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Beware of Reporters Writing Books

Posted on January 11, 2010

Beware of Reporters Writing Books

The first time I ever talked to a reporter writing a book, it was Mike Weiskopff and David Marinass, who were chronicling the Newt revolution.  I wasn’t a big enough fish back then to get myself quoted (not that I am now), but I remember the result of lots of staff and members talking to these two reporters.  The book was called, “Tell Newt To Shut Up”, and it caused bruised feeling for months and years to come in the GOP leadership.

Now, we have the appropriately named “Game Change” book, New York Magazine's John Heilemann and Time magazine's Mark Halperin.  All these staff and all these members thought, “ah what the hell, this book won’t be written for months, what do I care?”, and now we have a book about the Presidential campaign of 2008 that has exploded like no other book in recent memory.

60 Minutes, of course, covered the part about Sarah Palin, which is the least newsworthy part of the story, in my view.  I am shocked to hear that Palin knew little about foreign affairs before she got picked to be the VP nominee.  Who would have thunk?  I am shocked that Steve Schmidt didn’t know much about Palin before he picked her to be McCain’s running mate.  I am shocked that Palin thought this was all part of God’s plan.

Okay, I am not really shocked.  But that is what those clever guys on 60 Minutes decided to focus on.  Why talk about Bill Clinton or Harry Reid’s racism when you can spend some more time talking about Sarah Palin and God’s plans for her?

Clinton turns out to be a real jerk.  Reid turns out to be real jerk.  Hillary turns out to be real jerk.  Edwards turns out to be king-size jerk.  Obama, at least according to what I have seen from the excerpts, turns out not to be as big of a jerk as these jerks.

The American people probably noticed that, which is why he won the election.

It is no secret that the McCain campaign was a complete disaster.  That has played out in the headlines for last 12 months.

But all these little nuggets about the petty jealousies, tough tactics, and big egos that are now all part of the governing party are really big surprises.  For example, one story has Hillary Clinton hot to push Obama’s drug use as a campaign tactic.  She applauds when her campaign strategist uses the word “cocaine” several times in a Hardball interview.

I wonder if Obama will give Clinton a Ipod full of Eric Clapton songs for her next birthday.

The hard part about books like “Game Change” is that they put all the rumors down on paper, which inevitably leads to more tensions.  It is too early to say if “Game Change” is a game changer, but it is further bad news for the Democrats, who are struggling to maintain their grip on power,  despite what 60 Minutes might report.