I knew what I was getting myself into before I turned on the television. Nonetheless, I wanted to see what liberal-dominated pay cable channel HBO would offer in the new docudramedy “Game Change.” I reasoned that any channel that allows Bill Maher airtime to work out his mommy issues in public and once devoted an entire day of programming to covering Barack Obama’s inauguration with the fanfare of the coronation of a Holy Roman Emperor was unlikely to air a movie that didn’t repeat virtually every stereotype the left has fabricated about Sarah Palin. Additionally, I have to confess to a bit of morbid curiosity about watching liberals entertain themselves. The idea brings to mind a bad car accident; you don’t want to see but you can’t refrain from looking. Thus, armed with my traditional three fingers of Matthew Gloag’s finest, I settled in for the show.
First, full disclosure: Julianne Moore, Ed Harris and Woody Harrelson are excellent actors. I know their personal politics — especially Harrelson’s — are as shallow-minded and silly as those of the rest of the Hollywood horde. But given the fact that the film was adapted from a much longer — although similarly questionable — book designed to make Sarah Palin look like a cross between Madame Chiang Kai-shek, Imelda Marcos and Joan Crawford, it’s fair to assume that Moore, Harris and Harrelson played the parts scripted for them. They — notably Moore — did so wonderfully.
The film’s content was depressingly predictable. “Game Change” is a two-hour character assassination of Palin. Interestingly, the thinking viewer can detect an unintended subtext: If Palin is as far out of her depth as she is portrayed in “Game Change,” then she is actually a hapless dupe victimized by callous politicos. While most liberals might cheer such a characterization, she can’t be a victim and the glowering monster they usually describe.
That dichotomy inherent in Democratic (hence, “Game Change”) depictions of Palin submarines the remainder of the film as its written:
- She’s an egomaniac who cares for no one beyond herself, yet she becomes depressed when separated from her children (including the Down Syndrome-afflicted Trig, whom liberals consider appropriate fodder for comedy).
- She hates her home state of Alaska. “Game Change” invented a conversation in which she professes: “I so don’t want to go back to Alaska.” Far be it from me to pop this balloon, but Palin still lives there. In fact, the inclusion of this clearly fabricated exchange is one of the more incongruous moments in the film.
- She’s inflexible. At one point in the movie, Palin refuses to share the spotlight with a pro-choice Republican, saying: “There’s no way I’m going on stage with anyone who’s pro-choice.” Besides the fact that no such conversation took place, Palin attended rallies throughout the campaign with multiple pro-choice people, notably including Senator — and former Democratic Vice Presidential nominee — Joe Lieberman.
- She’s stupid. One scene brings up the infamous Washington Post “Palin Links 9/11 to Iraq” story, but deletes the Post’s essential retraction of that inaccurate headline. In another scene, Palin receives a foreign policy briefing that mimics a 4th-grade geography lesson. Again, if this woman is anywhere near the babbling neophyte shown in “Game Change,” then hatred of her seems a bit extreme — even for liberals.
Running against your opponent as well as on your own record is standard procedure for an incumbent. I suppose Obama, who has no record on which to run, must run against not only his challenger, but anyone else who enrages his liberal base. And as the Democrats have established over the years, there’s no one who more enrages the liberal base than a woman who defies the liberal elite — except possibly a black man who defies the liberal elite. One small problem: Sarah Palin is not running for President.
HBO can be forgiven, I suppose. Whether it’s filling the nights with Maher or allowing consistently fact-deprived liberal schlock masquerading as “documentaries,” it clearly lives by an unwritten version of its tagline: “It’s not TV; it’s HB-Obama.” Moore, Harris and Harrelson likewise can be excused. After all, they’re merely actors.
At the beginning of “Game Change,” a reporter is overheard paraphrasing Alice Roosevelt Longworth: “Can a soufflé rise twice?” Judging by the crudely pointless exercise in liberal hatred “Game Change,” the answer — as pertains to Obama’s 2012 campaign — is a resounding “no!”