Thursday, April 22, 2010
I'm depressed. My daughter mailed me her copy of 'Game Change' so that her political junkie father could read it. 'Game Change' is an account of the inside machinations of the various players in the 2008 election. It was written by Mark Halperin, the former director of ABC News who was so helpful to BJ Clinton during the impeachment, and another liberal journalist. Whatever you think of their point of view you have to admire how these guys dug up the dirt. Of course, as Rush Limbaugh noted, it might have been a bit more useful if these guys had dug up some of this dirt before the election but that was impossible; anything that jeopardized victory for the cause was unthinkable. Another reason to not dig too deep into the Clintons before they had been brought down to earth was the prospect that they would be back in office with a giant sheet-list, ready to direct the IRS to revenge every tiny insult from the out years.
Thats the most satisfying and at the same time most disturbing thing in the book; the downfall of the Clints and especially BJ. That a person with a total contempt for the truth was elected and then re-elected as President of the United States has been an issue for all of us Right-wing fringe nutballs since 1992. How could our fellow Americans be so ignorant and dense as to find some redeeming features in this narcissistic reprobate and his squawking power-mad crow of a spouse? The picture of them that emerges from this book will add to the shock of even the most dedicated Clinton-haters. The Smartest Woman In The Universe and Our First Black President are surrounded by an entire Democratic Party hierarchy who hated their guts and did everything in its power to block Hilly's candidacy, including begging Obama to run against her and then backing him to the hilt. As the Clints realized the level of betrayal by slimy nematodes like Harry Reid, John Kerry, George Soros, Chuck Schumer and a raft of more anonymous but important party insiders their rage and bitterness drove them (especially BJ) totally insane, especially after Fat Teddy plunged his dagger between Hilly's shoulder blades.
That the media, who had spiked rape stories and covered up bribes from a hostile foreign government or two for the Clints in the past, would all of a sudden start treating them so badly you would almost think they were Republicans, was a dagger in the hearts of America's Power Couple. Of course they werent being given the full-on Bush-Rove treatment; little faux pas like Hilly's two million dollar campaign contribution from the Chicoms bundled through Chinese street vendors and small businessmen in NYC or the whole Norman Hsu-Chicom bribe were passed over by 'Game Change'. The problems with BJ's donor list werent addressed or some of the more questionable aspects of the Clinton Global Cashgrab Initiative but I guess a book can only have so many pages, after all. But what was getting out during the primaries was enough to spark rage and fury in the hearts of Billy and Hilly as they watched Clinton 3 slide down the tubes. Bill ended up doing a tour of Dairy Queens just off the two-lane blacktop in forgotten rural backwaters to keep him from doing any more damage with his out-of-control big mouth.
The sage and calm Obama strides purposefully through the narrative like Kim Jong Il, sometimes chagrined by the scuffle and pressing to reign in a misguided follower or two but always on the right side of history, as Marxist hagiographers would say. The fad-like Obamamania is unmentioned or mischaracterized, as in the case of Barry's disastrous visit to Israel and his embarrassing flop of a speech in Berlin, the former ignored and the later mentioned in one sentence which describes it as a triumph. The swooners and fainters and indeed the whole clownish emotiveness of Obamamania are unmentioned. No policy opinions of any sort are ascribed to any of the people in this book.
Which brings us to the most disturbing part of this book for those of us who think of ourselves as Republicans. This book explains, in a way, how John McLame became the candidate of a party he had absolute contempt for. At one point it quotes McLame as exclaiming, "Who would want to be the leader of a party made up of people like that?" (I'm paraphrasing from memory). Well, Johnny Boy, we felt the same way about you. McLame was genuinely shocked that the media, which had supported the weakest possible opposition to the Democrats (him), pushed his drive to the nomination, and then turned on him after he had it clinched, just as 'rightwing gasbags' (the author's language) like Rush Limbaugh had predicted would happen a year previously. Rush's contribution to Hilly's victories in Ohio and Texas by imploring his listeners to switch parties and vote for her in the primaries to cause trouble for the Dems was of course unmentioned.
The picture of McLame goes beyond ideology. The image that emerges is one of an unstable egomaniac without strong convictions about anything except his right to the Oval Office. He screams, he curses, he fulminates, he flies off on wild fantasy trips that he is sure will win him the White House. He bullies Bush and Obama into a meeting in the White House during the financial crisis and arrives completely unprepared, leaving Boehner to take the heat from Obama, Pelosi, Frank,and Reid as a bemused Bush sat back and watched the carnival.
The behavior of the RINOs, whom the liberal authors coddle as the real non-yahoo Republicans, is sickening. The pygmy stature of the other Republicans in the race for the nomination is stark. After reading this book my always negative picture of Mutt Romney was hardened into real dislike. Giuliani comes off as a pathetic poser, unwilling to engage. The conniving Lindsey Graham and the odious, ferret-like Charlie Crist act as one would expect. In the end McLame got the nomination because the liberal policies of George W Bush had marginalized the core of the Republican Party and because Bush sat still in the White House for eight years while his sworn enemies were screaming lies about him and us and howled for the end of the Republicans in general and him in particular. He sat there while Chuck Schumer and Colin Powell framed one of Cheney's innocent operatives in a kangaroo court where the defense was enjoined from mentioning anything about policy or politics and where the prosecution , faced with a total lack of evidence and knowing the name of the true 'culprit' in this non-crime spoke of nothing but policy and politics. W is disgraced forever for not standing up in front of the cameras the next day after the 'trial' and awarding a full pardon to Scooter Libby and then denouncing the liars Powell and Schumer and the disgraceful prosecutor Fitzgerald for their perfidy. But I digress.
In the end, after reading this book I am ashamed to say that I voted for McLame. He didnt deserve and wasnt fit to be president. As bad as Obama is at least his disastrous liberal policies have to be labeled just that. McLame's liberalism would have been blamed on us conservatives just like Bush's was. RINOs and Blue Dog Democrats are worse than honest liberals, who at least stand up for their beliefs. Nothing admirable or human emerges from this harsh picture of McLame. I felt more sympathy for Hillary Clinton's loss than I did for McLame.
Now for the toughest part of the book, the part about Sarah Palin. She was taken from her family and her recently born son with no preparation and dropped into the shark pit without a swimming lesson. She had a bit of a nervous breakdown after she made the acceptance speech that annointed her as the only person on the political scene that any conservative could support and the entire media tidal wave hit her full force. The McLamiacs treated her with contempt and disdain, as though she was a mere prop that had to be managed 100% of the time. She was isolated and under pressure. But with that said there were still things that could only shock someone who hopes that she will emerge as a party leader. At one point Katie Couric asks her whether she disagreed with other Supreme Court decisions besides Roe v Wade. Now come on. In my day any thirteen year old would have said Dred Scott or Plessy vs Ferguson. Anyone who reads a newspaper daily could surely have blurted out Kelo vs New London. She froze. The governor of a state, a person who makes her living in politics and government, couldnt answer a question like that! I'm in the cartoon industry and Palin's inability to answer Couric's question when she was running for a political office would be like me asking my collegues, "Who's Bugs Bunny?" Maybe it was stagefright, the bugs bunny in the headlights, but it doesnt come off well, to say the least.
In the end a shocking thing about this book is how little there is from any of these dopes about any kind of policy. Maybe thats what its all about, The Game, and that annoying policy nonsense is just a sideshow to highlight these paragons. Every one of these people who would lead us comes across, without exception, as a self-centered, narrow, conniving egomaniac, unfit for any high office. They all, with the notable exception of Palin, have never done anything in their lives except strive for power and that struggle has left them with shallow, empty souls and narrow, crabbed outlooks. After you read this book your hope for any kind of reform coming from the political class will have to wilt and die. We are in a period similar to France right before the Revolution. As Louis XIV or George W Bush 43 must have said, "Apres moi, le deluge!"