Review of Get Me Roger Stone
Netflix Original Documentary on Infamous and Influential Political Insider
“I revel in your hatred, because if I weren’t effective, you wouldn’t hate me.”
If ever a set of closing lines summarized a film so well as these, I am not aware of them. Get Me Roger Stone is a 2017 documentary which focuses on the personal and professional history of Roger Stone, a political advisor and lobbyist for the Republican Party since the presidency of Richard Nixon. It is, in some sense, objectively loathsome, an image crafted intentionally not by the director, but by Stone himself.
The documentary follows the life and work of Stone from his connections with the Watergate scandal to the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States.
It is this last connection which the film focuses on the most, as it follows Stone from the Republican primaries through Trump’s upset victory last November. Throughout the film, interviews of Stone from various milestones for the Trump campaign are used to compose a chronological picture of his influence on the Trump presidency.
The documentary reveals that Stone’s impact on Trump dates back to 1988, when the political insider first began encouraging the real-estate mogul to run for office. When Trump finally announced his candidacy in 2015, Stone served as a campaign advisor.
Stone’s role in the Trump campaign did not last until the election. In August of 2015, Stone and the Trump campaign parted ways. Trump states that he fired Stone; Stone insists that he quit. Regardless, Stone continued to vocally support Trump throughout the election season in his signature abrasive manner.
In addition to describing the life of Roger Stone, this documentary discusses the rise of political action committees—a phenomenon which the film argues is closely linked to Stone.
Black, Manafort, and Stone is the connection. A political consulting group which Stone helped found to support the 1980 Ronald Reagan campaign, Black, Manafort, and Stone changed the political climate of the United States.
For one, it was Stone who recognized the “Reagan Democrat,” middle-aged, white-collar Catholic voters who would help hand Reagan his first presidential election. More importantly, the film suggests that Black, Manafort, and Stone became the first political consulting group to serve the President both during his campaign and his term.
The film argues that such a role is the cause of the increased strength of lobbying corporations. A group who, following the example of Black, Manafort, and Stone, secures an election has considerable influence on an administration if they continue to serve after the victory.
As Stone’s career continued, his work with political consulting began to take on more of the “negative campaigning” which Americans are now so familiar with.
Admitting so himself, Stone sees nothing wrong with “playing dirty” for a political victory. For example, throughout the Trump campaign, he published a book criticizing Hillary Clinton for her actions regarding her husband’s affairs, and selling t-shirts with the word “rape” printed beneath a bust of former President Bill Clinton.
For those who are interested in the history of the modern American political system, Get Me Roger Stone is a much watch documentary. Although jarring and uncomfortable at times, the documentary provides unique insight into the various political figures connected with the Trump presidency.
Evan Holguin is a rising senior in the Program of Liberal Studies with a minor in philosophy. During his time studying abroad in Rome, he discovered a love for podcasts and Netflix documentaries. You can send him suggestions at firstname.lastname@example.org.