Monday, March 12, 2012

Game Change


It all seems rather quaint now with Mackie reduced once again to a crusty old Senator in Congress and Palin trying to stir up some interest for a "maverick" bid at the nomination at the GOP convention this August. Heilemann and Halperin's account of the 2008 campaign appeared written for the screen, and HBO gladly obliged, casting Ed Harris and Julianne Moore (two Hollywood liberals) in the lead roles, yet getting them to play their characters by the numbers so as to give the sense of an unvarnished account. As this Esquire review notes, it is played a bit too straight up, not so much taking you behind the scenes as presenting the tactics and many of the same myths that were part of the campaign.

11 comments:

  1. Good review -- but this is exactly what we discussed earlier about politics being reported as mostly a sporting event these days. Nice to know, too, that I'm not the only one who finds Halperin sort of odd in his take on the world. Not sure what it is about him, but he rubs me wrong.

    I'm surprised that you didn't like Game Change (the book) -- but I know I'm a bit of a junky when it comes to politics. As the review notes, Heilemann and Halperin got everyone in those campaigns to snitch on each other as they tried to save their careers.

    It was very gossipy, which was part of the fun of reading it, but I really got the feeling that most of what was in there was true, and it often helped explain what had happened, particularly within the also dysfunctional Clinton campaign. I found that section the most illuminating since I wasn't all that interested in McCain or Palin.

    Also, I"m a fan of Elizabeth Edwards (as I was at the time of her husband), and they are hard on her in the book, but my guess is what they report about both of them was probably also true. These are not saints in spite of how talented and smart they might otherwise be.

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  2. I didn't read the book, av, just excerpts. But, what I saw of the movie had the same hollow ring as the HBO Obama documentary a couple years back. I would have liked a little more insight and less gossip.

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  3. I get a kick out of the Yahoo! "Analysis" columns like the one I posted about Obama and the Afghan War. They seem more a regurgitation of wire stories pasted together into a relatively smooth narrative with little or nothing in the way of insight much less critical review. There no longer seems to be any analysis on the campaign trail, except on the fringes of the mainstream media.

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  4. The part I dislike about political coverage generally is that there is no real analysis of ideas. Just reporting of some of the really bizarre ones (like Santorum's!).

    Some of the young writers at the Post are good -- I particularly like Ezra Klein and Chris Cillizza is good -- but for the most part television news gets caught up in the horse race and rarely digs deeper than that.

    As for Fox, it's just 24/7 propaganda, that seems to work.

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  5. Television news has made politics into a reality show. That was certainly the case with Palin. The news media fawned over her for the first few "episodes" then proceeded to tear her apart, while missing the more unsettling aspect of the whole thing and that was yanking a virtual political nobody from Alaska and making her front page news for no other reason than to stop Obama's momentum following the Democratic convention. McCain's political staff used her and when she started to bite, they tried to dump their failed campaign bid on her. I would have felt sorry for her (and many persons did) if it wasn't for the way she embraced all that media attention and made the campaign about herself, whining like a little baby when they started to turn sour, and that gibberish about being an "executive" and deriding Obama's community service work.

    Some executive. She quit after two years so that she could sign a book deal worth more than $10 mil, not to mention her lucrative speaking engagements.

    Of course, it is impossible to get to the bottom of it all, when neither Mackie, Palin nor the guys who engineered this pathetic political campaign are forthcoming, but one does expect the news media to try to dig a little deeper than they did.

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  6. Judging by the success of Rick Santorum, I think Palin would have done just fine in the primaries. It really amazes me that such a loser like this guy could have so much appeal.

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  7. It amazes me that Americans can vote for any of them! And that it is projected to be a tight race in November.

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  8. I think there is a lot of disgruntled folks but when the choice between Obama and one of these assclowns becomes clear, I don't think it will be that close in November.

    Voter turnout has been very low throughout the Republican primaries. There is a lack of enthusiasm for any of these candidates, so they are literally scraping the bottom of the barrel looking for votes.

    Voter turnout may be low in November too, but the only one I see presenting any kind of challenge to Obama is Romney, but he will be so weakened by these primaries, given the positions he has reversed himself on to make himself more acceptable to the right wingnuts.

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  9. I sure hope you're right.

    Half the country doesn't view the world the way we do, alas, and turnout may be driven by an anti-Obama vote rather than any enthusiasm for Romney et al. The only thing that might be good news for democrats is their persistent attack on women, which has even Peggy Noonan speaking out against them. That might scare enough Republican women into voting for Obama, but it might just make them stay home.

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  10. Overall, things are looking a lot better now than they were two years ago. The high gas prices won't really matter much the closer we get to the general election. The key is for the economy to continue creating jobs. If it does so, Obama stands in pretty good stead.

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  11. I see Rush not only considers this movie an assault on Palin, but makes it part of an elaborate conspiracy by the Obama administration to destroy him, through the person of Anita Dunn,

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/03/14/1074302/-Rush-Limbaugh-was-set-up-by-Obama-to-call-Sandra-Fluke-a-slut

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