SJfromSJ’s #CBR5 Review #2: Game Change: Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin, and the Race of a Lifetime by John Heilemann & Mark Halperin

2 game change


As a political operative who first got involved with politics during the 2008 race, of course I had to read this book at some point in my life. I am an ardent Democrat who worships Hillary Clinton, worked to reelect President Obama this past year, hated everything John McCain stood for during the 2008 campaign and wish Sarah Palin never existed. I also live for campaigning and aspire to run a presidential campaign when I’m super wise and successful and important in the distant future.

All that being said, I had to force myself to finish this book. It made me wildly uncomfortable. I hated the gosspiy tone and how it mostly concentrated on failures. I know this is what comes with politics and campaigns, and I’m honestly not sure what I even expected from this book.

I really wanted to finish the book before watching the HBO movie, and now I am not sure I even want to watch the movie. I will admit: By the end of this book, I sympathized with Palin. I have been in the position where you are unexpectedly thrown into a role and are not given the support to sufficiently prepare and deliver. The way Jay Roach and Julianne Moore spoke of her in their Golden Globe acceptance speeches makes me wary of the way she is portrayed in the film.

As a history person, I liked the use of key events and missteps through the primaries and general election to guide the narrative. At the same time, I felt like sometimes it didn’t give that much guidance to the narrative. The first few chapters concentrated on one candidate, and the rest of the book would switch between chapters concentrating on a singular candidate’s campaign and an event from the perspective of several campaigns. It was just confusing for me.

I gave it 3 stars because the level of research they did was impressive, but I just personally did not like it. Yet somehow it did not sway my aspirations. I guess I just live by the credence that when you’re on a campaign, and even afterward, you do not air your dirty laundry to the press. It seems impossible in this day and age to keep that all under wraps, though, so I guess it’s better coming from the horse’s mouth?

I heard there’s going to be another volume released about this year’s race. I think I’m going to consciously avoid it.

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