Return of the Boogey Man

Now showing at the E Street theater in downtown Washington: “Boogey Man: The Story of Lee Atwater.” If you want a real insight into the McCain campaign for president, don’t miss it.

Lee Atwater’s been dead since 1991, but his dirty campaign tricks live on in the person of his protégé, Karl Rove, and in the tactics employed by Steve Schmidt, Rove’s protégé, now John McCain’s campaign manager.

In 1988, Atwater ran Daddy Bush’s campaign against Michael Dukakis. Unable to beat Dukakis on the issues, they attacked him personally. They painted him as an “elitist” from Brookline, Mass. They lied about his voting against new weapons systems (In fact, Gov. Dukakis was never in Congress and could not have cast a vote against military expenditure.) And, of course, they accused Dukakis of being Willie Horton’s accomplice in murder.

Sound familiar? It should. Because, this year, Atwater-Rove-Schmidt are running the exact same campaign. They’ve painted Obama as an “elitist” from the South Side of Chicago. They’ve lied about his voting against funding for the troops. And they’ve even accused Obama of being accomplice to former Weatherman Bill Ayers — even though Obama was only 8 years old at the time.

It’s the dirtiest, most despicable campaign we’ve seen since — well, since Karl Rove used the same tactics against John McCain in South Carolina in 2000.

At that time, McCain said he’d never “take the low road to the highest office in the land.” But sadly, that was then, this is now.



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