The Problem With HBO's Game Change
Game Change, the infamous bestseller written by John Heilemann and Mark Halperin, has plagued anyone directly associated with the 2008 election cycle. The first time I heard about the book was within weeks after Obama was elected—my former press person from the campaign told me Mark Halperin, a man I had only heard of in name and was not an embed on the campaign, wanted to conduct an interview about “what really happened.” Reporters aren’t generally known for their sensitivity and tact, but I can remember thinking, nice timing sir. They also asked everyone from my mother and her chief of staff to Rick Davis and Steve Schmidt for an interview. The only person that confirmed actually giving such an interview was my father’s longtime speechwriter and “alter ego” Mark Salter. I still have no idea what he was thinking.
From everything I understood, the interviews that they did land were from disgruntled staffers, rehashing for the most part stories they had not directly witnessed themselves. There is an obvious curiosity about what really happened in the inner workings of the campaigns run by my father, President Obama, Hillary Clinton and John Edwards. Campaigns are weird animals and innately bring out bizarre road stories. I have no problem if the people actually there wanted to retell their stories. I do, however, have a problem with reporters who were not present and have an obvious bias capitalizing on things that more than likely never happened.
I read parts of Game Change, but couldn’t get through the whole book. The most ridiculous scene was the rehashing of Elizabeth Edwards ripping her top off to reveal her breast cancer scars in a parking lot after discovering her husband’s affair (I still have doubts that this actually happened). Another highlight is my father yelling, “Fuck you! Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck!!!” to my mom. I don’t know how to defend such an allegation other than to say it’s absurd. What’s weird about this is it will always be a part of my family’s narrative and now Hollywood is upping the ante. HBO is turning Game Change into a miniseries, and they’ve cast Ed Harris as my dad.
"I expect my family and Sarah Palin to be nothing short of crucified."
With The Social Network, I read Mark Zuckerberg said he didn’t mind a movie being made based on him, he minded that he was alive when it came out. That is somewhat along the lines of where I am at with this movie. My personal favorite casting announcement has been Woody Harrelson as Steve Schmidt. Did they even Google Steve Schmidt? He looks like Steve Austin. Each actor brings their very public liberal bias to a story that has and will more than likely be portrayed from a liberal, elite Hollywood point of view. I am really cringing waiting for the casting of my mother. Let me guess—an ice princess?
The new Kennedys miniseries starring Greg Kinnear made headlines earlier this year after The History Channel refused to air it, after supposed pressure from Maria Shriver and Caroline Kennedy. The producer of that film Joel Surnow is an open conservative and alleges that his project was put on hold for political reasons. If this is true or not, it can’t be overlooked that an open conservative retelling the Kennedy legacy would probably ruffle more than a few liberal feathers in Hollywood, who have a long history of protecting the Kennedys.
What do I predict with the HBO Game Change movie? I expect my family and Sarah Palin to be nothing short of crucified. Another election is nearing and President Obama has publicly fallen from his stature as an infallible saint. It is in everyone’s best interest to exaggerate and manifest things that didn’t happen. The problem is, we do exist. More than anyone I feel for the Edwards family, out of all the stories. Elizabeth Edwards is dead and John Edwards could face jail time. He has three children that will more than likely be present during the reliving of all of this on HBO.
Meghan McCain is a columnist for The Daily Beast. Originally from Phoenix, she graduated from Columbia University in 2007. She is a New York Times bestselling children's author, previously wrote for Newsweek magazine, and created the Web site mccainblogette.com. Her most recent book, Dirty Sexy Politics, was published in August.