Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia on June 9, 1974 · Page 178
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Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia · Page 178

Charleston, West Virginia
Issue Date:
Sunday, June 9, 1974
Page 178
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Page 178 article text (OCR)

Wallace spends much of his morning exercising and conducting business in bed. Edward Maxwell supervises his exercise-therapy bedroom. Mrs. Wallace says she spends little time there, since "he feels more independent" that way. WJU1ACE CONTINUED Georgia or Reuben Askew of Florida or Dale Bumpers of Arkansas on the ticket as Vice President, and I want us to take the following positions in the party platform.' He will have a powerful voice." Wallace will also have the wherewithal to bolt and form a third party, which he has done in the past. "An' which," he says, "I can do again if the Democratic Party doesn't come up with some common sense solutions to help the people of our nation. I am not about to take a Cabinet job in someone else's federal administration. That's not for me." The implication is that Wallace wfants to run on the 1976 Democratic ticket as the Vice Presidential candidate. If he is brokeraged out of that position, will he then forge a third party? Indeed the Democratic Party faces a fearful dilemma: If Wallace becomes a member of the 1976 ticket his candidacy will alienate the left wing of the party; if he doesn't, the omission will alienate the right wing of the party. The Wallace Factor thus becomes a most important integer in the arithmetic of the Democratic Party. It is fashionable in some quarters to dismiss George Wallace as a primordial, depthless, yet charismatic double-talker with no definable program or understanding of the basic issues that plague the nation. One of his closest aides frankly admits: "What Wallace sells to the people is not programs. He sells hope. His is the constituency of discontent, and it grows larger every day with the erosion of public confidence in the dollar and the government. He is an intuitive and perceptive populist who regards himself as the custodian and champion of the rights and the cares of the little man. He knows what's bothering the little guy." Ask Wallace about the prime issues of the day, and he says quickly: 'The No. 1 problem is the economy and inflation. The No. 2 problem is the possibility of this country being relegated to a second-rate military power which I think would be catastrophic as far as our whole future is concerned." What about inflation? Ask the Governor if he has any solution for inflation, and he replies: "I don't know that there's any solution to a problem that's been brought about, through long-term overspending at the federal level, foreign aid that was wasted, and our resources wasted on a prolonged no-win war in Vietnam that should have been concluded earlier or should not have been started if you didn't intend to conclude it. "As for inflation, I think you ought to cut down on government spending, and then if you had more spending among the broad masses of oun people, it would create employment and productivity. Today, in this permissive society which we have allowed ourselves to get into, it's very dangerous for anybody to be involved, and even dangerous for the average citizen to walk down the streets of the largest cities of our country whether he's in politics or not." A wasted $400,000 About Watergate and the Nixon Administration, Wallace is uncharacteristically guarded. "When I was runnin' for Governor in 1970, the Committee to Re-Elect the President sent down $400,000 to defeat me. As a consequence I just don't like talking about the Nixon Administration because it might sound that I am prejudiced." It is no secret, however, that Wallace feels the attempted assassination by Arthur Bremer was not the work of a loner but the result of a conspiracy. He wonders why immediately after he was gunned down by Bremer, Charles Colson of the White House staff ordered Howard Hunt to Milwaukee to search Brenner's apartment--a trip Hunt never made--and he is inclined to believe--"although I have no evidence to prove it"--that someone programmed a mentally unstable Bremer to shoot him. "I am just not satisfied," he says, "with the FBI explanation of the case. To my way of thinking there are just too many unanswered questions. Maybe some day we'll find out the truth, but I just don't think that boy did it all by hisself." According to his longtime cronies, the Governor's paralysis and resultant pain have made him a more thoughtful, meditative, philosophical man. "He's always had three enemy groups," an old childhood friend from Barbour County points out, "the blacks, organized labor, and the regulars of the Democratic Party. He's taken to pacifying them one by one. I believe he's won over the blacks by providing them with state and federal jobs. He's made his peace with the Alabama Labor Council by supporting workmen's compensation, higher jobless benefits, and the things they stand for. He plans to do the same for national labor. When it comes to the Democratic Party, he's building fences, corralling delegates, talking to the bigshots like Robert Strauss, Senator Jackson, Senator Kennedy, all of whom have come to Alabama to see him. He's no longer the feisty, fighting, cocky bantam rooster he once was. But he's letting it be known that he can't be dismissed or disregarded--certainly not on his record as a vote-getter." Ran well with Labor That record is indeed enviable. In 1968 when Wallace ran for President, he won 10 million votes. In 1972 he entered 14 primaries, garnered more votes than any other Democrat, triumphed in five states, including Michigan, which is a strong labor state. What occupational role Fate has designated for George Corley Wallace in the future makes fascinating conjecture. Several years ago his widowed mother Mozelle predicted: "Of course, somebody's gonna get George sooner or later. I've accepted that. He's gortna get it. My only consolation is, when it happens, he'll be doing the only thing he's ever cared about doing anyway." In retrospect that maternal prophecy proved tragically accurate two Mays ago in Maryland when a would-be assassin paralyzed him for life by nearly severing his spinal cord. The next election The key question now, however, is will George Wallace earn in 1976 the national office he so candidly and ambitiously covets "so that I can do the best in government to improve the quality of life not only for the people of Alabama but for all the people"? Wallace has already gathered through his unfortunate paralysis the so-called "sympathy vote." What remains is a two-year period in which he must alter his established image as an ornery, malevolent, demagogic racist to a mature, temperate, knowledgeable leader, so that he can acquire the heretofore alienated vote. Wallace is sure he can do it. If he fails, political history will most likely record him a spoiler.

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