Home / General / Erik Visits an American Grave, Part 47

Erik Visits an American Grave, Part 47


Look what this nattering nabob of negativity found.


As a proponent of amnesty, abortion, and acid, you can imagine how excited I was to stumble upon the grave of this race baiting, corrupt, horrible man. This is a man who after the assassination of Martin Luther King publicly stated to the nation’s black population, “I call on you to publicly repudiate all black racists. This, so far, you have been unwilling to do.” Nixon himself wanted Agnew, rejecting George Romney for the VP job. Still, he was popular enough with the white backlash crowd at the time to spawn this lovely product, which someone should buy for me.


In 1980, Agnew claimed that Nixon and Al Haig planned to assassinate him if he didn’t resign the vice-presidency when he did.

I could go on about this utterly loathsome human being.

Spiro Agnew is buried in Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens, Timomium, Maryland.

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  • DocAmazing

    I had always been told that Nixon wanted Agnew as VP for the same reason Bush I wanted Quayle: standing next to such a person made one look better by comparison, and it discouraged potential assassins.

    • Peterr

      This works also for explaining part of the logic (such as it is) behind John McCain’s VP choice.

      • CrunchyFrog

        Nah. Nixon and Bush were favored (despite what you read about Dukakis’ fleeting lead in the polls that summer) so the VP was chosen based on the expectation of the presidency. McCain, like Mondale and Dole before him, was his party’s nominee in a year when the party had no realistic chance at the presidency so hi VP choice (like that of Ferraro and Kemp) was a desperate attempt to woo voters. Mondale had nothing – the economy was going well after a long downturn, absolutely no credit to Reagan who fought the Fed tooth and nail but of course he took all the credit. So why the freak not nominate the first female VP candidate? The economy was similarly booming in 1996, the GOP wingnut extremist base was still forming, Dole was considered a hard-line conservative, so why not nominate a liberal Republican as the VP to try to woo Clinton voters? In 2008 the economy was in free fall, even before the stock market crash, and the GOP was to blame, but there seemed to be a lot of female voters pissed off that Obama won over Clinton so why not nominated a female VP candidate – alas the only GOP female who held a governor or Senate spot in 2008 who wasn’t disqualified by being nominally pro-choice was Palin.

        • osceola

          Quayle was Bush I’s impeachment insurance in case Iran-Contra turned into something the Democrats might follow. But of course they never did.

          Iran-Contra was definitely an impeachable offense.

          • CrunchyFrog

            It’s generally understood that in late 1987 a quiet deal was made between the Senate Democratic leadership and the Republicans that they’d avoid a repeat of the Nixon impeachment hearings in exchange for Howard Baker moving in as Chief of Staff and cleaning up the excesses of the Reagan administration. A bad deal in retrospect, to be sure, in that it set precedents that – together with the mass pardons of the conspriators by Bush 41 at the end of his term – basically allowed the Bush 43 criminals to escape without investigation, let alone prosecution. But at the time you can understand the Democrats thinking – or rather, hoping – that the first 6 years of Reagan had been a really bad time but maybe now they could go back to the post-New Deal era collegial Senate norms.

  • Peterr

    I could go on about this utterly loathsome human being.

    Don’t hold back on our account.

    And given the other stories about the late Nixon administration, I am not willing to call his story about assassination threats inconceivable. I could very easily picture Haig, Rumsfeld, and Cheney making comments along these lines, though I’m torn as to the degree to which they would have been serious.

    • Pat

      More like it’s hard to care if one total asshole is threatened by three more total assholes who are all purportedly on the same side.

    • I would but I have to write a labor history post for tomorrow.

      • Peterr

        Excuses, excuses.

    • Warren Terra

      I could very easily picture Haig, Rumsfeld, and Cheney making comments along these lines, though I’m torn as to the degree to which they would have been serious.

      After all, so far as we know, Cheney didn’t actually shoot an American lawyer until thirty years later, and that lawyer wasn’t even killed, he lived to apologize.

    • efgoldman

      Agnew claimed that Nixon and Al Haig planned to assassinate him if he didn’t resign the vice-presidency when he did.

      Or they could have just let him be tried and convicted and sent to the slammah.
      He resigned as a condition of being allowed to plead nolo to one charge,

      • patrick II

        He might have threatened to tell what he knew if he went to the slammer.

        • efgoldman

          He might have threatened to tell what he knew

          What did he know? Tricksie Dicksie Nixie famously kept everything very, very close. I don’t think Agnew was ever part of the trusted inner circle.

        • Dennis Orphen

          “Agnew, but he didn’t knew enough to stay out of jail”

          -Gil Scott Heron
          The H2Ogate Blues

  • sharonT

    Oh, didn’t realize he was so close, just a 20 minute drive. So many possibilities.

    • Pat

      You could scatter some hemp seeds, in his memory.

    • The world is full of possibilities if you have a weird mind to think “I wonder who is buried nearby.”

      • Davis

        Not far from Agnew, you’ll find John Wilkes Booth in Greenmount Cemetery in Baltimore.

    • Warren Terra

      Sounds like an opportunity to, ah, commemorate Viscount Castlereigh.

      • petesh

        Pardon my ignorance, but there is a ref here I am missing. Is there a tradition involved?

        • Warren Terra

          It’s the famous Byron quote (apparently I spelled the name a bit off):

          Posterity will ne’er survey
          A nobler grave than this:
          Here lie the bones of Castlereagh:
          Stop, traveller, and piss.

          • rea

            If you want to know why Lord Byron was so, er, pissed at Castlereagh, see the post a while back about the Peterloo Massacre

            Shelly didn’t like him, either:

            I met Murder on the way –
            He had a mask like Castlereagh –
            Very smooth he looked, yet grim;
            Seven blood-hounds followed him:

            All were fat; and well they might
            Be in admirable plight,
            For one by one, and two by two,
            He tossed the human hearts to chew
            Which from his wide cloak he drew

            • petesh

              I knew the Shelley but somehow the Byron had escaped me. Of course, it makes sense that they shared the opinion, but the styles make an interesting contrast.

    • DocAmazing

      Just enough time for your bladder to fill.

    • DrDick

      This is truly a grave worthy of “fertilization.”

  • Peterr

    This post could also go in the “Dead Horses in American History” series, as Agnew was clearly a horse’s ass.

    • DrDick

      There you go flattering the man.

  • Ahenobarbus

    Boy, the LGMers are really socking it to that Spiro Agnew guy. He must work there or something.

    • wjts

      I was going to make the same joke, having coincidentally read the same joke (at another website in a different context) five minutes ago.

      • Ahenobarbus

        I grew up not getting Mad magazine’s outdated (to me) references.

  • RD

    Never trust a man whose name is an anagram of ‘Grow a penis’.

    • Fake Irishman

      Yet another service Dave Barry provided to humanity.

  • Wapiti

    So is his wife still alive, or did she refuse to be buried next to him?

    • She died in 2012. I don’t really know. It’s also worth noting that I visited this grave last summer but somehow lost the photo, so I had to pull one off the internet. I can’t remember if it noted her buried there or not, although I assume she is.

      It’s driving me crazy that I deleted this image somehow.

    • Just found the actual image, still on my phone. Replacing this one.

      • N__B

        There goes my opportunity to make a “missing 18 minutes of pictures” joke.

    • She’s dead and findagrave.com claims she’s buried in the same cemetery (under the name beneath his on the stone in the photo, and presumably under that stone); why no one ever added her death year (2012) to the stone, I don’t know. Unless Erik took the photo before that?

      [ETA: Foiled again.]

  • Thom

    I knew his daughter very slightly, as she was the girlfriend of a college friend whose father was a minor official in Nixon’s Commerce dept. Kim seemed quite nice. I seem to recall a news story of her wearing an anti-war armband one time when she was in high school. Also met Haldeman’s son through the same guy–the son was a Deadhead (although in my later experience many conservative professionals are Deadheads). It was amazing how fast his opinion of Nixon changed after HH was fired.

    • Thom

      And I should add that yes, this former friend from college (who knew Kim and the Haldeman kid from high school) was an operator and social climber.

      • mikeSchilling

        What other kids of disgraced felons did he cultivate?

    • Jean-Michel

      I seem to recall a news story of her wearing an anti-war armband one time when she was in high school.

      According to Spiro himself, Kim wanted to join the October ’69 Moratorium march in Washington, but he forbade it. Then Mrs. Agnew said that Kim tried to wear a black armband to school in lieu of actually participating in the march, but she forbade that on the grounds that “She is not mature enough to really make her own decisions.” The main result was that “Free Kim Agnew” became a prominent slogan at the next Moratorium in November.

  • No Longer Middle Aged Man

    Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens, Timomium, Maryland
    I hope it’s either a prison burial ground or a potter’s field

    Agnew was initially perceived as relatively moderate when he ran for Md governor in 1966.

    • Breadbaker

      It’s Timonium. My kids spent a summer a few miles further north a few years back.

  • cdevine

    So, did you piss on it? Only fitting!

    • Brad Nailer

      When Cheney dies, they’re going to have to put a barrier around his grave with a sign that says “No pissing allowed.” Seriously.

  • swiftfox2

    George Mahoney, Maryland’s segregationist Democrat, won the D primary on a split vote; Agnew won in the general election as the moderate.

    • AlanInSF

      He was kind of an empty-suit bland suburban politician at the time he ran for governor. There wasn’t really any hint of what he’d grow into.

      • Breadbaker

        Given that we know he was on the take the whole time, it’s not surprising he wasn’t exactly making waves.

      • EliHawk

        My dad was working in West Virginia in the summer of ’66 between college and law school and got all the ads/news from the Maryland Governor’s race that year, and he always told me how chagrined he was that ‘Ted’ Agnew ’66, Suburban Rotary Club Man for Governor became Spiro T. Agnew ’68, Tribune of the Aggrieved Ethnics!

  • Sly

    Futurama’s depiction of Agnew was pretty apt: A headless Frankenstein monster who could somehow still grunt and whose only job was to carry around Nixon’s head in a glass jar.

  • swiftfox2

    George Mahoney, Maryland’s segregationist Democrat, won the D primary on a split vote; Agnew won in the general election as the moderate. Winning Maryland as an R clearly influenced Nixon’s choice of Agnew. I still maintain that MD elects Repub governors only when the Democrat is flawed (Mahoney, Kathleen Townsend, Anthony Brown).

    • Dirty Davey

      In the last two instances, Maryland elected a Republican governor when the Democratic candidate was the two-term incumbent lieutenant governor. Given that the Lt Gov is usually someone who was politically connected when elected but has done nothing of note while in that office, I’m hardly surprised. Maryland Democrats would to well to adopt a rule making the sitting Lt Gov ineligible to receive the gubernatorial nomination.

      • Phil Perspective

        Part of the problem with Anthony Brown is he apparently had less of a campaign than Trump does. He just assumed Maryland was Democratic enough that he didn’t need to run an average campaign. Sure felt like it to Maryland residents at the time.

    • AlanInSF

      Unfortunately, with Maryland Democrats, “only when…” is an awful lot of the time.

    • Davis

      Yes, as a Marylander, I find it frustrating. Larry Hogan is not as dickish as a lot of other Republicans, but he’s bad enough. He’s a goddam real estate developer from the suburbs, which means no money for Baltimore transit, and more highways for the suburbs.

  • Ahuitzotl

    It’s nice to see Spiro still with his hand out

  • Johnny sycophant

    He had some great one liners, of course Nixon’s speechwriters gave him most of them.

    How on earth does/did someone as unsuited/unqualified get that close to being POTUS?

    • DocAmazing

      His genius was describing a small group of people who won’t shut up as the Silent Majority.

      • efgoldman

        Wasn’t it one of the Bills – Safire or Kristol – who made old Spiro the alliteration king?

        • jim, some guy in iowa

          Safire I think was the guy

          • Peterr


        • Colin Day

          William Kristol was born in 1952, probably too young.

          • The Lorax

            Dad Irving was the right age. But it was Safire. Who wrote for NYT.

        • Brad Nailer

          I always thought it was Buchanan. But yeah, Safire. And to think I always respected him for his English-grammar columns.

          • (((Hogan)))

            The language columns were great. The op-ed columns were a festering swamp of shameless lies and stupid predictions. He never forgave the Democrats for Watergate (because of course it was all their fault).

            • witlesschum

              That said, I always loved the Onion’s “William Safire orders two Whoppers Junior” headline.

    • mikeSchilling

      Safire wrote him some gems.

  • UkuleleIke

  • UkuleleIke
  • John Revolta

    No conservative or White Power guy ever had one of those watches. Only freaks (you know them as “hippies”) ever wore them.

    Damn punks think you invented irony. Lawn! Offa!

    • Randy

      They were mainstream for the more daring middle class liberals. I have some recollection of a gag on the New Dick Van Dyke Show revolving around losing his Spiro Agnew watch.

  • q-tip

    If we’re showing off Agnewiana, I have an LP copy of this. Found an excuse to cite it in a paper once. Just had one of those “fuck how things have changed” moments – I can pull the quote off a website now, and heeeere it is!

    As for those deserters, malcontents, radicals, incendiaries, the civil and uncivil disobedients among the young, SDS, PLP, Weathermen I and Weathermen II, the revolutionary action movement, the Black United Front, Yippies, Hippies, Yahoos, Black Panthers, Lions and Tigers alike – I would swap the whole damn zoo for a single platoon of the kind of young Americans I saw in Vietnam.

    Y’know, it is an odious sentiment, spoken by an odious man, but the speechwriting is, somehow, impressive.

    • Peterr

      William Safire knew his nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs.

      • rea

        Although he stole “acid, amnesty and abortion” from the James G. Blaine campaign of 1884 (back when it was “rum, Romanism and rebellion”).

    • DocAmazing

      It prefigures Hedley Lamarr:

      “I want rustlers, cut throats, murderers, bounty hunters, desperados, mugs, pugs, thugs, nitwits, halfwits, dimwits, vipers, snipers, con men, Indian agents, Mexican bandits, muggers, buggerers, bushwhackers, hornswogglers, horse thieves, bull dykes, train robbers, bank robbers, ass-kickers, shit-kickers and Methodists.”

      • Peterr

        Mel Brooks/Harvey Korman 2020!

        • Breadbaker

          Sadly, Harvey’s been gone since 2008. John Hillerman is the only principal in that movie besides Mel who is still alive now that Gene Wilder is gone.

          It reminds me of Robert Stack crying at Jack Benny’s funeral because he was the last one left from the original To Be or Not to Be (there are still a few, most notably Tim Matheson, who played the same part as Stack, from Mel’s version, but when I went to check I was surprised to see how many had actually died this year).

      • Pat

        Oddly, Hillary Clinton is a Methodist.

  • jafd

    I once read “The Canfield Decision” (no, didn’t pay for it). Not sure if ’twas the worst-written prose-in-print I ever perused, but definitely in top three. Even if he only signed name to ghostwritten manuscript, is black mark against him. If use-of-language is demonstration of someone’s thinking, then Spiro’s fate is demonstration of Bismarck’s “God’s benevolence to fools, drunkards and the United States”

    Scene where the ‘Henry Kissinger’ character (who’s spying for the Red Chinese and/or the Israelis – hard to tell) gets murdered is one of the most stomach-turning pieces of sadism porn I have ever encountered.

    The political punditry, methinks, oughta have a category like ‘Reagan Democrats’, for folks like me (and maybe Hillary ? ), the children of the upper-middle-class suburbs of the ’50’s, who decided in our ’20’s that we Didn’t Want To Join Spiro Agnew’s Gang.

    • Sev

      I seem to recall he had a passion for water works.

  • Tehanu

    Back in the 1980’s a friend gave us the “Spiro T. Agnew American History Board Game,” which we still play occasionally. Surprisingly, it’s quite a good game; you win not by being right about historical facts, but by convincing your opponents that you’re right — so appropriate for Republicans, no? I think the game was actually designed by some hapless academic who probably thought it was a coup getting the Vice! President! of! the! United! States! of! America!!! to put his name on it. Of course, whenever we drag it out now we have to explain to our younger friends who ol’ Spiro was … which, now I think of it, is a good thing; much better than having everybody only too familiar with his sorry ass.

    • John Revolta

      I’ll bet the “Coup” was arranged by some guy at the manufacturer who said “Y’ know, for fifty bucks we can get Agnew in on this”.

  • Rusty SpikeFist

    Agnew and NOT AgImproved.

  • santos guero

    I call bullshit. It’s clear that Loomis didn’t lose the photo of Agnew’s grave. In fact, Erik is at Burning Man at this very moment looking for Nick Denton’s grave, but he keeps getting sidetracked by Nosferatu, erm, I mean Peter Thiel, who, as we all know, will never have a grave as he is undead.

    • Did you put a camera on me?

      • santos guero

        My contract with the NSA forbids me from either confirming or denying. But any money you make on selling those Wussy CDs will be reported. Gotta go. Call from Putin. The man is a nightmare of neediness.

        • rea

          A nattering nightmare of neediness!

  • JDM

    We cut off Gov. Agnew’s limo in traffic around Baltimore once. I see the whole movie “Putney Swope” is online (link below); go to the 49:00 minute mark for the joke about the Agnew funeral.


  • Mike in DC
  • mikeSchilling

    Fortunately he had to resign in ’73, so we were spared the Spiro of ’76.

    • Breadbaker

      Can you imagine him running for the top job in ’76 on that slogan? The mind reels.

  • Manju

    This is a man who after the assassination of Martin Luther King publicly stated to the nation’s black population, “I call on you to publicly repudiate all black racists. This, so far, you have been unwilling to do.”

    True. And to make matters even worse (for Af-Ams), Agnew was pro-civil rights candidate (in comparison to his Democratic opponent) when he won the Governorship of Maryland (borderline state).

    (And the issue was Fair Housing, which makes Spiro’s stand even more impressive…after all a lot more folks were pro-civil rights as long as it was NIMBY).

    In this one anecdote, you see the real southern realignment in all its complexity…not the Liberal Happy Land one that thankfully I have not heard anyone utter on these pages for a long time.

    • The Dark God of Time

      Yes, just because people who lived in the South and experienced/witnessed racial discrimination disagree with you, you shouldn’t let that bother you.

      You’ll get it right in 20 years or so, Manju.

      • Manju

        Yes, white racist southerners disagree with me.

        • The Dark God of Time

          A politician, on the take, changing his views for political gain.

          If you say so, Manju

          As for white racist Southerners, I wasn’t referring to them, but to Dr. Dick, who is from the South and disagrees with most of your complexity argument.

      • mikeSchilling

        Manju’s point appears to be that, bad as Agnew was, he wasn’t nearly the worst.

  • joel hanes

    In Pogo, Walt Kelly fittingly lampooned Agnew as a hyena.
    As we now know, Kelly was being over-kind.

    For a while, Kelly dressed the Agnew character in one of the ridiculous uniforms that Nixon had chosen for the state-occasion military band.

  • N__B

    David Frye, while he was eviscerating Nixon in the early 70s, generally didn’t bother with Agnew. The only line I remember him giving Agnew was “Dick, tell me about the rabbits.” To some extent that’s been my mental image of him ever since.

  • Emily68

    I waited tables at a small restaurant in college in 1972-73. I reported all my tips as income because hey, why not? My income was so low it didn’t matter, plus it was the legal thing to do. I even got told I was fool by some old Republican fart. Imagine my delight when Agnew got nailed and I realized that I’d been considerably more law-abiding than the guy who ran around the country screaming about law & order for several years.

  • AdamPShort

    I just love these. I feel like this series has made me think about history in a new way. There is something so concrete about a grave that it makes a great jumping off point for asking “who was this person really?”

  • NorthernInvader

    A grave made for pissing on

  • liberalrob

    You can get anything you want

    20 bucks is a steal!

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