This is a reflection paper on ‘Boogie Man: The Lee Atwater Story,” a documentary on the man who changed campaigning in America. Keep in mind that Atwater went after both Republicans and Democrats with equal vigor. Winning was the goal –– at any cost. Was the cost too high? Recall that Atwater’s lies cost many politicians their political careers when the media failed to do adequate fact checking.
- Along with your own reflections–thoughts, comments, conclusions, assessments, observations––include commentary on these issues:
Should there be campaign laws that demand truthful campaigning?
Should the media be held accountable for failure to fact check on what it reports?
- Was Atwater ‘Machiavellian’ in the ‘truest sense,’ as was said at his funeral? Why or why not? This requires a definition of ‘Machiavellian,’ which you may need to look up.
On the subject of being prepared to vote upon the age of 18, should there be more emphasis on K-12 education regarding elections so that voters will not be fooled by tactics such as negative ads (ie: Atwater’s slamming Governor Dukakis for his voting record in Congress – where he never served a single day in office)
Even though Atwater died years ago, his protégé, Karl Rove, continues the Atwater legacy – including the ‘push poll.’ Considering what you saw, and what you think about the film as both a citizen and a voter (or possible future voter), offer commentary on the various people who were interviewed:
Did you think their comments were valid and accurate?
Who among those interviewed best characterized Atwater? You must include a response to this in your answer.
Finally, do you believe that Atwater was sincere in repenting for his ‘political sins’ when he wrote contrite (apologetic) articles for newspapers/magazines and sent apology letters to those he had wronged? Why or why not? You must include a response to this in your answer.
Had he recovered from his brain tumor and lived to a ripe old age, would Atwater have gone back to his old dirty dealing ways or would he have changed his ways? Why or why not? You must include a response to this in your answer.