March 28, 2010
A blow-by-blow tactical recap of the 2008 primary and general presidential elections, Game Change is a mind-blowing and eye-opening look behind the curtain in American Presidential Politics. What Otto Van Bismark said about laws and sausages (it's best not to watch them being made) can be equally applied to the minting of candidates; readers of this book will be startled at how impulsive, random, and junior-varsity the process is to crown the leader of the free world.
A few observations on the primary characters:
Hillary: Clearly the person best-suited and most deserving of being President. Foiled and propelled at times by her husband and drama-prone staff, Hillary fell victim to the resistance of her party's leadership to Clinton-Family Domination and the Media's infatuation of the hail-Mary narrative of Obama.
Obama: The coolest candidate in both senses of the world. Always confident, always in control, perhaps to the point of arrogance or megalomania. While his rhetoric has always been praised, Game Change reinforces the view that Obama has been weak on substance. Very weak. In spite of poor debate performances and long-shot odds (even though the establishment Democratic Party backed him), Obama was able tap into the right message, lift the right spirits, and win the impossible victory.
McCain: RISK LOVING... but what can you expect from a pilot? Curses like a sailor, but then again he was in the Navy. What you see is what you get, and as a regular good ol' guy, it's probably best he's not in the White House
Palin: Eager if extremely, extremely naive. An undereducated Alaskan mom who really had little business outside of her state and certainly not in politics. She was catapulted onto the national stage by sheer, dumb, cosmic chance caused by the impulsiveness of McCain's VEEP decision (one that that needed to be a "game changer") and the complete lack of vetting. Fast and loose with the truth, though I'm not sure if she's a liar or if she just doesn't get it. Even McCain's staff twisted with regret when they learned exactly how completely unfit she is to be President
The Media: A violin to be played by the most talented maestro. Dutifully broadcasted any faux-outrage put out by the usually quite rational and understanding candidates. Completely ineffective as a vehicle for vetting and testing candidates as social narrative always dominates. Clearly the most embarrassed party in Game Change.