BOOK REVIEWS, 1214 RIBJ, 63 RI Bar J., No. 3, Pg. 29

Author:Jay S. Goodman, Esq. Professor of Political Science, Wheaton College.
 
FREE EXCERPT

BOOK REVIEWS

Vol. 63 No. 3 Pg. 29

Rhode Island Bar Journal

December, 2014

\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0November, 2014

\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0Double Down: Game Change 2012 by Mark Halperin and John Heilemann and The Message: The Reselling of President Obama by Richard Wolfe

\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0 Jay S. Goodman, Esq. Professor of Political Science, Wheaton College.

\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0Double Down: Game Change 2012, written by Mark Halperin and John Heilemann of Time and New York magazines, respectively, gives these two intrepid reporters the opportunity to reprise their best-seller about the 2008 campaign, Game Change: Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin, and the Race of a Lifetime. The 2008 effort also produced a spectacular television version on HBO. It’s a tough act to follow, because the 2008 book and movie were most interestingly about Sarah Palin, a more colorful player than usual in American national politics. For this volume, of what is now a franchise, they did five hundred interviews with four hundred people under the rules of deep background, meaning no direct identification. However, the sources are almost always obvious. Clearly, the authors spoke with both President Obama and Governor Romney. Perhaps because of the long sequence of primaries, perhaps because the losing campaign is often more interesting, more chapters cover the Republicans than Obama. The authors are also upfront about what the book is about: “an unrelenting focus on the candidates and those closest to them.” This is inside baseball, instant history, what happened, who said what, who’s up and who’s down in the campaigns. Great!

\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0Obama: The Curtain is Pulled

\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0\xA0Obama created his own narrative with his autobiography and speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. Part of the image was “no drama Obama,” the claim that the staff all loved each other and him. The 2008 victory was bathed in a soft glow, abetted by an adoring press and documented soft coverage. By 2012 all unraveled. Infighting soared. The press secretary, Robert Gibbs, and the deputy campaign manager, Stephanie Cutter, were everyone’s targets. First Friend and senior staffer Valerie Jarrett, the Obama Whisperer with access to the living quarters, was widely resented. And fear of losing was palpable amidst a rotten grinding economic recession and poor, if...

To continue reading

FREE SIGN UP