February Books 1) Double Down, by Mark Halperin and John Heilemann

I absolutely loved the previous book by these authors, covering the 2008 US election campaign, a small part of which became the basis of the brilliant movie Game ChangeDouble Down, refers to Romney's determination to stick to his guns as a right-wing candidate rather than be dubbed a flip-flopper, and his unwillingness to even try to soften the impact of his self-inflicted blows is consistent.

The most disturbing point for a foreigner is the huge role of fund-raising in the campaign. Jeb Bush, whose personal fortune is of the order of $1.3 million, said that he could not afford to run. Rick Santorum, whose politics are of course completely repulsive, actually evokes some sympathy when a lack of financial resources makes him completely unable to capitalise on his early successes. Romney refuses to bankroll his own campaign, having, he felt, spent enough on it in 2008, and consequently nearly runs out of money. Obama hates fund-raising almost as much as debating, and in the end the team more or less give up on him and start using Michelle instead. America, where anyone can be President, as long as they are richer than Jeb Bush.

There are some nice vignettes. Paul Ryan, settling down for the Republican convention in Florida, is unwillingly hooked by a showing of Game Change which he comes across while channel-hopping. A senior Republican campaign official is so appalled by Clint Eastwood’s speech that he is physically sick. But more cheerfully, a carefully timed plan to reveal Obama’s support of gay marriage is thrown into complete disarray when Vice-President Biden, quite spontaneously, makes the same political call; and despite the botch of the announcement, there is absolutely no blowback. The times, they are a-changin’.

One thought on “February Books 1) Double Down, by Mark Halperin and John Heilemann

Comments are closed.