America is excited about Double Down: Game Change 2012, the new book about the Romney-Obama campaign from political journalists Mark Halperin and John Heilemann. (Among those who are excited: toddlers, flexible women, redheads, and professional animal impersonators.) There's just one problem: a review of the evidence at hand suggests that Halperin and Heilemann may not actually know what "double down" means.
The book is the sequel to the pair's smash hit 2008 campaign book, Game Change. That one, featuring an ingenue governor from Alaska, detailed the ups and downs of one of the most exciting presidential campaigns in decades. This new one, while not without good insider reporting, is somewhat limited by the fact that the 2012 presidential campaign was only the most exciting contest of the past four years.
When the book was announced, the title was not embraced, being a weird merger of the title from the previous, successful book and this "double down" mini-meme from 2012. But the title also didn't make sense because: Who is doubling down, on what, and how?
The Christian Science Monitor, responding to one of Obama's uses of the phrase, defined the expression in two ways.
- The literal definition: In Blackjack, to double your bet and take one more card.
- The figurative definition, via UrbanDictionary: "to engage in risky behavior, especially when one is already in a dangerous situation."