Game Change

Game Change

Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin, and the Race of A Lifetime

Book - 2010
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From two of the best political reporters in the country comes the gripping inside story of the historic 2008 presidential election.
Publisher: New York : Harper, c2010
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780061733635
0061733636
Characteristics: xiii, 448 p. ; 24 cm
Additional Contributors: Halperin, Mark

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d
dnk
Feb 04, 2018

This is a book about politicians and politics. There is no policy or discussion of ideas. This is gossip, however well-substantiated it might be. That some of it affected who became the President of the United States is both hilarious and frightening.

The star may be Obama, but Hillary Clinton's is the story's surprising heroine. She was, in many ways, at the wrong place at the wrong time. The media loved Obama and could not stop themselves from jumping all over any potential gaffe she might have made. She said a couple of stupid things- the Bobby Kennedy reference seemed to come from out of nowhere- but to accuse her of race-baiting was ridiculous. Obama and his team understood the media landscape better than anyone else, and played it best. The fact that later debates involved most of the other candidates pig-piling on Clinton is just one more illustration here of how ugly politics can be.

But those weren't the best parts. The Edwards debacle is a train wreck you can't stop looking at- hubris has never been so entertaining. Of course, the fact that he was theoretically so close to the nomination while all of that was playing out made me shake my head. Whatever sympathy both Edwards may have cultivated because of Elizabeth's cancer is gone.

McCain's campaign redefines disaster. McCain, the former media darling, can't seem to decide between sticking to his guns and catering to the polls and pols. By picking Sarah Palin as his running mate before his team had properly vetted her, he clearly chose the latter. Having read the account of her erratic behavior and her almost pathological lack of desire to educate herself about the issues, I am not worried one bit about the possibility of a Palin anything in the future.

Although there's criticism due to everyone featured in the book, the worst offenders may be the reporters and bloggers in the new and old media. Did Obama deserve the love-in he generated when he couldn't articulate what his health care plan was? Did he deserve to be thought of as possessing unimpeachable ethics when he and his team perfected the art of playing dirty while looking clean? Why was the National Enquirer the only publication that remotely cared about the Edwards' story? And should the McCain campaign, for better or worse, have been so vulnerable to media coverage? And why did we, the electorate, move so forcefully on the basis of what was published? But these questions are only implied- they certainly aren't answered here.

m
mammothhawk229e
Sep 29, 2017

McCain was a decent guy, but I think he was pressured to one up Obama. Whoops.
McCain stumbled on the 2008 financial crisis.
Moderate outsider didn't get help from the Establishment republicans.
Interesting on Biden reaction's as vice president pick.
Rare Obama to offer a fig leaf & cabinet appointment to Hillary Clinton despite her political baggage for a more unified front.
I liked George W. Bush's being nice & helpful to Obama & the transition team.
However, I could not mentally picture Trump doing the same to the 46th president.

a
AQUILEA777
Feb 13, 2017

By 2007, many Democrats were tired of Hillary's arrogance, deceitfulness, and temper fits. She was planning her presidency even before the Iowa caucuses.
--- Obama's plan: Use race while accusing the Clintons of using race. He called Hillary the Senator from Punjab, and said that stressing experience was racist. He lumped religion with racism as failings of poor Whites, and defended White-hating Rev Wright.
--- From 1991 to 2007, Obama's literary agency said he was born in Kenya. Hillary's camp pursued the issue. (Later she would blame it on Trump.)
--- The Clintons planted town hall questions for Hillary. She falsely claimed she had been under fire.
--- When the Clintons mentioned Obama's cocaine use, Hillary's strength with White workers, and RFK's death, they were thumped for racism and wanting Obama shot.
--- The Clintons despised Obama's race-exploitation, but wanted him to pay off Hillary's $12 million campaign debt in return for her endorsement. Later the two sides pretended to love one another.
--- Obama next used race against McCain while accusing McCain of using race. Opposing Obama was racist per se.
--- McCain stressed his bombing of North Vietnam. Obama had not killed any foreigners. McCain loved America more. But McCain admitted Obama was honorable and thus not an Arab.
--- McCain showed love of country by making nitwit Sarah Palin his running mate. His staff feared she was crazy, but cried "sexism" to defend her -- just as Democrats cried "racism" for Obama. Obama felt frustrated: it didn't seem fair.
--- McCain paused his campaigning to focus on the financial crisis. He knew nothing of finance, had no idea what to do and offered none. Yet he pretended that he had saved the system.
--- The Clintons, Obama, and McCain had one thing in common: their favorite words "f---" and "a--h---".
--- (In 2012, Donna Brazile would accuse White voters of racism, though they had elected Obama four years before. In 2016, Democrats would blame their loss on racism and imaginary Russian/FBI conspiracies.)

booklady1 Oct 06, 2014

I enjoy Watching and reading about politics....so it was a great pleasure for me to read this entertaining, Juicy, gripping story of the 2008 campaign...from the early primaries to the final presidential election. One word SCANDALOUS! Well down Heilemann and Halperin.

Agent13 May 21, 2012

A fly on the wall account of the 2008 campaign. This wide ranging book looks at the process from the early primaries to the final presidential election. It struck me as gossipy, at times, with tales of Edwards and his close relationship with his mistress, Ms. Hunter, for example. A thorough understanding of the election process would have been better to this reader. If you like this way of viewing the election process, then this book is for you.

s
sigridmac
Mar 07, 2012

If you are interested in a blow-by-blow description of the 2008 campaign, the real story behind Hillary Clinton's failure to capture the White House, and why John McCain chose Sarah Barracuda, this is your book. It was well-written, funny, and very detail oriented. My only complaint was that it was a little long and you would have to be very interested in US politics, as I am, to want to read all 430 some odd pages. And I have a sneaking suspicion that the authors lean toward the Democrats; other than that, this was a wonderful book.

SpencerSpencer Jan 10, 2012

Fascinating book. I couldn't put this one down because I wanted to find out more and more about the larger-than-life political characters we've all become famliar with and their behavior and thought processes behind the election scenes. Not only was this educational and informative, but I found the book to be tremendously entertaining. Certain politicians I now unexpectedly admire more and others I unexpectedly respect a little less.

l
lotusreader
Aug 01, 2011

Eye-opening and wildly entertaining.

p
pokano
Jul 04, 2011

I have read several books about the thrilling 2008 campaign and this one, along with Richard Elliott's book, is the best. Unlike many books, which merely rehash news columns written during the campaign, this one includes much new material. One flaw is that the authors have selected only the main candidates to follow, so that the treatment of lesser candidates is either cursory or omitted entirely. And in some cases, the book raises more questions than it answers, leaving the reader wanting more.

j
jvb
May 07, 2011

Very readable and revealing.

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