One of the stark lessons of Stefan Forbes’ riveting documentary of the life of Lee Atwater, Boogie Man, which aired last night in Fargo on PBS' Frontline, was that the era of the Cliff Notes-loving media didn't begin with George W. Bush and Karl Rove and the Dancin' Daves [“backup dancer” David Gregory—the iconic statement of everything that is the incestuous life of the Village].
Watching the rise and demise of the master of Republican dirty tricks as he built his resume on lie after lie was demoralizing indeed. Spokesperson after spokesperson—folks like Sam Donaldson, Tucker Eskew, Mary Matalin, Ed Rollins, Robert Novak—rationalized those lies in an tone of “politics ain’t beanbag,” as if the fact that he could sweet-talk the media into not checking into his audacious b.s. was something to be lauded.
It says a lot about Atwater that he got away with it. It says even more about the sorry state of the media that they let him. Hell, they enabled him.
They're still doing it.
Seeing younger versions of Karl Rove and Grover Norquist hovering in the wings of the stage Atwater played on, we're warned that the vipers known as College Republicans are still goin' strong. They may have lost this round, but they're regrouping and preparing for the next election. It's a testament to the political skills of Barack Obama and his team and the organizational skills of Howard Dean and his 50-State Strategy that Democrats prevailed against the Republicans and their enablers in the media.
It comes of this: when you merely sit and serve as a vessel for a politician to spout off "factiness" without correcting the record then you are in fact serving as a tool/pawn/shill of a politician or a political agenda.
Yep, Sit! Wolfie, today I'm talkin' about you and that "interview" with Sarah Palin—the hockey mom turned governor who is fit neither to govern nor to parent. Earlier this week, Matt Lauer provided yet another opportunity to pimp Piper by Gypsy Mom who apparently didn't think that thar book-larnin' was any more important for her kids than herself while she was off gallivantin' with John and Cindy and giving pfffft to her children's education. Not to be outdone, Greta Van Susteren added her own Foxy-loxy love fest to the mix.
A role model to lead the Republican Party? Anjelica Huston's Grifters mom more like.
But the media like process, we're told. They liked seein' Atwater slam Dukakis with race-bating strokes...hey if he didn't like that Willie Horton/weekend passes smear campaign, he shoulda fought back.
Yeah, he shoulda.
Shoulda said the weekend passes were modeled on another state, another governor. Name o'Reagan. And now the adopted son of Ronald Reagan, Michael, adopts the Atwater School, right along with the likes of Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity and Bill O'Reilly and lets the hate times roll.... Because the Republicans can't govern, can't win on policy, so they play divide and conquer...only not this year.
But that doesn't mean they won't come right back again, hoping for a weaker opponent next time. And they know they can count on the media to go along to get along, 'cause you gotta get the story, even if it's a lie, doncha know.
And the biggest lie of all was the life of Lee Atwater. This hyper Southern skell was all surface and show and no soul. Even his protestation at the end that he was going to go with any religion just in case was as phony as the man. The Bush family retainer who was never really going to be part of the family was himself a useful tool...and that's the denial the folks who remain don't ever want to face.
Matalin, Rove, the other political operatives, willingly compliant Cliff Notes journalists, you've all been useful tools to advance the Bush family agenda. You just haven't been one of the family.
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