Rick Santorum pulled in his largest single-state gain of delegates Saturday with his win in Kansas, and who gives a damn? This thing’s all over but the crying. Mexican American presidential candidate Mitt Romney will be the Republican nominee for president, regardless of what may or may not be the matter with Kansas. Tomorrow’s contests in Alabama and Mississippi, once thought to be sure-fire gains for doughy, race-baiting weirdo Newt Gingrich, now seem sure to cement the Romney nomination as Santorum’s surge has split the vote there. The last three polls in Alabama have either Romney or Gingrich ahead by a single point, and the last couple out of Mississippi have Romney ahead by eight and Gingrich ahead by two. If either Gingrich or Santorum would drop out, this could be a real contest, but neither will until it’s too late.
The most interesting news to come out of Saturday night was about the 2008 election, not the one in 2012. Game Change, the movie, premiered on HBO. Based on Game Change, the book, by journalist John Heilemann and smarmy gossip-monger Mark Halperin, the movie was, as is so typical, not as good as the original material. The book covered the entire 2008 campaign, including the primaries, with most of the work going toward the bloody battle between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. I don’t have the book with me right now, but as I recall, the Democratic primary takes up more than half of the work, which is understandable given that the 2008 Democratic primary lasted some 15 years. The book follows this with a brief synopsis of the admittedly less-interesting Republican primary, and finally dedicates the final six or seven chapters to the general election, with about the same amount of space given to both sides.
The movie, however, concentrated entirely on the general-election campaign, and even then narrowed it down to the Republican side of the race, and even then narrowed it down to the post-Palin part of the campaign. I get that it’s tough to include the whole campaign season, soup to nuts, in a feature-length film, but this is HBO — why not a miniseries or something? Hell, the internecine warfare between Obama and Clinton would make for a better movie than the rise of the Alaskan Dimwit. They should’ve just made a movie about the first half of the book instead of the final third. But all that said, Julianne Moore makes a better Palin than Tina Fey, and Ed Harris makes an awesome crusty, salty John McCain. Woody Harrelson portrays the protagonist, McCain campaign strategist Steve Schmidt, and his impression of the man isn’t nearly as dead-on as that of Moore or Harris, but so what? Most people have a passing familiarity with the intonations of Palin and McCain, but they also have no idea what Schmidt sounds like. And besides, it may not be a good impression, but it’s fine acting in that Harrelson manages to make Schmidt a likeable, almost tragic, figure. Pathos for the man who yanked Palin up from obscurity and onto the national stage. Who’d've thunk it?
It’s a great political movie, and it does make me want to buy Steve Schmidt a beer, when previously I’d wanted to throttle the man. But come 2016, when Palin rears her head and comes into the air space of the continental United States of America to put in her bid to run the show, I’ll probably want to throttle the man again. But, hey, so will half the country: “There he goes, boys, the man who gave us Palin. Thanks, Steve.”