Lee Atwater, An Epic Cold And Other Sundry Things

I have obtained an epic cold. We were somewhat busy this week where I played surrogate at a political event early in the week and then made a new twitter acquaintance IRL. Received some very nice and kind news from a friend about transportation issues and other things that are important to me but probably won’t interest you much.

Yet a cold will chase you down, strangle you in its cold dark grip and kick your ass cheerfully. (Sidenote, my grandmother used to say “I could cheerfully choke so and so, which still makes me laugh to this day.) Of course this means I feel like dried, rotting roadkill.

So I’m stuck in a three block area until the car shows up (more on that later.)

Feeling like the famous fake wrestler I just made up, El Phlegmo Crappo, I stayed in yesterday bored and ailing so I watched documentaries as one is wont to do when a journey from the bed to the bathroom has to negotiated with great care and discomfort.

On Hulu right now, you can see one documentary that if you are a political junkie that will astound you on the political life, ascension and early death of Lee Atwater called Boogie Man: The Lee Atwater Story. It really is an eye-opening piece of work and you can see the tactics that he used then are still in play today as he expanded and rewrote the Southern Strategy for a new media world. Interviews range from Ed Rollins (who has a saucy mouth and was not always Atwater’s biggest fan) to Michael Dukakis are peppered with Atwater footage filmed through his time in the Reagan administration, his time as George Bush Sr.’s campaign manager and his brief stint as RNC chair.

Here’s the thing about Atwater, he just lied and did it with a smile on his face and his ability to play mainstream media at the time was legendary. I think one thing that is pointed out in this show from 2008 is that to him, it was all about winning and he knew much of it was a high stakes chess match. He was on top of the world and then his body literally said no more. A brain tumor killed him when he was 40.

I find looking at the history of how we got to the state of media and political posturing we see now very fascinating, and don’t doubt it, the man that wrote that road map was Lee Atwater.


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