Vice President Spiro T. Agnew – A Man Ahead of his Time

What can a person say about Spiro Agnew?  Most of you readers are too young to remember the most well-known, most popular Vice President in US history.  He served at a time when the US was torn apart by civil strife, an undeclared, unpopular foreign war, and a level of corruption in the Executive Branch few citizens allowed themselves to suspect.

Agnew.  Forced from office for accepting bribes before, “Everyone does it,” became a defense.

But, of course, that was long before Iran-Contra, Bush 1&2, Billary Clinton, Blackwater, and the current king.  Nowadays Spiro would seem clean, honest and soft-spoken.  A pristine choice for wannabe king for either of the parties:

In April 1973, when revelations about Watergate began to surface, Agnew was the choice of 35 percent of Republican voters to be the next Republican nominee for President, while then-California Governor Ronald Reagan was second on the Gallup Poll. [18]

Spiro Theodore Agnew (pronunciation: /ˈspɪr ˈæɡnj/; November 9, 1918 – September 17, 1996) was the 39th Vice President of the United States (1969–1973), serving under President Richard Nixon, and the 55th Governor of Maryland (1967–1969). He was the first Greek American to hold these offices.

During his fifth year as Vice President, in the late summer of 1973, Agnew was under investigation by the United States Attorney‘s office in Baltimore, Maryland, on charges of extortion, tax fraud, bribery and conspiracy. In October, he was formally charged with having accepted bribes totaling more than $100,000 while holding office as Baltimore County Executive, Governor of Maryland, and Vice President of the United States. On October 10, 1973, Agnew was allowed to plead no contest to a single charge that he had failed to report $29,500 of income received in 1967, with the condition that he resign the office of Vice President. Nixon replaced him by appointing by then House Minority Leader Gerald R. Ford to the office of Vice President.

Agnew is the only Vice President in United States history to resign because of criminal charges. Ten years after leaving office, in January 1983, Agnew paid the state of Maryland nearly $270,000 as a result of a civil suit that stemmed from the bribery allegations.

Agnew soon found his role as the voice of the so-called “silent majority“, and by late 1969 he was ranking high on national “Most Admired Men” polls. He also inspired a fashion craze when one entrepreneur introduced Spiro Agnew watches (a take off on the popular Mickey Mouse watch); conservatives wore them to show their support for Agnew, while many liberals wore them to signify their contempt.

Agnew was known for his scathing criticisms of political opponents, especially journalists and anti-war activists. He attacked his adversaries with relish, hurling unusual, often alliterative epithets—some of which were coined by White House speechwriters William Safire and Pat Buchanan—including “pusillanimous pussyfooters”, “nattering nabobs of negativism” (written by Safire), and “hopeless, hysterical hypochondriacs of history”.[15] He once described a group of opponents as “an effete corps of impudent snobs who characterize themselves as intellectuals.”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spiro_Agnew

13 responses to “Vice President Spiro T. Agnew – A Man Ahead of his Time

  1. I supposed we should all be nostalgic about those times. At least we were still capable to taking them down. Thanks, Jules. Wesley

  2. Unlike his boss, Richard Nixon, Agnew had sufficient conscience to feel shame for his misdeeds and disappear from the public stage. After his resignation, he became an invisible man, until his past existence was finally confirmed by his obituary.

  3. I remember back to Truman and the worst they were talking about was Bess’s piano playing in the White House. She was quite a Lady of society.

  4. Agnew looked like a snake in the grass. I didn’t remember the details of his sordid past but I do remember the adults were irate, at the time, and there was a lot of talk about the soft punishment he received.

  5. IF only our current problems with our king-in-chief could be so simple and innocuous. We would be sailing free. Blessings.

  6. I STILL LOVE AND USE THE “EFFETE SNOBS” LINE. I WAS UNFAMILIAR WITH THE OTHERS BUT THEY SOUND QUITE USEFUL IN THE PROPER CIRCUMSTANCES. IN RETROSPECT I DO RECALL THE NATTERING NABOBS QUOTE. DESPITE HIS ALLEGED CROOKEDNESS HE DID HIT THE NAIL ON THE HEAD WITH THESE PLAGIARIZED QUIPS!!!!

    • KeithK: Thanks for coming by. I didn’t know he plagiarized them, but maybe he did. Pablum for permissiveness, I always thought was clever. Surely you don’t believe the crookedness was merely alleged? As for the effete snobs, you and I knew enough of them in a smaller pond to recognize the trait, maybe gave us something to aspire to. I like to think we succeeded. Gracias, J

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s