Sept. 14, 2003 Updated Sept. 24, 2007
Gov. George Wallace
Arthur Bremer tried to fill the void in his miserable life by taking the life of Gov. George Wallace in 1972. He failed on both counts.
by Denise Noe
(Editor's Note: Arthur Bremer was released from prison on November 9, 2007)
"Send them a message"
When Alabama Gov. George Wallace ran for the presidency in 1972, he did not expect to win. His goal was summed up in the slogan he used to urge his supporters to vote for him: "Send them a message!" The "them" referred to was the Washington D.C. establishment that Wallace claimed had sold out white working-class people to cater to racial minorities and a privileged liberal elite. The flamboyant, folksy Wallace denounced school busing for integration, courts he called soft on crime, and a tax system that he claimed bled the average American without making the rich pay its fair share. He won many loyal, even fanatical followers by claiming to champion the "taxi driver, little businessman, beautician or barber or farmer" against the "pointy-headed pseudo-intellectual."
The campaign was Wallace's second bid for the presidency. He had run four years previously on the American Independent Party (now called the American Party) ticket but in 1972 he ran for the Democratic presidential nomination. His candidacy was doing remarkably well, a development that disheartened critics who thought his victories and strong showings in state primaries were symptomatic of racism. They believed the "law and order" he habitually called for was code for an anti-black agenda.