Game Change, by John Heilemann and Mark Halperin, left me dismayed by the damage done to our political system as a result of the perpetual campaign. As I was reading, I thought, “No wonder no one gets anything done in Congress. They’re never there to get anything done! They’re always on the road, campaigning for another term in office where they will again get nothing done.” I wonder, how can these folks collect a paycheck for a job they do not do?
Another source of dismay was the portrayal of the characters in the book. If these are truthful portrayals, then our political system is in worse shape than I thought! Most of the characters end up being two-faced, whiny, useless egotists, more interested in soothing their wounded inner children than in actually governing anything. The only characters to escape this type of portrayal were President and Mrs. Obama. I’m not entirely sure that was not done on purpose, actually, as a way for the authors to pay tribute to the first couple. I am a HUGE fan of President and Mrs. Obama, so please do not read more into that than just an observation.
The other characters running for president and vice-president are hardly capable of running the country. I say characters because I have a hard time believing that this book is true-to-life. Each one of them is fatally flawed — from delusional to perpetually angry to woefully unprepared. After reading half the book, I desperately wanted to throw it in the fireplace, but I finished it because I wanted to see how the rest of the campaign would progress according to the authors so that I could write this review. 🙂
The authors insist that this book was written based upon hundreds of interviews with people involved in the campaigns. I believe them, but I also believe that the agenda of the book was to embarrass the political leaders of this country. I believe hyperbole runs amuck in this book (along with a lot of sarcastic nicknames for EVERYTHING, which was quite annoying). Ah, perhaps I am just naïve. If so, I wonder if it was not better to just remain blissfully unaware?