I know, I had promised a Spiro Agnew Christmas, but a Spiro Agnew-type flu (I guess that’s not true, it wasn’t swine) intervened, so a Spiro Agnew New Year will have to suffice (wouldn’t it be great if on the Chinese calendar this was the year of the ass?). I own a few Spiro Agnew treasures, but none better than thisÂ Spiro’s Greatest Hits Album. No, he doesn’t sing “Stairway to Heaven,” but he does offer a delightfully delicious delicacy of draconian drivel on a number of topics then on the lips of everyone in 1968 and 1969, such asÂ student demonstrators (“impudent, elite snobs”) and of course, the liberal press, those “nattering nabobs of negativism” (who were also, “hopeless, hysterical hypochondriacs of history.”)
Those memorable lines were written by William Safire, whose right-wing views later columnized much of The New York Times op-ed page. When Safire died this year, so many of his former colleagues weighed in what a great guy he was, what a terrific columnist, blah, blah, blah, I wondered if they had all suffered from some kind of communal long-term memory loss. Not too many of them talked about how much hatred and division he sowed in this country through his vice presidential talking dummy.Â How many heads were beaten, how many lives permanently destroyed or lost as a result of the politics of Agnew and Nixon, whose popularity could be credited in large part to the words written for them by Safire and Pat Buchanan.
There was nothing charming about any of those people and certainly any good that Safire did subsequentlyÂ in his life was far out-weighed by the vicious hatred he helped spread. Ultimately, I think, he wore the stripes of the person who paid his salary. Whatever that made him, you decide.
Here’s the front of the Agnew album. Below that is the back cover. Click on it to more easily make out the terrific liner-notes.
I couldn’t include these tremulous treasures of tripe without offering a link to the words themselves. Click here for Agnew’s impudent snobs speech and then maybe go out and bash in a few hippie heads when you’re done to celebrate Agnew’s legacy.