November 28, 2015

Game Change

This is a great article by former Virginia Delegate Chris Saxman. He discusses how the movie “Game Change” is so biased against Governor Sarah Palin and how the movie is unlike the book it is based on. I highlight key parts of Saxman’s article for my own reflections below.

I only met Governor Palin a couple of times but since she was such a tremendously important person during that election, it was easy to draw up some opinions and thoughts about her. Since the HBO folks won’t give you that courtesy, I thought that I would in order to give Game Change a smidgen of balance.

In my opinion, Sarah Palin is the most genuine politician I have ever met. For all that was circling around Gov. Palin at the time (the time on which Game Change is based), she was as calm and serene as you could ever imagine. To me, that is personal strength. I am sure that she had moments when she lost her cool or showed other emotions; however, she would not be human had she not done so.

Campaigns are Crazy Times. There are three levels of Crazy. Crazy – getting a bunch of kids out of the house to school after every sleeps past the alarms. Bat Sh*t Crazy – where someone is teetering on the edge of reality/escapism and black helicopters and Cuckoo For Cocoa Puffs Crazy – where one is likely to end up institutionalized for their own safety. Campaigns wobble between Crazy and Bat Sh*t Crazy. Ok? So, when a person who was so new to the national game was as composed as Sarah Palin was during those times – give her a little credit. That’s not easy to do. Especially without tele-prompters.

Secondly, Sarah Palin is a mom. When she was around our kids, she was instinctively maternal and caring. She would engage them with a real concern for them. Just the way she would put her hands on their shoulders and say “How are you?” She meant it. You just knew that she would have preferred to talk about their schools, sports and social life rather than get in the Secret Service protected limouSUVine to be rush off to the next round of interviews, speeches or fundraisers.

Also, here is a classy comment from Gretchen Laskas (a regular reader of The Chesapeake Liaison!) who possesses the ability to disagree without being disagreeable, a lost art if it ever existed.

Gretchen Laskas March 17, 2012 12:49 pm
I don’t hate Sarah Palin. I personally know many, MANY women very much like her. Everyone kept talking about how phenomenal it was that she could get up in front of thousands of people and all of the television cameras and give a speech so naturally, and all I could think of is that pretty much every woman I knew who lives in an actively religious world could have done the same thing. I wasn’t a pageant girl, but I did my first bit in front of a church audience when I was 15 months old.

Now, because I did feel as though I knew her, that made me all the more horrified that someone would select her to be, as the quote goes, “one heartbeat away from the presidency.” I respect and admire many of the people in my life who could handle a large and complicated family, a professional life, and still give a great speech, but I wouldn’t support them for the Vice Presidency. Perhaps I could change the parameters and make it a pithy William F. Buckley-esque quote like the Cambridge phone book.

Where Gretchen and I disagree is that I believe normal working moms are indeed ready for the Vice Presidency and Presidency. I respect and admire many of the people in my life who can handle a large and complicated family, a professional life, and still give a great speech, and *yes*, I would support them for the Vice Presidency.

We need more of the common sense, community-focused, people-first approach that working moms naturally bring to the table. We need less of the scripted lives from childhood, painfully manufactured celebrity, self-centeredness, and power hunger from the established, distant political class. We have seen folks like that from both sides of the aisle for generations and their performance as a whole swings between a hypocritical circus act and abject failure.

It is time to give working moms a chance. In 1996, pundits talked at length about the “soccer mom” vote. It is long past due for an election year in which “soccer moms” are no longer just a voting bloc, but “soccer moms”, “hockey moms”, and “football moms” are the candidates from both parties for every major office including the Presidency. I will take a politically unpolished working mom who has been taught to do the right thing and got involved in the political process to serve others over any politically astute Ivy League lawyer who has been scripted to say the right thing, go to the right schools, pay the right dues, purposefully befriend the right political insiders and activists, and has dreamed of holding elected office his or her entire life as a personal career goal.

I know far too many of the latter. For every overly ambitious and driven individual who carefully crafted his or her every educational and business move from youth to win elected office, there is a field littered with failures who followed the same track, lost elections for their most coveted office, and spend the rest of their lives unhappily toiling away wishing they would have done something more attuned to their calling and spent more precious time with their kids when they were still in the house had they not been blindsided by the glitz and glamour of winning a seat in Congress.

About Phil Tran

Phil Tran is the premier political consultant and web developer for pro-life female candidates and elected officials in DC, Maryland, and Virginia. He is a political independent.


  1. trae lewis says:

    As a non Sarah Palin fan, due strictly to her political views, I concluded this objective conclusion about her and the movie.

    At the time of the 2008 and even today, Sarah Palin is very ignorant of many fundamental reasons why systematic problems persist in this nation. She continues to know the problems yet find offers no sound solutions. However, her being ignorant does not translate into stupidity. That’s where the movie and liberal media gave major injustice to Sarah Palin.

    I do find her essential in the ability to capture mass appeal around her, which in turns, sheds light on Republican causes.

    In conclusion, I don’t believe the movie portrayed Sarah Palin wrongly. She is clueless about simple measurements of government, she isn’t clueless on the disconnection between the average john q citizen and the elected official inability to properly do what’s best for their well being.

  2. Gretchen Laskas says:

    I’ll meet you half way. I’d like to see more people from more ordinary walks of life, and people who have genuine flaws as a human being in their pasts running for office, even if these might be dug up by opponents and used against them. But if you are going to compete in a national election, I do think you have to admit that knowing at least a bit more about national issues than Palin did is crucial. I honestly think she knows Alaska the way someone like me knows West Virginia — I know it in my very bones. To say that I love it and the people and the land doesn’t begin to express how I feel. You get the sense that Palin feels that way about her home state.

    But even an indepth, deeply passionate and well understood knowledge of one state (or even one region) isn’t enough to run for the VP, at least in my opinion. You can extrapolate a good deal from what you already know, but I’m not sure you would understand how to move forward for all Americans. I think this is why Palin has continued to be so successful within her own sphere — there is no doubt that she knows this world and the people in it, and they know and love her. But I would need more than that in a Democratic nominee, personally.

    And I enjoyed the book very much, but have no desire to see the movie.

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