Exactly 50 years ago, the nation witnessed the resignation of Vice President Spiro Agnew on October 10, 1973, on charges of criminal conspiracy, bribery, extortion, and tax fraud, which led to a pleading of no contest to a single felony charge of tax evasion.
That moment, while maybe not reflected on then or since, in retrospect, was an absolute blessing for the nation, the Presidency, and American democracy!
Sprio Agnew was, arguably, the most dangerous and corrupt Vice President in American history, a man who worked to divide the nation and promote evil in a monstrous way, including attacks on news media, and being in general “an attack dog” for the corrupt intentions of President Richard Nixon.
Agnew employed racist language, reminiscent of later what Donald Trump would do, and forecast the right wing populism that would be used by Republicans in later decades.
Agnew attacked liberals and anti Vietnam War protestors, and was vicious in his rhetoric, reminding many of former Red Scare provocateur Senator Joseph McCarthy, and gained a reputation as “Nixon’s Nixon”!
Even now, a half century later, when this author and blogger gives lectures on Richard Nixon, and mentions Spiro Agnew’s name, it gets a negative reaction from audiences!
But what is often forgotten is IF Agnew had not been investigated and found to be corrupt, as well as his evil doings as Vice President, he would have succeeded Richard Nixon when he resigned 10 months later on August 9, 1974!
Instead, the nation was fortunate that there was a 25th Amendment, and that Gerald Ford became Vice President by nomination of Nixon and approval by both houses of Congress!
Gerald Ford proved to be a savior, being the right person at the time of the Watergate Scandal, to be the successor to a President seen as the most corrupt in American history, until the disgraced Presidency of Donald Trump surpassed Nixon in the level of venality! 🙁