Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Boogie Man

ANYONE WHO watched the documentary, Boogie Man,  about the late Lee Atwater last night on Frontline could not have escaped the creepy feeling that Atwaterism attempted to take another bow  in Republican presidential politics this year.   Atwater was a ruthless South Carolinian guitar picker bred under the wing of Strom Thurmond who went on to being a Rasputin-like advisor to Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. ( So far, more than acceptable career choices if you are a Republican on the way up.)   On the other hand he will also be remembered as a hyperactive dirty-tricks hit man who lowered the bar below sea level to destroy political opponents. Not that it set him back in his party.  He went on to be promoted to GOP national chairman.

Atwater was one of the guys who made convicted murderer  Willie Horton a household word in the Bush campaign, assailing Dukakis for allowing a weekend pass from prison for Horton that led to more unspeakable crimes. That one finished the Democratic candidate - a TV commercial that  looked awfully racially tuned.  He also spread the lies that Dukakis was  treated for mental health problems and that his wife  had burned an Amercan flag.   There was more wretched political behavior that has earned Atwater a deserved reference when political con jobs are on the table.  But you get the point.

The  avalanche of mud aimed at Barack Obama in this year's campaign would have to challenge Atwater's firm hold on his party's Gold Medal.  But it didn't work this time.  The media - you know, the liberal  media that slept through three Bush campaigns - wasn't suckered this time, no matter what was said about the Democratic candidate.  The Internet and cable, the biggest gorillas in the room , became the voice-over for exposing political fakery.  In today's media environment, it's quite likely that Atwater would never have had a chance.  All-pro conniver Karl Rove, an admirer of Atwater, couldn't even  claim a bronze medal.    

No comments: