Chainsaw History - Part Three: George Wallace Sure Was Sorry About All That Racism, Y'All

Episode Date: September 1, 2021

Jamie & Bambi conclude the story of former Alabama governor George Wallace from the day he was shot and paralyzed by would-be assassin Arthur Bremer. Learn more and support our podcast over on Pat...reon!

Discussion (0)
Starting point is 00:00:00 Change along the street. But it has a pouch in it and a spout so you can literally like pour wine straight from the bag. Put wine on tap is what you're saying. Yes. Okay, gotcha. Not just wine. You can put any beverage you would like in.
Starting point is 00:00:28 This is the, you know, the alcoholic on the go's best friend. I know and I'm not going to Dragon Con this year and it would have been perfect. No, well, but speaking of emergency room visits, our story starts with one today. But first let's introduce our little show. This is Chainsaw History, the history podcast where we take people admired by many and we talk shit about them for an hour or so. But in this case, we're talking about George Wallace. And he has it coming.
Starting point is 00:01:01 Who the many he's admired by can go fuck themselves. Well, there's a lot of people, well, it's a thing. As you get to the end of this, you'll have a better understanding of why there are so many Wallace apologists out there. Because you know, he did do a lot of work on rehabilitating his image. But not because he's a good person. Oh, no. At least not in my opinion.
Starting point is 00:01:25 It's one of those things that the our listeners can weigh in on because there's this whole wallet, like I said, there's a Wallace apology and image rehabilitation tour he goes on and whether how much of that is sincere and how much of that is completely cynical and self serving. It's just that's up to, you know, your individual interpretation. But before we get started, I do want to quickly plug our newly functional Patreon. You can now directly support what we're doing here at slash chainsaw history, where we will not only have all our regular episodes, but bonus content.
Starting point is 00:01:58 And over the next week or so, I'm going to be uploading everything that we've already done and get it all well represented there. And so we can focus on putting more cool stuff on as we go forward. So basically, if you like what we're doing here and want us to do more of it, you can pay us like an actual money to do it. But for now, let's get this party started. This is George Wallace part three. Don't worry, only two more George Wallace episodes to go.
Starting point is 00:02:25 I will shoot you. I swear to God. That is a joke. This is it. I will shoot you just like that fucking guy shot George. We'll do an entire episode where he's just like laying in bed shitting himself. All right, let's set the stage. Back in 2014, the Rock Island auction company in Illinois put up a historical collectible
Starting point is 00:02:47 for sale, a five shot snub nose 38 revolver. The company described the gun this way, quote, very fine, minor edge and high spot where with some scratches and scrapes on the side of the cylinder where it hit the ground when it was wrestled away, a very unique and somewhat infamous historic revolver, unquote, this gun and the man who once held it arguably changed the course of American history. Whoever the hell bought the gun at this auction agreed because it sold. It was like in the in the 1970s, this gun originally sold for less than a hundred bucks. In 2014, it auctioned off for twenty eight thousand seven hundred and fifty dollars.
Starting point is 00:03:27 Nice. That's quite that's quite a markup. Police leadership in the area had no idea the gun had been transferred to private hands and then auctioned. So the cops in Maryland started fighting to get possession of the gun back legally, quote, this item of evidence has historic significance not only to the police department, but to our nation's history, unquote, Captain Mark Alexander was quoted by the Washington Post. The pistol, of course, was the one that almost killed Alabama Governor George Wallace and
Starting point is 00:03:56 instead put him in a wheelchair for the rest of his life. So somebody thought it was worth nearly 30 grand, like like a year's salary for many people just to own this pistol that shot Wallace, well, who knows what this people have money and priorities. I mean, it's like, I guess I'd just be interested to know what their motivation was, like, were they a Wallace fan? Are they just a history thing? Are they fascinated with like assassins and murder?
Starting point is 00:04:22 I mean, there's a true crime, like there's a whole lot of ways it could go. So I'm not going to judge the rich person too harshly, even though just like paying a bunch of money for just some weird artifact, I don't know how to feel about that seems like there could be much, much better uses for like twenty eight K than owning a gun, but whatever. Oh, absolutely. This is our third and final, I promise episode on George Wallace and I'll let one forest gump catch us up to where we left off a few years later, that angry little man at the
Starting point is 00:05:02 schoolhouse door thought it'd be a good idea and ran for president. But somebody thought that it wasn't, but he didn't die. I remember when that happened and Wallace got shot, but he didn't die much to the disappointment of many. Much of the disappointment of the guy who's trying to kill him. So I hinted about this last episode, but George Wallace was quite aware that he walked around with a target on his back. He knew he was a controversial figure in an era which controversial figures kept getting
Starting point is 00:05:35 shot. JFK, RFK, MLK. Good news is Wallace had no K's going on. I mean, the KKK, yeah, he was three of them had a lot of fans and there, that's for sure. He'd already inspired violence against others with his words and he talked about possible assassination attempts while out on the campaign trail. The amazing irony about the Wallace shooting on May 15, 1972 was that his would-be murderer didn't care any more about George's politics and messaging than George did himself.
Starting point is 00:06:05 They both did it for the same reason. Attention. That is so sad and so gross. So let's continue our break from talking about Wallace and instead focus on a guy named Arthur Bremer. From the modern hellscape we currently live in, we most of us know what an incel is, an involuntary celibate. But unlike, say, an Elliot Roger, Bremer did not take his frustration and rage out on women.
Starting point is 00:06:33 He was an unremarkable loner in his early years and he claimed, probably accurately, that no one ever noticed me or took an interest in me. He was terrible at conversation, had a weird laugh, and generally creeped people out. At one point, he was demoted from his high school job as a busboy in an athletic club and asked to work in the kitchen because customers complained about Bremer muttering to himself. So you're trying to eat your pricey dinner at the club and then some weirdo busboy. Yeah, I'm gonna fucking kill them all. I'm gonna shoot them.
Starting point is 00:07:03 Who knows what he was saying or what he was talking about, but that's kind of unsettling. Sounds like the poor guy needed some meds. Well, yeah, I mean, very clearly he was disturbed and also just, you know, he was, and it's very, you know, possibly, you know, could have been neuro atypical. He didn't interface well with other people. So Bambi, I'm gonna show you the mugshot of Arthur Herman Bremer and I'd like you to describe him for our audience. So if you look at your phone for a second and see if you can get a look at this guy,
Starting point is 00:07:38 this is the face of our cold-blooded killer, the right after he got arrested. That kind of tracks. He weirdly looks like if Ted Bundy and the Golden State Killer had a baby. Yeah, he's got that kind of soft gym glasses, kind of wavy blonde hair. I mean, if you had to like put him in a lineup with some people from the 70s and say, pick which one's gonna be a murderer, I might have picked that dude. Bremer had precisely one attempt at a relationship with a woman. According to David Montgomery of the Washington Post, quote, when he finally got a girlfriend,
Starting point is 00:08:16 she was 16, he was 21. Soon his quirky, intense behavior became too much for her. She later told reporters she was embarrassed by the way he yelled and stamped his feet at a blood, sweat, and tears concert. She broke up with him. Bremer was devastated. He shaved his head to get her attention and considered suicide, he wrote in his diary, unquote.
Starting point is 00:08:37 This teenage girl dates a 21 year old guy. He's a weirdo embarrassing her at a concert and she's done with it. And then he shaves his head as part of his bid to get her to win her back because that always works. I mean, how many times, how many, I mean, who among us hasn't shaved our head to win back the affection of a loved one? The Britney Spears school of having a breakdown. You know what?
Starting point is 00:09:08 Except she stopped. She stopped with this. You and Britney alone, motherfucker, we'll throw down. You know how I feel about Britney Spears. It seems this is the rejection that set him down a dark path. In January of 1972, he quit his job, bought a 38, and sometime in the spring, he opened his diary and wrote the following, No, I start my diary of my personal plot to kill by pistol either Richard Nixon or George Wallace.
Starting point is 00:09:36 How will the news associations describe me? An unemployed painter, an unemployed part-time busboy, a college still can't spell it, dropout. I have it. An unemployed malcontent who fancies himself a writer, unquote. That's straight from his lunatic diary. He was keeping this whole time. Oh, fuck. So really what you're saying is he should have gone after Nixon.
Starting point is 00:10:00 Well, Nixon, here's the here's the thing. Who Brimmer killed was less important than the chance to succeed. His first choice was actually Nixon, who he stalked for weeks before deciding security would never allow him to get a close enough shot. And he had, he's a self-confessed lousy shot, like in his diary, he mentions putting up a paper target standing 50 feet away and he couldn't hit it for shit. He was well aware that he was not great at this and he needed to get really close if he was going to actually shoot anybody.
Starting point is 00:10:30 So in Nixon's security, like the Secret Service was not interested in letting anybody just walk right up to him. Yeah. He entertained the idea of going after George McGovern, but ultimately settled on Wallace as the ideal victim as time went on. On March 23rd, Brimmer attended his first Wallace rally in Milwaukee, then made his way to New York City for another in April. And then so it's like, at this time, he wasn't actually like actively trying to kill him.
Starting point is 00:10:57 He was just in the kind of predator stalking stage, just trying to see how things were going, scope out his target and et cetera. And on May 4th, he declared to his diary that George would have the honor of being Brimmer's target. After that, Brimmer kept going to every Wallace rally he could get to. He wrote in his diary that he would have shot through the glass window in Kalamazoo, Michigan, but he was afraid he might injure some teenage girls because in his weird head, he's like a hero.
Starting point is 00:11:25 He's not out to hurt anybody except his intended target. You know what? He doesn't want to hurt girls. He's all about shooting George Wallace and Nixon, so far I'm for him. You might be a psychotic, weird little dude, but you know what? At least you're trying to direct your anger and hatred and psychotic tendencies for good. Well sort of. So far, I'm more about this guy than I am George Wallace.
Starting point is 00:11:49 Except that he doesn't actually care about the fact that these people are evil. He only cares that they're famous and that killing them would make him famous. Well, whatever, Jamie, you can't have everything. Alright, Farron, he's the hero you needed today. Whatever, you know, this poor, autistic, psychotic kid that obviously needed help. Most of these fuckers go out and kill women. He was just like, I want to kill him, Nixon or George Wallace. So far, I'm like, you know what?
Starting point is 00:12:23 He might not have been able to look at a woman directly enough to shoot her. But like I said, he wasn't interested. Like I said, he wasn't angry at women, he was sort of angry at the world. Like his diary really paints a picture like the world passed him by and didn't give him the attention. So it wasn't focused on that and that's why the idea was to punish the world, to take out somebody important and put his name out there, you know, that he wouldn't matter. But on May 14th, Brimmer made his way back to Maryland for the final time.
Starting point is 00:12:50 The next day, he was photographed at the first rally in Wheaton, Maryland, wearing red, white and blue and sported a Wallace in 72 button. The crowd was rowdy and Wallace decided not to go shaking hands in the crowd. Like, yeah, this was the really rowdy crowd like Cornelia described in interviews like the first that first rally of the day, there was a lot of protesters, there was a lot of just agitated energy. So Wallace passed on going out and meeting people. But the so Brimmer wasn't fazed, he just got in his car and drove to the next rally
Starting point is 00:13:20 in Laurel, Maryland, scheduled later that evening. In his diary, he wrote, I have to kill somebody. I'm one sick assassin. Brimmer was in the front row clapping and cheering as George spoke, and when the governor stepped down to shake hands with the crowd, Brimmer got less than two feet from George before squeezing off all five rounds. According to biographer Jeffrey K. Smith, quote, 38 caliber slugs tore through Wallace's right arm in two different places.
Starting point is 00:13:47 A third bullet struck him in the left shoulder. Another shot penetrated his abdomen, perforating his stomach and intestines, setting up problematic post operative infections. The final bullet entered his right rib cage and lodged in his spinal cord, resulting in paralysis of the lower extremities. Three other people. I hope it hurt. Oh, it did.
Starting point is 00:14:07 I hope it hurt a lot. I hope it hurt a lot for a long, long time. It not only hurt. It hurts for the rest of his life. This is really bad for George. Yeah, except he wasn't the only victim. Three other people were wounded as bullets flew right through George. Alabama State Trooper E.C. Dothard, Secret Service Agent Nick Zarvos, and campaign volunteer
Starting point is 00:14:32 Dora Roberts. So four people shot, all of them lived. He was really sucked at being an assassin. Someone from the crowd attacked Brimmer, slamming his head against the pavement while the crowd screamed for the would-be assassin's blood. And once rescued from the mob in safely in police custody, Brimmer had only one question. Do you think they'll buy my book? Literally the first thing you had to say.
Starting point is 00:14:58 No, he sucks too. It's gross. All these people suck. There's no... Everybody in this whole story. That's the thing. It's like there. I'm to this point where it's like, we're past.
Starting point is 00:15:07 Yeah. The only person I liked in this whole thing so far was Big Jim and he's no longer a part of this story. Nope. So, yeah, everybody's terrible moving along. Right now only Big Jim's niece, Big Jim's niece Cornelia, happens to be married to George. And this is like, you know... Yeah.
Starting point is 00:15:25 Well, she's a traitor. And she dove on top of him to protect him. You know, we'll say that like... She's brave. She covered him with her own body thinking that more shots would be fired. Misguided, but brave. Yeah, she did it. However, I'll be interested to hear how your opinion on Cornelia evolves as we go too.
Starting point is 00:15:42 So, as George sped off by ambulance, someone from the Wallace campaign got on the loudspeaker. Governor Wallace will live. Just vote for Wallace on May 16th. The governor remained awake but was delirious and kept asking, am I shot? The answer was yes. Each time. Not enough. He wasn't shot enough.
Starting point is 00:16:02 It was a five-hour operation to save his life, repairing as much damage as they could, but also confirming the spinal injury. Only five hours. Well, but this is the initial surgery. He has many, many more over the course of years, but this is the first one just to get the bullets they can get out and stabilize him. Was a five-hour surgery. Yeah, and this is like in 19...
Starting point is 00:16:27 72. 72, Maryland. Yep. All right. Yeah. And they did the job. I mean, they couldn't have... They did...
Starting point is 00:16:35 Yeah, they saved him. They couldn't do shit about his... Parade for medicine. Yeah, they couldn't do shit about his spinal cord, but they saved his life. Good. Good. Mrs. Cornelia Wallace handled the press like the seasoned political vet she was. Quote, I feel very optimistic about him, and you know his nature.
Starting point is 00:16:53 He didn't earn the nickname of fightin' little judge for nothin'. He will continue the campaign in a wheelchair if necessary. Unquote. And that he did. When Richard Nixon called the First Lady of Alabama to express his sympathies and encouragement, she let the president know that George would likely be back on the campaign trail running against him soon. Nixon, meanwhile, ordered the FBI to take jurisdiction over the investigation while
Starting point is 00:17:17 trying to take control of the narrative. Yeah, I'm sure. Tricky Dick made a suggestion to his counsel, Charles Coulson. Quote, They have penned the assassination of Kennedy on the right wing, the birchers. It was done by a communist, and it was the greatest hoax that's ever been perpetuated. Can I respectfully suggest we pin this on one of theirs? Just say he was a supporter of McGovern and Edward Kennedy. Now, just put that out.
Starting point is 00:17:40 Just say you have it on unmistakable evidence. Unquote. So Nixon's like, it's totally unfair that everybody said that it was a right wing assassin against Kennedy when Lee Harvey Oswald was literally a communist who lived in Russia. So he's like, this is bullshit. We need a left wing assassin to make the other side look bad. Uh, I'd kill, ugh. Yeah.
Starting point is 00:18:02 Nixon's so terrible. I fucking hate everything about this story. We get Nixon's downfall is coming up. We're only years away, so we're good. But right now this is Nixon running for reelection. Uh, George really, you know what? This is why we don't talk about this era of history and we talk about the revolutionary work is at least, at least George Washington shitting the shit out of himself was fun.
Starting point is 00:18:29 It was fun. And he still was like, you know, I still have respect for George Washington. Yeah. He was terrible and he just won't die. He actually has a, considering his injuries, he has a really long run. George received visitors and support from some of the most important voices in the country at the time, from the Kennedy family to the Reverend Jesse Jackson. Uh, by the way, who has a few days before this recording was recovering from COVID-19.
Starting point is 00:18:56 Best wishes to him and his wife for a full recovery. Uh, I just saw an article this morning saying he was moved to a rehabilitation center and his wife is still in the ICU. Oh, well, there's that at least. Hopefully the Jacksons will be okay. But others were not so generous or forgiving. The phrase, the chickens have come home to roost was heard quite a bit in civil rights circles.
Starting point is 00:19:16 Not everybody. A lot of some people were kind of like you and the, how they felt about George and it's like, fuck him. Who cares if he was shot? Yeah, fuck him. Good. Regardless of all the attention he received. That makes me sound like a really shit person, doesn't it?
Starting point is 00:19:28 But however, this guy's already fucking dead. You're a better person. You are. He's worse than you. Congratulations. All right. So yeah, if you're like, uh, she's terrible. I'm, yeah, I am.
Starting point is 00:19:39 This is a man who literally incited violence that got people hurt and killed. So children don't forget the children. Little girls died not, not directly because of him, but he was a, he was a piece of the puzzle and, and I'm sorry, you have to, you know, he had to be willing to give George his fair share of responsibility for that. So anyway, regardless of all the attention he received, George was dealing with the harsh reality of his situation. He couldn't move the lower half of his body, but he was in constant pain from the legs.
Starting point is 00:20:11 He couldn't like, like he couldn't feel it when they, you know, poked him with a needle, but he still felt the phantom limb pain coming up from his legs and he felt that for literally his entire life from that moment on. He couldn't control his bowels or his bladder. He was weak and constantly exhausted and his dick no longer worked. Something that's not often great for a married couple. Yep. So that was it.
Starting point is 00:20:38 That was the end of the, all the hot sex he was having with the smoke and hot Cornelia was at an end. You know what? That was for Lerlene, motherfucker. I hope that your dick not working was specifically for Lerlene. You asshole. I don't like him, Jamie. I don't like him at all.
Starting point is 00:21:02 I noticed he was hospitalized for seven full weeks after the shooting. George kept waffling back and forth between determination and despair, the pain and helplessness of not being able to walk, of needing others to clean him after shitting his pants, sometimes left him crying and hopeless. And remember, he was like, he was already an anxious guy who had mood swings and stuff anyway and this just fucked him. I mean, he literally would just be in tears for hours sometimes during this period. But Cornelia pushed him, reminded him that FDR won four presidential elections in a wheelchair,
Starting point is 00:21:37 so it should be no impediment to a George Wallace. With a flight provided by the Oval Office, George attended the Democratic National Convention in Miami Beach. So Nixon literally loaned George a 737 to fly him from Maryland back to Alabama so he could quickly stop in and keep his constitutionally mandated requirement to be in the state at least every so often because otherwise the Constitution would force him out as governor. So he flew out of Maryland back there just to show up in Alabama and wave at everybody and then immediately flew on Nixon's plane down to Florida for the DNC.
Starting point is 00:22:11 Well, that was generous of Nixon. Nixon actually did a lot of big gestures against Wallace at this point. He was trying to act very presidential. Yeah, I'm sure. But again, I'm sure it also didn't it didn't hurt him to look. No, no, no, this is the point. He already, you know, behind the scenes, he was all about fucking Wallace over. But, you know, in front of the cameras, he had to do all the right things.
Starting point is 00:22:34 He was president and he needed to act presidential. And George was scheduled to speak despite the fact he was wracked with like nausea caused by an abdominal abscess. He held it together, however, and received cheers of the crowd when he would wheeled up for his speech. No one is against quality education in this country, but the Gallup poll, the Harris poll and every other poll shows that 75 to 85 percent of the American people are against the senseless, asinine busting of little school children to achieve racial balance
Starting point is 00:23:08 throughout the United States. I can tell you that any party that doesn't confront this issue and confront it in the right manner is going to be in jeopardy as far as success is concerned this coming November. And despite the applause, McGovern held full control over the DNC that year. And Wallace was just out of the race. And so he just rushed back to Birmingham. Yeah, because he looked like shit. No, he was just been shot.
Starting point is 00:23:38 He was fully certain he could do the job. He was in bad shape. So and they literally had to rush him immediately like right after that, they rushed back to Birmingham to surgically drain the abscess in his gut. In less than 100 days from getting shot, George had five surgeries alone just from abdominal wound infections. So he's just constantly getting these these horrible infections that had to be drained in order to keep his ass alive.
Starting point is 00:24:01 But it worked. Well, yeah, because abdominal infections are really dangerous. Under in defeat, George refused to endorse the Democratic candidate for president. Just thought it was also unfair that this happened to him. He wouldn't he wouldn't give McGovern the endorsement on fair, you know, also thought it was really unfair. Those children that were blown up in a building, they thought that their plight was unfair to Bucker.
Starting point is 00:24:27 And I didn't refuse to get into it because there's there's absolutely zero basis for it because Arthur Bremer's diary pretty much tells it all. But there is a conspiracy thought out there to this very day that Nixon was behind the Wallace shooting. But honestly, I don't I don't see that it doesn't make any sense and it doesn't line up with what we found out about Bremer. So it's just you can understand why people would want to go there because Nixon obviously wanted Wallace out.
Starting point is 00:24:52 And in fact, probably because Wallace was out, Nixon won reelection in a landslide, including taking almost all southern states. So it all worked out for Richard. It all worked out worked out great for Nixon for a little bit for a little bit, then some shit happens. In August, Arthur Bremer received a sentence for 63 years in prison. The would be assassin who wanted attention didn't have much to say. Back in the governor's mansion, George continued to shift away from his old segregation forever
Starting point is 00:25:23 message, appointing African Americans to various positions within state government. In 73, Wallace went back to his alma mater at the University of Alabama and crowned a young black woman as homecoming queen and even kissed her on the cheek at halftime. So he's like working hard to say, See, I am not racist. I am not racist. God damn it. I will kiss this pretty black girl right in front of everybody. No, no, I don't care.
Starting point is 00:25:48 The next year, George received an honorary degree from Alabama State University, a history honorary, a history, a historically black college. Well, he already had a real degree, graduated college. He just, but this case, he was presented an honor of an honorary degree from a black college. George made religion a bigger part of his life and he spoke more and more about forgiveness and redemption. I'm sure he did after his dick no longer worked. And he was wracked in pain at all times.
Starting point is 00:26:16 Yeah, finding a little Jesus there, dude. I didn't really, I didn't really write this one into the script, but there is an amazing story from this period that's unconfirmed. But apparently Elvis Presley visited Wallace and was so angry about what had happened to him. He offered to pay to have Arthur Brummer killed in prison. So you can imagine the king of rock and roll be like, Hey, you want this guy rubbed out? I'll do it for you.
Starting point is 00:26:39 Thank you very much. I love Elvis, dude. I don't care. He was such a weird, controversial, awesome, Elvis is like, How about I have this guy killed? George turned him down according to the rumors. I really want to be a secret agent. I'm just going to throw his incredible wealth around and just have Brummer killed in prison. So we've reached the summer of 1974, baby, and our old pal Richard Nixon was dealing
Starting point is 00:27:06 with some stuff. He was dealing with some stuff. Some stuff. Yeah. As the Watergate scandal threatened to bring down Dick's presidency, there was an Alabama member of the House of Representatives named Walter Flowers, who publicly announced that he was going to vote for the Articles of Impeachment. Nixon called George and asked him to convince Flowers to change his mind and upcoming vote.
Starting point is 00:27:26 And I can only imagine George's satisfaction in telling the president of the United States that there was nothing he can do. And I'm sure that go fuck yourself was heavily implied. Yeah. It's like, Oh, yo, now you're in trouble. Gosh, that's a real shame. Oh, that's terrible. After the call went badly, like immediately after hanging up, Nixon told his chief of
Starting point is 00:27:48 staff, there goes the presidency. It's like, turns out that pissing Wallace off wasn't a great way to have Wallace helping when he was the one in the hot seat. By this time, the Alabama state constitution had been amended to allow governors to serve consecutive terms. Despite all this doubts about his health and his stamina, he declared, I can win any election I run in. Well, except for president.
Starting point is 00:28:11 Yeah, except for president. However, in Alabama, it proved to be true. His political enemies tested the waters and found they had no chance. Being shot in paralyze made him a national run, his national run a long shot at best, but it made him unbeatable in his home state because they literally talked about him like he was their own little Alabama FDR, like the wheelchair, you know, progressive. No. I know.
Starting point is 00:28:35 Right? No. You do not get to compare. The answer to all that is no, no, you don't know. And you don't get to compare Wallace to FDR and I'll fight you and as a fight you, Alabama, as a history nerd, I will weigh in and say this like while while Wallace certainly borrowed from the FDR model in terms of being a populist and the programs he was spouse, FDR actually got shit done, whereas Wallace talked a lot.
Starting point is 00:29:05 But honestly, his gains were pretty damn modest. And in fact, during his entire governorship, even into the eighties, the tax structure in Alabama was the most regressive in the whole country, meaning the rich got to hold on to more of their money and the poor people had the higher tax burden. And it stayed that way the entire time. So because once again, Wallace was more about the getting elected more than doing a whole lot of stuff. You know, there's different opinions on how effective he was as a governor, but honestly,
Starting point is 00:29:31 I'm not that impressed. Yeah, no, he was an ineffective piece of shit. Now, once securely back in the governor's mansion, preparations began for George's next and final run for the Oval Office because now we are not done running for president yet. Are you serious? No, he's got wall. What the fuck?
Starting point is 00:29:49 Well, for one thing, he had his wife who if you're a Game of Thrones fan, I see Cornelia Wallace as a Marjorie of House Tyrell. She was the one who wanted to be the queen so bad. And that's what Cornelia, she wanted to be the first lady of the United States. More than anything, she was ambitious herself. That's you know, she was definitely one factor toward it. This time, however, George was the one with doubts. He understood his personal limitations all too well.
Starting point is 00:30:19 But it like I said, his family and his association pushed him like his brother Gerald really wanted those sweet campaign donations to come rolling in so you can skim off the top per usual. Yeah, I'm sure. But it's hard to imagine they had to bend his arm too hard because George is addicted to campaigning. He announced to the world that he would run again in November of 1975 and hey, I'm alive now.
Starting point is 00:30:40 I'm a baby. When primary season began, George was off to a strong start. Nixon's vice president Gerald Ford was now in the hot seat and the Democrats had a very strong chance to take him down because yeah, Ford pardoning Nixon did not make Ford the most popular guy. That was like an instant black mark against him. He considered George the front runner in the whole election. But on the trail, he just wasn't quite the same man from four years before.
Starting point is 00:31:09 He was less focused, less energetic, less intense, and so were the crowds. The kinder, gentler Wallace just didn't have the same appeal as the fiery racist from the 1960s. I'm sure he seemed a lot less energetic from his wheelchair. From his wheelchair and remember, too, he is doped up like constantly, yeah, he's in pain and on narcotics at all times. So he's pushing through all this shit. He's doing his best, but in terms of a presidential campaign, now he just doesn't have it together.
Starting point is 00:31:38 Shortly before the Florida Democratic primary, an Alabama state trooper with two left feet fucked up George's presidential ambitions for the last time. So there were two of these state troopers who were acting as his bodyguards and attendants and they were putting his wheelchair up in the governor's plane and one guy dropped him and then they fell on top of him and broke his leg on national television. Now the good news is George didn't really feel it. Like he was just in the normal amount of pain, but still that really sucked. So for all attempts at showing that George could be strong and wasn't vulnerable, you
Starting point is 00:32:24 know, like that just that image of him being dropped and laying on the ground just killed that. It's like the nation saw Wallace as a vulnerable cripple, an image that wouldn't jive with the public's perception of a strong American president, which FDR, by the way, did not do half the time you saw him. He was standing at podium. Oh, no. Well, that's the thing.
Starting point is 00:32:44 Yeah. They kept comparing him to FDR, but FDR existed before television and with the press completely on his side and willing to hide his condition. So they just had all these pictures of him. So only the people who were directly around really knew. The newspapers and radio never covered FDR's like his condition. Yeah. I mean, it wasn't until like really after he died that anyone even really knew he was
Starting point is 00:33:11 paralyzed. I mean, the general public was kept in yeah, it was it was a really amazingly well kept secret. Yeah. Yeah. So the fact that they want to compare him to FDR, it's like, nah, man. American people didn't know he was a cripple. No, there's a bunch of stories of shit going on with American presidents before the television
Starting point is 00:33:30 or like, like TV changed everything. So also ruining everything for George was another Southern governor running for the top spot. Peanut farmer and Navy vet, Jimmy Carter, former governor of our state, the best ex-president we've ever had. Not best president, best ex-president. He is an actual good person as far as we can tell. Yeah.
Starting point is 00:33:51 Jimmy Carter might have had a complicated presidency, but he's actually a decent person. Yeah. And he's so fucking small. He's like a teeny tiny little Mincherman. Now at the time, Carter had some shit to say about the Wallace stewardship of Alabama. Quote, Alabama has some of the most regressive tax structure in the country and federal courts, they are running many aspects of state government. Wallace hasn't solved the many problems in Alabama and thus can't be trusted to do any
Starting point is 00:34:21 better for the nation. Unquote. Yay. Jimmy Carter. And he wasn't wrong. And Carter beat George in Florida and North Carolina. Now in Wisconsin, some protesters showed up to a Wallace rally sitting in wheelchairs and wearing masks meant to look like Arthur Brimmer, which is damn, that's cold.
Starting point is 00:34:40 Okay. They're like, these guys wheeled in wearing assassin masks sitting there in wheelchairs just trying to fuck with him. I mean, it's funny. It's not very nice. It was. Weird. That's a little harsh.
Starting point is 00:34:52 That's a weird protest move. In June, George. That is a weird protest move. I will make fun of your paralysis. In June, George formally withdrew from the race and gave a weak endorsement to the Georgia governor. And of course, Carter won the national election. I remember our dad always said he didn't vote for Carter.
Starting point is 00:35:08 He voted against Ford. Because once again, pardoning Nixon was the unforgivable sin. Now if this wasn't enough for George, his second marriage ended and it was ugly. He was constantly accusing Cornelia of fucking aides and bodyguards. And meanwhile, which I'm sure she might have been, she might have been, you know, and meanwhile, she found out that he was, you know, on the phone late at night with, with ladies and ex girlfriends and stuff. And so she tapped his phone and got tapes of these conversations he was having and plan
Starting point is 00:35:37 to use them in court to get a nice divorce settlement. But George's people managed to get ahold of the tapes and dump them in the river. So this is just the most ugly, nasty bullshit as usual. So basically he was talking out of his ass and she actually managed to get proof of his emotional affair. No, no, we, we don't know if she was fucking anybody else, but we absolutely know that he was having emotional affairs and, and yeah, and, but he, he got, he got his goons to steal the evidence so that it couldn't be used in court.
Starting point is 00:36:09 Because once again, this is George, this is George fucking Wallace we're talking about. Damn it. I wanted her to win. Well, yeah. So they're, they're once beautiful marriage ended with an ugly legal battle and only a $75,000 cash settlement for Cornelia. That fucking sucks. She got boned.
Starting point is 00:36:27 None of this story even gets any better. Oh, let's keep going. Just keep plugging away at it. Now, in case you didn't get a sense of Cornelia's own ambition, she immediately decided to follow in Lerlene's footsteps and run for governor of Alabama herself. She finished dead last. But you know what? Fuck her.
Starting point is 00:36:46 I'm not her fan. She wasn't a good person either. No, she sucks. She just wanted to be first lady and then when that wasn't, she's like, well, it worked for Lerlene. Maybe I can be governor. No. Yeah.
Starting point is 00:36:56 That's not how government works. Lerlene shouldn't have even been president. When they elected anything, they elected Lerlene, they elected Lerlene just to have George be the real governor, you know, the one actually making decisions. So George was politically finished, right? He couldn't serve a third consecutive term as governor under the state constitution. So as of 1978, he had to decide on his next move. Then a retiring Alabama senator provided.
Starting point is 00:37:20 1978. So I'm alive now. Yeah. Now you're alive. You're a baby. I'm a baby. So a retiring Alabama senator provided Wallace an opportunity if he wanted to run for election. He turned it down.
Starting point is 00:37:32 Really? Yeah. Finally turned a rundown. Yeah. Again, only a few weeks later, the junior senator from Alabama, Jim Allen, had a heart attack and dropped dead. The governor offered George the appointment. So he wouldn't even have to run.
Starting point is 00:37:46 He could just instantly become a senator for the state of Alabama. Again, George said no. Yeah, because he didn't want the work. The running was the fun part. Yeah. Well, that's the thing. We can speculate on the reasons, but George didn't want to be a senator. I mean, it's, it could be to be that after so many years of being the top guy in Alabama,
Starting point is 00:38:05 but being a member of the legislature, even at the federal level might have felt like a step down. Like just being one guy in a room with 99 other people. Having to do work. Yeah. Having to do actual work. Well, in theory. Actual work.
Starting point is 00:38:18 He doesn't actually like to do the work. He likes to campaign. So if he turned down the campaign, then of course he would turn down the actual job part of the job. I mean, before we criticized George too harshly, let's remember we have lots of senators in office right now who don't do jack shit. What? No, they all suck.
Starting point is 00:38:37 I mean, we, that's the thing. I mean, we know how badly George Wallace sucks, at least at this point, you know, anyone else we could get in there would be better just by default. Yeah. So who knows, but for whatever reason, George retired from politics. Hooray. Or did he? Oh my God.
Starting point is 00:38:57 He took a position with the University of Alabama in Birmingham. Remember, they're the ones who removed his name from the PE building earlier this year. But he was working at basically as a fundraiser. He was very good at raising money and so he got a lot for the university. Now one surprising development in March of 1981, People Magazine revealed that the 61 year old paralyzed former governor was engaged to a 32 year old country singer named Lisa Taylor. So Lisa was a chick she used to entertain.
Starting point is 00:39:28 She was like one of the singers and entertainers at Wallace rallies for years. So she, she'd been around George a really long time. So he got engaged to her. She is literally like almost 30 years his junior sounds about right. Now his ex Cornelia was a bit salty about this engagement. Now lots of Alabamians no longer thought of the former first lady of positive light after the public and bitter divorce. But she claimed she wasn't simply trying to wreck his new romance.
Starting point is 00:39:55 Her quote in People Magazine quote, I'm not giving up hope of a reconciliation. I made a commitment to be a wife and that's what I really want to be unquote. Oh my God. I'm not trying to fuck this up. No she's not a good person either. These are all bad people. Everybody just sucks. There is nothing good in this story.
Starting point is 00:40:15 Meanwhile, poor Big Jim is still alive but just drinking himself to death and he's like, I don't even want to talk about Big Jim. It breaks my heart. Yeah, we talked about him last week. Um, now the article by Joyce Leviton, this is, you know, People Magazine was a bit cynical as to everyone's true motives quote, you don't say Cornelia has lost many of her sympathizers in Alabama, but the suspicion there is widespread that Georgia's new love match was made to serve his ambitions and leases around Montgomery.
Starting point is 00:40:45 It is taken for granted that Wallace intends to announce a fourth term as governor this year, perhaps on July 4th, and that a pretty down home bride would therefore be an asset. Now, George never described his courtship in a positive light. He'd known Lisa Taylor for years in the campaign trail, like I already said, and he was quoted as saying, she sought a call on me as soon as my divorce with Cornelia was final. I finally gave in and they say romance was dead in the 80s. Oh my God. I gave into that bitch, whatever.
Starting point is 00:41:17 I'm married. It's like, dude, you're paralyzed old man in a, in a cute young woman wanted to marry you and you're bitching about it. Now that was after his divorce from her though, by the way, so that's him talking bitterly later. Completely out of his ass. Oh, okay. Yeah.
Starting point is 00:41:35 Yeah. His attitude was probably much different at the time. That was a, that was not a contemporary quote. Now, the prediction that George would run for governor again in 1982, it turned out to be dead ripe. This is George Wallace talking about. So yes, guess what? We get to talk about a fourth Alabama governor campaign.
Starting point is 00:41:55 All right. Okay. Let's just get it done. Yeah. We're getting there. He's 61 years old at this point. George no longer spoke with passion and energy. He was physically weak and partially deaf and constantly on narcotic painkillers.
Starting point is 00:42:09 But by now he was a well-known figure with generations of Alabama voters on his side. His Democratic opponent reminded everyone of George's racist history and managed to make it an electoral fight. So there was a runoff for the Democratic nomination, but George squeaked by with less than 1%. Now, once he had the nomination for the first time ever, he had to contend with a serious Republican challenge in the general election. The Republican Party now exists after, after all these years again, while out, yeah, there was after LBJ, you know, the, there was suddenly the Republicans were a force to be reckoned
Starting point is 00:42:42 with in the South and now to this day, pretty much own the South. So yeah, we're talking about how the Republicans are now a force to be reckoned with. And he had to go up against one, the mayor of Montgomery, Emory Fulmer, and this was like this fiery dude who like carried around a loaded pistol at all times and seemed ready to use it. Oh, I've been loved that. Yeah. And while George and the mayor were both like law and order conservative candidates, Fulmer
Starting point is 00:43:04 was, was a Republican. So he was 100% against government funded social programs while George stayed on his populist message of wanting to help like funding for education, improving roads. He still wanted to help poor people. Yeah. He wanted to make changes to the mental, the prisons and mental health hospitals. And ultimately that is how George Wallace won election in November of 1982, receiving over 90% of the African American vote.
Starting point is 00:43:30 Oh my God. So what you're saying is he was still the better option in Alabama. Well, yeah, if you're, holy shit. Well, put yourself in the place of a black voter in the early 80s in Alabama. Oh yeah. No, I totally get that. I mean, between the fucking, I don't want to do shit for you Republican or at least the racist Democrats, like, but poor people.
Starting point is 00:43:52 And remember like Wallace like had in his while he was governor, he had appointed a bunch of black people to be, you know, take government state government positions. He had, you know, he had at least done some token stuff. In addition to the fact that his programs helped poor people and most of the black people in Alabama are unfortunately poor. So George spent a lot of his time as governor in the 80s in bed and on drugs, knocked flat by constant pain and other difficulties made by his injuries. The once attention seeking Wallace almost never made public appearances and most of
Starting point is 00:44:22 his duties were delegated to others, which is something he was used to anyway. But now he's like laying in bed watching TV while he's, you know, on methadone to fight against the echoes of segregation forever. He appointed over a hundred African Americans to positions throughout the state, including a black man named Norman Lumpkin as the governor's press secretary. So literally the guy speaking for the governor's office was a black man. So once again, credit where it's due. He is putting black faces out there in government for representation and recognition.
Starting point is 00:44:51 So now baby, this is going to come as a complete shock. But the third Mrs. Wallace found that being married to an impotent drug addicted paraplegic 30 years older than her was not the smooth ride that she was expecting. So she's not right. She's not super happy about how she wanted to be married to George. And he understand too that she was different than Lerlene and Cornelia in that she really wanted to be Mrs. Wallace, but she actually didn't want the attention that came with being the first lady of Alabama and she didn't want anything to do with public appearances.
Starting point is 00:45:22 So like Lerlene kind of reluctantly went along with stuff that George wanted to do and Cornelia was like all about the spotlight. This bitch was like, leave me alone. This is the singer. Yeah. She wouldn't even go with him on his very rare public appearances and eventually she moved out and filed for divorce. And this time there were no younger women waiting in the wings for the old crippled governor.
Starting point is 00:45:46 That was it. Three marriages. So he, yeah, cool. Yeah. Now he's just, he's alone at this point. You're going to die alone, dude. Die alone. So as the 80s rolled by, it was time for George to make a decision that once would have been
Starting point is 00:46:03 no decision at all, whether or not to mount another campaign to remain governor of Alabama. Despite being completely fucked up by age and Arthur Bremer's bullets, George still enjoyed an incredible amount of support in the state and most people think he could win reelection in a landslide. So in April of 1986, George visited the state capitol to deliver an important announcement. In his pocket, he had two different speeches, one going over his reelection bid, the other declaring George was retiring from politics forever. Here's how he ended the speech.
Starting point is 00:46:34 I would like to be part of the future myself. I do in the past few days, I have done much evaluation and much so searching. And some of you younger may not realize that I paid a pretty high price in 1972. Those five bullets gave me a thorn in the flesh as it did the apostle Paul. But I prayed that it should be removed, but they were not. I realized in my own mind that all I'm doing, very good at the present time, I grow older, the effects of my problem may become more noticeable. I feel that I must say that I've climbed my last political mountain, but there are still
Starting point is 00:47:17 some personal hills that I must climb. For now, I must pass the rope and the pig to another climber and say, climb on, climb on to high heights, climb on to reach the very peak, then look back and wave at me. I too will still be climbing. Fellow Alabamaans, I bid you a fond and affectionate farewell. He's like choked up and crying. There's literally the sounds of other people crying in the room. So for the first time since he was a small child, George Wallace had no plans to run
Starting point is 00:48:03 for public office, even though he basically could have just walked back into the governor's mansion. But at this point, his health really was getting bad. Okay. And he actually had to admit that it was a job. It's a job that you have to actually work and yeah, he couldn't do what little he was already doing. He felt like he couldn't do.
Starting point is 00:48:28 And the fact is like he's slurring his speech a little bit because like, well, at this point, he's also suffering from Parkinson's disease on top of every fucking thing else. So he's just all fucked up. It's hard to even talk. He's almost completely deaf. So karma karma is a real bitch. Now one thing I've done this whole time for the last three episodes is not necessarily go in full chronological order because usually it's easier to follow like certain threads
Starting point is 00:48:52 and then kind of go back and catch up on another like issue. So we've touched on it a little bit, but we really haven't covered the depth of the George Wallace Apology tour that began in the 1970s and continued for the rest of his life. And I'll leave it to you and the listeners to decide if George was truly sincere or whether it was just him shifting with the wins. We already decided he wasn't a true racist. He was just an amoral opportunist who was happy to weaponize racism to win political battles.
Starting point is 00:49:17 The question remains as to whether or not he actually felt bad about his actions and how they affected others. And lots of people have different opinions on this one. So back in 75, George met with Rosa Parks. He asked for and received forgiveness from John Lewis, who you remember was beaten unconscious by the cops when he tried to cross the bridge at Selma. John Lewis was a good man. John Lewis was awesome.
Starting point is 00:49:41 And John Lewis, being the good man, he held Wallace's hands and they prayed together. However, he was not an idiot about Wallace and he certainly maintained a cynical opinion. I think he knew very well and it's very hard and so, but he was dumb. Governor Wallace was a cold political opportunist and he used the question of race to fan the flame of division in order to seek a political goal. So even after he had forgiven him, he was still like, yeah, I know who this guy is. Yeah, like I was an asshole. I'm with John Lewis.
Starting point is 00:50:23 In 79, George showed up unannounced to the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church where once Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. preached. So this was completely unannounced. There were no press around. So there's no photographs of this. But he was wheeled in in front of the congregation and he asked to give a short speech and he said, among other things, I've learned what suffering means in a way that was impossible before I was shot.
Starting point is 00:50:49 I think I can understand something of the pain that black people have come to endure. I know I have contributed to that pain and I can only ask for your forgiveness. The congregation began singing Amazing Grace. So again, he he's saying and doing the right things even, but it's it's so so it's hard to tell like where his heart was really at this point. And again, it's that's very, very possible that after, you know, being in constant pain and losing three wives and, you know, basically realizing it was all for nothing. Yeah.
Starting point is 00:51:24 All he's doing now is suffering and dying alone. Yeah. I'm sure that there was a little come to Jesus and I'm sure there's a lot of sincerity in that. However, there's the other argument, which is Jesus might forgive him. And I'm so glad that nice good Christian people out there would forgive them with their hearts. I am not a good person. I think he's a fucking jackass.
Starting point is 00:51:51 And you know, and the other the cynical way of looking at it would be that, you know, once he could no longer run for, you know, serve and run for office, the only thing he had left was his legacy. So you know, it was like he wanted to make sure that he was remembered well after he was gone. That and that's why like something like, you know, getting his name taken off the PE building this year would have really upset him because honestly, I think that was a huge component of this whole thing was that he wanted he wanted to burnish his his the way people remembered
Starting point is 00:52:19 him. So not everyone, but not everyone was having it with the kinder gentler George Wallace. Remember Frank Johnson, his old college buddy who became a federal judge that was enforcing the guy who was like, fuck that guy, fuck that guy, fuck that guy. George kept calling him all those names like Scallywag and race and mix and bastard. Yeah. Yeah. Frank refused to meet with or even speak with George.
Starting point is 00:52:44 When Wallace managed to get Frank's wife on the phone, she was pretty direct. You want forgiveness? Get it from the Lord. You also might. Now, do you remember the amazingly named Wallace campaign staffer from last time, Tom Turnip Seed? Yeah. So as he grew older, because he was just a kid when he was working for Wallace initially.
Starting point is 00:53:06 So as he grew older, he turned his back on the Wallace ways and became a dedicated activist for civil rights. And he had this to say, quote, I don't know if he was sincere. How do you get into a man's heart? He apologized somewhat. But what I really wanted him to do was become an advocate for racial justice, which he never did do. Hell, what we did, what I was involved in, and I helped carry out deserves more than
Starting point is 00:53:28 an apology, unquote. So there you go. So Turnip Seed was like, if you really wanted to turn things around, you needed to do something, not just say the right things. And once Wallace, he appointed black people to positions, he kissed the homecoming queen. He did a few of the right things, but he didn't actually do anything. Yeah. He didn't push legislation.
Starting point is 00:53:53 He didn't prop up black political candidates, you know, nothing like that. He didn't do like everything else in his life. It was more about imaging and message than doing the actual work. Yep. Yep. So fuck that guy. Fuck that guy. Once he was out of the governor's mansion, George spent most of his time at home and
Starting point is 00:54:09 in bed watching TV with two black men working as his home health care and life assistants. They fed him, moved him, cleaned him, dosed his medications, and lit his cigars. And they were getting paid. So, I mean... Yeah. It was a job. It was their job. And, you know, the fact that they didn't murder him.
Starting point is 00:54:28 It feels gross to say that two black people were waiting on a hand and a foot. It is. It's very fucking gross, George Wallace, but you know what, the fact that... And again, the fact that the one thing, it's people that are good. Yeah. Yeah. It changes diapers and lit his cigars. Yeah, health care workers were fucking taking care of him despite the fact that he was a
Starting point is 00:54:51 complete and total piece of shit. Good for you. I'm married to a health care worker that has to deal with some really lousy patients sometimes who are just verbally and sometimes even physically awful and she still has to take it in stride and do her damn job. So, you know, good for these guys doing what they needed to do. And once again, who knows, maybe over time they really had a good relationship and liked him, whatever.
Starting point is 00:55:16 We don't know. Salute to health care workers. Almost completely deaf, George had to wear headphones with the volume turned all the way up just so he could hear the television at all. Journalists were asked to provide questions in writing because interviews were exercises and frustration because it'd be like, oh, what? He'd receive visitors every so often from old friends or his family, but increasingly George spent his days alone except for those paid to take care of him.
Starting point is 00:55:42 His main concern was his legacy, which is why toward the end of his life, he opposed the production of a TV movie based on it. Yeah, I'm sure he did. George did not want the world reminded of the fiery racist Wallace of the 1960s, but ultimately there was nothing he could do to stop the production. He was not able to pull a Jane's Silent Bob Strike back even though that would be an amazing movie where George Wallace rolls his way to Hollywood to try to stop the production. I'd see that movie.
Starting point is 00:56:12 During Gary Sinise in the title role, the movie also featured Jodon Baker as Big Jim Folsom and a young Angelina Jolie portraying Cornelia. So if you want to go back and check that out, you got an early-ish Jolie role. Now I haven't seen it, but the 1997 film was nominated and won, nominated for and won quite a few awards, so I guess it didn't completely suck. And I do like Gary's. Yeah. Apparently, several of the awards were for best screenplay, so I think it was a really
Starting point is 00:56:40 well-written piece with a good cast, so it might be worth checking out. I did see a couple clips from it where Gary Sinise was very challenging. George even looks a bit like him when his hair is slick back and wearing the suits. George's suffering only got worse with age. His paralysis got paired with Parkinson's disease. He was completely dependent on pain meds and almost completely blind and deaf. He died on September 13, 1998 of septic shock, which is not a great way to go when your own blood has become poison.
Starting point is 00:57:09 So gross, painful death. Yeah, he just kind of withered away and died awfully. And died alone. Just like Lerlene, the former governor's corpse was placed in the rotunda of the state capital, so 25,000 Alabamians could come and pay their respects. The Reverend Franklin Graham spoke at the funeral. He was the son of the legendary evangelical Billy Graham, who was also in poor health at the time, which is why Billy Graham couldn't come to the funeral, but Billy Graham took
Starting point is 00:57:36 an extra 20 years to die, sadly. He focused on George's declared Christian faith for his eulogy and said, I believe if the governor were alive, he would want to be remembered for this. Jesus Christ today, Jesus Christ tomorrow, Jesus Christ forever. Gross. He didn't think this through, did he? Wallace? Yeah, it may not have been the best thing to say at the end of the eulogy.
Starting point is 00:58:02 Oh my God, it's like a cringe-worthy moment at a funeral. Nice. Oh, that's horrible and hilarious. Wallace rests in Greenwood Cemetery next to his first wife, Lerlene. According to biographer- Fuck him, he shouldn't be buried next to Lerlene. He should be buried alone somewhere by himself. He murdered Lerlene.
Starting point is 00:58:25 You monster. But he's right there next to her, the only wife who actually stayed with him. The wife that cared. And you know what, he could have stayed with her this whole time had he not fucking killed her. Yeah. I'm really glad that informed medical consent is a thing that exists now and that cannot happen anymore.
Starting point is 00:58:43 According to biographer Jeffrey K. Smith, full military honors were bestowed, including a 21 gun salute and a flyover by the Alabama Air National Guard. So he had jets flying over his funeral and guns going off. I hate everything about his funeral as much as I hated everything about his life. He was a four-time governor and he was going to get a big to-do. That's just how that goes. Yeah, no. No.
Starting point is 00:59:07 I don't like it. Now, while that's it for George Wallace, let's take a moment to revisit Arthur Bremer, where we started this whole thing. At least this episode. What fascinates me is that his motive for the killing was purely attention. But it seems that once the disturbed young man got, like, succeeded in his goal of shooting Wallace, he found the attention was not much to his liking. Almost no one these days knows the guy's name anymore.
Starting point is 00:59:33 No, he should have shot Nixon. Yeah, there is no telling what effect he truly had on American and world history by emptying his pistol into George in 1972. Like, we'll never know. Well, if he shot Nixon, George could have become president. And who knows how that would have gone. We'll never know what a Wallace presidency would have looked like in the 1970s. But he wanted, like, Nixon at least got us out of Vietnam.
Starting point is 00:59:55 Something that George was not interested in. He wanted to kick Kami ass. So, like, we could have been in Vietnam into the 80s if that had happened. It might have changed everything. Who knows? Well, I mean, this is why it's always nice to look at history in hindsight and not have a time machine to go change anything. Because, again, we can argue and the Wallace governorship was fucking terrible.
Starting point is 01:00:22 However, but it also did spark a big civil rights movement. Yeah, no, he, him being awful may have led to good things. So it's always so hard to wonder, like, if you were to make those little changes, would the world actually be better? It's, it's so hard to say. And that's why doctor who says, don't do that shit. Nixon, Nixon took it out of the doctor changes history all the fucking time. He changes history all the time, but he doesn't change big points of history.
Starting point is 01:00:48 Because then there's a snowball effect. The teeny tiny little little pieces that and ants that are us. No, no, I'm doesn't matter. To me, the best show to watch, if you want to see that effect is watch the show Timeless. Which is created by Eric Kripke, a guy I have some association with. Remember, and that was one where like one episode, they had to ensure the assassination of Abraham Lincoln because yeah, and it was hard and she cried and she even wanted to change your mind.
Starting point is 01:01:16 And then it, but that's that perfect example. So like in your world, we're like, if you okay, if you could have gotten Arthur, remember to shoot Nixon, we could be in a completely fucked world right now. Like who knows what would have changed. But, but that's the point is that Bremer, even though nobody knows who he is, he changed history in like a really big way. He knocked Wallace out of the equation nationally.
Starting point is 01:01:36 Like he stuck around in Alabama for a while, but we didn't get a president Wallace and it was directly because of him quite possibly. So, uh, so there's that. So the idea of Bremer, a disturbed loner with a gun and a desire to be noticed, hit pop culture almost immediately. A writer named Paul Schrader was inspired by the shooting and wrote a script for a movie called Taxi Driver in 1976, starring Robert De Niro and a young Jody Foster. Jody Foster, the girl who encouraged the other guy to shoot.
Starting point is 01:02:06 That's what we're about to get into. So this is how weird this is. So listen to this weird thread of connection. So, so the Wallace shooting inspires the screenwriter for Taxi Driver. Taxi Driver includes that includes Jody Foster. Now Bremer's diary wasn't publicly available when that, when Schrader wrote the movie, but then after it came out, he was really creeped out when he found out how much of the stuff he put in the movie matched up with stuff that was revealed from the diary.
Starting point is 01:02:34 It was like he was really inside this guy's head in a scary way. So, um, the fictional minds of Arthur Bremer and Travis Bickel really lined up. Now, speaking of Jody Foster, uh, just like you were saying, a guy named John Hinckley Jr. shot President Ronald Reagan in 1981 specifically to impress the teenage actress. And when the authorities combed through Hinckley's possessions, they found a copy of Arthur Bremer's disjointed diary. So he was a direct inspiration, not just for the movie, but literally this guy was like, like Hinckley was reading Bremer's diary as he was,
Starting point is 01:03:09 you know, psyching himself up to shoot Reagan. Now, if only these two men would have just been better shots here. Now it keeps going. Bremer was name-dropped in the movie Neighbors starring John Belushi and Dan Ackroyd. There is an audience call-out for Bremer and the Stephen Sondheim musical Assassins. So they literally, out from the stage to the audience, you're like, is Artie Bremer here tonight? Where's Artie Bremer? In 1997, a bunch of, yeah, in 97, a bunch of Nixon's White House tapes were released to the
Starting point is 01:03:41 public. Now, I really wanted to get the audio, but the Nixon Presidential Library online hasn't gotten around to making them all easily accessible. But according to journalist David Montgomery of The Washington Post, Tricky Dick immediately asked after the Bremer shooting, is he a left-winger or a right-winger? Nixon asked White House Hatchet Man and Special Counsel Charles Coulson on the night of the shooting. Well, we think he's going to be a left-winger by the time we get through, Coulson said. Good, Nixon said, chuckling, keep it that, keep it that. So like now it's official that Nixon was literally trying to control the narrative
Starting point is 01:04:15 around the shooting just to help his campaign. Because once again, everyone in this story sucks, except for perhaps Peter Gabriel. Peter Gabriel? Peter Gabriel read Arthur Bremer's diary and decided to write a story, write a song inspired of it called Family Snapshot that was released in 1980, which when we're going to actually ride out on that when the episode ends instead of our usual chainsaw sounds. I'm going to put, you know, a little short clip from Family Snapshot. Peter Gabriel, because this how weird this story is that even fucking Peter Gabriel comes into the mix. Now, as for Bremer himself, he was originally scheduled for release in 2025, but he spent decades as a model prisoner earning
Starting point is 01:04:58 a ridiculous number of credits for good behavior. He was granted parole on November 9th, 2007, after serving 35 years in prison. And he was the first American would be assassin to ever be released on parole. Now, since then, John Hinckley Jr. has also been released from the mental health facility so they could technically hang out one day if they ever wanted to. Yeah, John Hinckley, you can actually go online and find clips of John Hinckley Jr. playing songs he's written on the internet and playing the acoustic guitar. It is so we live in such a fucking strange world. But anyway, this just makes me sad. So Bremer lives in Maryland where he is a quiet loner whose world shaking status is unknown to most of the people around him who simply
Starting point is 01:05:45 ignore the old man. His behavior on parole was so exemplary that he asked for and received an exception to one of the terms of his parole. So one of the things they said when he was paroled is he is not allowed to be around any elected official or anyone running for any form of public office. But he had become friends and started working with this guy who later ran for election. Seems reasonable. Yeah, it was a totally reasonable rule considering he's an attempted assassin. But he had become buddies and worked with this guy who decided to run for some local city council position or something. And so he requested the parole board an exemption and they gave it to him. They're like, yeah, you can keep hanging out with this guy. It's fine because once
Starting point is 01:06:27 again, Bremer, since he was a rat, like he'd never shown any violence and he'd been fine since then. There's no no indication he's ever wanted. Well, he also got he also got like the mental health treatment that he needed. Oh, he also has had 35 years to find out like, oh, I got what I wanted. Great. Yeah, like, so the man who attempted murder and change world history just to get attention received a visit from a journalist. Bremer slammed the door in the man's face. Never answered a single one of his letters. And that is it. That's the end of the George Wallace saga. George Wallace finally dies alone. Let's see. So it's he died in 98 or in 2021. So yeah, he's been dead since. Yeah, a long time. Thank you to to anyone who's listened all the way through
Starting point is 01:07:21 the George Wallace madness and listens to chainsaw history at all. We've got more episodes coming soon. As I hinted last week, we're going to actually go to Georgia and a story even closer to home for myself, especially. We hope that you will check us out on Patreon, slash chainsaw history where you'll find all our episodes, show notes, and all the bonus stuff that we're going to have available to you. So once again, if we're committed to covering 10 topics in our first season, and then it's really just about the support of our listeners and where things are going, how long we keep this going. So if you like what you're hearing, come over to Patreon, tell us, follow us and throw a buck at us if you think we're worth it.
Starting point is 01:08:01 Yeah, just, just let us know. You have to especially because again, I was going to put out some bonus content and I completely had an anxiety attack about it froze and now it's like and that's what's called practice. I need a thumbs up. You need some that was practice. We're going to we're going to do some stuff and get you get you on the treadmill of creating content all the time. So you can also follow me on Twitter at Jamie1KM. We can go visit my website and if you go to, I'm planning on doing some Twitch streams coming up where I play some games and just chat with whoever's hanging out. Yeah, and for now, pretty much the only place you guys can find me is going to be on Patreon. Social media is, it's not my thing. It's,
Starting point is 01:08:57 it's not where I hang out. So if you want to interact with, if you want to hang out with me, you're going to have to do it on Patreon. Now, and also, we had to build up to it, but we are going to have our own Discord server as well, which will be another place you can chat with Bambi. I have a Discord. Yeah, I have an app on my phone and everything. I'll load it up. So that's the thing we're going to do. That's one of the projects for this coming month is to get the website and the Discord server and all that stuff squared away. So yeah, once again, as far as charity to support, I am continuing for the whole George Wallace series to ask listeners to check out the United Mine Workers of America strike fund. Let's keep it short. But basically, there are a
Starting point is 01:09:41 mine in Alabama, where they got bought out by these hedge fund douchebags, and the conditions and pay are ridiculously low, like, like even not competitive in their own area. So they do a lot of dangerous work, and we're asked to do it. And these people on the other end didn't meet their, their obligations to their workers. So now there's a strike going on that they think might go even past the holidays and into the winter. So if you want to help them out, make sure they have food, money, and Christmas presents for their kids, you can check them out. You can check the show notes or look for UMWA strike fund for more information on how you can help. Yeah. And again, for this entire series, I've decided it's, you know, the world has gone completely batshit. Take care of yourselves.
Starting point is 01:10:29 Take care of the people around you. You know, try to give everyone a little bit of grace. Yeah, as we as we record this, we've got a hurricane just hit Louisiana, we've got the Delta variant of COVID just wreaking havoc all over the place. So yeah, take care of yourselves out there and take care of each other. Don't be a George Wallace being an actual human being and have some empathy for the people around you. Because that's the thing, like we like to talk shit about people, but we try to actually like, you know, do right by people in the real world. If we learned nothing in this episode, we should have learned that don't be a dick, be a Johnson. You're shaking your head at that one, Jamie. I thought it was pretty good.
Starting point is 01:11:21 And with that terrible joke, we will ride out with some Peter Gabriel. Thanks for listening, everybody. Bye. The day is different. Today is not the same. Today, I'll make the action. Take snapshot into the light. I'm shooting into the light.

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