Trust us, there's nothing more eye-meltingly boring than sitting through a political endorsement rally. It's hard to stay away through the endless parade of glad-handing politicians stepping to the microphone to reheat the same hack bromides in the hope that someday their back will be mutually scratched. There's only one thing more unlistenable. It's all so predictable.
Except in San Francisco -- where the endorsement of authors and techy innovators may carry more import than that of politicos. And two promiment Bay Area a-politicos are lining up behind Barack Obama for president.
Wednesday, after most of the A-list local pols (Reps. Barbara Lee and George Miller; SF Supervisor Aaron Peskin) did their schtick on the steps of SF City Hall, up to the microphone stepped Pulitzer-Prize winning Berkeley author Michael Chabon -- who rally MC Steve Westly mistakenly introduced as Michael "Cha-BONE." Uh, it's SHAY-bon, Steve.
Chabon who is trying to raise $25,000 for Obama with his wife, Obama Harvard classmate Ayelet Waldman, delivered an endorsement that was...was...what is the word, it's not here in our hack-rally dictionary...wait here it is: "introspective."
"You know what I needed to do before I could decide to support Barack Obama for president? I had to give myself permission to feel hope. That's almost kind of sad, isn't it? I had to tell myself that it is OK. That it would be all right if I allowed myself to acknowledge the possibility that we can aspire as a nation. That we can aspire to be more than merely secure or predominant. That we could apsire to build and to heal not just to patch and prop up. We can aspire to come together not just come to terms."
Suffice to say that one rarely gets to hear an internal monologue during an endorsement rally...which might explain why a couple of the TV cameras clicked "OFF" about this time. Nevermind them, Mike. Preach, brother!!
"I had to allow myself to do something that felt really weird, something I had never done before in my entire life -- to believe in a candidate for the president of the United States."
The crowd starting yelling "We believe!"
"I do, I do believe. I do believe in Barack Obama. But I don't believe in him blindly or unquestioningly. He's no demogogue or figurehead. He's a man, not a symbol. But he does stand for something, something I can believe in. The way I believe in the comfort I take in my family and the pleasure of good company, and the blessings of peace and liberty and in anything that requires me to put my trust in the best part of myself and of other people."
Not quite in the same metaphorical league, but an Obama lover nonetheless is Craig Newmark -- founder of the ubiquitous craigslist -- oy, why would a newspaper give that link. D'OH!! He's been out for Obama for a few weeks now -- he co-hosted a fundraiser in New York last month.
Craig, too, is a virgin presidential endorser. He passed on his endorsement while riding Muni earlier this week.
"I've got the feeling that something is happening now, that people of good will are coming together now," Newmark told us. He loves that Obama gets technology and how people find community online. He also digs that Obama wants more transparency in government.
But don't ask Craig to get into all sorts of political and policy stuff. That's not him. "I'm a nerd," he said, "not a wonk.