The Comically Screwed State Of Politics, In Small, Easy-To-Swallow Bites.
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Game Change Reminds Us Anyone But Obama Would Mean Game Over For America
Guess what America?? Even though our country is broke, no one has a job, health care is on the skids, and it is getting painfully obvious that Mother Nature wants us gone for good, there's still something to be thankful for: that those other lunatic nutballs trying to win the White House back in '08, didn't. At least, according to hoity-toity New Yorker book critic Hendrik Hertzberg in his review of the hottest election tell-all to hit the shelves, Game Change, by veteran reporters John Heilemann and Mark Halperin. (Sorry to all those Sarah fans out there, but the fictional children's bookGoing Rogue didn't meet the requirements of "not being total bullsh*t").
After devouring all 464 pages of this profanity-laced, dysfunction laden presidential free-for-all, Hertzberg, like the rest of us, was able to make a number of conclusions.
Some, like the fact that "presidential candidates and the members of their entourages are inordinately fond of the word 'fuck' and its derivatives," isn't exactly earth-shattering but mere reminders that politicians are human too (albeit foul-mouthed ones) and as such, like to sound cool and powerful by showering their speech with as many F-bombs as they can possibly cram into a sentence.
"When he first learned the outcome from his number crunchers, what he thought was, Well, we’re fucked," John Edwards' reaction to losing in Iowa.
"Why the fuck do you think I'd want to go sit outside a Wal-Mart and hand out leaflets?" John Edwards' wife, Elizabeth, objecting to a campaign assignment.
"Unfuckingbelievable!" Clinton said, upon being accused of citing the assassination of Robert Kennedy as a reason for her to stay in the contest.
"Fuck you! Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck!!!" John McCain, with "both middle fingers raised," scolding his wife, Cindy, for interrupting him.
"No fucking discipline." Obama's diagnosis of the chaos in McCainland.
But beyond our leaders' proclivity for potty talk, Game Change, does reveal some deeper, darker secrets about the sanity, intelligence, and character of our beloved candidates. Some of course less shocking than others.
"The portrayals of the rest of the cast are reasonably consistent with what informed readers already knew, with flaws and foibles usefully filled out. Palin emerges as even more ignorant than one supposed, and considerably more unstable." Nothing surprising here.
Under the pressure of debate preparation, she regularly retreated into a "catatonic stupor," prompting the McCain campaign to discuss the "threatening possibility that Palin was mentally unstable." It was decided that if it looked like McCain might actually win in November, they would have to relegate Ms. Palin "to the largely ceremonial role that premodern vice presidents inhabited, considering it to be inconceivable that if McCain fell ill or died, the country be left in the hands of a President Palin."
Even trigger-happy Dark Lord of the GOP, Dick Cheney, called McCain's VP pick, a "reckless choice," believing the Alaska governor was unprepared for high office, though apparently still better than that illegal Kenyan terrorist with the funny name, winning smile, and ability to actually relate to everyday people, other than those with the last name Bush.
You know, "normal" people, like the unbelievably dysfunctional duo of John Edwards and wifey Elizabeth, who staffers described in such glowing terms as "abusive, intrusive, paranoid, condescending, crazywoman." The two fought openly over John's alleged affair (and lovechild!) with Rielle Hunter. But that's not it!
You see, Dame Elizabeth viewed herself as a "worldly intellectual" and publicly called her husband "a hick" and his parents "rednecks," snazzy $400 haircut or not.
"She was forever letting John know she regarded him as her intellectual inferior," mocking her husband as somebody who "doesn't read books."
Well it's a good thing Lizzy's literate enough to read aloud to poor, dumb Johnny all about how it feels to be married to an insufferable, egomaniacal asshole like him!
Speaking of healthy, stable marriages, the only thing shakier than John McCain and Sarah Palin's political "marriage" was the real one between the old man and Cindy.
According to the authors, McCain strategist John Weaver suspected the rumor that Cindy McCain had a "long-term boyfriend in Arizona was rooted in truth." Hmmm, perhaps the fact that the pair had been sighted all over town in the last few years was a tip-off?
But either way, our delightful almost-First Family "fought in front of others, during small meetings and before large events, to the amazement and discomfort of the staff."
Apparently, Cindy McCain accused the senator of ruining her life, that she never wanted him to run again for president, and that "when it came time to film campaign videos of the couple, the camera crews had to roll for hours to capture a few minutes of warmth." Adorable!
Compared to the other candidates' trainwreck lives, the Clintons' unique relationship almost seems like a functional one. Almost.
Turns out, Hillary Clinton, or Hillaryland as the former First Lady's inner circle was known, was full of distrust, secrets, betrayals, and a more than sneaking suspicion that hubby Bill's sporadic outbursts and unnaturally red face may not be the only issues the campaign need worry about.
Clinton's "war room within a war room"--which she put together to deal with questions about her husband's "libido"--became convinced in 2006 that Billy boy was having a serious extramarital affair, prompting Hillrod to instruct her aides to be prepared to combat the story (should for some crazy reason it be proven true).
Bill's wandering eye, followed by Lord knows wandering what-else, was also apparently the reason Hillary came thisclose to turning down the Secretary of State job, until a late-night call between her and Obama convinced her to take the gig, despite her concerns over that incorrigible hubby of hers, Bill.
"You know I can't control him, and at some point he'll be a problem" Clinton told Obama who assured her that he was willing to take that risk.
A gamblin' man, eh? Truth is, he's handled bigger dicks than that before (usually with the last name Cheney), but then again Cheney never belittled Barry by scoffing that "a few years ago, this guy would have been getting us coffee."
Which brings us to the coffee-fetcher turned commander-in-chief, Barack Hussein Obama. The authors describe the Obamas' marriage as a model one, "Obama adored his wife and didn't even bother to pretend that he enjoyed anyone else's company remotely as much as he relished being with her and their daughters." The weasel!
Wait, it gets worse. "Barack Obama is the only principal whose aides do not experience moments of suspicion--or, in the cases of Edwards and Palin, weeks of certainty--that their candidate is unfit for the office that he or she seeks. Only the future President is exactly what he seemed to be: calm, determined, a little aloof, immune to the snares of anger or vengefulness." "Game Change leaves one reassured that the voters, given the choices before them, chose well."
Yeah, if they wanted a boring, smart, sane man who loves his wife and family, and makes decisions based on fact and rationality, not to cover up the demented sh*tshow that is their lives, as leader of the free world.