Awful election book to become awful election film

The most inane gossip of 2008 is set to be dramatized for HBO

Topics: Game Change, War Room, 2008 Elections, Elizabeth Edwards, HBO, John Edwards, Political Books, Sarah Palin,

Awful election book to become awful election filmMark Halperin

After living through the 2008 election, does anyone really need to see a movie about it? HBO apparently thinks so. The network made news yesterday — masterfully — by leaking the news that Julianne Moore has been cast as Sarah Palin in the upcoming made-for-television adaptation of “Game Change,” the most annoying political book of the post-Bush age. (I am counting even Dick Morris’ latest. It’s that annoying.)

Everyone already knows everything about that election. It will be fun, I guess, to watch famous people pretend to be other famous people. For a while. But that particular pleasure usually wears off about three minutes into your average “SNL” political cold open. And we are all already intimately familiar with nearly everything our dramatis personae will do and say.

I, for one, would rather watch a film dramatizing the 1948 election. Or 1876! Almost any close election that happened prior to the age of 24-hour cable news and blogs would be infinitely more interesting to watch unfold on television than the one everyone in the nation just sat through.

You Might Also Like

But if we have to watch the election we all just witnessed unfold in real time, must we watch it through the lens of the inane reporting of Mark Halperin and John Heilemann? Why not adapt David Remnick’s Obama book? The election book by Haynes Johnson and Dan Balz? Eric Boehlert’s “The Bloggers on the Bus”? Jonathan Alter’s “The Promise”? Or even the Newsweek instabook?

Those are all well-reported and insightful works. They all have “scoops” and dramatic behind-the-scenes stories. And none of them were written (or co-written) by an odious troll like Mark Halperin, the obsequious chronicler of yesterday’s Beltway conventional wisdom.

There’s also no other book on the 2008 election that so nakedly portrays the now-departed Elizabeth Edwards as a crazy harridan she-devil — which should make for either some incredibly uncomfortable scenes or some hasty revisions to the adapted screenplay. (Of course, nearly every woman is portrayed by the authors as horrible, from Edwards to Hillary Clinton to, yes, Sarah Palin.)

“Game Change” is written from the perspective of the perspectiveless, representing the views of Washington lifers for whom politics is nothing but a game of big, clashing personalities. It’s a book where rumors of Bill Clinton’s infidelity are just as important as — or perhaps more important than — the financial crisis.

I realize that clashing personalities makes for better television than effective organizing and changing demographics, but what kind of masochist wants to watch actors pretending to be Mark Penn and Howard Wolfson yell at each other for any length of time?

Of course, the absolute worst part of this entire film enterprise is the smirk that will be glued to Halperin’s smug face the next time he shows up to say nothing of any import or relevance on “Hardball.”

Alex Pareene

Alex Pareene writes about politics for Salon and is the author of "The Rude Guide to Mitt." Email him at apareene@salon.com and follow him on Twitter @pareene

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 11
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    Martyna Blaszczyk/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 1

    Pond de l'Archeveche - hundreds thousands of padlocks locked to a bridge by random couples, as a symbol of their eternal love. After another iconic Pont des Arts bridge was cleared of the padlocks in 2010 (as a safety measure), people started to place their love symbols on this one. Today both of the bridges are full of love locks again.

    Anders Andersson/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 2

    A bird's view of tulip fields near Voorhout in the Netherlands, photographed with a drone in April 2015.

    Aashit Desai/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 3

    Angalamman Festival is celebrated every year in a small town called Kaveripattinam in Tamil Nadu. Devotees, numbering in tens of thousands, converge in this town the day after Maha Shivratri to worship the deity Angalamman, meaning 'The Guardian God'. During the festival some of the worshippers paint their faces that personifies Goddess Kali. Other indulge in the ritual of piercing iron rods throughout their cheeks.

    Allan Gichigi/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 4

    Kit Mikai is a natural rock formation about 40m high found in Western Kenya. She goes up the rocks regularly to meditate. Kit Mikai, Kenya

    Chris Ludlow/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 5

    On a weekend trip to buffalo from Toronto we made a pit stop at Niagara Falls on the Canadian side. I took this shot with my nexus 5 smartphone. I was randomly shooting the falls themselves from different viewpoints when I happened to get a pretty lucky and interesting shot of this lone seagull on patrol over the falls. I didn't even realize I had captured it in the shot until I went back through the photos a few days later

    Jassen T./National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 6

    Incredibly beautiful and extremely remote. Koehn Lake, Mojave Desert, California. Aerial Image.

    Howard Singleton/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 7

    Lucky timing! The oxpecker was originally sitting on hippo's head. I could see the hippo was going into a huge yawn (threat display?) and the oxpecker had to vacate it's perch. When I snapped the pic, the oxpecker appeared on the verge of being inhaled and was perfectly positioned between the massive gaping jaws of the hippo. The oxpecker also appears to be screeching in terror and back-pedaling to avoid being a snack!

    Abrar Mohsin/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 8

    The Yetis of Nepal - The Aghoris as they are called are marked by colorful body paint and clothes

    Madeline Crowley/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 9

    Taken from a zodiac raft on a painfully cold, rainy day

    Ian Bird/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 10

    This wave is situated right near the CBD of Sydney. Some describe it as the most dangerous wave in Australia, due to it breaking on barnacle covered rocks only a few feet deep and only ten metres from the cliff face. If you fall off you could find yourself in a life and death situation. This photo was taken 300 feet directly above the wave from a helicopter, just as the surfer is pulling into the lip of the barrel.

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>