seriously, and I love it -- and she said it was a great, young, exuberant crowd, and I should have been there. And she was right. Excellent call on the part of the Obama locals to invite Baker. He's now managing the Cincinnati Reds (after a hard-luck stint managing the hard-luck Cubs in Obama's Chicago), but he left his heart in San Francisco, and many Giants fans left their hearts with him (boy, these last few years have sucked). Nora liked Alice Walker's introduction, too.
On substance, the young folks reported that they were happy to hear Obama promise to bring the troops home from Iraq within 15 months of taking office, improve health and education and protect gay rights. (I went online to try to fact-check her report, since she wasn't taking notes, but unfortunately, Obama's San Francisco appearance was mostly ignored by the media in favor of reporting on his trip to Google.) Nora came away fired up, but still undecided. She had one really interesting observation: Obama didn't really talk about "how" he would do those things, so how can she know he can do them? I told her speeches don't usually delve into the "how," plus he's got a lot of "how" on his Web site. Still, that was thoughtful. She made me promise to keep her posted when the other candidates are in town, and from here on in, I'm going with her. (Strangely, I don't expect to see a lot of the Republicans here in San Francisco.)
It's great to see this Democratic field through the eyes of my daughter and her friends; they're all comparatively amazing candidates. Count our household still undecided. I wonder if our votes will matter when the California primary rolls around Feb. 5. Meanwhile, if Obama could find Giants owner Peter Magowan a new job and bring back Dusty Baker, he'd probably have my vote.