5 thoughts on ““I Am In Charge Here.” “There Were No Tanks.” RIP Third-graf Al

  1. PM says:

    That was great!

    I remember those days very well, indeed. I had recently moved to Washington D.C., working in the bowels of the Senate, living with a friend and a bunch of other people in a house up on Utah Ave NW, probably only 10 or so blocks from the site of the assassination attempt. One of our roommates was a young FBI agent trainee, who happened to get stuck on suicide watch for the shooter when he was in custody that evening. He also was detailed to go out and get the shooter some food (from McDonalds, no less!–cheeseburger, Coke and fries) because he was hungry. His general impression was that the guy was perfectly sane, and almost bizarrely normal–no remorse, not nervous, just very matter of fact. Kind of weird after shooting the President, and being in FBI custody!

    We all laughed at Haig on television, with his attempt to aggrandize himself–really, it was pretty clumsy. The immediate analysis was that Haig was a buffoon. We all walked down to the shooting site to look it over, and watched the cameras and film crews and forensic squads at work.

    What was perhaps the strangest thing about it all was the lack of fear and worry–the President had just been shot, but there was no fear of a terrorist attack, or anything bigger. I suppose we all thought that this was just another Squeaky Fromme–another whack job, not a plot or anything. My, how the times have changed.

    1. Dennis Lang says:

      Fascinating anecdote! Thanks. And as a total aside (sorry but we’re all friends here), I’m not even a hockey fan but that was one scintilating U.S. vs. Canada clash that just finished. Hockey at its best and you can’t take your eyes off the game.

  2. Great obit. And a great hockey game, Dennis. Kessler’s empty-net goal at the end was incredible.

    Could you envision Hillary Clinton doing what Haig did? Wild to imagine something like this happening now.

  3. Newt says:

    I’m no fan of Haig, but his follow-up explanation to 60 Minutes is plausible:

    ‘I wasn’t talking about transition. I was talking about the executive branch, who is running the government. That was the question asked. It was not, “Who is in line should the President die?”‘

    Evidently VP Bush was inaccessible at the time Haig was asked this question.

  4. Jorg says:

    Haig Heaven?!! Indeed! Splendid post, Benidt. I would have had more confidence in the aforementioned Buttermilk Biscuit Queen of Tulsa than any of those in line for the Presidency back then.

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