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The Boogie Man: The Lee Atwater Story

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  • The Boogie Man: The Lee Atwater Story

    Another great Frontline aired last night. Anyone interested in the roots of American politics should watch this.

    You can say a lot of things about Lee Atwater, but love him or hate him, he's one of the most fascinatingly conflicted characters in American political history. If you had to pick one man who was key piston (and the spark plug) in engine of the republican party's power plays of the past quarter-century, it's Atwater - campaign engineer of at least three presidents, slayer of countless campaigns, and Karl Rove's mentor.

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/atwater/

  • #2
    Re: The Boogie Man: The Lee Atwater Story

    The greatest character assassin in modern history. Soulless would be a compliment. I'll give him credit for acknowledging he was scum on his deathbed. Anyone who thinks he was a great "strategist" needs counseling. He planted the seed in the 80s to what became the reason the Bush administration and the GOP is so hated today; Arrogance and straight faced lies. Unfortunately his legacy will live again through Karl Rove. He said people with extra chromosomes where the Republican party's biggest supporters. He was talking about people who are ignorant, poor and living in rural settings who vote GOP even though the Republican party is only interested in helping the top 1% of the country. He is the equivalent to a mafia hitman. Nothing personal, just business.

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    • #3
      Re: The Boogie Man: The Lee Atwater Story

      It was quite a story. I wish they had gone a bit more into the reasons they thought he was such a soulless psychopath, other than saying his little brother died horribly. Gotta be some reason for such an intense drive to rise in power and influence. I thought it was so telling of how the Bush family treated him, even at the best of times--like hired helpWhat's so sad is that people like this, who spend so much time and energy and intelligence doing evil and spreading it, and then are so ineffectual at repairing the damage once they realize what a monster they are.

      Powerful lesson there. God did him a favor by letting him die slowly and giving him time to make amends. Of course, it would help if he had been sincere, but who knows. With Atwater, I don't think he even knew whether he believed what he was saying, himself, half the time. I pity him, both for what he went through, and for the price that must be paid, if any debt remained.

      His political strategies were very short-term, I would have thought, but it took 8 years of Bush, Cheney and Rove for the American Public to figure even a little of it out. (I have never believed, nor will I, that 9/11 was anything but a carefully orchestrated financial and constitutional coup.) History will (I hope) show us the monsters in the closet...or should I say cabinet? :row__737:There has been backlash from the flood of lies and blatant, certainly, but nothing NEAR the amount it would take to convince anyone in power that this was not the way to run a campaign. I'm sorry to say, I think Atwater's legacy will be a long-lived one.
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      Living proof that "Teamplay ensmartens the idiotest of us!"

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      • #4
        Re: The Boogie Man: The Lee Atwater Story

        I too thought it very telling how he ran Bush's '88 campaign against Dukakis on a combination of the racist and untrue Willie Horton/furlough 'issue' and cultural 'elitism' (sound familiar?), when George Bush Sr. was just as elite as any other New England born ivy leaguer and played the part - treating everyone else (Atwater included) as 'hired help.'

        Another really interesting bit was how Atwater didn't care for sports with the exception of pro wrestling (the staged kind), claiming it was the only 'honest' sport. He was a smart guy, but he sure looked at things through the eyes of the devil.

        I just can't get over how many volumes this story speaks about Reagan-Bush-Bush-McCain politics (McCain's chief advisor is in the documentary and almost speaks kindly of Atwater). Rove is another Atwater, only he's even more cunning and soullessly obsesses over wedge statistics. There's not a question in my mind that the 'Hussein,' Wright and Ayers crap from this past election all came out of the same mold as shock therapy, Willie Horton, swift boats, and even the illegitimate father claim they tried to use against McCain himself in the 2004 Bush re-election campaign. Utterly shameless.

        At the heart of this story lies the undeniable soul of republican politics, if you can even call it that. Politics without conscience, with no other goal than to win. Some may disagree with those statements. If you do, contrast this documentary with something like The War Room. Night and day.

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        • #5
          Re: The Boogie Man: The Lee Atwater Story

          I liked how this story sounded like the stories I have been reading about the greed and lack of conscious that played the part in the financial disaster we are in.

          Absolutely no regard for how the actions taken are going to affect the rest of the country. Just the overwhelming desire to win and get and achieve as much as possible as quickly as possible. But once they got what they sought, no real idea about what to do with the "winnings".
          Iím not racists, I have republican friends. Radio show host.
          - "The essence of tyranny is the denial of complexity". -Jacob Burkhardt
          - "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds" - Emerson
          - "People should not be afraid of it's government, government should be afraid of it's People." - Line from V for Vendetta
          - If software were as unreliable as economic theory, there wouldn't be a plane made of anything other than paper that could get off the ground. Jim Fawcette
          - "Let me now state what seems to me the decisive objection to any conservatism which deserves to be called such. It is that by its very nature it cannot offer an alternative to the direction in which we are moving." -Friedrich Hayek
          - "Don't waist your time on me your already the voice inside my head." Blink 182 to my wife

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          • #6
            Re: The Boogie Man: The Lee Atwater Story

            I can't say I respect the man much, but I thought this documentary was fascinating. I recommend everyone watch this show somehow. The site says that they can't stream it, but I've seen Frontline stream other shows after saying that. Again, this was a great edition of Frontline, and I recommend it to everyone. The episode on Afghanistan (The War Briefing) is also excellent.

            Linkage: The War Briefing
            The art of war is simple enough. Find out where your enemy is. Get at him as soon as you can. Strike him as hard as you can, and keep moving.



            I
            #83 of 213 things you cannot do in the army.
            83. Must not start any SITREP (Situation Report) with "I recently had an experience I just had to write you about...."

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            • #7
              Re: The Boogie Man: The Lee Atwater Story

              A nice piece of propaganda, objectively speaking of course

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              • #8
                Re: The Boogie Man: The Lee Atwater Story

                So are there equivalent hitmen on the left?
                Dude, seriously, WHAT handkerchief?

                snooggums' density principal: "The more dense a population, the more dense a population."

                Iliana: "You're a great friend but if we're ever chased by zombies I'm tripping you."

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                • #9
                  Re: The Boogie Man: The Lee Atwater Story

                  No, not one, nobody even near it.

                  The Dems are as pure as driven snow in an isolated mountain valley in the Hindu Kush.

                  Sorry, but the bow-tied "republican" with the big poster of Nixon behind him in the start of the program gave me a hint that it might not be an objective piece.

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                  • #10
                    Re: The Boogie Man: The Lee Atwater Story

                    I don't think there are any dems as good at it compared to Atwater or Rove. I am sure there are some that try.

                    Or maybe there are some very good dem hitmen but the leadership don't, or refuse, to use them effectively.

                    I look at the dems and their spokespeople and there is just nothing there. Who is that skinny bald guy always popping up on the Sunday talk shows? He has the skinny republican attack dog wife? He comes across as a bumbling idiot if you ask me and he is probably the best attack dog they have. His wife is much more effective than he is.
                    Iím not racists, I have republican friends. Radio show host.
                    - "The essence of tyranny is the denial of complexity". -Jacob Burkhardt
                    - "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds" - Emerson
                    - "People should not be afraid of it's government, government should be afraid of it's People." - Line from V for Vendetta
                    - If software were as unreliable as economic theory, there wouldn't be a plane made of anything other than paper that could get off the ground. Jim Fawcette
                    - "Let me now state what seems to me the decisive objection to any conservatism which deserves to be called such. It is that by its very nature it cannot offer an alternative to the direction in which we are moving." -Friedrich Hayek
                    - "Don't waist your time on me your already the voice inside my head." Blink 182 to my wife

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: The Boogie Man: The Lee Atwater Story

                      Originally posted by KomradeObama View Post
                      Sorry, but the bow-tied "republican" with the big poster of Nixon behind him in the start of the program gave me a hint that it might not be an objective piece.
                      You're talking about Roger Stone, I assume. Do you know who Roger Stone is? I assume you don't, otherwise you would not have put 'republican' in quotes when talking about him. He was a major player in Reagan's 1984 campaign and also Bush Sr.'s 1988 campaign. This documentary not only contains short archived interviews with Atwater himself, but with most every republican campaign manager and strategist (including Roger Stone) since Nixon with the notable exception of Karl Rove. Atwater was the king of dirty politics and proud of it - as well he should be, it won elections. This documentary is about him. What exactly do you think is less than objective about its handling of his story?

                      The documentaries that Frontline airs must adhere to what I think is one of the best journalistic guidelines in existence with respect to fairness, funding and research - most media outlets and even some documentaries fail this policy. If you don't think Frontline is just about as objective as it gets, you've got your head in the sand - and you're also missing out on an amazing body documentary work.

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                      • #12
                        Re: The Boogie Man: The Lee Atwater Story

                        Originally posted by El_Gringo_Grande View Post
                        I don't think there are any dems as good at it compared to Atwater or Rove. I am sure there are some that try.
                        That's because there aren't, or weren't. This is part of what makes Atwater such a fascinating character - he changed American politics, and he won elections. He was a weapon that the democratic party could never match. He was so good that Rove was able to use his playbook (and his own additions to the divide and conquer strategy) to get a very unlikely candidate - George Jr. - into office not once, but twice. Especially searing was the smear campaign they played against John McCain - not once, but twice. McCain sure is a fighter, and for him the third time was the charm, but his reluctant adoption of the Atwater playbook failed him. His advisor is in the Atwater film as well.

                        Who is that skinny bald guy always popping up on the Sunday talk shows? He has the skinny republican attack dog wife? He comes across as a bumbling idiot if you ask me and he is probably the best attack dog they have. His wife is much more effective than he is.
                        That's James Carville. I wouldn't call him a bumbling idiot, but he is one of the biggest liberal mouths out there (I believe he is retained by CNN as a political contributor). He and George Stephanopoulos engineered Clinton's 1992 campaign - except as noted in the Lee Atwater story, they did this after Atwater's death. Some think that if Atwater were alive and working for the Bush re-election, Clinton would have lost the race. Carville nad Stephanopoulous were in a very well done documentary on Clinton's '92 campaign called The War Room. I actually met the director, D.A. Pennebaker, and I remember him telling me that he originally set out to make a documentary on the then candidate and governor Bill Clinton, but found him too boring due to the fact that he was already acting like a candidate. So instead he made the documentary on his chief strategists. I think it worked out pretty well.

                        Carville's wife is Mary Matalin, who is also a political strategist and advisor, except she's a republican. As an advisor to Bush Sr., she was actually Carville's opposite in the 1992 election. She was also an advisor for Cheney up until 2003. Talk about an interesting marriage - Carville and Matalin are quite a pair.

                        Fascinating stories with these strategists. These are the people who frame up (both postive and negative) the candidates, and in some cases the presidents.

                        One of Obama's biggest strategists and advisors is David Axelrod, who is sortof an ad man. The New York Times did a pretty insightful expose on him about a month ago.

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