Skip to comments.Spiro Agnew's Finest Hourn (Remembering 1968)
Posted on 04/14/2008 5:27:28 AM PDT by Nextrush
Spiro Agnew's political career rose like a phoenix from the ashes.
In six short years he went from being elected Baltimore County Executive to being elected Vice-President of the United States.
He would be a bulldog for President Richard Nixon, playing a role that many future GOP Vice-Presidents like Dan Quayle and Dick Cheney would, making tough speeches to keep conservatives in line with the more moderate president who would "stay above it all."
Agnew's attacks on the mainstream media ("the nattering nabobs of negativity") would make him as hated at the president himself in MSM circles.
Agnew's election as Governor of Maryland in 1966 came with the support of many black voters, who weren't enthused with the white semi-segregationist Democrat establishment in the state.
When the city of Baltimore was ravaged by riots in the wake of Martin Luther King's assassination Agnew called 100 black leaders to his office for a meeting.
On April 11, 1968 the meeting was held with militant leaders who called for "black power" and killing whites kept out.
Agnew denounced the militants as: "ready-mix. instantaneous, circuit-riding, Hanoi-visiting, caterwauling, riot-inciting, burn-America-down type..."
"I do not communicate with lawbreakers," Agnew added.
"The rioting and looting......did not occur by chance.. It is no mere coincidence that a national disciple of violence, Mr. Stokely Carmichael, was observed meeting with local black power advocates and known criminals in Baltimore April 3, 1968-three days before the Baltimore riots began."
Agnew said that black leaders were unwilling to repudiate militants because of "a perverted concept of race loyalty" and not wanting to be called an "Uncle Tom."
80 of the 100 leaders called to the meeting walked out in response to Agnew's speech.
It is said by Agnew's critics then and now that many of the leaders actually did go out into the streets to discourage the rioting when it happened and denounced "black power."
An historical forum was held to again recently in Baltimore to drag Agnew's name down for making the speech because he gave it in black street language as well as ignoring what the leaders has done to try to stop the riots.
But "Baltimore Sun" columnist Gregory Kane brought out a part of Agnew's speech that rings loud and clear in the context of today's political debate including the comments of Reverend Jeremiah Wright and his relationship to Minister Louis Farrakhan.
Agnew said: "I cannot believe that the only alternative to white racism is black racism. I publicly repudiate, condemn and reject all white racists. I call upon you to publicly repudiate, condemn and reject all black racists."
I don't know if this speech won Agnew the vice-presidential selection by Richard Nixon later in 1968, but I would think it may have played a part.
I was at the Maryland State Fair later in 1968 and watched from back of the racetrack seats as a motorcade brought Agnew into the fairgrounds. My mother was down in the crowd and remarked how "handsome" Agnew was.
Spiro Agnew to the glee of the MSM would resign his office in 1973 after pleading no contest to charges involving bribery and tax evasion when he was governor.
But in retrospect it can said that Agnew spoke the right words at the right time in 1968 that we should stand firm in repeating today.
"Diversity" advocates and "Multiculturalists" want to deny the existence of black racism by claiming in a twisted neo-Marxist way that blacks do not have "power" or "privilege" and whites do.
Tell them no way and remind them of the days of 1968 with H. Rap Brown and Stokely Carmichael, not to mention the modern day angry voices ranging from Farrakhan to Wright.
Agnew always reminded me of a used car salesman.
“I cannot believe that the only alternative to white racism is black racism.”
Nobama and Revrum Wrong can.
Thanks for posting.
Racist Dems....? Nahhhhhh.....couldn't be....
“Agnew always reminded me of a used car salesman.”
LOL. He could have been Jack Ruby’s twin brother - just taller.
Agnew had a way with words. I think I remember something along the lines of “an effete corps of impudent snobs” referring to the eastern liberal establishment. He also referred to some (or most?) of the anti war protestors as “brownshirts.” Sure would be fun to have another Agnew to piss off libs.
I always liked Agnew and was sorry he got into trouble. Imagine how great a president he would have made with his willingness to take on the press and his very politically incorrect attitude. If he had succeeded Nixon perhaps we would have been spared the Carter presidency. Or if Watergate had not happened perhaps Agnew would have been elected in 1976. It could have been a very interesting presidency.
always reminded me of Professor Smiths quotes about the Robot.
ie “Bubble headed booby” etc.
OH THE PAIN!!!
That is kind of like saying a bear looks like an animal. Which politician doesn't remind anyone of a used car salesman?
I think most of Agnew’s best-known lines were written by speechwriters (probably by William Safire).
“I think most of Agnews best-known lines were written by speechwriters (probably by William Safire).”
You’re right. You can give him credit for being willing to say them, but Safire and Buchanan wrote almost all.
To everything there is a season. - Eccles 3:1To avoid jumping from the frying pan into the fire mass media first destroyed Agnew before it took down Nixon.
Unfortunately he no longer among us.
What is you take on Agnew? I gleam good and bad things. He’d have been better than Nixon or Ford.
The problem with Agnew is that he was already damaged going to DC in the first place. When he held lower office in MD, he was apparently doing the same things that had been done by his predecessors and others (having the wheels “greased”, so to speak), but because he was the VP and the likely 1976 Presidential nominee (he swamped Gov. Reagan in a head-to-head matchup) that was simply regarded as unacceptable — especially as a Republican. Had he never risen above MD Governor, it’s highly unlikely any of the charges would ever have been brought.
I generally thought Agnew a bit of an oddity. He actually switched parties twice (!) and was basically a liberal. He started out a Republican but became a Dem in his 30s (that partly might’ve been because where he lived, there was no local GOP to speak of). When the Dem political machine he served under dropped him from an appointment, he angrily switched back to the GOP (not an ideological switch but one of a fit of pique — this was exactly how Arlen Specter became a Republican in the ‘60s, acting against the reigning Philly Dem machine). Agnew was elected Governor as a liberal Republican. The Conservative was the Dem nominee, George Mahoney, a Wallaceite (he probably would’ve been similar to Lester Maddox in GA, who also ran in the same 1966 election). Had a 3rd party liberal Dem not run as an Indy, Mahoney probably would’ve won on the strength of the Dem party in the state (although it is also possible that the Indy took crucial liberal votes away from Agnew, whom barely prevailed).
Agnew was still not considered a Conservative even in ‘68, at best, a “moderate” (aside from the issue of demanding accountability from local Black leaders in not fanning rioting and violence that dreadful year, which got him pegged as a “racist reactionary” despite the fact he had enacted the singlemost liberal pro-civil rights legislation as Governor. That demonstrated the problem for the GOP at that point that it didn’t matter how liberal you went, you couldn’t do enough to appease the radical element that had become the Black leadership). He was apparently selected personally by Nelson Rockefeller so Nixon could have a “liberal” on the ticket and earn Rocky’s support, much to the chagrin of George Romney (Agnew was also pretty green, he had only been Governor for all of a year and a half). If I had been around in ‘68, I would’ve probably been championing Reagan (whom like Agnew was also elected in ‘66) — now Nixon could’ve run with Reagan because he changed his residency to New York.
I do wonder if he hadn’t taken those payoffs, how he might’ve fared in 1976. Reagan would’ve had more trouble against him than Ford in the primary, and I’d imagine wouldn’t have been able to have beaten him. A personally undamaged Agnew still might’ve lost to Carter in the general because of his perceived divisive personality (something Ford bested him on).
One other thing I’d add is that I don’t think Agnew would’ve pardoned Nixon. Nixon had apparently spent half his term trying to figure out how to run Agnew out of office so he could replace him with John Connally, and Agnew might’ve let him hang out to dry and let the vultures pick him to pieces. Of course, that ugliness would’ve continued to split the country, but Agnew wouldn’t have suffered the backlash Ford received, so that alone might’ve gotten him a win over Carter (had Ford not pardoned Nixon, he probably would’ve won over Carter by a 5% margin).
I’m going to throw out a conspiracy theory for a moment, take it with a grain of salt, but for all we know, Nixon might’ve “let it be known” to the proper authorities about Agnew’s practices in MD in order to keep him from the Presidency.
Maryland “Freak State” PING!