The Dirty South

Friday, November 07, 2008


Lee Atwater became one of the most complicated and successful Republican political operatives in history by employing a triple threat; spin when you can, change the subject when you can’t and if all else fails – mine the voters’ resentment, and fear, usually of blacks. Stefan Forbes, director of Boogie Man: The Lee Atwater Story, explains the dark legacy of Atwater’s Southern strategy.

Comments [10]

Azeem from Queens, NY

I think the documentary speaks for itself:

And keep in mind republicans opened up on this one i.e. a Mccain campaign strategist.

Nov. 14 2008 02:22 AM
Chris Gray from New Haven, CT

Oops, I'm dancing on another grave!

Nov. 14 2008 02:18 AM
Chris Gray from New Haven, CT

Hey, Lou, those would be tears of mourning for the victims of Horton and other furloughed criminals and spit in contempt for someone who would so cynically exploit them to support his candidate in that election.

That candidate was, in my opinion (my opinion having even been shared with the principle at his diner table by one of his distant relatives, as she reported to me), a Presidential assassin and a disloyal political operative of that murder’s prime beneficiary, Dick Nixon, known to history as Deep Throat. Bush 41, again in my opinion, was the author of not only the concept of “plausible deniability” but a practitioner of the even more insidious idea of “plausible culpability” which are where that other Lee (Oswald) and W. Mark Felt came in.

As I’m sure I have written here before, I have serious doubts about Woodward’s, Bernstein’s and Bradley’s confirmation; too much of their careers’ future depended on keeping their promises to the real Throat. Heck, Bradley even denied knowledge of JFK’s advances on his wife, so his credibility was already suspect.

Nov. 14 2008 02:11 AM
blackbelt_jones from Ubuntu

Only conservatives would complain that Lee Atwater, of all people, isn't being treated fairly. And only liberals would actually care about treating Lee Atwater fairly.

I saw the last half of the film on Frontline, and it was pretty good. One thing it makes clear about Atwater himself is that he was absolutely not a racist, regardless of whatever fear and loathing the Bush '88 campaigning may have exploited. Atwater is portrayed as likeable and human, and his sudden decline is portrayed with total empathy.

If you're old enough to remember, the Bush 88 campaign definitely changed politics in a lasting and ugly way, but was it really "the most racist presidential campaign in 150 years"? That's way too much to toss off as a given.

Nov. 13 2008 01:37 PM
lou from Boston

**I might regret leaving bodily fluids there.**


Nov. 12 2008 09:04 PM
Chris Gray from New Haven, CT

You know, the only grave I have ever literally danced on was Longfellow's back when I was in school in Boston and that was a celebration of his life and talent! Atwater's grave is something I would treat quite differently, though hearing that he apologized to Horton (who did not really deserve that) I might regret leaving bodily fluids there.

Of course, I've done much that I regret.

Nov. 12 2008 03:27 PM
Lou G from Boston about dancing on a guys grave....I thought this interview was seriously tilted....

While the writer had contempt for Lee Atwater...I thought Brooke's interview barely hid her disdain for atwater as well. What was this an interview? A discussion of the book? ..or just a bash session.

Second, I am tired of hearing how the "Willie Horton ad" was "racist".

The ad was simply showing the facts of what happened in Massachusetts. Dukakis was pro furloughs...and made no bones about it. Willie Horton got out on a furlough and comitted more crimes.

The ad does nothing but tell the public in :60 seconds what happened under Dukakis' governorship...and what his position is.

It doesn't matter that Willie Horton was black, white or purple.

Dukakis fought to keep furloughs available for murderers even in spite of public opinion. It eventually took a referendum vote to stop it.

Thats a fact...and that's what Lee Atwater pointed out.

Nov. 11 2008 10:15 PM
Valentine Nwanze from Dallas, Tx

In all the years listening to this show on KERA and then online, this has to be one of the most compelling segments i've heard. Although I had read that Atwater had preceded Rove, I don't think books like The Right Nation have done what your guest commentator has done here in unveiling in profile the unprojected temperament behind fellas like Rove and Atwater. Watching a similar piece on Bill Moyers Journal about the largest lobbyist scandal of the last decade, involving Abramovich, Tom Delay, Ralph Reed etc...The piece similarly unfurls their plain dispositions which are clearly not centrally ideological but rather manipulative of it, in pursuit of either the money and or power they wished to attain and not relinquish. For those like Rove it seemingly had neither lure, but rather that of sport; just a mere compulsion for the political lust of a challenge.

Nov. 10 2008 02:15 AM
Matt from Arlington, Virginia

I think this should become a regular segment on OTM. Right before Bob begrudgingly informs us that the show is "edited by Brooke" OTM should announce a name of a deceased person that will be labeled a racist for participating in politics. No one will ever lodge a complaint, they are deceased anyways, and OTM can have the last word on any political campaign it wants. Just send the RNC a list of political campaigns that you do not approve of and we can get this new exciting segment rolling!

Nov. 09 2008 08:11 PM
Sherman L. Greene from Manhattan

This is one of the best segments (maybe THE best) you've ever aired. Stefan Forbes is terrific.

Nov. 09 2008 01:50 PM

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