Boogie Man ~ The Lee Atwater Story

  1. What historic information did you learn from this film?

This was an interesting film that has a lot to offer about the political history of America over the last few decades. It tells us about the 1980’s when the use of media had been introduced to the American political campaigns. This film has rich knowledge about the power struggle between the two main parties i.e. Democratic and Republican and the means they use to get themselves to the white house. The film also tells us about the use of election campaign managers and how they are able to control the campaign and manipulate the presidential candidates.

  1. Former Atwater Intern Tucker says, “You cannot understand American Politics if you don’t understand Lee Atwater.”
  2. a.Do you agree and why?

This is true about the recent politics in the US over the last few decades. I think that we cannot generalize it to the history of American politics. Also I would say that Lee Atwater has been a person representing the Republicans who have a totally different attitude towards politics than Democrats. So therefore, I would like to conclude that Atwater can help us understand better the Republican politics but not the Democratic politics.

  1. What adjectives describe Atwater?

Atwater has been a selfish person who would cross any limit to get has candidate the desires election results. Especially in the case of Dukakis, he has shown a low character and have been very dismissive of facts. I would say that he was a compulsive liar who considered negative tactics to be his rights. He did not took into account the implications of his actions in the political arena.

  1. Do you think Lee Atwater was anti-establishment?

I do not think that Lee Atwater was antiestablishment. I think that he might have tried to give this impression just to get into the limelight. He served under Bush senior who was really close to the establishment in my opinion. I think that due to Lee being from a non-elite background, the establishment might have shown resentment to get him on their side. Also Lee had a desire to be a part of the establishment.

  1. What did Lee Atwater learn that the Democrats have not?

Lee Atwater learned that it is of no use to be fair to the people and always talk about the serious issues that need to be addressed and impacted the general public greatly. He thought that he would fabricate issues and use the print and electronic media to create a fear in the hearts and minds of the American people. He knew to change the direction of the election from issues to non-issues which the Republicans are good at.

  1. Robert Novac states, “Democrats are sincere. While Republicans tend to be people who don’t believe in anything” Do you think this is true?

This is a greatly exaggerated statement. I do think that Democrats have a better understanding of the issues that people face than the Republicans but I don’t think that Republican are not sincere. These kinds of discussions are used by both parties to win the sympathies of the people by portraying themselves as patriotic and the others not that patriotic.

  1. Mary Matalin stated, “When you have a talent as deep as Atwater’s and Carl Rove’s…losing the battle is not losing the war, and they don’t go away.

I would respectfully disagree with this statement. I think that people like Atwater are selfish and may be capable of changing their sides in the midst of the battle. I think that it is the quality of over ambitious people to focus on their personal goals rather than collective goals. These people are treated as dispensable even by the people they have served just like Lee Atwater had become useless for the Republican when he was of no use to them. The republicans always had doubts about him.

  1. Do you believe that Lee Atwater’s techniques were used in the recent Donald Trump Campaign?

I do think that the techniques of Lee Atwater were used in the Donald Trump’s Campaign. Atwater used to create doubts about the personalities of his opponents while Donald Trump did the same by portraying his opponent to be a monster. Donald Trump also used fear factors by convincing the white majority that their independence is under threat and they need to rise up and vote for their supremacy. Donald Trump, just like Atwater had been presenting opinions as facts.

  1. Research Willie Horton and explain how he was used in the 1988 campaign.

As the governor of Massachusetts, Michael Dukakis had supported a move to allow the prisoner with high degree charges to go out on weekend payrolls. Willie Horton was an inmate who had stabbed a person more than 10 times and murdered. He was in the jail as he was sentenced to life in prison. He took advantage of the weekend payroll and got out and committed a rape.

In 1988, Michael Dukakis was the presidential nominee by the Democrats while George Bush was nominated by the Republican Party. Lee Atwater used  the case of Willie Horton against Dukakis who was 8 points ahead of George Bush and turned everything upside down resulting Bush to win the presidential elections. Dukakis was portrayed as a person who did not believe in strict punishment which could endanger the lives of innocent people.

  1. Describe the two ads used for Willie Horton.

The two ads used were called “Weekend Passes” and “Revolving Doors”. Both of these ads revolved around the theme of allowing Horton to get out of the jail and committing a serious crime again. The weekend pass ad used Horton as an example of a person who should not have been allowed to come out of the jail at any cost. While in the revolving doors, Horton was not named but was shown to be using a revolving door and looking at the camera.

  1. Do you believe the Ads were intentionally racist with the specific use of a Black Man?

Thought I do not think that Lee Atwater was a racist, I would call him an opportunist, the ads was intentionally made racist featuring a black person. I think that with this ad the white people were convinced that there existed two groups in America, one was them and the other was the Blacks and other minorities. George bush was portrayed to be on their side while Dukakis was portrayed to be on the side of the Black and other minorities.

The Apology

  1. “In 1988,” Mr. Atwater said, “fighting Dukakis, I said that I ‘would strip the bark off the little bastard’ and ‘make Willie Horton his running mate.’ I am sorry for both statements: the first for its naked cruelty, the second because it makes me sound racist, which I am not.” Reputation as ‘Ugly Campaigner’
  2. Do you believe Lee Atwater was sorry?

I think that Lee Atwater was not sorry, he was afraid as he had started to believe I spirituality and wanted the people he had hurt to forgive him. I think that if given another chance, he would do the same that he did at the first place.

  1. Do you believe Ed Rollins’ story about the Bible being wrapped in cellophane negates Lee Atwater’s apology?

I think that the story might have been fabricated as Lee had started to believe and was afraid. He would definitely have consulted religion in a situation where he was fighting death.

  1. Why Did Howard University Students refuse to let Lee Atwater sit on the Board of Trustees?

The Howard University Students had refused to let Lee Atwater sit on the Board of Trustees because they thought that he was against the values of equality. The considered him to be a hate preachers who would use racial issues for personal gains.