Game Change: McCain’s Unforgivable Desperate Hail Mary Pass

Don’t believe the accounts of HBO's movie Game Change that say the film humanizes Sarah Palin. The story line is exactly the opposite. Sarah Palin, as we all knew, was a desperate Hail Mary Pass by John McCain, completely unvetted and incompetent for the job of Vice President. The film confirms this. It also portrays her as ignorant beyond our wildest imagination and verging on mental illness, veering between bouts of catatonia, manic behavior and paranoia, coupled with having mini-meltdowns.

By all means watch it. Even though it confirms much of what we already knew, it still produces chills. Had McCain, then 72 years old, won the election, this woman would have been next in line to be President. My review is below [More...]

First, the funniest and best line of the film: An aide says that upon learning McCain chose Palin, Dick Cheney said it was a reckless choice. He pauses and adds:

“When you lose the moral high ground of Dick Cheney, it’s time to rethink your entire life.”

John McCain

McCain is portrayed as a foul-mouthed, principled but detached candidate who avoids contact with Palin and leaves all major decisions and hard tasks to his aides. He’s also a gambler, willing to take huge risks.

When discussing the pros and cons of selecting Palin, one of his aides warned him it was likely to be viewed as a “self- serving political maneuver” that could cost him his reputation. Another said choosing Palin undercuts McCain’s best argument against Obama -- that he’s inexperienced. McCain’s response was, “High risk, high reward.”

At the point McCain’s staff can no longer control Palin, and his chief aide Steve Schmidt, played mostly well by Woody Harrelson, asks McCain to step in, so they can “finish the campaign with as much dignity as possible.” McCain refuses, saying Palin might turn on him. And at the end, when Steve tells McCain, “I’m so sorry that I suggested her, ” McCain responds with, “Don’t be, F*ck ‘em, what were we supposed to do?”

There’s an attempt to show McCain’s principled side by standing up to a voter who calls Obama an Arab, and giving his aides some talk about how he’s not going to stoop to American populism. Also in his final remarks to Palin, described below. None of it excuses his choice of Palin.

I think Ed Harris was a poor choice for McCain. He should have gained 20 pounds. His wooden walk was too pronounced, his head tilted too much to the side, and his affectations were almost feminine at times, while McCain’s are not.

The Failure to Vet Palin:

The first jaw-dropping disclosure is that Palin was suggested as a result of an aide’s google search after McCain’s aides convinced him polling showed him so far behind in the women’s vote that a female running mate would be the answer.

The aide, Rick Davis, played by Ally McBeal alumni Peter MacNichol, is tasked with finding a female candidate. He does a google search, typing in the names of female Republican politicians. When they look too dowdy, he recalls something about the Governor of Alaska, and stumbles across a You Tube video of Sarah Palin. He’s mesmerized. The search was over.

Later, the aides admit they never asked Palin about policy. They just asked whether she’d tow the line and support McCain’s positions. The only other topic they inquired about was skeletons in her closet. They never thought to ask questions about her knowledge of issues. They never talked to a reference or even one person in Alaska about her. It was the most stunningly incompetent vetting in the history of presidential politics.

They also didn’t realize she’d misled them. It wasn’t until after she was chosen they found out she had supported the Bridge to Nowhere as a candidate (she told McCain she had opposed it) or that there were allegations of ethical misconduct over the firing of her brother-in-law Trooper. Even when they confronted her with them, she denied it.

Palin’s Paranoia

Palin was very paranoid during the campaign, always thinking McCain’s aides were out to destroy her. When an aide had to come up with a response about Bristol’s pregnancy, she included a line about Sarah and Todd still being proud of Bristol. Palin wanted that line deleted, because it sent the wrong message, as if she approved of teen pregnancy. The aide didn’t remove the line. The campaign apologized to Sarah, saying it was a mistake. Sarah said it was intentional and demanded the aide be fired. (She was.)

Palin became obsessed with what people in Alaska would think of her. She demanded the campaign spend $60,000 on a poll to find out her approval rating in Alaska. When she was told Alaska only had three electoral votes and money was tight, she didn’t care. When the results didn’t come in fast enough, she accused them of lying to her about having the poll done. When the results came in, she accused them of making them up.

At one point, the campaign staff was so concerned Palin was mentally unstable, Steve calls McCain in the middle of the night. McCain responds that they should bring her and her family to Sedona. McCain says she needs to be surrounded by her family’s love. And at Sedona, he can have his next door neighbor, a psychiatrist, come to a barbecue and observe her. (The psychiatrist didn’t observe anything of concern.)

Palin’s Ignorance

The campaign was dumbfounded when they realized Palin knew nothing about foreign and domestic issues. They brought in gangs of tutors to teach her. She thought the head of the British Government was the Queen. She didn’t know the difference between the war in Afghanistan and the war in Iraq. She thought we invaded Iraq because Saddam Hussein attacked us on 9/11. She didn’t know what the “Fed” was or the first thing about economics – or global warming – or the bailout.

Despite the tutors, she never was able to learn. During the sessions, she’d frenetically take notes on big index cards, and remember nothing afterwards. She alternated this manic behavior with bouts of going catatonic – just stone-faced, sitting there, refusing to register emotion or respond to them. She just stared. When not catatonic, she’d ignore them and manically type on her Blackberry – sometimes two Blackberrys. They finally gave up. She was unteachable.

She went catatonic during attempts to prep her for the Katie Couric interview. When she saw the media attacks on her over the interview, she blamed the aides. (She watched all her TV coverage, from the news to Saturday Night Live skits.)

For the debate with Biden, they brought in extra reinforcements. They soon realized it was pointless to try and teach her anything. Then one aide got an idea. She was a good actress. They picked 25 questions in four topic areas and wrote up a script and asked her to memorize it. Not to think about it, just deliver the scripted responses. That she could do. She acted the lines at the debate with Joe Biden (who she called O’Biden) and in their view, was a hit. And that’s what she did the rest of the campaign, along with come up with cheesy slogans like “Drill baby drill” and “USA, USA, USA.

Palin’s Embellished Sense of Her Importance

Shortly after being chosen, an aide remarked to Palin about how unfazed she seemed by all the attention. She responded, “It’s G-ds plan.”

When she gained her footing by successfully memorizing (as opposed to understanding) the scripts with talking points, she started inserting her cheesy one liners at rallies, which equally ignorant Republicans started cheering. Sarah the over-confident was born.

Soon she wanted to go after Reverand Wright and Bill Ayers. McCain’s aides told her McCain had decided against it. After telling his chief aide how much money she’s raising for the campaign, she adds,

“If I’m single-handedly carrying this campaign, I’m going to do what I want.”

Best writing in the film:

Palin demands she be allowed to give a concession speech on Election night. Chief Aide Steve tells her it’s not going to happen. She goes behind his back, giving a copy of her speech to a junior aide, telling him to load it on the teleprompter. Steve finds out and stops him. Palin confronts Steve and he explains, tonight is not about you, it’s about the country. She insists she just wants to praise McCain. He tells her never in history has a VP candidate given a concession speech on election night. She says “Yeah, well there’s a lot of things that haven’t been done before.”

That really gets him, and for the first time, he gets angry and emotional. He responds with,

Governor, this country has just elected the first African American President in the history of its existence. And it is the concession speech that will legitimize his succession as Commander in Chief. It is a serious and solemn occasion and John McCain, and only John McCain, will be giving this sacred speech. This is how it has been done in every presidential election since the dawn of the Republic and you, Sarah Palin, will not change the importance of this proud American tradition.

I almost cheered.

Foiled at Last

Palin then goes behind his back and goes directly to McCain, trying to sweettalk him into letting her give a speech after his. (It may be the only time we see interaction between them, McCain ignored her most of the time.) McCain isn’t convinced and asks his aides, who say absolutely not. She’s foiled at last.

On his way out the door to give the speech, he stops, turns around and goes back over to Palin, telling her:

Sarah, you’re one of the leaders of the party now. Don’t get coopted by Limbaugh and the other extremists. They’ll destroy the party if you let them. Remember, you’re a hockey mom, you just want to make a difference. And you did. A big huge difference. And I’ll always be grateful. Thank You.

Of course, they hug.

Saddest, Most Credible Moment

The saddest but most believable moment of the film was as results come in on Election Night and it's clear McCain will lose. Nicolle Wallace, his chief communications director. who has been the most horrified by Palin’s ignorance and inability to learn, tells Chief Aide Steve, through tears,

“There’s something I have to tell you. I didn’t vote, I couldn’t do it.”

Wallace, played really well by Sarah Paulson, is the most (if not only) likable character in the film.

Most Prescient Moment:

During the concession speech, when McCain and Palin are on the stage, and Palin is smiling and waving at the crowds, Steve leans over to the aide who found Palin by googling her, and asks: Still think she’s fit for office? The aide responds, “Who cares? In 48 hours no one will even remember who she is.”

As Palin continues to wave with her manic face on, and people cheer her, the camera flashes to Nicole, the communications director, who looks absolutely terrified at the response to Palin, and then to Steve, who has a knowing look that says, we haven’t seen the last of her.

Would McCain Pick Palin Again?

In the film's final scene, Chief Aide Steve is interviewed by Anderson Cooper. He does his best not to trash Palin, but he also isn’t going to lie. He weighs each response carefully. He says there were numerous instances of Palin being untruthful and inaccurate, something she continues to do to this day.

The last line of the film: Anderson asks Steve whether, if he had it to do over again, he would have Palin on the ticket. Steve hedges:

“My job is to give political advice. We needed to do something bold to try and win the race. You don’t get to go back in time Anderson and have do-overs in life.”

The closing song is G-d Bless America, and given what we just viewed for 2 hours, it just brings chills. I always said we dodged a bullet with McCain’s desperate Hail Mary pass in choosing Palin.

Nothing better shows the poor judgment of John McCain than his Hail Mary pass of choosing Sarah Palin, a politician with no relevant national experience, serious knowledge gaps on important issues and questionable ethical judgment to be his running mate. By putting his personal quest to be President over the well-being of our nation, he has demonstrated he lacks the character to be President. He sold us out for the sake of his own ambition.

And here:

Sarah Palin will cost John McCain the presidency. She is his insurmountable problem. He has no one to blame but himself and his advisers. He chose Palin in a desperate Hail Mary pass to save his fledgling campaign and it didn't work. Not with women who formerly supported Hillary, not with Independents and not even with leaders of his own party like Colin Powell.

Sarah Palin is the train wreck the McCain campaign didn't see coming. The rest of the country can't take its eyes away, which is why stories about her are number one on so many news sites and why SNL's ratings are sky high.

Nothing shows John McCain's lack of judgment and ill-suitedness to lead our country more than his spectacular blunder in picking Sarah Palin as his running mate. It's the prime reason that on November 4, voters other than true Obama supporters -- those that might have voted for McCain -- will run in the other direction.

But in the past three years, I've tuned Palin out, and that's probably dangerous. She is still scratching at the windows of the Republican party. This film is a great reminder how close we came to a national disaster and how terrifying it would have been if John McCain's ploy worked and he had won the election.

As Anonymous always says, Never Forgive, Never Forget.

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    I thought they did a good job (5.00 / 4) (#4)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Mar 11, 2012 at 09:43:19 AM EST
    portraying how it all went down.  Once the film started rolling I felt like I was reliving it all over again only with a little inside information.

    That passive aggressive shutting down thing that she would do, oh to hell with that if I would have been working on that campaign.  I would have lost MY mind at that point and needed to be sedated every time I was around her :)

    Once you picked though, you had to run with what you chose at the point that they understood what they chose.

    Both my husband and I were touched by how often Trig was hanging with her while she was trying to learn what she desperately needed to know.  She really touched families that had special needs children.  I remember becoming so angry when she was attacked by the left for having Trig at events with a lot of people, they said it was abusing Trig...over stimulation.  But everyone of Josh's therapists over the years would tell you that what Trig was experiencing is exactly what they are always pushing for.  If our special needs children are to survive in this culture and society they must become a part of it and they must feel a certain level of confidence in it because people will always stare at them, they are different, they are an unknown for many and human beings can't help it.

    Outside of that though, being touched in a good way by who and what Sarah Palin is and represents ends.

    I really gave her a hard time about all the money she spent on clothing too, but it looks like she didn't have much to do with that.  She didn't know what to do with negative attention though, she took everything very personally but at the end didn't the aides say that is a hallmark trait for someone running for President....a pathological need to be loved?

    Yes MT (5.00 / 3) (#22)
    by Jackson Hunter on Sun Mar 11, 2012 at 11:49:23 AM EST
    and the ugliness continues by some of the leading lights of the lefty blogosphere with people like TBogg and John Cole continuing to make cruel jokes about her child to this day! I can understand in the heat of the campaign the darker angels of our natures consuming us (also see the rabid use of the word cu*t by people now boo-hooing the use of the word slut, but don't get me wrong, Rush is a vile chunk of demon spew and anything that will get him gone is fine with me) but to continue to beat up specifically on a special-needs child (Cole actually used "throwing him liver snaps") does not exactly make us oh so superior.

    That said, Palin was and is awful, but to call her vile names and hang her in effigy as happened famously was a skosh over the top. I remember when Biden (who is far more qualified for the job, don't get me wrong) was the most reviled Dem (at least once Lieberman defected) in the lefty blogosphere (and rightly so he was, he is wanker-ific) suddenly was the bestest VP nominee in History once Obama chose him. Hypocrisy rules the day I reckon.



    She has not been called names (none / 0) (#30)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Mar 11, 2012 at 12:30:27 PM EST
    here, nor has this site mocked or otherwise insulted her special needs son. Initially I initiated a ban on discussing her personal life. I later lifted the ban because after asking for privacy about Bristol and Levi, she chose to highlight them. Even my review of the film makes no reference to any family member.

    As for Biden, I objected to him and his selection as VP repeatedly.

    Please don't bring over here things you read elsewhere that violate our commenting rules. Discuss them where you read them, or on your own site. Thank You.


    I am sorry (none / 0) (#32)
    by Jackson Hunter on Sun Mar 11, 2012 at 12:41:58 PM EST
    and I did not mean to imply that you had done those things, that was not my intention at all. I will keep those rules in mind for the future.



    thanks, much appreciated (5.00 / 1) (#34)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Mar 11, 2012 at 12:47:15 PM EST
    Google doesn't know the difference, so those comments show up in a search, with just the line or two repeating them, and it makes it appear as if we wrote them -- not that they are being quoted. Most people don't bother to follow the links and read the context.

    MT I too was very touched by Sarah Palin's (5.00 / 2) (#36)
    by samsguy18 on Sun Mar 11, 2012 at 12:57:45 PM EST
    Love strength and courage for her son during the campaign....I will never watch Bill Maher again...some of his mean spirited remarks really were shameful.I will not see the movie....I firmly believe this is a mostly fictional account with an element of biased truth...I am not a fan of Sarah Palin.....however I am tired of the MSM continuing it's personalized bashing  campaign...
    Enough !

    That Bill Maher is about to lose me (none / 0) (#40)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Mar 11, 2012 at 01:35:06 PM EST
    viewing him AGAIN!  First he gets upset because the wingers compared Rush to him, he says that is a false equivalency, that Rush isn't some comedian entertainer.  Rush can't stand on stage and make people laugh continuously for an hour and a half and get paid for it.

    But then he says that what some of us have been doing is wrong when we tell advertisers we will not buy their products if they advertise on Limbaugh's show.....and now that has spread to most of rightwing talk radio too....because they have gone too far and have lost their minds!  He says are destroying free speech by doing that.

    Talk about false equivalencies. Rush is free to say whatever he wants to say just like you and me, but he doesn't want to do it for free....he wants to be paid for it.  That changes everything!

    Maher came back from what happened to him because he is willing to provide content that enough people want.  Rush is free to do the same thing, but probably won't because he is too sick upstairs.

    Bill Maher defending Rush Limbaugh when Rush said something vile and disgusting about women and sex and their sex lives just seems like the same old phucking Bill Maher I can't stand though.  And he couldn't deal with Jon Hamm admitting that at times he has called his long time girlfriend his wife either.  I'm about to write off watching him again, and this time for good.  I wish someone else would appear on the scene willing to mimic the major aspects of his show.


    I totally agree, MT (5.00 / 4) (#43)
    by Zorba on Sun Mar 11, 2012 at 02:06:30 PM EST
    If our special needs children are to survive in this culture and society they must become a part of it and they must feel a certain level of confidence in it because people will always stare at them, they are different, they are an unknown for many and human beings can't help it.

    We don't warehouse these children (and adults) in institutions any more, thank goodness.  They are and should be out in the community, all the time.  When they reach adulthood, they may be your neighbors in the group home down the block.  They will be working in the community, standing in line next to you to buy movie tickets or sitting at a table near you at a restaurant (at least, many of them will be).  They need to be "out and about," not just for their own sakes, but for society's sake.  The more they are out in the community, the less "unknown" they will be to their neighbors and society.  


    Zorba So true (5.00 / 4) (#47)
    by samsguy18 on Sun Mar 11, 2012 at 02:59:08 PM EST
    Down's children those across the autism spectrum  and those with disabilities are for the most part the kindest...most caring..most loving and accepting in our society...I always found myself in awe of children with learning disabilities and how hard they'll work if given the opportunity and encouragement

    Most I've met (5.00 / 2) (#48)
    by Edger on Sun Mar 11, 2012 at 03:06:22 PM EST
    seem to be extremely lacking in deceitfulness.

    Thanks for finding something nice to say. (4.00 / 3) (#20)
    by Mr Natural on Sun Mar 11, 2012 at 11:35:01 AM EST
    That Katie Couric interview was a candidacy killer but she didn't do any worse than a few of my upstate New York relatives would have done.  Of course, I wouldn't vote for them either.

    The take away?  I don't know why right wingers dismiss us lefties as wusses.  The left's anti-Palin vitriol was the equal of the right's anti Obama spewage, at least in terms of sheer ugliness.  In terms of unadulterated misogyny, we beat them hands down.


    i think so too (5.00 / 5) (#49)
    by The Addams Family on Sun Mar 11, 2012 at 03:13:06 PM EST
    In terms of unadulterated misogyny, we beat them hands down.

    the left's transition from misogyny in the primaries to misogyny in the general was swift & seamless

    one thing that Game Change (the movie) doesn't go into is the possibility that Palin was chosen in part because the McCain team was well aware of how months of openly expressed misogyny on the left had alienated a number of left/liberal women

    not that most of those women would even have considered voting for McCain/Palin, but Palin's selection would give the GOP an opportunity to show "enlightened" Republican men supporting a woman candidate (for her nutjob views, of course, & in spite of her gender)

    but that perspective would have required the film's producers to acknowledge the cesspool of misogyny that the left blogosphere had become by the autumn of 2008, an ugly reality that many on the left continue to deny


    I agree also (5.00 / 4) (#54)
    by smott on Sun Mar 11, 2012 at 05:30:10 PM EST
    Re the LEft's misogyny.

    And let's not forget - it was not always directed at Palin.

    We should be careful to note that, ridiculous as it was - McCain's decision to pick Palin did not occur in a vacuum.

    Were it not for the orgy of gleeful misogyny we endured in the 2008 Dem Primaries, Palin would never have been possible.

    To a significant degree - Dems had themselves to blame for Palin. McCain may have made the choice - but it was Dems and the OFB that made it available, even smart politically at the time.


    And they deny it even as they express (5.00 / 4) (#74)
    by Anne on Mon Mar 12, 2012 at 08:25:23 AM EST
    all kinds of outrage over the remarks of Rush Limbaugh over his comments about Sandra Fluke and women in general.

    Even if the movie didn't bring it out overtly, there was no doubt in my mind at the time of Palin's convention speech that the McCain campaign was well aware of the Dems' woman problems - Palin's line about Republican women not being done putting cracks in the glass ceiling - a reference to Hillary's remarks about the 18 million cracks in that ceiling - made that clear.

    If the last four years have shown me anything, it is that the left has selective memory and the selective outrage to go with it - how else to explain the pivot from outrage and anger at Bush/Cheney over their policies to approval and justification for those same policies being practiced/cahampioned/justified by the Obama administration?  

    That being said, and however fair or biased or whatever "Game Change" is, it doesn't change the fact - and I do think it's a fact - that Sarah Palin was wholly unqualified to be vice president - and she doesn't get a pass just because she also happened to be female; it was no more misogynistic to address and assess her qualifications to hold that office as it was racist to address Obama's.  Should her looks, her clothes and shoes, the questions about Trig's parentage, all been off the table?  Absolutely.  And what the left doesn't seem to have realized is that if they had kept that kind of stuff out of the conversation, there would have been no distraction from the stuff that mattered.

    With Palin, I think her ambition ran headlong into the McCain camp's desperation, and a perfect storm of craven incompetence was born.  I don't know what would have happened if they had won the election, but I do think it's possible - if not likely - that Congressional Democrats and the left blogosphere would have kept up the pressure against bad Republican policies instead of embracing those same policies just because they came from a Democratic president.  

    Or at least I'd like to think that's what would have happened...


    kept up the pressure (5.00 / 1) (#75)
    by Edger on Mon Mar 12, 2012 at 08:57:31 AM EST
    against bad Republican policies instead of embracing those same policies

    I think that would have happened as long as dems remained out of power.

    The lead up to the 2008 election was exactly that.

    The wars, for example, became "good wars" immediately following that election. Handing trillions to Wall Street investment bankers AKA political campaign contributors was bad until the election, too.

    Torture was torture, and Unitary Executive-ness was...... Period.


    Yup (5.00 / 4) (#76)
    by smott on Mon Mar 12, 2012 at 09:49:36 AM EST
    And every time they deny it they should be shown a picture of Favreau grabbing Clinton's tit in that cutout while the other guy pulls her head back and forces a bottle down her throat.

    And also note that Favreau was not fired by Obama immediately afterward, and in fact still has a job as head speechwriter.


    Meh (none / 0) (#29)
    by Yman on Sun Mar 11, 2012 at 12:28:56 PM EST
    Can't recall an anti-Palin 527 called Citizens United Not Timid.

    Um... (none / 0) (#56)
    by Thanin on Sun Mar 11, 2012 at 06:15:28 PM EST
    In terms of unadulterated misogyny, we beat them hands down.

    Speak for yourself.


    I am never sure what people mean (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by ruffian on Sun Mar 11, 2012 at 10:28:54 AM EST
    by the movie 'humanizing' Palin. It is not like she is someone from ancient history that we don't see in real life every day of our life, like it or not.  Maybe they mean the supposed behind the scenes stuff explains her behavior. But the behind the scenes stuff is not fact, it is people's biased accounts told to reporters form Politico, always suspect to me.

    I recorded it and will watch it for whatever entertainment value it has, and to see Julianne Moore who is always worth watching, but I will view it as fiction.

    From what I have read (5.00 / 2) (#8)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Mar 11, 2012 at 10:38:06 AM EST
    You may want to extend your belief that it is a pure fiction.  They were very thorough in cross checking accounts of events and many people were forth coming, though nobody would go on the record officially other than aide Steve Schmidt who has decided to go on the record over a few specifics that he obviously feels responsible for and wants to admit the errors that he made.

    He wanted Palin though, between the battle of the aides it was Palin or Pawlenty and Steve wanted Palin and was able to convince McCain to go with Palin.  In that respect he has done a little penance.


    Schmidt is now a regular (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by gyrfalcon on Sun Mar 11, 2012 at 12:07:49 PM EST
    on MSNBC and particularly with Chris Matthews, and given my prejudices, I've been surprised at how interesting and honest he is. (They rarely even mention the McCain campaign, so I haven't heard him say anything about that.)  Mostly, he doesn't spin, not even a little bit, which makes me think he may have decided to retire from GOP campaign involvement.

    Anyway, he does come across as pretty clear-headed and honest, which is rare for any of these guys.


    If there ever was a school of Conservative thought (none / 0) (#33)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Mar 11, 2012 at 12:44:50 PM EST
    dedicated to the Schmidts of the United States it was old school in 2008, and dead school now.

    You bet (5.00 / 1) (#63)
    by gyrfalcon on Sun Mar 11, 2012 at 08:26:22 PM EST
    and I suspect he realizes it.  Wrong-headed as I think he (and the very few others like him) are, I actually feel a little sorry for them watching their party be taken over by the wingnuts.  Maybe one or two of them will realize eventually that their ideology leads inevitably to this.

    Well, maybe not pure fiction (none / 0) (#9)
    by ruffian on Sun Mar 11, 2012 at 10:54:32 AM EST
    but certainly a biased account of reality, based on who got to Politico first to try to save his career (Schmidt).  Willing to admit his faults to a point...

    Uh oh, Mary Matalin agrees with me (5.00 / 4) (#10)
    by ruffian on Sun Mar 11, 2012 at 10:55:25 AM EST
    So I must be wrong.

    Mary Matlin? (5.00 / 2) (#11)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Mar 11, 2012 at 10:56:39 AM EST
    I look at that girl sometimes and I can't imagine what goes on in her head either :)

    The eye-liner alone makes me wonder (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by ruffian on Sun Mar 11, 2012 at 11:25:17 AM EST
    One thing that does seem to resound (5.00 / 2) (#12)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Mar 11, 2012 at 11:04:22 AM EST
    from the "movie", old style Republicans are terrified that the new extremists are going to destroy their party.  I think that because Steve Schmidt apparently had to make certain that what he told Palin about a concession speech being an old tradition that must be deeply respected because it would validate our first African American President as Commander in Chief, they hope to spell out there is an "us" and "them" in the Republican party right now.  They also went to great lengths to expose how shocked they were at the crowds vitriol and yelling out that Obama was a Muslim and wasn't an American and was a socialist and a terrorist.

    But what has happened to McCain?  I used to recognize myself in the man sometimes, but as Maher said this weekend John McCain these days wants to bomb countries like your waiter wants to put a little fresh ground pepper on your food.


    McCain is a puzzle (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by ruffian on Sun Mar 11, 2012 at 11:22:42 AM EST
    How could someone who brands himself as a patriot seek to foist VP Palin on an unsuspecting world?  I guess after that he has no more qualms abut anything. He really needs to go.

    The Biggest Loser (5.00 / 2) (#15)
    by Sweet Sue on Sun Mar 11, 2012 at 11:19:07 AM EST
    Does Nicole Wallace have any idea how damning this movie is of her and her so called professionalism?  Talk about "you'll never work in this town again."
    I hope she and her husband are independently wealthy because it's hard to imagine any pol ever hiring them again.
    I'm no fan of Palin and she was clearly way, way over her head but I'm not willing to take Nicole Wallace's word for anything, since she, clearly, has no loyalty or discretion whatsoever.

    Agreed (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by gyrfalcon on Sun Mar 11, 2012 at 12:10:02 PM EST
    She's always seemed to me pretty slimy, and if it weren't for Schmidt's apparently corroborating a lot of this stuff, I wouldn't believe a word of it out of her mouth.

    I disagree (5.00 / 1) (#31)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Mar 11, 2012 at 12:37:53 PM EST
    She was the most professional, unbiased character in the film. I have no idea who she is in real life, but she comes across great in the film. She bites her lip rather than react to Palin's insults and childish behavior, doesn't gossip about her, only calls Schmidt when it's at crisis point, and calmly and rationally tries to coax Palin into preparing and learning.  And her scene about her not being able to bring herself to vote for McCain, which was due to Palin, was one of the most compelling moments of the movie.

    Agree with J's take (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by brodie on Sun Mar 11, 2012 at 11:48:39 AM EST
    This is a well made movie that isn't nearly as sympathetic to Palin as some reviewers described it, even considering a scene or two where Palin is depicted in a way that evokes sympathy.  Overall it's a fairly strong indictment of a cynical desperate Repub campaign willing to do anything -- including recklessly elevating a woman clearly out of her depth -- in order to win.

    But doing anything to win seems to be in the Repub DNA, as we consider the stolen elections of 1968, 1980 and 2000, and as we recall the successful elevation of certified morons Dan Quayle in 1988 and GW Bush in 2000.  Schmidt et al must have thought playing the idiot card and fooling the electorate would once again pay off.  Thank goodness the MSM in 2008 was not quite the monolithic pro-GOP crowd as in prior campaigns.

    My only complaint about this movie is that it needed to be three hours instead of two, with a little more time devoted to fleshing out some of the characters.  As it is, the movie proceeds along at a somewhat too brisk a pace consisting of a two hour string of one brief scene after another.  Minor complaint though.  This is well worth watching and even a second time.

    I don't think Schmidt et al (5.00 / 1) (#27)
    by gyrfalcon on Sun Mar 11, 2012 at 12:22:59 PM EST
    were intentionally playing the idiot card to the extent they (and we) gradually came to learn they were.

    If you see and/or read Palin's performances during her rise in Alaska, there would be every reason to believe she knew a lot more than she did about the wider world and would be a quick study to fill in what she didn't know.

    Turns out she'd never paid any attention to anything happening outside Alaska, and the enormous pressure and stress of suddenly being the center of intense national interest froze her brain and her ability to absorb new information.

    A lot of that stress was self-created because of her obsession with every word written or said about her not just by media but by every commenter on every blog (I wouldn't be at all surprised if she'd read some of the things we all said here) and allowing herself to become enraged with resentment about it.

    Not suggesting she wasn't an appalling prospect as an actual VP if they'd won, just that Schmidt et al I think honestly didn't realize just how appalling until it was way too late.


    I didn't express myself well (none / 0) (#35)
    by brodie on Sun Mar 11, 2012 at 12:57:24 PM EST
    on the idiot point.  I don't think Schmidt et al set out initially to foist another dimwit on the public, but instead were caught unawares.  Later he might have thought, it's not hurt the party before so no need to panic, and let's just use her acting skills to cover up the ignorance underneath, as with Reagan.

    Of course it was reckless and irresponsible for McC and Schmidt to leave themselves only a few days to vet her when they should have been thoroughly vetting a number of potentials, including Hail Mary prospects, well before that as they had the nom well in hand weeks before the convention.  It was also telling how McC and Schmidt assumed someone else was actually doing a thorough check on her.  Mac asked a few general questions of his main investigator and Schmidt irresponsibly assumed that guy was also asking her about her policy knowledge.  Horrible job of task management by campaign mgr Schmidt and very lazy overall management by the war hero


    Indeed (none / 0) (#62)
    by gyrfalcon on Sun Mar 11, 2012 at 08:23:11 PM EST
    But I imagine they assumed that Kristol et al wouldn't have been so over-the-moon about her if they hadn't probed underneath her charisma and her undoubted in-depth knowledge of the oil bidness in Alaska, etc.

    The Kristol gang deserve just as much "credit" for this as the McCain people, IMO.


    No argument about Palin... (5.00 / 6) (#72)
    by lentinel on Mon Mar 12, 2012 at 06:06:41 AM EST
    but when it comes to

    ...recklessly elevating a (politician) clearly out of (his-her) depth -- in order to win.

    neither party has a monopoly.


    So, the google isn't my friend? (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by oculus on Sun Mar 11, 2012 at 11:53:27 AM EST

    The idea that they found out about her (5.00 / 2) (#28)
    by gyrfalcon on Sun Mar 11, 2012 at 12:25:52 PM EST
    by some aide hitting The Google is completely absurd.  The aide may well have done that, but Palin was being heavily promoted by a gang of Bill Kristol, Fred Barnes and other prominent neocon types for many months, since long before McCain even secured the pres. nomination.

    Agreed (5.00 / 2) (#37)
    by sj on Sun Mar 11, 2012 at 01:10:51 PM EST
    I actually first heard her name floated as a possible VP on DKos when I still visited regularly.  And I left during the "primary wars".  

    Yes, I remember this too (none / 0) (#61)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Mar 11, 2012 at 07:42:31 PM EST
    She was an obvious up and comer in the eyes of many.

    Both things may be possible (5.00 / 2) (#39)
    by Towanda on Sun Mar 11, 2012 at 01:30:57 PM EST
    as I also recall reading about Palin (and posting about her here) being promoted as a VP prospect eons before she became part of the buzz.  So someone was pushing her onto candidates' radar.

    But the mismanagement of the McCain campaign also makes it possible, it seems, that when they realized need for a "game changer" VP prospect, abandoning their previous list of the usual (male) suspects, that past promotion of Palin did bring her up on Teh Google for an aide to find and forward to the higher-ups.

    The problem was waiting 'til 'way too late, leaving little time for vetting, to even imagine anything other than a male.  But that is not a problem confined to one candidate or one party.


    No argument (5.00 / 1) (#71)
    by lentinel on Mon Mar 12, 2012 at 06:02:48 AM EST
    about the ineptitude of Palin.

    But my cynical self wonders what the actually difference is between a Palin and a Biden. Biden, of course, is more practiced in the lingo. He might even know what the Fed is. But I will admit that to me a President Biden is, in its own way, a scary prospect. Which one of these two is the scarier. That is the question. Happy Halloween.


    Indeed (none / 0) (#51)
    by ruffian on Sun Mar 11, 2012 at 04:05:09 PM EST
    Unless McCain found that aide that way.

    Anyone paying attention to politics at least knew Palin's name as an 'up and comer'.

    I don't believe that story of the google search as literal fact.


    Is there such a thing as (5.00 / 2) (#52)
    by oculus on Sun Mar 11, 2012 at 04:09:06 PM EST
    "figurative fact"?  

    lol, I guess not (none / 0) (#58)
    by ruffian on Sun Mar 11, 2012 at 06:59:31 PM EST
    I committed one of my own pet peeves...it's been that kind of day.

    I meant actual truth....or something like that...never mind


    Sure there is, in the context of (none / 0) (#66)
    by Peter G on Sun Mar 11, 2012 at 09:01:16 PM EST
    a "docudrama" or other dramatization of historical events.  Some situations, characters, and dialog will surely be invented or compressed, although never (when the genre is done correctly) with the intent to distort an overall true story of what happened. Other details are used just as they actually occurred (as best the participants can recall). This is necessarily so, when months of occurrences are portrayed in the few hours of a show.  

    DocuDrama as history? (5.00 / 1) (#42)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Mar 11, 2012 at 02:00:40 PM EST
    No thank you.

    "Tow" the line? (5.00 / 2) (#44)
    by Repack Rider on Sun Mar 11, 2012 at 02:37:06 PM EST
    It's "toe the line."

    Kids these days.

    One of my favorite websites (5.00 / 1) (#46)
    by Peter G on Sun Mar 11, 2012 at 02:52:41 PM EST
    and an invaluable resource when I can't remember whether the correct usage for the meaning I want is "this" or "that," is Professor Paul Brians' "Common Errors in English Usage."  Naturally, it has a clear, good-natured analysis of the tow/toe conundrum, as I have found it has of nearly every other such question I've ever had the good sense to stop and check on, before going public with a document I've written.

    Hey, I didn't know what that idiom (none / 0) (#53)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Mar 11, 2012 at 04:33:19 PM EST
    entailed until I married this soldier person.  As a child I would hear it and picture in my mind a tow truck trying to hook onto a yellow double line and move it.  Now that would be quite a feat.

    If you are a liberal and you see a whole bunch of people toeing the line while someone screams at them, it makes you really grateful that you had parents that were in the minds of many dirty chaos theory hippies.


    A prime example of American brainwashing. (5.00 / 2) (#70)
    by lentinel on Mon Mar 12, 2012 at 05:55:35 AM EST
    She didn't know the difference between the war in Afghanistan and the war in Iraq. She thought we invaded Iraq because Saddam Hussein attacked us on 9/11. She didn't know what the "Fed" was or the first thing about economics - or global warming - or the bailout.

    From the polls that I have seen, she was right in line with a majority  of Americans who receive their information from the mainstream media.

    I wonder what the statistics are at this time for the percentage of Americans who still think that we were attacked by Hussein.

    You forget (none / 0) (#82)
    by Edger on Mon Mar 12, 2012 at 01:11:08 PM EST
    that Iraq harbored bin Ladin (after the CIA trained him), and Saddam's giant gun that he could use to bombard Peoria with.

    wink (none / 0) (#85)
    by Edger on Mon Mar 12, 2012 at 02:03:23 PM EST
    After watching "Game" (5.00 / 1) (#81)
    by KeysDan on Mon Mar 12, 2012 at 12:32:13 PM EST
    it re-enforced my opinion of McCain as a reckless and dangerous candidate.  His political career was founded in his Naval record and his brutal imprisonment. His heroism gave him favorable  coverage and rescued him in the Keating Five  scandal. Corruption investigation resulted in the Senate Ethics panel finding of " poor judgment".  

    A final comment in "Game" was defeated candidate McCain noting how his grandfather and father died after their "battles" and it was not going to happen to him--"I can't quit".  President Obama graciously invited McCain to the  White House for a private dinner, but soon after he revealed  himself to be an embittered loser, ready and able to out-do his tea party challenger in his Arizona senate race.  Just today, McCain claims that Governor Palin was the "best qualified"--never admit a mistake and never miss a chance to pet the wingers.

    no knock on mccain (none / 0) (#1)
    by pluege2 on Sun Mar 11, 2012 at 05:24:35 AM EST
    Nothing better shows the poor judgment of John McCain than his Hail Mary pass of choosing Sarah Palin...

    in cynically selecting an insidious idiot for the VP in order to appeal to the morons comprising the republican base, mccain was just following one of the strongest traditions of the modern republican party: think quayle, cheney, agnew, etc. Having an idiot running make is a republican requirement (as is having an idiot cabdidate - a republican tradition made manifest by reagan).

    The real knock on this sordid, sad state is on the corporate media and ultimately the American people that treat this, and all of the republican horse shit seriously instead of calling it out as the crap that it is.

    What was wrong with Cheney (5.00 / 3) (#5)
    by Peter G on Sun Mar 11, 2012 at 10:07:38 AM EST
    has nothing in common with what was wrong with Agnew, Quayle or Palin.

    cheney wan't insidious? (none / 0) (#6)
    by pluege2 on Sun Mar 11, 2012 at 10:25:02 AM EST
    maybe you know a different cheney. The cretin VP under bush-the-lessor cheney was an incredible low-life that caused immeasurable damage to the US. Was he the same dullard as quayle and palin - no, but agnew wasn't either. cheney and agnew were insidious operatives undermining the US, the rule of law and democracy, much as palin would have done if elected and if she was smart enough to achieve her goals.

    Guess again (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by Peter G on Sun Mar 11, 2012 at 11:05:28 AM EST
    Dismissing political actors and adversaries (5.00 / 2) (#14)
    by Mr Natural on Sun Mar 11, 2012 at 11:16:18 AM EST
    as low-lifes, fanatics, dullards, wackos, radicals, crazy, bitter clingers, or as a poster yesterday said, grifting white trash, is pointless. Every action they take is taken for a reason, usually rooted in the need for more power, morality be damned. Rationality must be assumed or you will have no chance of understanding and predicting their response to your own side's actions. None of the actors in this grand drama is saying or doing anything that they do not hope advances their own agenda.

    the comment you are referring to (none / 0) (#26)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Mar 11, 2012 at 12:13:41 PM EST
    in the other thread was deleted

    As a non-subscriber (none / 0) (#2)
    by lilburro on Sun Mar 11, 2012 at 07:54:50 AM EST
    I have only seen the trailer, and wow, Julianne Moore does a great job.

    Like I said, (none / 0) (#3)
    by scribe on Sun Mar 11, 2012 at 07:56:57 AM EST
    elsewhere, Moore's work was one of the best performances - disappearing into the role - I've seen in a long time.

    We should be horrified by it.  As bad as many (most) of Obama's works have been, with McSame winning it would have been much worse.  And i remain convinced Palin's lust for power is such that she would have run him into the ground, or the grave, and herself into the WH, by now.

    As Anonymous always says? (none / 0) (#16)
    by Mr Natural on Sun Mar 11, 2012 at 11:20:06 AM EST
    Never Forget, Never Forgive is the catchphrase of Holocaust Remembrance, Counselor.

    But I'll forgive you for forgetting.

    Who played Piper Palin (none / 0) (#38)
    by oculus on Sun Mar 11, 2012 at 01:21:12 PM EST
    in "Game Change"?  

    An actress named Taya Miller (none / 0) (#41)
    by Peter G on Sun Mar 11, 2012 at 01:37:14 PM EST
    with no previous movie or TV credits, according to IMDB.

    Did not see "Game Change" (none / 0) (#45)
    by KeysDan on Sun Mar 11, 2012 at 02:43:14 PM EST
    but Jeralyn's review and the comments have encouraged a viewing.  In selecting Governor Palin, was the role of William Kristol developed?  I recall a New Yorker article by Jane Mayer who indicated that several pundits, including Kristol, were hosted to a grand luncheon at the governor's mansion as the sailed off on an Alaskan cruise ship.   Kristol attested to her governmental and political qualities and became a big cheerleader.  Of course, Kristol, once again, was wrong.

    I don't recall Kristol (5.00 / 1) (#55)
    by brodie on Sun Mar 11, 2012 at 05:35:19 PM EST
    either being depicted by an actor or mentioned by name.  Lots of little scenes and dialogue in this one though and it's possible I missed something as I was helping myself to another serving of popcorn.

    Game Change is being rebroadcast today on HBO at 4 and 7 pm Pacific Warroom Time.


    Interesting (none / 0) (#57)
    by jbindc on Sun Mar 11, 2012 at 06:41:30 PM EST
    The amount of time and energy spent by some on the left with their obsession with someone they dislike so much and who really has been completely marginalized.

    Seriously - move on, people.

    The trouble is (5.00 / 1) (#59)
    by sj on Sun Mar 11, 2012 at 07:11:59 PM EST
    she hasn't been really marginalized.  She has with most posters here, but out "there"?  Not enough.  Not nearly enough.

    I hear a lot of guys (none / 0) (#60)
    by Edger on Sun Mar 11, 2012 at 07:37:27 PM EST
    tell me how "hot" they think she is. For some reason I always feel like I need rolaids or gravol when I hear them say it, or when she speaks...

    We all lived through that time period; (5.00 / 2) (#65)
    by Anne on Sun Mar 11, 2012 at 08:59:49 PM EST
    we all remember when Palin was chosen, when she spoke at the convention, her interviews with Gibson and Couric, so what's been interesting is comparing what we remember with a movie that takes a more inside look at those same events.

    For me, it was an excellent reminder of a number of things: the disconnect between Palin's ability to connect with the people and her inability to have even a basic grasp of geography or history, or current events.  Her clear ambition and her basis unfitness for office.  How wrong the Republican Party is on so many issues.

    It's four years later - what's wrong with going back and looking at things again?  Especially as, in a few short months, these Republicans will be picking a VP for the ticket?

    If you think Palin has been marginalized, I think you haven't been paying attention to the many people now so enamored of a Rick Santorum, or Tea Party ideology - she's very much of those people.  

    Sarah Palin is not gone, and those who forget her do so, I believe, at their own peril.


    jbinc (5.00 / 1) (#67)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Mar 11, 2012 at 09:03:31 PM EST
    If you aren't interested in a post, just scroll on by. Don't bother to tell us you aren't interested please. And please don't suggest what I should and should not write about.

    What a silly comment (5.00 / 2) (#69)
    by Towanda on Sun Mar 11, 2012 at 09:56:32 PM EST
    on a blog about politics.  What a way to marginalize yourself here.

    The vitriol (none / 0) (#73)
    by jbindc on Mon Mar 12, 2012 at 07:41:29 AM EST
    For this woman, four years later, is what's so silly. And some reactions almost border on obsessive.

    She will never run for office again.  She is not a politician anymore - she is a pundit, who, even within her own party, isn't a leading voice anymore.  Her comments are picked up days later and not the banner headlines -even on conservative sites.


    I actually (none / 0) (#64)
    by Jackson Hunter on Sun Mar 11, 2012 at 08:54:52 PM EST
    was not trying to condemn this site at all. I find both Jeralyn and BTD for the most part to be realistic supporters of the party while not always toeing the party line. They took a lot of grief, and still do, from the more ardent Obama supporters out there for their nuanced views. They both condemned those issues at the time when those issues were at their peak.

    Per the rules, I don't want to get too much into it, but I'm from the school of LBJ and the whole thing of "Make the F*cker deny it" school, I believe in dirty politics, but doing the things I listed in my original comment just go too far. But I did not mean to say I thought this blog did it.


    thank you Jackson (none / 0) (#68)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Mar 11, 2012 at 09:06:42 PM EST
    but Digoenes comment, which you are replying to, has been deleted for repeating attacks of other sites. He also shouldn't presume to tell another commenter what he or she meant to say.

    The Problem was Never McCain/Palin (none / 0) (#77)
    by ScottW714 on Mon Mar 12, 2012 at 10:31:47 AM EST
    The problem is the idiots who simply don't care about policy/intelligence.

    And unfortunately that is no an R issue, the D's are about to re-elect a man that has failed miserably in terms of real D policy.

    Not the same, but not that different.

    I would add, get ready, a Palin type will be in the White House in my lifetime, Bush II wasn't far off.  Santorum is way too close for comfort, what if Romney didn't exist would it be Santorum or Gingrich ?

    The more we polarize and concern ourselves with winning, say for a SCUTUS appointment, the better odds either party will elect a non-qualified candidate with the goal of winning and not the countries best interest.

    So maybe we dodged a bullet with in 2008, but one of these days a meathead is going to connect and have the backing for the bullet to strike.

    Dude... (5.00 / 2) (#80)
    by kdog on Mon Mar 12, 2012 at 12:01:48 PM EST
    Don't forget Reagan, the original meathead who connected....he was a national joke, much like Palin...till he won.

    That's what scares me about Santorum... (none / 0) (#83)
    by magster on Mon Mar 12, 2012 at 01:11:17 PM EST
    ... and Operation Hilarity.

    Watching on DVR now (none / 0) (#78)
    by magster on Mon Mar 12, 2012 at 11:12:32 AM EST
    Too bad they skipped over the green screen speech...

    The danger of the last election is McCain's decision making. Palin was only a consequence. McCain was more dangerous than Palin because he had enough political credibility to wage war.

    Oh, and meant to link Wallace's interview ... (none / 0) (#79)
    by magster on Mon Mar 12, 2012 at 11:16:59 AM EST
    where she said the movie was accurate to the point it made her "squirm"

    Just finished the movie (5.00 / 2) (#84)
    by magster on Mon Mar 12, 2012 at 01:17:18 PM EST
    The movie was much more an indictment of McCain than Palin IMO. He's the one who thrust someone incredibly unqualified for the position into the national spotlight, and she's the one who almost made it work despite her incredible flaws as a human being and politician because her skills included being an actress.

    McCain's "Country First" and "Straight Talk Express" were amongst the biggest lies of all time. What a jerk!


    Agreed. (none / 0) (#86)
    by KeysDan on Mon Mar 12, 2012 at 02:59:23 PM EST
    Governor Palin was unqualified to be vice president, and so was McCain--not to mention being unqualified to be president.