I read a few reviews of the HBO movie "Game Change" before it aired, and I wasn't sure I cared to watch it. So many said that it was geared towards making Sarah Palin a sympathetic character and a victim. Since we all lived the nightmare of 2008, most of us already knew better. She was no victim.
I did watch it though, fully prepared for that predicted portrayal of Palin, but I was pleasantly surprised. Rather than a Sarah pity party, it actually portrayed her similar to the wingnut narcissist we've come to witness in the last few years. If anything, they may have just toned down the crazy a notch or two.
The most sympathetic character seemed to be John McCain. I was struck by how he was made out to be not just the "hero" as per usual, but the "movie McCain" seemed almost competent, aside from the scene where he refuses to "deal" with Palin out of fear she'll "turn on him too." (So heroic.) I'll give McCain credit for explaining the truth to a voter that President Obama was a decent man rather than a terrorist, but other than that, I wouldn't say "competent to be President" described the McCain of 2008. Nor did many voters, thank God.
But what bothered me the most wasn't in the movie.
What bothered me in the past, and bothers me even more since the movie came out is the way traditional media is giving a free pass to the real life "Game Changers," Steve Schmidt in particular, and enabler Nicole Wallace. Schmidt is the one who picked Palin, and Wallace, who was not only tasked with the impossible job of turning Palin into someone who looked like she had a clue, but has gone on to write a novel inspired by what she calls a woman who is "cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs" making it to the White House. How quaint.
Here's my question: Why is the traditional media treating these two like mere candid celebrities who act as if they were on the outside looking in? Granted, I suppose we shouldn't be completely surprised, after all it's been well documented by several bloggers that members of past failed GOP Administrations, among others, fill the majority of the time slots on the network Sunday shows rather than members of the Democratic party who are actually well accomplished. Time after time on the major networks, when an expert on certain policy or electoral politics is needed, the media loves a failure. Who better to ask how to win an election than someone who has made a career of failed ones? It boggles the mind.
But Schmidt and Wallace? Please. Schmidt is a political analyst for MSNBC who is trotted out for his expertise on all things political much like another popular GOP failure, Michael Steele. (Full disclosure, I'm a fan of most of MSNBC's programming and many who work there, but I have to wonder why they picked these two?)
Wallace on the other hand pops up whenever Palin's name is mentioned for more than just her routine "I'm a victim, watch my temper tantrum!" antics. Whenever Palin "must be discussed" in detail, there's Wallace all bubbly and willing to trash her as if she were just a mean girl sorority sister of hers rather than a bumbling, ignorant woman unleashed on gullible voters who Wallace knows better than any of the viewers.
Excuse me if I don't jump in line to congratulate these two for telling the real story behind their campaign, because what these two did to damage our politics and nearly our country wasn't a "Game Change." It was a horror show.
The McCain-Palin "Country First" campaign was a travesty that never should have happened. Schmidt and Wallace knew it never should have happened, but they were perfectly willing to do whatever it took to put "bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb-bomb Iran, but seriously folks" McCain and Palin, who seems to have the mental age of a spoiled 5 year old but with less smarts, into the two highest offices in America. Yes, the man who was more afraid that his running mate would turn on him if he dared criticize her than he was fearful that she might one day gain access to and put her finger on the button and take us all out in an atomic blaze of God fearing glory, or whatever it is she believes.
I heard one interviewer say how noble it was of Schmidt to stand up to Palin and deny her the chance to give an unprecedented VP concession speech. Yes, if true, that was a point in the movie where viewers no doubt were cheering Schmidt on. But what would have been more patriotic was if he had never placed Palin and this entire country in that position in the first place. He never should have chosen Palin to run.
Wallace claims she was horrified with Palin and couldn't work with her. She's also admitted that when the time came, she couldn't even bring herself to vote. I suppose she feels we should thank her for that and say "all better now?" Nope, sorry. What would have been impressive was if she would have spoken up during the campaign rather than after we were lucky enough to dodge an electoral bullet.
Sure, they know they were wrong to do what they did, and they say they've learned from their mistakes. I'm sorry, but I don't think that's good enough. As all seems to be forgiven from the media standpoint, Schmidt now pontificates GOP strategy in the current election, which gives me pause. Have we learned from the mistakes made on behalf of the GOP in the 2008 election? I don't think so. Just look at the current field of Republicans who are left. I wouldn't call them much of an improvement on McCain-Palin. Rather than learn from previous mistakes, they've merely doubled down on them.
No, today's Republicans aren't any more concerned with putting the country first than the 2008 crew were. They see the entire race as a game, so "shaking things up" with a "game change" is all they have left. Wouldn't it be nice if someone from the Republican Party, or say an analyst or novelist who brought us to the brink would actually be bold enough to not only say that, but try to change things for the good of the country instead of continuing to play along?
Now that would be a true "Game Change."