Saturday, July 31, 2010

Along for the Ride to the Whitehouse

Just finished reading the book Game Change. It was like reliving the 2008 presidential campaign, but this time with an all-access pass. As most Americans, I already knew about most of the campaign’s high and low points, including the Rev. Wright controversy, the Edwards affair and the unexpected emergence of Sarah Palin as a candidate for vice president.

I didn’t know the stories behind these stories. This book shares them all, as well as the tremendous toll it took on the candidates.

The star players in the unfolding drama are Barack Obama and the Clintons. You get an inside look at the discipline of Obama’s campaign and the growing frustrations of the Clintons as they try desperately, and unsuccessfully, to sidetrack it.

My favorite stories though involved the bit players. I was fascinated by the arrogance that led to Edwards’ downfall. Similarly, the story of the unraveling of Sarah Palin was so well told it made me feel uncomfortable, yet I couldn’t stop reading it. The fact that she remains on the national stage today indicates she had more moxie than the authors knew.

On balance, however, I thought the book was pretty even-handed. If the authors had biases, they did a good job of hiding them. That said, I’ll never agree that Obama pummeled McCain in those debates as badly as the pundits said.

You often hear the presidential campaign called the “Road to the Whitehouse.” If that’s the case, then Game Change lets you ride shotgun.

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