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Lunch » Tags » Books » Reviews » Game Change: Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin, and the Race of a Lifetime » User review

Fast-paced. Juicy. Enlightening. Entertaining. Venomous. Fun. Disturbing.

  • May 6, 2013
  • by
For political junkies the 2008 presidential campaign was a feast that satiated many desires, for it was the mother of all soap operas that had a vast array of characters with flaws and more than an abundance of skeletons in the closet. The only problem with the drama was that it was reality, and the inexperienced blowhards with the egos are now in temporary position of the highest office in the land. If this book wasn't nonfiction I would qualify it on par with Allen Drury's literary and political classic, Advise and Consent. Though the two works are based on two totally different subjects, the political driving force and language of each makes for compelling narration and a freeze frame of the human experience.

The 2008 campaign was fascinating to watch, because parties were pitted against each other (Obama v. Clinton) while other political newbies (from the state level Sarah Palin) were elevated to national prominence. It turned journalists from supposed objective chroniclers into downright sappy and gushing unprofessional slack-jawed hacks who would rather kiss butt in the name of political correctness than do their jobs. Additionally, it was an election that inspired young people and those folks who never did vote to take part, including myself. Unfortunately, my guy lost. Regrettably, many of the young people were quite conditioned and ripe, due in large part to their 'university enlightenment' to make a powerful sway in the political process. And with Obama, language and oration was everything. It didn't hurt either that he had almost the whole media conglomerate of the networks on his side, salivating like Pavlov's Dog. For sociologists, it must have been a field day.

The Game Change was an insightful read, and yet, it was breezy. The flow of the language just pulled me along until I began to feel that I too was apart of the inner political circle of Hilleryland or McCainville, a little fly on the wall ease-dropping on the verbal political backstabbing and vacuous pronouncements. For many, logic was cast aside and people, in good faith, believed in the ball of crap just because they simply wanted to believe. They were hoodwinked in the name of politics, and that is what made the election results all the more disturbing and aggravating.

Using a mishmash of sources (fmr. politicians, current ones, academics, bloggers, Hollywood types, lobbyists, CEOs, etc...) Heilemann and Halperin do an excellent job of navigating the complexity of a national election, maneuvering between masses of people to cells of volunteers. Every tier is assessed. Comments are absorbed. Every event is attended to. The book as a whole almost breathes like a live organism. And while the characters (the candidates themselves) are not painted in an all-too flattering light, they come off the pages as accurate and credible people, who, despite their hunger for game changing politics, are at heart, sincere in the mission that they have undertaken. Obama comes off as a reckless flyboy, Clinton, a manipulating, power-hungary piranha, Palin, as drained and apathetic (but for me still a breath of fresh air despite her lack of foreign policy credentials), Biden, a boob with a silver foot in his mouth and McCain, a somewhat cagey and detached senior statesman who found all the political hoopla irritating and burdensome. John Edwards? Well, actions speak louder than words.

The Game Change was a good read. The story was conveyed without a bias for any particular side or ideology. I think the authors tried to be balanced. They simply told a story, and what a story it was!
Fast-paced. Juicy. Enlightening. Entertaining. Venomous. Fun. Disturbing.

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review by . May 18, 2010
"Game Change" is an interesting read for anyone who craves more information about not only the 2008 Presidential campaign but campaigns in general. I was astounded by the things that were said and done behind the scenes in the 2008 Presidential Election and even learned a few new things as well. It was amazing to see the different personalities of each person running come out through the text - and surprising at times too. A lot of times we obtain views of what people must be like …
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Game Change: Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin, and the Race of a Lifetime is a book by political journalists John Heilemann andMark Halperin about the 2008 United States presidential election. Released on January 11, 2010, it was also published in the United Kingdomunder the title Race of a Lifetime: How Obama Won the White House. The book is based on interviews with more than 300 people involved in the campaign. It discusses factors including Democratic Party presidential candidate John Edwards's extramarital affair, the relationship between Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama and his vice presidential running mate Joe Biden, failure of Republican Party candidate Rudy Giuliani's presidential campaign and Sarah Palin's vice presidential candidacy.

Game Change included several new assertions about the 2008 campaign that had not previously been reported. Among them were the fact thatSenate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senator Chuck Schumer privately had urged Barack Obama to run for president in the fall of 2006, in hopes that it would energize the Democratic base and improve the party's chances of winning the presidency. The book also detailed an hour-long meeting between Hillary Rodham Clinton and pollster Mark Penn, during which Clinton accused Obama of "playing the race card" and importing people intoIowa to improve his chances at the caucus. The book also alleges that Hillary Clinton wanted to make a bigger issue out of Obama's drug use, ...
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