The strange and still unsolved case of George Wallace
The broke, diary-writing loner with money to spare
On this day in 1972, presidential candidate George Wallace was shot by an ultra-mobile “lone nut” who apparently had limitless amounts of cash.
No one talks about the attempted assassination of George Wallace.
First of all, he survived. Second, he was not a terribly sympathetic figure.
He was running against Richard Nixon and was at least the third candidate to run against him who happened to be shot.
The others, of course, were John Kennedy who beat him, and Robert Kennedy who was on the road to doing the same. Martin Luther King, a political opponent of Nixon’s, also ended up being shot by a strange “loner” around the same time.
Some interesting things about the Wallace shooting:
1. Based on nothing, Nixon immediately blamed “leftists” for the shooting, though it was quickly determined that Bremer was a “loner” – sort of.
2. Like so many “lone nuts,” right before the shooting he took the time to start and keep a regular diary, which he conveniently left as evidence in his car (shades of 9/11 hijackers!).
3. Like dead-broke James Earl Ray who shot King, and Mark David Chapman who shot John Lennon, Arthur Bremer roamed the country at will, eating in restaurants, staying in hotels, buying firearms – and like Chapman stayed at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, which then, even more than now, was a fabulously expensive place.
What are the odds?
Something not part of the public story…
According to E. Howard Hunt’s autobiography right after the shooting Nixon ordered him (through Charles Colson) to break into Bremer’s apartment to see if there were any documents linking the GOP to the attempted hit. Hunt reluctantly agreed, but the operation was called off.
Then James Rowley, head of the Secret Service, ordered one of his Milwaukee agents to break into Bremer’s apartment. This was before the FBI was able to get in. They were waiting for a search warrant. (Remember those quaint old days?)
The Secret Service took documents from the apartment. When the FBI finally got in, they found literature from the Black Panther Party (shades of Micah Xavier Johnson!) and the American Civil Liberties Union.
Then – are you ready for this? – they left the apartment unsealed as a crime scene and in walked random reporters who walked off with documents. (Shades of Dallas and San Bernardino.)
Guess what they found?
Documents that purportedly showed that Bremer was a member of the Young Democrats of Milwaukee!
The diary – a project in which the non-literary shooter apparently started to provide evidence against himself – said he was hoping to shoot either Nixon or Wallace. Uh-huh. Right.
In a detailed analysis of the 137-page document, Gore Vidal suggested that the diary was in fact written by E. Howard Hunt.
Martha Mitchell, the famous “loose cannon” wife of one of Nixon’s henchmen John N. Mitchell, visited Wallace and told him that her husband had confessed that Charles Colson had a meeting with Arthur Bremer four days before the assassination attempt.
On another note, the work of John N. Mitchell lives on:
Mitchell devised a type of revenue bond called a “moral obligation bond” while serving as bond counsel to New York’s Governor Nelson Rockefeller in the 1960s. In an effort to get around the voter approval process for increasing state and municipal borrower limits, Mitchell attached language to the offerings that were able to communicate the state’s intent to meet the bond payments while not placing it under a legal obligation to do so. Mitchell did not dispute, when asked in an interview, if the intent of such language was to create a “form of political elitism that bypasses the voter’s right to a referendum or an initiative.”
Many billions, possibly trillions, of dollars worth of fraudulent municipal bonds have been issued using this scheme. When the chickens come home to roost on this one someday – and they will – you’ll know who got it started.
One thing for sure: We don’t live in a dull country.