In a previous post I joked that former Secretary of State George Shultz (also Secretary of the Treasury under Nixon) might be a communist because of his appearance at the dedication of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade Monument last year. I lamented the lack of photographs of him at the incident. Well, there’s a youtube video. He’s the guy in the blue suit two seats to the right (from the audience perspective) of the speakers.
My mother attended the event along with my now deceased VALB grandmother. She reported that Shultz went very stiff when they sang the Internationale. She suspected that he had been unaware of the nature of the event before agreeing to attend. I’m not so sure. He isn’t a chimp like Dana Perino; his politics are horrible, but he knows his history. He was there for his wife.
His wife, Charlotte Malliard, is a socialite in San Francisco. I have no idea what her politics are, but she has managed to land herself a position of some sort with the City of San Francisco which Wikipedia is calling the “ceremonial Chief of Protocol and Director of Special Events.” When they were married it was called by someone “the wedding of the year” for the city. She has been in the position since the mayorship of Jack Shelley (during the 1960s, when Shelley broke about 50 years of Republican mayors – they’ve been Democratic ever since) with a brief break (fired by “conservative” Frank Jordan, rehired by “liberal” Willie Brown). Apparently she has the respect of political dignitaries across ideological lines, and the City Hall staircase, which ought to be somehow named after the anti-HUAC demonstration (film through the link) where protesting kids were hosed down the stairs in 1960, is named after her.
Back to Shultz, he probably figured with people like Gavin Newsom attending and all of those honored and still living being older than him that it would be “safe.” And perhaps his exposure to the “liberal elite” of San Francisco has softened his politics, although he was never really a right wing ideologue. He vehemently protested Iran-Contra and did threaten Reagan with resignation over the Iran-Contra affair, though he backed down when Reagan discarded his letter of resignation. He was definitely not part of the inner circle. A bit of the history for those who missed the events in the late 1980s.
He’s also called for the legalization of recreational drugs and for the end to the embargo of Cuba. On the other hand he remains a part of the right wing cabal in many respects, including association with “the Vulcans,” an ad hoc group of foreign policy advisers to President George W. Bush. A complex man. Or perhaps a little confused in his old age. As quoted in Leah Garchick’s column (which also noted some boos when Shultz was introduced) following the event, Shultz seemed to be comparing the Veterans of the Abraham Lincoln brigade with President Bush.
We are “fighting against fascism for liberty,” Shultz said when I asked him about it after the ceremonies, “and supporting people who are doing it.” In the Spanish Civil War, “people picked up arms and fought.” To this way of thinking, the administration’s decision to join the battle is even more heroic.
Don’t ask me to explain that further.