“Game Change” More Docu Than Drama

Last Saturday evening, HBO premiered the docudrama film Game Change based on the non-fiction book by John Heilemann and Mark Halperin. The only reason I refer to the film as docudrama is that actors played the primary characters in the film but you might as well have been watching a documentary. The book focused on the 2008 presidential race from both the Democratic and Republican perspectives. The film makers chose to focus on the juicier of the two stories, the selection of Sarah Palin as John McCain’s running mate and the disaster that ensued from that selection.

Those who claim this is fiction or a Palin hatchet job simply don’t know what they’re talking about. The film tracks very closely to the book which was well sourced and painstakingly detailed. What stands out for me is that when two key McCain campaign operatives, Steve Schmidt and Nicolle Wallace are asked about the film, they both say it is like living through the events all over again. For those who say these sources  have an axe to grind and that others close to the McCain campaign call the book and film bunk, I say look where the different witnesses to history sit now. Both Schmidt and Wallace have essentially left politics and have nothing to lose from telling the truth. Those who call the film bunk are still playing the game and can’t afford to endanger their standing. McCain himself has called Schmidt’s defense of the film “unfortunate” but that is completely consistent with the John McCain portrayed in the film and the John McCain we’ve seen since 2008. McCain considers it a matter of honor and loyalty to never speak ill of Palin. To his credit, he has never violated his code on this.

As for the film being a hatchet job on Palin, that is simply wishful thinking for the Palin-as-victim brigade. As a backdrop, let’s start with the following fact. Wasilla is not New York City and Alaska is not California. So, comparing the Mayor of Wasilla to Michael Bloomberg or the Governor of Alaska to Jerry Brown is absurd. With that understood, out of the blue Sarah Palin, the Governor of Alaska, with no national reputation, gets a call from the McCain campaign to be his Vice Presidential running mate. Can you imagine how overwhelming that is? The film portrays Palin in just that way, a woman immersed in local/regional issues raising a large family who is suddenly thrust into not just the national spotlight but the world spotlight.

If there is any villain in Game Change it is the McCain campaign machine which took this leader of a remote state and tried to transform her overnight into a worldly, savvy stateswoman. Steve Schmidt has said that the choice of Palin was the intersection of loyalty and ambition. It was a matter of loyalty to McCain to do whatever it took to make him competitive and a matter of ambition to win at all costs. The notion of picking a VP nominee on the basis that she might be President one day didn’t even occur to the McCain staff until they learned how far off Palin was from being ready. Their top priority was shaking things up to catapult McCain over Obama. Palin was basically their prop. In a scene that rings true, Palin screams at Nicolle Wallace over the phone “I am not your puppet.” Her frustration was understandable after the team had literally dressed her and fed her the lines they wanted her to say.

The press and the media don’t get a free ride in Game Change either. Their interest in everything from TrooperGate to when exactly Palin’s water broke during her son’s birth is portrayed as over the top. We see how the invasive inquiry and the mocking from the likes of Tina Fey, take Palin by surprise and make her understandably hurt and angry.

To some extent, Game Change the movie is about what happens when an independent woman gets sucked into a male dominated world where she will be a strategic piece in a puzzle she has no control over. It is also a cautionary tale about campaigns that don’t operate in the country’s best interest. It is telling that Nicolle Wallace was so unnerved by Sarah Palin’s unreadiness for the job that Wallace did not vote in the election. Although loyal to McCain, she just could not put Palin one heart beat from the Presidency.

Respectfully,
Rutherford

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Top Five RL Posts of the “Decade” Plus One More Dick Slap

I’m stealing an idea from political blogger Sensico today and I’m going to review the top 5 of my blog posts for the “decade” just ending. I place “decade” in quotes because I’ve only been blogging since September of 2007. Still, here you are, the posts that have received the most “hits” since I started.

1. Obama, Racism and Inevitable Self-examination September 18, 2009: For someone who planned to write about racism very seldom, I wound up returning to the issue several times over the past year. What prompted this post was the Glenn Beck inspired September 12 Tea Party protest and specifically some of the blatantly violent and racist signs on display at that protest. I got a couple of things wrong here. First I used Jimmy Carter as a righteous source of outrage without doing sufficient research to determine that Carter’s own political career was not racially spotless. Second, I think (and I hope) that the main stream media and I both got it wrong regarding the real threat of these people. Ultimately, I think these folks are angry folks letting off steam. Every angry crowd attracts nutjobs and it is very easy to focus on them to the exclusion of the harmless. Some folks in the tea party movement have valid concerns and others are sixth grade dropouts eager to be seen on TV. Either way, I think rumors of the country’s imminent civil war were greatly exaggerated.

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As a trivial side note, this article attracted someone claiming to be in one of the pictures I posted and threatening to sue me if I did not remove his photo. I complied but not before writing to tell him what a coward he was. If you’re gonna stand in public with a sign threatening violence to America, you should have the guts to be called out on it.

2. The John McCain Female Woman Haters Club July 31, 2008: This is one of my favorite posts, a combination of legitimate outrage and poking a stick in the eye of conservatives everywhere. The sad back story to this post is that it was one of the first of my articles that went through the roof on web traffic and when I examined the phenomenon more closely I discovered people were surfing for pictures of the women, in particular one of Nancy Pfotenhauer.

Nancy Pfotenhauer

So here I was thinking that folks were enjoying my ridicule of self-loathing women when in fact they were probably a bunch of men in the mold of National Review’s Rich Lowry looking for GOP women to fuel their masturbatory fantasies. Oh well, I guess sex sells.

3. Another Fine Moment for Republicans September 10, 2009: September was a rough month for Obama supporters. This article was prompted by the performance of perhaps the most ignorant man in the United States House of Representatives, Joe Wilson. Not only did Joe have the unmitigated gall to call a sitting US President a liar to his face during a joint session of Congress, he wasn’t even right on the facts. The health care legislation being promoted by Obama specifically ruled out care for illegal aliens but not according to genius Joe. The facts of the incident pale in comparison to the overall phenomenon that this President is not deemed worthy of respect in even that most dignified of settings, the Congressional chamber.

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Then again, the Chamber has taken some other hits this year, from Dem Representative Alan Grayson saying that the GOP wants you to die to GOP Representative John Shadegg using a baby as a political prop. It is confounding that we pay these folks’ salaries!

4. Is An Effigy No Longer Good Enough? September 24, 2009: I had to chuckle that this one made the top 5. This shoot first, ask questions later post of mine concerned the census worker who was found dead in Kentucky with the word “Fed” scrawled on his chest. The only defense I can make for this post is that I was suffering from “the country is about to be torn asunder” dementia. History (very short-term history) would prove that the dude killed himself and made it look like a murder for the insurance money. I still claim a 98% batting average on my posts (or in Obama’s words, I give myself an “A-“) but this article clearly was dead on arrival.

5. Sarah Palin Just Wants to Help October 10, 2009: This was the biggest surprise of all as I checked my traffic statistics. Usually, my cartoons are not popular but I soldier on since I have fun producing them. I can only guess that this one got lots of hits because any article about Sarah Palin will attract Googlers. Heck, I could have had a headline that said “Sarah Palin Just Farted” and I would have been guaranteed at least 200 hits. In a country that grows dumber with each passing year, Sarah Palin has become its queen.

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Feminism has hit either a nadir or a zenith depending on your perspective. Now, instead of intelligent women having to fight to be heard, dumbass and/or crazy women attract huge followings. Whether it is beauty pageant contestants Sarah Palin and Carrie Prejean or certifiably insane nutjobs like Michele Bachman, women are making headlines daily. You sure have come  a long way baby! (I never dreamed I would love Hillary Clinton but at least she is out there proving that hard-working intelligent women can succeed gloriously in this society.)

An honorable mention:
One of my articles came in eighth in traffic hits but performed spectacularly “overseas”. I cross-post my articles to a couple of other places and on one of them, Best of The Blogs, my article Time to Impeach Barack Obama received more than 34,000 hits. The traffic was in direct proportion to the anger I felt as I wrote the post. I had put up with a lot of Obama bashing but when the Right declared it was unsafe for our school children to hear an address from their President, I very nearly blew a blood vessel.

Speaking of Obama bashing, how can I end 2009 without one more slap at the Dick, Cheney. This hateful, ignorant prick of a man lacks the dignity of a former Vice President as he verges on treason with his constant heckling of our Commander-in-Chief. A true patriot would actively (and privately) campaign for Obama to make him an advisor where he could have some influence on policy. But Dick Cheney is not a patriot. 9/11 transformed Dick Cheney from a hard-working servant of America into a paranoid wreck incapable of setting well thought out policy. One reason Dick probably hasn’t offered his services to the Obama administration is  that he knows they don’t want a war criminal in their administration. Cheney is the crazed gorilla throwing his own dung at passers-by.

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Sadly, conservatives who desperately need to know the truth behind Cheney’s latest criticism of Obama are too biased to watch the following video. You see, there is no doubt that MSNBC is as partisan on the left as Fox News is on the right. But there is a difference. MSNBC tells truths while Fox promulgates lies, shamelessly and repeatedly. Still, I ask every intelligent reader of this article to watch the following video of Rachel Maddow’s analysis of Cheney and tell me that it is not bullet proof.  She shows Cheney and the GOP for the hypocrites that they are. Will 2010 bring more honest and reasoned debate? I doubt it but we can always hope.

Happy New Year!

Respectfully,
Rutherford

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I’m Feeling Better Now

From the desk of the Rigorist:

Despite my embarrassment at posting so light a note, events are moving too fast to be shy.

Some months ago, amongst friends, I estimated the DJIA bottom at 5,000.

Greed and fear are the two economic emotions, and with the S&P 500 P/E near 20, the market had become … overoptimistic, to be kind, especially considering the difficulty of discerning any real difference between McCain and Obama fiscally.

Obama was/is a Socialist.  McCain would always go where the favorable press was, as he scrambled for votes. Any Republican who claims it would have been different if McCain had won needs to be laughed at.

Monday, as the DJIA dropped past the previously knee-high 7,000 like a dead canary from a wire, I must hurry to be prophetic. I’m thinking 4,000 now. 3,500 is plausible.

It’s only Theoretical Money ( the long promised, long post’s topic ) but the unfortunate bird is the telltale of what is in the air – fear, and not just fear but terror and despair.

Right on cue, the President announces that to address the problem he’s going to work on … health care.

Can I call’em or what?

In a comment, I suggested that low quality nursing homes might be a good place to invest, which some took to be dark, dark humor. I’m sorry to say that the joke is that I was being deadly serious.

While Recessions are best handled like Racism, IMHO ( focus on the bottom line and it will go away ), I have been hearing the stirrings of Atlas.

Last Autumn I listened to a restaurant owner saying that in 2009, instead of selling the business to retire – trying to preserve the jobs of 50 or so people that he felt some responsibility for – he intended to close and liquidate. He knew who they had voted for. They had said it loud enough. Screw them. His was the most memorable, but not the only such voice.

As anecdotal as those rumblings were, now we have heard the voices of traders on the Chicago Exchange, and seen the antics of ACORN.

As a Capitalist, you see, I take the crashing market as justice and I’m energized by it. I’m enthusiastic about the economy collapsing as Socialism is enacted. Rush Limbaugh is a milquetoast poseur who “hopes that Obama will fail.” I am John Galt, and will co-operate with our government’s plans with a smile because I know for a fact what results Obama’s success will bring.

The worry for Liberals is while I am extreme, I am not special.

I haven’t seen solid evidence that Atlas has become sufficiently discomforted to shift the world, but I think the Liberals that read this blog should know that I’m smiling and why.

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