Friday, October 10, 2008

Scary, Indeed

Republican political operative and former RNC chairman Lee Atwater may not have invented dirty campaign tactics, but he certainly pushed them to a repugnant new low, a low from which American politics has never recovered. (See: McCain/Palin 2008) With Strom Thurmond his mentor, Karl Rove his most famed disciple, and a greatest hits collection that includes the Willie Horton ad that put a severely Iran-Contra-damaged George Bush in office, the "Kitty Dukakis burned an American flag" story, a career of gay-, race- and religion-baiting, and ultimately leading W. to the governor's mansion of Texas (and beyond), a documentary about the life -- and excruciating death -- of Lee Atwater had the makings of a Greek tragedy, and Stefan Forbes' "Boogie Man: The Lee Atwater Story" does not disappoint. With fascinating newsreel footage and candid interviews with Ed Rollins, Howard Fineman, Mary Matalin, Terry McAuliffe, Michael and Kitty Dukakis, and Sam Donaldson, "Boogie Man" digs deep to try to figure out what could make a seemingly everyday guy so evil, twisted and utterly remorseless in his desire to win. (Some of the answers are as heartbreaking as they are disturbing.) 

The film just opened nationally (click HERE to see if it's in your city). If not, you can pre-order the DVD HERE. The far-right New York Post gave this award-winning film 1 star, but something the reviewer had to say was almost a perfect metaphor for everything that was wrong with Atwater in his heyday: Kyle Smith wrote: Howard Fineman of Newsweek ... says, "Life gets even with you in the end," an ugly comment that sounds like the liberal equivalent of calling AIDS God's punishment for gays. Sure it does, Kyle. Because two men having a consensual relationship is exactly the same thing as knowingly and willfully (and GLEEFULLY!!!) destroying people's lives and reputations for one's own personal gain. In the end, Kyle, even Atwater admitted this was not at all the case. I can't recommend this film enough. 

Watch the trailer here:


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