HBO’s “Game Change” not much change on Palin


Say this about the media and Sarah Palin — for all the scorn and mockery heaped upon the erstwhile candidate, she remains the star of the show.

Perhaps the best part of the new HBO movie about Palin, “Game Change,” comes when the handlers of 2008 Republican presidential candidate John McCain are watching yet another fawning tribute to then candidate Barack Obama, this time the ludicrous “Greek temple” setting in Denver when he accepted the nomination.  The McCain team knows they are up against a celebrity and that their candidate is sunk unless they can come up with … a game changer.

Enter Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, played by Julianne Moore in the movie. The tale is pretty shopworn now, nearly four years after the halycon days of the ’08 campaign, but needless to say Palin was not competently vetted, which led to the uproar over her disastrous TV interview with Katie Couric and the SNL/Tina Fey skits that made her look like a mentally unstable moron. Which is pretty much how the McCain team came to see her, according to the movie.

Watching it this weekend, however, I came away thinking, I wonder who will have the last laugh? Palin has been targeted non-stop ever since she burst on the national scene, and to see her today, staying out of the horrible Republican primary campaign, telling breathless reporters — “hey, we got an interview with Sarah Palin!” — that she is just biding her time as her party self immolates, leaving President Obama facing what looks like a cruise to reelection, isn’t quite the picture the HBO movie paints. Palin and her partisans hate it, of course (see video above), calling it yet another liberal media smear job.

The movie ostensibly comes from the best selling book of the same name,  by John Heilemann and Mark Halperin. But guess what? There’s nothing in the docudrama about Hillary Rodham Clinton or John Edwards, who figure prominently in the book. Obama’s part is left to a few clips, mostly about the mass adulation that surrounded his candidacy. McCain, played in the movie by Ed Harris, is a secondary character. Mostly, it’s about Palin as seen through the experiences and eyes of senior McCain aide Steve Schmidt, played with sepuchral angst by Woody Harrelson. Another aide, Nicolle Wallace, also figures prominently — always with a look of either horror or shock as she encounters a moody, petulant, egotistic and, of course, surpassingly ignorant Palin, who proves mostly uncoachable and in the end, uncontrollable.

The Sarah Palin painted by this production, and by Schmidt, who started blabbing to journalists about the perils of Palin soon after McCain lost, is not entirely unsympathetic.  Her obvious connection with working people out on the campaign trail — especially with parents of special needs kids (she has a son with Down Syndrome) — show a candidate with rare gifts. As a mother and wife, she seems to come alive — but then, male politicians don’t carry these duties and have more time to become policy wonks and to work out their political personas without having to check in on the drama of their pregnant teen-age daughter, which is what Palin had to face.

Palin’s faith comes across, as well — but mostly as the kind of backwoods mindlessness that Obama scorned in his “guns and religion” quote of 2008, and is mostly the cause of a lot of eyerolling among the campaign insiders. And of course, her monumental cluelessness about  foreign policy and the workings of the Washington establishment are hammered home in scene after scene. Curiously, while Palin’s 2008 obvious shortcomings scare the political pants off her Republican handlers, who realize that if McCain at 72 were to be elected and die in office, a moose hunting hockey mom would be president, McCain himself is portrayed as unruffled by his running mate, even appreciative of her skills at connecting with people and her star power.

And that’s pretty much the Palin story, isn’t it? Would she have become the target of so much scorn if she wasn’t an attractive woman with a reality-show family and a Pentecostal faith in God’s actively in her life? Or is it all about her almost willful inability to describe what the Federal Reserve does or why this country is in Afghanistan behind all the news stories, books and now this docudrama? Palin and her team put out their own, much less artful, account of her career late last year, called “The Undefeated,” which, to be charitable,  is a whitewashed account of her political rise (and is based on her book, “Going Rogue: An American Life.”)

And, like I said, this story is still being written.

You the viewer can decide.



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6 Responses to HBO’s “Game Change” not much change on Palin

  1. I knew it had something to do with religion.nu00a0

  2. The Serf says:

    What is it with the utter laziness of the liberal media that decides to paint a wide brush when any Republican candidate or politician makes verbal flubs?nnThat is the thing about the liberal media, a Democrat or left-wing media star or Hollywood actor can say stupid BS day and night and they will never be mocked by the liberal media.nnShould Ryan Coonerty be judged his entire career for that idioticu00a0proclamationu00a0banning Lou Dobbs, then going on the Lou Dobb’s show the next day to protest something Sam Farr never said?nnI would bet money that the Sentinel has heard some really stupid things from the local politicians over the years and had the decency not to publish what they said. u00a0Regardless, would you judge anybody by one or two interviews?nnBarack Obama can say something stupid like that Latino looking people could be picked up for getting an ice cream cone after the passage of Arizona’s AB1070, which was either complete stupidity or purposeful fabrication, or we can talk about Barack Obama’s 57 states in the union remark, or his fabrication during a State of a Union speech where he said that Citizens United would invite foreign interference in our domestic affairs or the fact that he was a member of a Black nationalist church where his preacher was God-Damning America for 20 years, or his “cling to guns and religion” remark mocking people of faith, or we can talk about how his entire 2008 campaign has turned into something of a joke because Mr. Obama has accomplished nothing for this country except being the novelty of the first black president.nnThe liberal media in this country is worthless and lazy, which why it has to go down the road of turning politicians into celebrities and then turning on them for personal shortcomings that have no relationship to policy.nnThe Sentinel is guilty of the rest of the liberal media, because the Sentinel has yet to hold any left-wing politician in this county accountable for 30 years of failure, double digit unemployment, a crumbling infrastructure, and a moribund economy dependent on government jobs, retail, tourism and commuting over the hill.nnIt is easy to talk about a failed vice presidential candidate from Alaska from four years ago, but it is hard to report on the local left’s legacy of failure in this county or four decades of Democratic Party failure at the state level.

  3. Goldilocks says:

    Those in power will do just about anything to distract people from the reality of Barrack Obama. Whomever worked on this depiction hoping to denegrateu00a0Sarah Palinu00a0and the Republican party has instead thrown a big bomb. What decent American would participate in or believe the hollywood fantasy that this film is. Further, why do Americans, especially womenu00a0cast stones and scorn on a person with so much love ofu00a0country thatu00a0she made the huge personal sacrifice of running for office in this unhealthyu00a0political arena! Katie Couric’s obnoxious interview only made herself appear the mean spiritedu00a0fool that was created over time by the medial moguls. Shame on her and CBS. The bias was and is so in our faces.nLet those of you who think you are perfect go ahead andu00a0stand in judgement and stay rooted inu00a0the belief that Barrack Obama is standing for us and our country. Talk about a snow job! And the beat goes onu00a0along with the loss of life and limb of our armed forces, unemploment, an energy crisis, au00a0failing immoral culture, a congress half full of “slick willies” who laugh at us all the way to their mighty trips, parties andu00a0foreign travel on jets fueled by We The People. How did all of this happen? Who was watching the hen house as he big bad wolves came in from the forest.

  4. Linda Ponzini says:

    The reality is that Palin got as far as she did because of that pretty face–not that she was scorned for it. u00a0Palin received the same scorn Bush did because, like Bush, she was completely unprepared to hold the office of POTUS. u00a0nu00a0u00a0

  5. The Serf says:

    Right, and what qualifications did Barack Obama have other than being handsome, give good speeches, and be the poster boy for assuaging white liberal racist guilt?nnCan you name one legislative or executive achievement of Barack Obama before he ran for president?nnWhat was Barack Obama’s foreign policy experience?nnKeep thinking sister.

  6. Jon says:

    Obama was no doubt light on experience. His most ardent supporters recognized this, and it’s not what drew them to him. But he graduated with honors from Harvard Law and taught constitutional law. He wrote his own speeches on foreign and domestic policy. He spoke intelligently on the economy and fiscal concerns. In other words, he was every bit the policy wonk Hillary was, and their numerous debates confirmed that.nnComparing him to Palin is absurd, which is why no one does it.

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