Spiro Theodore Agnew was a man. A crazy, crazy man. He was one of only two men in the history of the United States who was forced to resign from the office of vice president.
Born on the 9th of November, way back in 1918, his pappy was a Greek immigrant, making Spiro (pronounced “Speer-O”) a first-generation American.
When Spiro died in 1996 at age 77, a newspaper story in his home state of Maryland said:
“There are many who remember him, but not very fondly.”
(That’s a real quote.) He must have been a bad mother… shut your mouth!
Laying the groundwork
In Maryland, young Spiro grew up to be a lawyer and later got a job as chairman of the Baltimore County zoning board. This is when people still thought he was cool.
In ’62, at age 44, he won his first election, becoming the executive of Baltimore County. He served in this capacity until 1966 when he ran successfully for governor of Maryland. When I say he “ran successfully,” what I mean by that is that he was in the election for governor of Maryland and he won. He was a Republican. I thought I said that.When old Koo-Koo-Clocks was running for governor, most folks thought he was more liberal than the Democratic candidate, which is funny, you know, because the Democrats are usually more liberal than the Republicans, right?
He didn’t really do too much as governor, except do a one-eighty on his liberalism and take a bunch of kickbacks from contractors and stuff, but I’ll get to that.
Like peas and carrots
In 1968, Richard Milhouse Nixon was running for president and he picked Spiro as his running mate. Dick Nixon was raised on a lemon ranch in Whittier, California. It was the poorest lemon ranch in California, I can assure you.
Needless to say, Nixon won the election, and Herr Agnew was catapulted from a county government post to vice president of the United States in just six years. Wow! Kick ass! Way to go, Spiro!
Nobody even knew who the heck he was when he was running as VP, but Nixon picked him because he was a now super conservative guy. And, man-oh-man, Nixon and Agnew were a match made in heaven.
They both hated the Vietnam War protesters and they both despised the goddamn liberal media (and they’re both rolling over in their graves right now when I’m saying that abortion is cool and gay people are awesome).
In 1970, Dr. Loose Cannons was so pissed off about everything he gave a speech. (Right, like the vice president can give a speech! Puh-lease!) He attacked the news media and called them “a small and unelected elite,” “the hopeless, hysterical hypochondriacs of history” and “nattering nabobs of negativism.”
So you can see why they don’t let the vice presidents talk anymore. Agnew also said that protesters didn’t speak for the “silent majority.” Agh, what the hell did he know? You could just about make up anything and say that all the people who aren’t talking agree with you.
Since when are bribes illegal?
Any-how-ways, in 1973, after he had been vice president for a few years, all of a sudden all this stuff comes out about how he’s been accepting bribes from contractors and shit for like ten years (!) ever since he was Baltimore County executive. Con-man in the house. So he gets charged with this crap and things start getting really messy between Spiro and Dick.
Nixon was like, “Man, I bring you all the way up here from Baltimore, and this is the thanks I get? Breaking the law? Come on, Spiro. Seriously?”
Well, Nixon had his own slop of problems and didn’t need any extra static, so Spiro just resigned. He pleaded no contest to one count of tax evasion for which they slapped the old bastard with three years of probation and a $10,000 fine. But at this point he was hardly off scot-free.
Ten years later in a civil suit he ended up having to pay the State of Maryland $268,482 as reimbursement for all them kickbacks he was gettin’ back in the day… “allegedly,” of course. They also disbarred the old coot. Damn, talk about kickin’ a brother when he’s down. Still, all along, and just like Nixon, he was always sayin’ he didn’t do nothin’. He was all like, “I’m innocent and stuff.”
Señor Nutcase also fancied himself a writer! He published “The Canfield Decision” and “Go Quietly… or Else,” which is a pretty funny name for a book, don’t you think? He died at a hospital in Maryland in 1996.
Today, the Maryland Governor’s Reception Room is lined with pictures of former governors, but Spiro’s picture is not in there. No respect.