I was so excited to watch HBO’s “Game Change,” the television movie chronicling former Gov. Sarah Palin’s rise and fall in the 2008 presidential elections. And no, it wasn’t just because Julianne Moore’s freckle-y hotness was going to portray the famous governor, or because Ed Harris, playing Sen. John McCain, may just be the greatest actor of our time. It was because there’s a great story of political intrigue not seen since the golden age of Aaron Sorkin. However, I came away from this movie with one thing I thought I wouldn’t have for Gov. Palin: sympathy.
“Game Change” depicts Palin going through the rather quick vetting process, campaigning with McCain across America, and perhaps most of all, head-butting with Steve Schmidt and the rest of McCain’s campaign staff. It shows Palin at her worst: refusing to brush up on questions for interviews, blaming the campaign staff for her foibles, and hogging the spotlight more than any vice-presidential candidate ever did. It also depicted her in her most vulnerable moments: having to deal with the media probing into her family’s business, cheering up her daughters when the campaign got especially nasty, and even a heart-rendering prayer with her daughter Piper before her debate with then-senator Joe Biden.
Think about it. Before the race, Sarah Palin was the most popular governor in the union, at least among her constituents. The beginning of the movie actually has Palin dressed down in a hoodie, casually talking to constituents about energy policy while spending time with her family at a county fair. Truth is, Palin would have probably been just fine left to run her state in peace. But she wasn’t. She was ruined by the system, and subsequently went mad with fame.
So, will you see me wearing a “Team Palin” shirt anytime soon? No. For one, it reminds me of the Twilight series, and two, I find wearing clothes with words on them incredibly tacky. Besides, I think Gov. Palin is far beyond saving and has become hopelessly addicted to the national spotlight. That, and she represents a grim side of America not seen since the antebellum South. And also — perhaps I should stop before I get ahead of myself.
So what does Sen. John McCain think of “Game Change”? Well, he hates it. He told Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday, “Of course I’m not going to watch it.” So essentially, judging a movie he’s never seen. Sounds to me like his criteria for watching movies and vetting vice-presidential candidates is pretty similar, and I Oughta Know.