(Roughly) Daily

Infographics to live by…

 

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[TotH to KJMc]

 

As we consider ourselves handy, we might recall that it was on this date in 1969 that Spiro T. Agnew, then Richard Nixon’s Vice President, emerged as the face of the Administration’s aggressive “best defense is a good offense” strategy of response to critics.

Agnew had already given other tough speeches, lambasting “liberal intellectuals” and labeling anti-Vietnam War protestors “impudent snobs.”  But 42 years ago on this date, Agnew delivered a talk in Des Moines, written for him by Nixon’s own speech writer, Patrick Buchanan, blasting the national news media– the television networks– as an unelected elite with “a virtual monopoly of a whole medium of communication.”  The wide coverage of his talk encouraged Agnew to amp up the invective; thus, subsequent speeches gave the language such phrases as “nattering nabobs of negativism.”

Agnew relished his celebrity, and was tolerated in it by Nixon:  as the clouds of Watergate gathered, Agnew was, Nixon noted, “impeachment insurance”; no one, Nixon believed, wanted to remove him if it meant elevating Agnew to the presidency.  And indeed, the U.S. Senate’s history site suggests, it was effective insurance… at least, until Agnew was caught up in a bribery and corruption scandal dating from his days as a Maryland politician, and was forced to resign as part of his plea deal.

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Written by LW

November 13, 2011 at 1:01 am

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