Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Double Down: Game Change 2012 by John Heilemann and Mark Halperin

In their runaway bestseller Game Change, Mark Halperin and John Heilemann captured the full drama of Barack Obama’s improbable, dazzling victory over the Clintons, John McCain, and Sarah Palin. With the same masterly reporting, unparalleled access, and narrative skill, Double Down picks up the story in the Oval Office, where the president is beset by crises both inherited and unforeseen—facing defiance from his political foes, disenchantment from the voters, disdain from the nation’s powerful money machers, and dysfunction within the West Wing. As 2012 looms, leaders of the Republican Party, salivating over Obama’s political fragility, see a chance to wrest back control of the White House—and the country. So how did the Republicans screw it up? How did Obama survive the onslaught of super PACs and defy the predictions of a one-term presidency? Double Down follows the gaudy carnival of GOP contenders—ambitious and flawed, famous and infamous, charismatic and cartoonish—as Mitt Romney, the straitlaced, can-do, gaffe-prone multimillionaire from Massachusetts, scraped and scratched his way to the nomination.

Double Down exposes blunders, scuffles, and machinations far beyond the klieg lights of the campaign trail: Obama storming out of a White House meeting with his high command after accusing them of betrayal. Romney’s mind-set as he made his controversial “47 percent” comments. The real reasons New Jersey governor Chris Christie was never going to be Mitt’s running mate. The intervention held by the president’s staff to rescue their boss from political self-destruction. The way the tense détente between Obama and Bill Clinton morphed into political gold. And the answer to one of the campaign’s great mysteries—how did Clint Eastwood end up performing Dada dinner theater at the Republican convention?

In Double Down, Mark Halperin and John Heilemann take the reader into back rooms and closed-door meetings, laying bare the secret history of the 2012 campaign for a panoramic account of an election that was as hard fought as it was lastingly consequential. (from GoodReads)

It's no secret that I love politics so a book that details a presidential election is right up my alley. Once I devoured the first Game Change (about the 2008 election) I knew I would have to get the one about the next election. Luckily for me I was not disappointed by this account.

What I love about these books is all the inside information the authors reveal about the campaigns. There are a lot of details shared that many people are not aware of. Since all the sources are anonymous, there's a chance some of this just might be rumors. But it's fascinating and entertaining all the same. What I also like is that I remember most of these events so it's interesting to see the author's take on them. That's why I wouldn't want to read a book about a presidential election that I didn't live through - part of the fun is remembering when Romney made the 47% comments or seeing Bill Clinton's speech at the Democratic National Convention and then reading about it.

The book is pretty long, and the authors use a lot of fancy words (The New York Times book review makes fun of this) but that didn't stop me from enjoying the book. If you're interested in politics then I definitely recommend this along with the first Game Change. Or you could check out the HBO movie which is just as good.

FTC: borrowed from my dad
Rating: 9 out of 10.

2013/Penguin Press/476 pages

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