46 Years Ago Today, A Crook Resigned. No, Not THAT Crook! (It Was Spiro Agnew.)
Today's a pretty good anniversary, history buffs! On October 10, 1973, that's 46 years ago, Vice President Spiro Agnew resigned and then immediately went and pleaded guilty to a bunch of crimes related to a years-long bribery scheme that started when he was the top executive for Baltimore County and continued while he was governor of Maryland -- and even after he became Richard Nixon's vice president! If you haven't listened to Bag Man, Rachel Maddow's jaw-dropping podcast series on Agnew's crimes and the Justice Department lawyers who brought an end to his criming, you probably should! It's strangely relevant today, for some several thousand reasons!
Agnew didn't do any prison time, largely because the DOJ prosecutors thought getting him out of office before Richard Nixon was either impeached or resigned was more important. But jeebus, what a skeevy character! William Safire, who wrote some of Agnew's meanest insults (amaking Agnew seem far smarter than he was), marked the occasion with fitting solemnity:
If it were not an integral part of the worst political scandal in our history, [...] Agnew's stepping down would be almost pure black humor. But it is not surprising that he should have failed to pay income taxes [...]
What a cruel comedown, however, for a proud and arrogant apostle of law and order who once denounced student protesters as "garbage." His is not a rags-to-riches story but a fable about a mediocrity who made it big, who became a political celebrity for reasons that had nothing much to do with character or capacity. He was tapped for the Vice-Presidency for reasons of purest political expediency; indeed Nixon can only blame himself for whatever embarrassment Agnew has caused him.
On Twitter, someone going by "Spiro Agnew's Ghost" posted images of Agnew's terse resignation letter, initialed by Henry Kissinger, and an account of the day Agnew shitcanned himself:
UPDATE: Thanks to alert Wonkette Operative "Johnatx," who noticed that in my attempt to find a larger copy, I dopily added a photo of Richard Nixon's resignation letter. D'OH!
And then, less than a year later, Nixon resigned as the House of Representatives was about to impeach him. Sure makes you think, doesn't it?
And now it's your OPEN THREAD! Happy anniversary to the guy whose name, Dick Cavett always liked to point out, could be anagrammed to "Grow a penis."
[Nation / History.com / "Bag Man" on MSNBC /Spiro Agnew's Ghost on Twitter]
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Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.