by Liz Smith

"PRESIDENT OBAMA has been on the receiving end of more flak -- courtesy of Mars Retrograde on his descendant, now re-approaching his Leo Sun in the aftermath of the almost-terror event of Dec. 25th -- than George Bush did in the wake of 3,000 lives lost on his watch on 9/11/01."

Well, I suppose astrological whiz Shelley Ackerman, who wrote the above, could have just waited a bit and added what also happened this week to the Democrats in Massachusetts. The President is getting whammed coming and going. Shelley also includes a comment by MSNBC's Rachel Maddow:

"OK, for all you astrologers out there, the planet Mercury has been in retrograde since Dec. 26. And if you believe that sort of thing ... you may thereby have insight into why everything seems to be going bonkers right now."

COME ON, people, and all you doomsayers, the world did not jolt to an end when the people of Massachusetts elected Scott Brown to take Ted Kennedy's seat in the Senate.

The President is still the one with the power. He can collect himself and his power and start throwing his weight around if he wants to. And, believe me, by the time it gets to be 2012, he will have both himself and the Democrats back in line and in force to command again the nation's faltering respect.

IF YOU want to refresh yourself on Barack Obama's talents at organizing and leading and inspiring, you must sit down right now and read the book of the moment -- "Game Change" by Time magazine's Mark Halperin and New York magazine's John Heilemann. There, laid out for all to follow, is the dispassionate story of Obama's incredible rise to the top and how he overcame Bill and Hillary and John McCain and Sarah Palin, as well as the forces of intolerance and old-fashioned thinking.

You may believe you know what happened in that important election, but until you read these reporters, you can hardly imagine the amazing details. I know it has been hard to buy a copy of "Game Change." That's how hot this book became almost overnight.

I spent two days last week reading every single word of "Game Change" and never have I learned so much about American politics, nor have I had quite so much fun as reading the down, dirty juice on those we think we know and love and hate.

I do mean the people behind the candidates, the candidates and wannabes themselves, as well as John and Elizabeth Edwards. (These two will never recover from their presentation in this book, although it seems both of them brought it all on themselves through their own behavior).

And there are totally believable unbelievable recordings of the behavior of Bill, Hillary, Sarah, John, Joe Biden and all the rest. Can we believe the authors? Read the book and then try to disbelieve them.

I feel their presentation of the major players is "right on" -- warts and all, plus the ubiquitous use of the four-letter, all-purpose Anglo-Saxon word "f---."

Ladies, gents and the cultured all employ this as an all-purpose verb, noun, and descriptive scream of anguish. It will soon lose its profane connection and if one wants to be truly emphatic, they can employ the ancient comic strip word of Major Hoople: "Oh, fap!"

The one phrase that constantly reoccurs in "Game Change" is the one uttered by every single candidate or public person. "The press is trying to ruin me! ... The press is trying to f--- me! ... The press is out to get me!" This feeling seems to be universal.

Well, good for the press and for journalists Halperin and Heilemann. They have done a yeoman job of American history and an examination of the political system that is unparalleled in its depiction of humanity, corruption, greed, ambition, hubris, paranoia and peril.

Whether you are a Democrat, Republican, Independent or a Tea-sipper (I am sorry to say, that the latter "new" phrase used to be a description of students at the University of Texas.) Well, no matter what you believe, you will recognize the unvarnished truth about Sarah, John, Elizabeth, John, Joe, Barack, Michelle, Hillary, Bill and all their helpers and cohorts. (You will also begin to wonder why anyone would want to go behind-the-scenes to help people get elected. It is a thankless job.)

It heartened me, however, to read that as John Edwards delved deeper into the unreality of his run at the presidency, which coincided with his lies and disregard for fate and the National Enquirer (I'm speaking of his extramarital love affair), and despite Mrs. Edwards' pathetic attempt to excuse him and to go on "enabling" this liar to run for president, his aides were planning to derail him for the good of the country. They were afraid he might get elected, which would have smeared the Democratic Party.

Nice to know there are still patriots in the trenches.

Read "Game Change" -- there's a thrill of recognition on every page. The analysis of Sarah Palin, toward the end, is masterful -- fair, balanced and incredible. (McCain's people came to suspect her sanity as she hurtled between amazing self-confidence and depressed silence.) She seems to have recovered.

As an American citizen, I have seldom spent a more rewarding and substantive time than in the two days it took me to carefully read "Game Change."

I don't know the authors. I have no axe to grind. But I know the startling truth of something when I see it.


Available at

Game Change: Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin, and the Race of a Lifetime


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Book of the Year -- 'Game Change!' | Liz Smith

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