On The Nightstand — Presidential Politics, Mystery Novels, And "Wild At Heart"

In addition to finishing “Who’s Tampering With The Trinity?” a few days ago, I read “Game Change,” an analysis of the 2008 Presidential election written by two TIME magazine reporters, as well. (I also tore through two Stephen White mysteries, both utterly improbable and yet still well-written, if ultimately forgettable. “Escape Lit,” I suppose). Anyway, “Game Change” is fascinating. Almost as fascinating as the fact that I’m actually current on laundry, even after a Thursday-to-Thursday reading jag — which continues today with John Eldredge’s “Wild At Heart,” the evangelical guide to the restless soul of Man as explorer, rescuer and conqueror and Woman as damsel waiting to be fought for and carried away in his strong arms.

Because I’m evidently not cranky enough.

Anyway, I recommend “Game Change” because the reporting is comprehensive, the analyses on target, and the revelations startling — not salaciously or witheringly so, but as a clear, well-documented eye on just how high the ego and delusions of some can soar and how low the intellect and judgment of others can wallow. It’s a thick, weighty, sometimes plodding look at the primaries and the general election, and I would be surprised if any other book coming out supplanted it as the definitive report of a Presidential race fascinating in its complexities and astonishing in its history-making. It’s worth forking over $28 at Bookpeople.

In it, Obama comes out as a reasonable, sincere, extraordinarily intelligent guy, which I find reassuring, given my disappointment with him these days. Palin appears to really be as shallow, silly, and manipulative as we all thought, with sprinkles, and McCain seems to embody a sort of Gloria Swanson-like inability to integrate his past successes with today’s world and its watchers. Hillary Clinton is pictured as a brilliant, sincere, decent woman hampered by advisers dumb as posts and a husband who is and has been, and evidently is content to remain, a real ass. Biden, who I really like, comes across as an affable and avuncular guy with much to offer and happy to be of service in offering it; Edwards, if even half of his story is revealed by reporters Heileman and Halperin, is a vacuous, unstable, grasping, miserable lout who disappointed millions of people, myself included, who truly thought he was a man of substance genuinely concerned with the plight of men and women of constant economic sorrows and constant social defeat. Nope. Turns out he’s Clintonesque in his private like, and Lord knows we don’t need two of ‘em. All in all, though, good stuff in “Game Change.” Because if Palin runs in 2012, I think a lot of us are going to mourn the good ‘ol days of 2008.

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