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Halperin & Heilman’s Excerpts From Game Change Epitomizes A Vacuous Press

Saturday, January 16, 2010

The pundit and MSM buzz over Halperin & Heilman’s new book Game Change is expected considering the suggested content to date in the published excerpts. Actually, the buzz has been so great that a recent viewing of Chris Matthews’ Hardball with the two authors in question almost had the effect of making the viewer wonder if the host required an underwear change between segments. For the political junkie, such as myself, there are two fascinating aspects to the suggested substance of what has been made available to the public so far. First, is how much delight their narrative takes revealing to the world the salacious gossip they’ve uncovered from disgruntled campaign workers within the 2008 Presidential campaigns. The second and most glaring aspect is how little work and effort that seems to have gone into constructing this expose of personality flaws and the implosions that followed. Ax grinders have always been an easy source. This kind of easy access though usually comes with a high price: exaggeration and an agenda with slanted or prejudicial views. The only real news that will come out of the excerpts to date is the heavy water usage taking place from all the showers everyone will need if they chose to slog through this trash.

The most unsurprising aspect of what we have been teased with is just how much of a hack both Halperin and Heilmen seems to be. Their writing style comes straight out of the Maureen Dowd School of heavy handed and churlish dependence on a high school worldview of personalities. One can only imagine if Theodore White or Hugh Sidey were still alive today to see the road their profession has taken. They would both be reaching for Kevorkian’s work on painless suicide to escape the pain and crushing disappointment over how the profession they devoted their whole lives to is now pilloried with talentless hacks with juvenile deductive abilities and an appetite for the prurient.


Let’s take a look at two examples we’ve been teased with so far: John & Elizabeth Edwards and Sarah Palin. To be fair about my own prejudices and bias I was an Edwards supporter. He was my first choice over both President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. There is no doubt there is some truth to the assertions Halperin and Heilman make. My question to both of these low life night crawlers is this: how really hard was it to attack and sully Elizabeth Edwards’ public persona? We are presented with a woman who has been handed a potential medical death sentence with the type of cancer she has and this was followed by revelations her husband was a philanderer. I’m not sure how hard it was to dig up dirt on a woman whose life and family are falling apart right before her eyes. How was she supposed to react to all of this? With dignified stoicism and emotionless aplomb? Not everyone is made the same way and we all have different ways dealing with life and death situations when we have been handed one. The question you will never hear from Chris Matthews or any of his ilk is how the deconstruction of the Edwards marriage gives us insight to the political dynamic that leads to electability and/or governing?


As for John Edwards, is it really news that he might have a somewhat phony public persona and isn’t really the humble southern lawyer he presented to the public? For students of the American political process and the junkies that follow this stuff its not news or a revelation that having a certain level of phoniness is inherent to the political profession. One might delve into the degree and level of phoniness the candidate possesses but is it really news? As a supporter of John Edwards I expected two things. First, that he had a progressive agenda he would follow through on if elected. Second, that he be as informed as possible about world affairs with some original ideas and the history of the American political process indicating an awareness of who and what we are as a people. He was fulfilling those requirements I was looking for. When it was revealed that the flaws he is endowed with not only made his electability problematic but would interfere with his ability to govern I was ready to move on. Yeah, I was disappointed and hurt but that’s part of being engaged in the political process and putting an emotional investment in a candidate.


John Edwards’ relationship with his wife isn’t for me to sit in judgment of. Everyone’s marriage is different and personal not open to public approval. These two guys write as though they are two junior high school students delighting and smirking over an intimate personal relationship and the fragile dynamics that take place when they don’t live up to the expectations between the two people involved. Again, writing about this stuff says volumes about who they are and who they want to appeal to.


Then there is Sarah Palin. If one is to take some of the things about the Edwards’ with a grain of salt the same has to happen regarding the right wing Wasilla Queen of the low informed voter. The picture they paint of her as being ignorant of basic American history and the political process is not news. I sure as hell didn’t need these two sewer dwellers to tell me she was the epitome of an incurious amalgamation of right wing cliché’s with little understanding of what they all mean coupled with an uninformed background of basic world affairs. The problem Steve Schmidt found himself with is it didn’t matter how much information they jammed her head with, it was all out of context for her because she never bothered to find out how the world works and how we as a people all arrived to where we are today. This is news? The Katie Couric interview alone revealed all of that in spades. I didn’t need these two dimwits to pile on more evidence. The descriptions reserved for her inside the dynamics of the McCain campaign would be easy to believe for anti Palinistas such as myself. But really, McCain’s campaign came to despise her and we should believe everything that comes out of their mouths?

These two night crawlers are what elements of the MSM want to have representing them? Here is a suggestion if you are even thinking about reading Game Change. Go pick up a copy of Richard Ben Cramer’s What It Takes. Open it to any page and read an excerpt. Once you do you will realize that you wouldn’t even uses the pages from Game Change for toilet paper.

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