Byron York

The movie also could have focused on Hillary Clinton's anger at Obama's ability to escape the Wright mess unscathed. "Just imagine, just for fun, if my pastor from Arkansas said the kind of things his pastor said," Clinton told aides, according to the book. "I'm just saying. Just imagine. This race would be over."

Finally, the alternate "Game Change" could have focused on top Clinton strategist Mark Penn, the man who wrote campaign memos questioning Obama's American identity. "Obama's roots to basic American values and culture are at best limited," Penn wrote, before concluding: "I cannot imagine America electing a president during a time of war who is not at his center fundamentally American in his thinking and in his values."

It could have been an extraordinary look at the troubling issue of race playing out inside a party that takes pride in its civil rights record. The alternate "Game Change" could have been a complex picture of complex people in a complex situation.

And most of all, the alternate "Game Change" would have provided insights into the man who became president of the United States.

But somehow, that movie didn't get made. Instead, HBO decided to focus on an out-of-office, former half-term governor of Alaska who was on the losing ticket in the 2008 election and isn't running for anything today.

Everyone knows that Hollywood, the entertainment industry as a whole, and much of the liberal establishment all suffer from a continuing obsession with Palin. So in the end, it's no surprise HBO turned "Game Change" into a Palin biopic. But in the process, they ignored a historic, compelling and profoundly dramatic story.

(Byron York is chief political correspondent for The Washington Examiner.)


Byron York

Byron York, chief political correspondent for The Washington Examiner


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