Saturday, August 13, 2011

Book 4: Game Change

 I love politics. Since I was 16 years old watching Bush debate Gore, I've been enthralled with candidates, campaigns, media and grassroots politics. I love America, I love her promise and I want to know about the individuals who will make decisions about her future.

Also, there's something exhilarating about politics. It's the biggest reality TV show there is. There's so many elements, strategies, personalities, tactics. It's easy to find yourself deep into the minutia before you realize it.

After volunteering my time and working in an official capacity on campaigns since I was a wide-eyed College Republican, I finally took a step back early this year. While I now work with candidates, non-profits and companies on social media and messaging strategy, I don't consider myself a full-time politico anymore and I was happy for the reprieve.

However, after six months away, I find myself being drawn back in. Maybe it's the economic climate or the heightened partisan rhetoric. Maybe now that I don't feel like my career is dependent on the right talking points, I can embrace it more. Whatever the reason, I'm finding joy in keeping up with politics again.

Game Change is written as the behind-the-scenes information on the 2008 Presidential campaign. It's kind of written like a reality TV synopsis: gossip and play-by-play over policy. Written by two reporters and compiled from lots of off-the-record interviews, I took it with a grain of salt. However, the insight was unmatched and it was really interesting to see the candor with which some of the information was given. (I guess that's the benefit of off-the-record interviews.)

Most of the book focuses on the Democratic race because (let's face it) it was more interesting. I did enjoy the McCain section. I was always confused how McCain went from carrying his own luggage at campaign stops (literally) to becoming the nominee. The book didn't shed a lot of light on that, but it did help me understand the campaign structure. I heard horror stories about the campaign's disorganization throughout 2008. From the book, you can see the candidate was never fully sold on running. Sure, he'd be President but campaigning didn't really appeal to him. Also, his staff was cobbled together after his first round of staffers quit when funding ran out. We were left with a candidate who wasn't committed to the campaign and staff that wasn't committed to the candidate. That campaign will never work.

Game Change assumes that you come to the book with a lot of knowledge of the Presidential campaign process and doesn't offer much background on the progress of primary dates or campaign deadlines unless they fuel the story. Also, I frankly found the authors' writing style pretentious. However, overall the book was a great read with enough gossip to keep it interesting.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Did you know it's August? the subject of the panicked email to my friends. Summer is almost over and I hadn't even made sangria yet, my favorite summer drink. So even though I shouldn't have, I invited six of my favorite girls over last night for sangria, cheese, laughs and lots of gossip. (Sangria circle of trust.)

Things aren't good for anyone right now, but these girls always send me some sunshine from God.

If you're not ready for summer to end, I'm happy to share my dad's sangria recipe with you. I hope you share it with some good friends, too.

4 cups dry red table wine
2/3 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 cup sugar
2 limes or 1 apple, sliced, to serve.

Also, help yourself to some cheese plate tips.

Biggest fail of the night? I didn't take pictures. Suffice it to say, we all looked fabulous.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

What We Had for Dinner

When Steve and I got married, I was still a bit of a cooking novice. I assumed I didn't have the patience to cook, since I don't have the patience for much of any hobby. I've challenged myself, though, and realize now I'm very good at following a recipe.

Last night, Steve's boss came over for dinner and I treated them to Fiesta Chicken Enchiladas. Had I known his boss was coming, I probably would have made something nicer but these were a big hit. They were a bit spicy for my palate, so next time I'll probably reduce the chili powder. But, I'm a wuss.

I don't know what it is about football season, but we usually end up with at least one unannounced guest. Chicken enchiladas will be a great Saturday meal for welcome friends.

Tonight, Steve and I enjoyed Rosemary Chicken with Roasted Vegetables, which was excellent but may be more of a fall meal. Also, you can freeze these and cook later.

If you're not on Real Simple's recipe e-mail list, you're missing out. They send you a daily recipe and everything I've made has been a hit!