My Forsyth Book Review: Double Down

My Latest book review to be published in this month’s My Forsyth Magazine:

Double Down by Mark Halperin & John Heilemann



Okay, so the new format isn’t great for reproducing my magazine texts.  Here’s the full review:

I’m a bit of a political junkie, probably because I was raised by a Political Science teacher who read Time, Newsweek and U.S. News & World Report religiously.  The news was on in our house every night at 6pm, and every Sunday we’d watch 60 Minutes.  As a kid I hated national politics, as a young adult I ignored them, but as a wife and mother I’m now invested and find myself chasing campaign scoop every four years.

Ironically, I’m not a fan of political books, because most are extremely biased.  Four years ago Game Change, a book chronicling the 2008 election (which was also written by Halperin and Heileman) was published to great fanfare.  I read it.  The book was riveting and presented both sides of the great political divide.

Double Down is their follow up, covering the 2012 Presidential election.  The book is well written and researched, although it lacks the eccentric and titillating cast of characters (Sarah Palin, John Edwards, Hillary Clinton) that Game Change featured.  I missed those wild eccentrics.  Still, there are plenty of revelations and players to savor.  Double Down is an eye-opening account of the race and all the behind the scenes drama from both sides.

At the beginning of 2012, it was any man’s race.  Obama was extremely nervous about his prospects of reelection and there was a rash of petty in-fighting among his staff.  Eventually, he was desperate enough to enlist the help of Bill Clinton, whom Obama was not exactly fond of.  The authors credit ole Bubba’s DNC speech with saving Obama’s candidacy (but at a price, literally).

Poor Romney just wanted the support of his party and he never really got it.  There is a provoking speculation from the book that lingers with me.  What would have happened if Romney had been able to command the Republican lead from the beginning of the race, rather than having to duke it out with the conservative “flavors of the week?”  He also suffered from appallingly bad campaign management.  The readers will have much to ponder for 2016.  Bidden verses Clinton, for team blue?  And will a phoenix rise from the ashes of team red?  Oh the drama, and we only have two more years before it heats up again.

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