'Boogie Man': still scary

Z ON TV

November 11, 2008|By DAVID ZURAWIK | DAVID ZURAWIK,david.zurawik@baltsun.com

Now that the election is over, you might think you've had enough of political TV. But, please, don't turn the page on TV and politics until you have seen Boogie Man: The Lee Atwater Story tonight on PBS. This finely crafted political biography dissects and explains the nastiness of U.S. politics during the past three decades like nothing I have read or viewed.

The late Atwater was a top-level Republican strategist and one-time chairman of the Republican National Committee. He was the architect of George H.W. Bush's presidential victory in 1988, and he trained a generation of Republicans such as Karl Rove in the dirtiest tricks imaginable.

This Frontline film nails down every claim it makes. It tracks down the South Carolina "journalist" whom Atwater used to plant false stories saying opponents had psychiatric problems or had fathered illegitimate children. His targets included Bill Clinton, and what he did to Michael Dukakis will make you seethe.

Don't miss this documentary. Atwater's tactics live on, and we will see them again - I guarantee it. (9 p.m., MPT-Channels 22 and 67) ****

LATE-NIGHT GUESTS Sen. John McCain visits The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Comedian Don Rickles appears on The Late Show with David Letterman.

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