Attempting to catch up with my DVR and showing what a true glutton for punishment I really am, I just finished watching the Frontline episode called “Boogie Man: The Lee Atwater Story (The Rise and Fall of the Charming, Machiavellian Godfather of Modern, Take-No-Prisoners Republican Political Campaigns)“ that aired earlier this week.
To be honest, the part of me that watched it with the proper “Oh my gosh, these people are so filled with hate of all things Republican that they cannot see straight” filter thought it was darn good. Without that filter the show was, of course, extremely maddening at times. Once again reinforcing why all funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting will the stopped very early in the first Ntrepid administration.
I guess the producers covered their backsides somewhat by slipping the word “modern” into the subtitle but the continued reinforcement throughout that Mr. Atwater was somehow breaking new ground in dirty politicking was just laughable. I kept thinking that maybe someone over at Frontline should read up on Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson or Vice President Thomas Jefferson or co-founder / leader of the Democratic-Republican Party Thomas Jefferson. (Note: It may be best not to include any writings on these topics authored by the subject himself.) Now, was Mr. Jefferson solely responsible for such muckraking in American presidential politics? No. But he was undoubtedly much more involved in the beginnings of the practice than Lee Atwater. To be more thorough, they could then follow up with additional searches on A. Hamilton and A. Burr. Once they have a good feel for the hardball of the late eighteenth century, they could bone up a little more by maybe studying…almost every presidential election since.
I did chuckle at the fact that we just recently experienced near mediawide salivating glee over the promotion of Rahm “Freddie Mac” Emanuel because of his hardball style of politics and now Frontline has the audacity to include such paragons of integrity as Terry “Global Crossing” McAuliffe in this documentary to sanctimoniously scoff at the tactics of Mr. Atwater.
In the end, the show was a good refresher on recent history and almost made me feel sorry for Mr. Dukakis. Almost.
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