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Hart at Stanford Wednesday

Gary Hart is doing a book signing at the Stanford Bookstore at 6pm on Wednesday evening, Sept. 27 for his new book, The Courage of Our Convictions: A Manifesto for Democrats. (See my related post from a few weeks ago and see also: today’s CBS News article.) I’m hoping to make it. The last one of these I attended was more of a Q&A than a reading from the manuscript. I expect high-level questions and intellectual banter with the Stanford crowd.

For those curious about how I know so much about Gary Hart, I hate to disappoint that I’m not one of the psycho-political pandering followers that some of these guys attract over the years. My interaction with Senator Hart was initially due to nepositm: he and my dad grew up together in Ottawa, Kansas.

The first time I met Gary was during the ’88 campaign – he was on a float for the 30th class reunion from their high school, Ottawa High. He and my dad are both coming up on their 70th birthdays in the next couple of months. Born in 1936 during the Depression, they were small town scruffy boys running around with dogs playing baseball in the street, later to become lawyers via Yale and Stanford, respectively. (This is important because that’s what brought my family to the Bay Area initially.) My dad, a registered Republican, helped Gary with a couple of his campaigns. He was interviewed for What It Takes, a fascinating behemoth of a book about the ’88 race.

When I heard whisperings that Gary might consider running in ’04, I used a few different vehicles to try and get involved, persisting until I heard back and then I dove head-first into the pre-campaign mush, first working on speeches then eventually managing the entire online effort. I’ll write more about this some other time, but that experience led me to develop some great friendships with the others involved, one of whom is still Gary’s publicist which brings us back to the book signing.