Mr. wOw on the Best Gossip Book (So Far) This Year

Game Change: Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin, and the Race of a Lifetime … The truth? Or misogyny?

If only embattled Harry Reid had come to Mr. wOw for advice. I would have told him, “Don’t talk to gossip columnists! But if you must, talk to me.” (I certainly would have advised him that “negro” — though hardly a slur — is an antiquated word that, obviously, has the power to inflame. It didn’t matter that he was merely speaking a hard truth about the American electorate.)

Oh, were you thinking that John Heilemann and Mark Halperin have written more than a great big gossip column between hard covers? Silly. Their book, Game Change, which supposedly rips the veil from the last presidential election campaign, is just a politicized version of “Under Hedda’s Hat.”

Mr. wOw has watched John and Mark make their giddy rounds on network and cable TV. They are tickled pink with themselves. I don’t get a real sense of political partisanship. Just two guys having a hell of a time making life hellish for Obama, Harry, Hillary and Bill, Sarah Palin, Elizabeth and John Edwards, Mr. and Mrs. McCain and countless others.

It’s fun to watch the cable stations cherry pick what suits their ideology. MSNBC loves the wacky Palin chapters. FOX loves the dirty little tales on the Democratic side. CNN loves all of it. (I thought CNN anchor Soledad O’Brien was going to spaz out at one point, she was so fired up — “juicy, dishy, oooohhh!”) It’s equal opportunity character assassination. Or — accurate character assessment if you choose to believe every word.

All the Game Change women come across as rather shrewish — misogyny is not dead, folks. The worst hand is dealt to Elizabeth Edwards. The authors don’t give her a pass, cancer or no cancer. Did any of us need a description of Mrs. Edwards in extremis, confronting her husband? I think not. But the authors determined to bring us The Truth.

The line on Sarah Palin — “She’s crazy, it’s post-partum depression” — came close to the hatchet job on Mrs. Edwards. She’s dumb, too, of course. I loved the out-of-control Sarah-smearing-her-makeup vignette. I’ve seen that one in a million bad movies about movie stars. Does Sarah like the same bad movies as your Mr. wOw?! I knew if I stuck it out, I’d find something to like about her.

Raise your eyebrows if you must; the authors are just reporting what they were told by a passel of anonymous sources; disgruntled staffers who wish to unburden themselves, truthfully without exaggeration or malice. Right.

Game Change reads like fabulous fiction. It’ll make a fun movie. (I suppose we can look forward to Meryl Streep as the distraught, rending-her-clothes Mrs. Edwards?)

If only half of it is true, we are in deep dog-doo! The people who run or want to run or will someday run our country are nuts. But you knew that already.

P.S. Did my duty and watched Mrs. Palin’s debut on FOX chatting with Mr. O’ Reilly. She looked extremely attractive. She sounded as she has sounded since the day she was sprung on us. Her fans were kvelling. Her detractors more than a little verklempt.

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