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Thursday, October 9, 2008

The National Debt and a National Asshole

posted by on October 9 at 17:15 PM

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.

Read the whole thing. It’s great, and it involves boiling oil. Showtimes here.

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.

Showtimes here.

Go see ‘em. Mmmmm, schadenfreude!

RSS icon Comments

Posted by Cookie W. Monster | October 9, 2008 5:22 PM

old bush there's got some pretty smooth thighs. he always seemed like a bottom to me.

Posted by Super Jesse | October 9, 2008 5:31 PM

I grew up in Columbia SC with the Atwater family. His little sister Anne was one of my best friends, and Alma, his mom, was my Spanish teacher. Lee played the lead role in Bye Bye Birdie in the High School play. I never knew about the burning oil story though.... All the girls crushed on Lee in his gold lame pants playing Birdie in the play........... funny. Not.

Posted by M | October 9, 2008 5:59 PM

IOUSA is good.

Posted by Phoebe | October 10, 2008 3:41 AM

I guess it's what I've said before. The first Bush was diablic, which explains his spawn. The real shock is how unprepared the Dems were for so many years. The more time goes by the more I'm reminded of ancient Rome. After all, our forefathers did style this government after that empire. In those times, politics were nasty and it was even more about the differences between rich and poor. But all in all, it's a better system than fighting in the streets. The fight now is mostly rhetorical and you'd better stay caught up or you're doomed. It's also helpful to realize the the people want to know how much you really want the job.

Posted by Vince | October 10, 2008 7:49 AM

Perhaps the most compelling aspect of schadenfreude vis a vis Atwater is the fact he died of a grade 3 astrocytoma, an usually aggressive form of malignant neoplasm, in his right parietal lobe.

That means a withering, horrible and hopeless brain cancer.

Karma is a possibility people; something to keep in mind.

Posted by Jubilation T. Cornball | October 10, 2008 7:56 AM

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