A True Game Changer
As the US gears towards the 2012 elections, candidates scramble to get their act together to win against US president Barack Obama. Anders Pedersen writes about the books, the candidates and the facts that will shape the news ahead of the elections.
Almost as certain as the sun rising in the east, whenever there is a presidential election in America, a deluge of books will follow. Some of them quickly lose their relevance and can be found dumped in the bargain bin a short time after the election. But every now and then there are a few of such a remarkable quality that they become timeless. Take for instance Theodore White’s masterpiece The Making of The President 1960 which to this day remains one of the greatest books written about the Kennedy campaign.
For future scholars trying to understand what happened in the 2008 campaign, it won’t be surprising if they turn to John Heilemann and Mark Halperin’s Game Change or Race of a Lifetime as it’s called in the paperback version.
Among the greatest political journalists in America, Heilemann and Halperin understand the finer details of how the game is played. And this piece of literature is a true pager turner. Light and accessible, their book takes the reader back to the beginning of 2007 when both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton announced their candidacy for President of the United States. This was almost a year before the beginning of the primary elections, and the kick off to an epic campaign which changed the game of American politics in many ways. The stories about how Obama’s Reverend Jeremiah Wright, caused trouble for the president-to-be or how Hillary Clinton went into tears one day in New Hampshire are two interesting episodes covered by the book; and they are presented by two reporters who were front row witnesses to many of these events.
Game Change provides an excellent picture of what happened in the 2008 election and the Democrat and Republican campaign strategies. Some of the lessons Obama and the Democratic Party have learnt are being used in the preparation for the 2012 election, just like the Republican Party will certainly be trying a different tact. And this can already be seen. The Republican candidate in 2008, John McCain, wasn’t considered a strong candidate when it comes to the economy, while current candidates like Mitt Romney are already talking about the economy as the key issue. This certainly wasn’t the Republican strategy back in 2008 with John McCain, at least, not until it was too late. Even then, he failed badly saying that the fundamentals of the American economy were strong, just a few days before the market collapsed. Candidates like Romney, will most likely be taking a different approach in this campaign.
The title of the book Game Change is an appropriate title for this book. Not only because
the election it describes changed the political game in several ways, but it has also shown a new standard in political writing.
Title: Game Change
Authors: John Heilemann and Mark Halperin
This is part of a series of reviews on books written about the US presidential elections.
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