Attack campaigns used to work, honest | Bleader

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Attack campaigns used to work, honest

Posted By on 10.21.08 at 03:35 PM

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If you want a better sense of where the McChaos campaign's frantic pinata politics strategy originates, the compelling-looking documentary Boogie Man: The Lee Atwater Story is screening three times this week as part of the Chicago International Film Festival. The difference between Atwater and Rick Davis, of course, is that Atwater 1) played on real fears (violence, antisemitism), not things that weird pundit robots pretend to be afraid of out of boredom (old pastors) 2) was a charismatic, bloodthirsty professional political operative and not an awkward lizard-faced lobbyist whose demeanor can best be described as "overwhelmed." Given some of the other fine, aesthetically ambitious offerings, it might make sense to save a Frontline-esque documentary for your living room, but it looks really good, and Atwater is one of the most important figures in modern political rhetoric and a fascinating man generally. See trailer below, as well as a bit from Bill Moyers on Atwater's late-life epiphany.

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