Film The National Debt and a National Asshole
posted by October 9 at 17:15 PMon
Hello, internet people! We have reviews of two very timely political documentaries up on the website right now.
First, Eli Sanders on the amoral whispers and Democratic schadenfreude of Boogie Man: The Lee Atwater Story:
Republican strategist Lee Atwater was responsible for launching Ronald Reagan’s 1980 presidential campaign in a town known mainly for murdering civil-rights workers, then throwing the race-baiting Willie Horton ad at Michael Dukakis in 1988, and throughout his career running all kinds of amoral whisper campaigns against Democrats (a favorite was the mental instability charge). Atwater’s protégé Karl Rove used the same playbook against John McCain in the Republican primary in South Carolina in 2000, derailing McCain’s candidacy amid false whispers about McCain having fathered a black child out of wedlock (and setting George W. Bush on the path to two terms as president).
Now, in one of the great ironies of modern presidential politics, John McCain and his chief strategist, Steve Schmidt, are desperately using Atwater-style tactics against Barack Obama, trying to combat sagging McCain poll numbers by suggesting Obama is a terrorist sympathizer and a dangerously unknown quantity (read: Manchurian Candidate). Schmidt, of course, is a Rove protégé—which makes him basically the grandson of Atwater and shows both how durable Republicans believe the Atwater magic to be and how out-of-new-ideas their party has become.
And second, Christopher Frizzelle on the, um, odd timing of hey-guys-I-think-something’s-fishy-with-the-economy exposé I.O.U.S.A.:
It’s premised on the assertion that no one (not the media, not average Americans) is thinking about/talking about/paying attention to the economy. With reference to the presidential election, one of the experts in I.O.U.S.A. opines, “The most important issue in this campaign is Iraq, but I think that [the economy] is the most important issue.” Hearing that now, when newspapers are daily publishing ski-jump-shaped charts about this or that economic trend, makes you long for, like, six months ago, when the producers of this movie thought they were going to have to fight for your attention.
Go see ‘em. Mmmmm, schadenfreude!