Fear, Loathing and Gumbo on the Campaign Trail '72

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by Drew, Feb 28, 2010.

  1. Lord Grattan consigned to OTL

    Dec 20, 2007
    Michigan USA
    I would have thought that Speaker Albert & Senator Eastland & company would have set the date for a joint session of Congress to count the electoral votes as soon as the SCOTUS handed down their decisions. Some notification of when the joint sesion of congress will occur should probably have been made public on the opening day of Congress, especially since January 6 was the scheduled date for Congress to meet to count the EC votes. I imagine that Congress would not wait too long past that date to meet, count the votes, and then, as appears likely, begin the task of electing a POTUS $ VPOTUS.
  2. Lord Grattan consigned to OTL

    Dec 20, 2007
    Michigan USA
    I also want to mention that I thought your Supreme Court decisions were well reasoned and worded.

    I was thinking about TTL's '72 election and how it might have impacted my then-soon-to-be 12 year old self's thoughts about politics. As I did I began thinking about butterflies and about how different my life w

    Hay, maybe I become a United States Senator in TTL (which, at that time, I wanted to become).

    Here's a bit of anti-war propaganda for you:

  3. RogueBeaver Well-Known Member

    Apr 28, 2009
    It looks like Nixon will lose the Presidency- from the hints you've given. This makes OTL 2000 look childish, and resembles OTL 1876 to a degree.
  4. Historico Member

    Nov 23, 2004
    O'k With the Results in for the final electoral tally, I created the final map for the 1972 US Presidential Election using our good friends Dave Leip's EV Calculator. So here's what I came up with...


    Richard M. Nixon/Spiro Agnew: 268 Electoral Votes
    John J. McKeithen/Birch E. Bayh II: 258 Electoral Votes
    George A. Wallace/Lester G. Maddox: 9 Electoral Votes
    George S. McGovern/Paul N. McCloskey: 2 Electoral Votes
    John Hospers/Theodora Nathan: 1 Electoral Vote
  5. Drew Well-Known Member

    Feb 17, 2010
    Burlington, Ontario, Canada
    I've been tying the posts together by theme, so I've been running back and forth across dates a little, especially with Vietnam and the Chinese-Soviet thing. You'll note the Mississippi count wasn't completed and certified until the 5th (this is analogous to Hawaii not completing its certification until January 4, 1961; it wasn't as significant in that election). The new Congress doesn't convene until January 3 when he new terms begin, and it is the 93rd that makes the decision. The 3rd will involve swearing in the new members and some of them will have to be briefed on what comes next. Also the floor leaders will want to line-up their caucuses. Title 3 Ch.1 sec, 15 specifies the date and time as 1:00 pm on Jan. 6, which in 1973 was a Saturday (it has been moved to Jan 7 to avoid doing it on a Sunday, but that required a special act of Congress in advance). Congress chose the 6th (3 days after the session begins) when the legislation was put together in order to allow themselves a couple of days to get organized and take care of any routine matters. That would be particularly important for the House in this case because they can expect to be tied up for some time with this. You'll note I've made reference to their leadership meeting about this over the period. Rest assured, the action will occur on Jan 6. (Consider that I've written around that date as the outside environment that frames this activity.

    Thanks. I once practiced on re-wording the Bush v. Gore decision going the other way, and then how that litigation might have proceeded if it had gone back to the Florida supreme Court. The California one I did here was based on that.

    Be all that you can be; just watch out for the flying tomatoes!

    Yep. No way he can keep it, and he's soon going to be embroiled in Watergate as a former President (no executive privlidge).

    Nice map Historico. I've been using the modern Blue=Democrat and Red=Republican on my maps. My vote figures are manipulations from Dave Leip's numbers.
    Magnimik likes this.
  6. Drew Well-Known Member

    Feb 17, 2010
    Burlington, Ontario, Canada
    I was in Bangladesh when that happened, so I watched it from afar. The U.S. had just had a high level delegation in Dhaka advising the Bangladeshis on how to run a free and fair election. It was high comedy in contrast.
  7. Drew Well-Known Member

    Feb 17, 2010
    Burlington, Ontario, Canada
    The White House - January 4, 1973

    Senator Herman Talmadge nervously liked his lips as he was ushered into the Oval Office. He had just spent a half hour with Bob Halderman, going over his IRS file. The conversation was along the line of "we see you've got a problem, Senator. We'd like to help you out, before it goes any further." It was a technique they'd learned from J. Edgar Hoover and Talmadge had to admit that they were getting good at it. Hoover had fixed a couple of problems for Talmadge in return for the Senator's loyal support; but the old FBI chief was dead now. Talmadge needed new friends.
    President Nixon rose to greet the senior Senator from Georgia. The President's face had a broad smile, there was even a twinkle in his grey eyes. So much for the rumors that had Nixon moping about the White House like he'd lost his best friend, Talmadge though.

    "Senator,- Herman - can I count on your help?" Nixon asked him once he was settled into his chair.

    Talmadge glanced in Halderman's direction. His choice was made for him. When Halderman had told him what they wanted, Talmadge had almost laughed out loud at the irony.


    It was late in the evening when Representative Gerald Ford arrived at the West Wing of the White House. He'd spent the last couple of hours fielding complaints and calming the tempers of Congressmen and women who were being leaned on - hard - by Senator Dole and the RNC. Their message was simple: "Do the right thing or expect a well funded opponent in your next primary." They didn't have to add that there would be no money or support for them from the RNC if they did the "wrong" thing. Ford understood what Bob Dole was doing; it was hardball politics. Still, he didn't appreciate the RNC going around his authority to muscle his members.

    "Jerry, come in," the President greeted the House Minority leader with an ebullience that was almost supernatural for Richard Nixon. They were meeting in the President's private study, a small, intimate room next to the Oval Office.

    "Have you got the troops lined-up?" the President asked after the initial courtesies of asking about the heatlh and recent activities of their various family members. "Everyone ready to pull for the team?"

    "I've spoken with all our members, and they're ready, sir" Ford said. No thanks to Bob Dole cracking the whip over their backs.

    "But we don't have enough do we, Jerry?"

    "I'm afraid not, Mr. President. But neither do they."

    "What about the Boll weevils? They've been with us before."

    Ford had been taking to the Southern Democrats, boll weevils as some were starting to call them. "Some of them will vote for Wallace. That Alabama decision means he'll be on the ballot as well," Ford said.

    Nixon nodded his head. "Maybe at first; they'll want to cover their butts with Wallace, but when that doesn't go anywhere, that's when you can bring them on board, Jerry. Watch for that."

    "Yes, Mr. President," Ford said, trying not to let his annoyance show. This was ground he'd already covered with his floor leaders. "The only thing is, Governor McKeithen is a Southerner as well, and there could be political trouble for them in their districts if they don't stick with a regional candidate. Except for LBJ, he is the first Southerner to have a chance at being elected to the Presidency in over a century."

    "Yes, I see," Nixon said with a grave, thoughtful nod of his head. "But there still isn't enough of them - the Boll weevils I mean?"

    "For McKeithen to win outright - no, sir. I'm afraid we are going to have a lot of hung ballots."

    "Yes, and you're going to pound away until it's done - no letting up? That'll bring some people around."

    "We can take recesses until January 11th," Ford said. "We are planning breaks, and to adjourn for the first few evenings, to let the members rest and reflect. We don't want to make this into torture."

    "You've got to keep them going, ballot after ballot, that'll wear them down," the President insisted, making a fist with his right hand and jamming it against the arm of his chair.

    "We want to be careful that doesn't backfire," Ford cautioned. "They could vote for McKeithen just to settle it."

    Nixon shot forward in his chair. "You think that's a possibility?"

    "The longer this goes on for, the less control we'll have; that goes for the Democratic leadership as well. That's human nature, Mr. President. Fatigue and frustration will set in. Not just in the House, but with the people as well; they'll demand a solution from us. As well, Mr. Albert, Mr. McFall and I have had to consider how to carry on regular House business around this, if it goes on for an extended period."

    "I see," Nixon replied, seeming to deflate a little. He reached over and looked at a yellow legal pad, reading his own hen scratched notes.

    After more than two minutes of Nixon silently reading, Ford was beginning to wonder if the meeting was over. Was he supposed to get-up and leave?


    "Yes, Mr. President?"

    "Will the Senate elect Bayh?"

    "I think that's very probable, sir. They've got the votes."

    "I can't help but think of Grover Cleveland," Nixon said.

    Grover Cleveland? "I'm afraid I don't understand, Mr. President."

    "The only president to serve two non-consecutive terms. You know he lost his home state, New York, to Harrison by only one percent of the vote in eighty-eight. If it hadn't been for a few ingrates he'd have been the first two term president since Grant. I see that happening to me, Jerry. I didn't deserve this, but by a twist of fate I'm out. Ingratitude all around me. But I'll be back in '76; just like Cleveland. You watch."

    Ford admired his pluck. "We'll all be rooting for you, Mr. President."

    "They regretted it, the ones in New York who voted Cleveland out the first time. After they got a good look the guy who followed him, who they let into the White House through their ingratitude and stupidity, then they couldn't wait to undo their mistake. They voted Cleveland back in ninety-two, after Harrison had made a wreck of everything, and he had to fix his enemies' mess for them. It'll happen again; just watch, Jerry, just watch."

    Ford shrugged. He really didn't know how to reply to that, exactly. "We're in your corner, sir," he repeated for lack of a better comment.

    "One thing Jerry, you need to be ready for just any kind of surprise. Be ready to exploit it."

    That seemed to come out of nowhere, and it caught Jerry Ford flatfooted. What kind of a surprise?.

    The President didn't give Ford much time to ask him what he meant. Abruptly changing the subject, Nixon decided that he wanted to discuss each and every member in the House Republican caucus and just how Ford thought they would vote under different scenarios. He also asked Ford for his comments about the speech he was delivering to the nation the following evening.

    It was well past midnight before a weary, red-eyed Jerry Ford left the White House. The remark about expecting a surprise still troubled him: it was as if the President knew something. But what? What could change the current situation? Ford shook his head with disbelief. Grover Cleveland indeed!

    The Senate Majority Leader's Office - January 4-5, 1973

    Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield was also having a late night. He'd just poured himself a heavy measure of scotch when the Majority Whip, Sen. Robert Byrd, came into the office. Without preamble Byrd fetched a glass from Mansfield's liquor cupboard and placed it down on the desk in front of the Majority Leader. Mansfield poured him a s hare as generous as he had his own.

    "I'm afraid to ask," Mansfield said as the amber liquid filled the glass.

    "Eastland and Allen," Byrd mumbled. "Stupid, damn crackers."

    Some might call Bob Byrd a cracker too Mansfield thought, but not to his face. "We knew Jim Allen was marginal - Wallace has got him in his pocket. We know Margret Smith is going to vote against Agnew, so they should cancel each other out. What's Jim Eastman's problem?"

    "Ba'ae is for abortion," Byrd replied, exaggerating his patrician West Virginia accent in order to affect a Mississippi drawl. Mansfield thought he did a good job at imitating how Eastman pronounced Birch Bayh's name. "Ba'ae is for the Equal Rights Amendment - that accursed Trojan horse of the civil rights liberals to end freedom in America. Ba'ae can't handle the Russians - on and on he goes."

    Mansfield thought about that. It was going to be very close if Jim Eastland voted for Agnew - 51-49 by his count - unless there were other Republicans planning to vote for Bayh but keeping it to themselves. Bob Dole and Bob Griffin had been working their caucus over like overseers on a plantation to make sure they stayed in line. Mansfield knew there were a number of liberal Republicans who would have preferred not to vote for Agnew - some of them had hinted as much to him privately - but they were counting on the Democratic majority to save their political skins with the RNC. Well, Faubus or Harry Byrd could always change their minds. Buckley was a lost cause; he'd do whatever Nixon wanted, and Mansfield didn't see Nixon wanting Birch Bayh one step away from the Presidency.

    "I spent the last five hours arguing with the man - he's like a mountain," Byrd said after pulling back a healthy share of the scotch in his glass. "When I suggested that he was doing George Wallace and Richard Nixon a favour, you know what he said to me, he said he'd - quote - go live in Harlem before he'd spit on George Wallace if he was on fire - end quote - but that President Nixon is - quote - a whole different color of horse - end quote."

    "Ted Agnew is not Richard Nixon," Mansfield sighed in frustration.

    "Nixon's a crook, but at least he's got a brain. Agnew is what we call at home the county idiot, best kept in another county."

    Mansfield grimaced. "Well, Bob those are cards we've got. I'll have a talk with Eastland."

    President Nixon to the nation from the Oval Office - January 5, 1973

    "Good evening my fellow citizens. Tomorrow the Congress will engage in a historic action to elect the next President and Vice President of the United States. This is not without precedent, as it has happened twice before in the history of our Republic. Such is the strength of our free nation that when an Election fails to present a clear choice, it falls to the representatives of you the people, elected by you, to make this momentous choice; not I, not an unelected judge or group of judges, nor a hidden, unaccountable body of notables, but to those who hold public office through your trust and confidence. This is the enduring strength of our free nation, where the people are sovereign."

    "Let our friends around the globe rest assured that our resolve remains unbroken, that whatever the outcome of tomorrow's vote, the enduring strength and commitment of our nation to a better, freer world will continue unabated. Let our adversaries, and those who would seek to exploit this circumstance, be warned, our strength does not falter, our will does not ebb, we are resolved as a nation to move forward, and the man elected President tomorrow will lead our nation in that purpose. Should the House of Representatives elect Governor McKeithen, then I will pledge my full cooperation to my successor."

    "Our resolve in Vietnam shall continue. I know some of you have been disturbed by the distorted and misleading images being circulated by our adversaries. Let me be clear, our determination to bring peace with honor remains unchanged. I have spoken with Governor McKeithen, and he has confirmed to me that he shares this commitment. Let those on the other side be in no doubt of this. As long as North Vietnam remains intent on war, then we will fight aggression. Our current air campaign is aimed at destroying that nation's war making capability; that is our purpose in this course. We have noted recent reports of sophisticated, offensive weapons being introduced into Vietnam by the North's Communist allies. Let me say that this is an unacceptable course of action, and one which will only prolong the misery of war. To the North Vietnamese leadership I say, come to the table, and we are prepared to talk. Lay down the sword and take up negotiations, and you will find on our side a partner ready to settle our differences peacefully. Our country stretches out a hand of peace to you; do not let this opportunity pass unanswered."

    "Finally, let me address a rumor recently published that this administration has considered the use of nuclear weapons in this conflict. Such speculation is totally, absolutely false. Those who print such falsity due so with a reckless disregard of the peace of the world for the sake of sensationalism and profit Let this infamous lie die here and now. There is no discussion, no policy, no desire for the United States of America to use nuclear weapons, save to defend from an attack by such weapons, which is not the case here."

    "Goodnight, my fellow citizens and may God bless the United States of America."

    Governor John McKeithen to the nation from Baton Rouge, following the President - January 5, 1973

    "Good evening my friends. Tomorrow we set-off on something we've read about in the history books, but which none of us has ever experienced before. Let's all be assured that this way was designed by the founding fathers to preserve our free nation at moments when the regular way has unclear results. Tomorrow, Congress will engage in a constitutional process designed by Jefferson, Adams, Washington and their contemporaries not to limit our freedom, but to preserve it."

    "This is not some failing of our free system of government; it is part of its greatness. That the final decision was not made last November is no fault, but a strength. In no other nation in the world could we witness the peaceful passing of power in a moment of uncertainty. Rather it is the strength of our democratic system which we will witness tomorrow. As President Nixon has said, those who will vote tomorrow are themselves elected by you. Their vote is but an expression of your vote, my friends. Every member of Congress who will vote tomorrow is accountable to you, the voter, for his or her vote, and they should bear this in mind as they cast their ballot."

    "I join with President Nixon in giving my unqualified support to whomever is chosen as the next President tomorrow. If it is myself, then I pledge to be worthy of the honor of serving as your Chief Executive. If the choice is Mr. Nixon, then I will pray for my President and wish him all God's speed in his task."

    "Finally, I join my voice with that of the President in saying that our nation's resolve is firm - let no one doubt it for even a split second. I stand fully behind the President, who is our one and only Commander-in-Chief until January 20. Let our adversaries, wherever and whoever they may be, have no cause to hope for the success of mischief, whatever happens tomorrow. Like the old saying, no matter the gripes me and my neighbour have with each other, we'll come together to thump any snake who rears his fangs at us. So it is tonight; I give my unqualified support to our President. I hope you will join me in praying for Mr. Nixon and his family at this hour."

    "Let's awake tomorrow filled with hope and cheer, for we live in the greatest nation on Earth, where freedom is supreme. God bless the United States and all of you my fellow citizens and friends. Goodnight."
  8. Drew Well-Known Member

    Feb 17, 2010
    Burlington, Ontario, Canada
    One man, one vote

    13:00 hrs - January 6, 1973

    The House and Senate convened as required under Federal law in order to count the Electoral Votes for President and Vice President. The count held no surprises:

    For President and Vice President

    Richard M. Nixon (R-NY) 268 and Spiro T. Agnew (R-MD) 268
    John J. McKeithen (D-LA) 258 and Birch Bayh (D-IN) 258
    George C. Wallace (I-AL) 9 and Lester G. Maddox (I-GA) 9
    George S. McGovern (I-SD) 2 and Paul N. McCloskey (I-CA) 2
    John Hospers (Lib-CA) 1 and Theodora N. Nathan (Lib-NY) 1

    There followed several challenges to the Electoral Votes cast, of which three were presented in the proper form to be recognized by the President of Senate acting as chairman of the joint session. They were:

    Senator John Tunney (D-CA) and Rep. Philip Burton (D-CA) objected to the counting of the nine Alabama Electoral Votes for Wallace and Maddox. Tunney and Burton were essentially trying to end-run the Supreme Court and re-open the issues in the McKeithen v. Wallace lawsuit.

    Senator James Buckley (C-NY) and Rep. Barry Goldwater Jr. (R-CA) objected to the counting of two District of Columbia Electors who did not actually represent the candidate for which they were pledged, but rather were 'Trojan horse' Electors' who were 'voting an issue,' not a candidate.

    Senator Bob Dole (R-KS) and Rep. Philip Crane (R-IL) objected to the counting of one Electoral Vote for the Libertarian candidates, arguing it should be counted for the Republican candidates as the person who cast it was a 'faithless' Elector originally chosen by the Virginia State Republican Party to cast his votes for the Republican candidates.

    Rep. Herman Badillo (D-NY) tried to object to the presence of Vice President Spiro Agnew and Senator Birch Bayh in the Senate during the Senate vote for Vice President, as both were candidates. He was ruled out of order on procedural grounds (he had no Senator to join in his motion) and on substantive grounds (his objection did not involve the counting of Electoral Votes).

    The Senate and the House then adjourned to hear arguments in each of these three objections. Under the rules each member had five minutes to argue for or against the objection, if they chose to speak, but debate on each objection could only go on for two hours before the vote had to be called.

    On the question of the Alabama Electors the Senate, after two hours of debate resolved the same ruling as the Supreme Court; i.e. that the Electors were legal and acceptable. The House reached the same conclusion. Most who spoke used it as an opportunity to variously take shots at George Wallace, the Supreme Court or the Electoral College (or a combination of them).

    On the question of whether the two DC Electors who cast ballots for McGovern and McCloskey were 'authentic Electors' or 'Trojan Horses Electors'. The Senate ruled that the challenge was without legal merit. The legally designated Electors voted for McGovern and McCloskey, the candidates to whom they were pledged: their motivation for doing so was irrelevant because the Electoral Votes had been legally cast for the two candidates who had won the majority of the popular vote in the District of Columbia. In the House debate on this issue became a mini referendum on DC statehood. A procedural fight ensued when the non-voting delegate from DC, Walter Fauntroy (D-DC) asked for floor time to address the question. At issue was whether he had the right to speak - DC had no vote in the House, but DC had three Electoral Votes. In the end Fauntroy was allowed to speak, but ruled out of order when he turned his five minute speech into an appeal for Congressional voting rights for the District. In the end this challenge was defeated by the House for the same reason it had been in the Senate.

    The question of the faithless Virginia Elector became a heated debate about the Electoral College itself. The Senate resolved that Roger McBride's faithless votes should be thrown out and the Virginia Electoral Votes assigned to Richard M. Nixon for President and Spiro T. Agnew for Vice President (this was considered a rebuke of faithless Electors in general; although for some reason the faithless DC Elector who voted for John J. McKeithen and Birch Bayh was overlooked.) The House of Representatives came to the opposite conclusion, ruling that the faithless Elector was free to cast his votes as he saw fit, creating a dispute with the Senate.

    Both Houses reconvened at 11:30 pm on January 6, to conclude the business of counting Electoral votes. The first two objections were quickly disposed of since both Houses were in agreement. In accordance to the rules in place, since the two Houses disagreed over the validity of Roger MacBride's Electoral Votes, his votes for the Libertarian ticket were to be counted since they had been certified as valid by the Governor of Virginia in accordance to the electoral laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia.

    The Electoral vote count and certification was then completed at 3:00 am on Sunday, January 7, 1973. It was not determined that a contingent election in the House of Representatives for President and in the Senate of Vice President would now have to take place. In keeping with Congressional tradition and - controversially - despite constitutional language calling for an immediate vote, both houses recessed for the balance of the Sunday.

    The two Houses reconvened in their respective chambers at 9:00 am on Monday, January 8 to conduct the contingent elections. In both Houses the twelfth amendment, and the rules and procedures were read out before the voting began.

    The Senate elects a Vice President - Jan. 8, 1973

    Fundamentally the Senate had an easier task because their choice was from only the top two candidates in the Electoral College, and each Senator could vote individually. It seemed very likely that Senator Birch Bayh (D-IN) would be elected the 40th Vice President of the United States (the State Department had already ordered the General Services Administration to mount copies of Bayh's photo in frames for distribution to all U.S. government facilities where the Vice President's photo was typically displayed, so they would be available for display at 12:01 pm on January 20). Sen. Bayh had an acceptance speech with him when he entered the Senate chamber to vote.

    Senators were reminded that under the rules established for a contingent election of a Vice President, used only once before in 1836, Senators were not permitted to abstain. A refusal to vote would lead to disciplinary action by the Senate leadership.

    The Senate needed only one ballot to complete its job; which took place between 11:30 am and 12:30 pm on January 8.

    Beginning at 11:30 am, with Vice President Agnew presiding from the chair, the clerk of Senate read off the names in alphabetical order. Each Senator would provide a voice vote, which would later be confirmed by a signed ballot.

    James Abourezk (D-SD) – Bayh
    George Aiken (R-VT) - Agnew
    James Allen (D-AL) – Agnew
    Howard Baker (R-TN) – Agnew
    Birch Bayh (D-IN) - Bayh
    Agnew= 3 Bayh = 2
    Dewey F. Bartlett (R-OK) – Agnew
    John G. Beall (R-MD) – Agnew
    Henry Bellmon (R-OK) – Agnew
    Wallace Bennett (R-UT)- Agnew
    Lloyd Bentsen (D-TX) – Bayh
    Agnew= 7 Bayh = 3
    Allen Bible (D-NV) – Bayh
    J. Caleb Boggs (R-DE) – Agnew
    William E. Brock III (R-TN) – Agnew
    Edward Brooke (R-MA)- Agnew
    James L. Buckley (C-NY)- Agnew
    Agnew= 11 Bayh = 4
    Quentin Burdick (D-ND) – Bayh
    Harry F. Byrd (I[D]-VA) – Agnew
    Robert Byrd (D-WV) - Bayh
    Howard Cannon (D-NV) – Bayh
    Clifford Case (D-NJ) – Bayh
    Agnew= 12 Bayh = 8
    Lawton Chiles (D-FL) - Bayh
    Frank Church (D-ID) - Bayh
    Marlowe Cook (R-KY) – Agnew
    Norris Cotton (R-NH)- Agnew
    Alan Cranston (D-CA) – Bayh
    Agnew= 14 Bayh = 11
    Carl Curtis (R-NV) – Agnew
    Robert Dole (R-KS) – Agnew
    Peter Domenici (R-NM) - Agnew
    Peter Dominick (R-CO) - Agnew
    Thomas Eagleton (D-MO) - Bayh
    Agnew= 18 Bayh = 12
    James Eastland (D-MS) – Agnew
    Sam Ervin (D-NC) – Bayh
    Paul Fannin (R-AZ) – Agnew
    Orval Faubus (I[D]-AR) – Agnew
    Hiram Fong (R-HI) – Agnew
    Agnew= 22 Bayh = 13
    William Fulbright (D-AR) – Bayh
    Barry Goldwater (R-AZ) – Agnew
    Mike Gravel (D-AK) – Bayh
    Robert Griffin (R-MI) – Agnew
    Edward Gurney (R-FL) – Agnew
    Agnew= 25 Bayh = 15
    Clifford Hansen (R-WY) – Agnew
    Phillip Hart (D-MI) – Bayh
    Vince Hartkle (D-IN) – Bayh
    Floyd Haskell (D-CO) – Bayh
    Mark Hatfiled (R-OR) – Agnew
    Agnew= 27 Bayh = 18
    Jesse Helms (R-NC) – Agnew
    Ernest Hollings (D-SC) – Bayh
    Roman Hruska (R-NE) – Agnew
    Harold Hughes (D-IA) – Bayh
    Hubert H. Humphrey (DFL-MN) – Bayh
    Agnew= 29 Bayh = 21
    Daniel Inouye (D-HI) – Bayh
    Henry Jackson (D-WA) – Bayh
    Jacob Javits (R-NY) – Agnew
    J. Bennett Johnston (D-LA) – Bayh
    Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA) – Bayh
    Agnew= 30 Bayh = 25
    Russell B. Long (D-LA) – Bayh
    Warren Magnuson (D-WA) – Bayh
    Michael Mansfield (D-MT) – Bayh
    Charles Mathias (R-MD) - Agnew
    James A. McClure (R-ID) - Agnew
    Agnew= 32 Bayh = 28
    Gale McGee (D-WY) – Bayh
    George McGovern (D-SD) - Bayh
    Thomas McIntyre (D-NH) – Bayh
    Lee Metcalf (D-MT) – Bayh
    Jack Miller (R-IA) – Agnew
    Agnew= 33 Bayh = 32
    Walter Mondale (DFL-MN) – Bayh
    Joseph Montoya (D-NM) - Bayh
    Edward Moss (D-UT) – Bayh
    Edmund Muskie (D-ME) - Bayh
    Gaylord Nelson (D-WS) – Bayh
    Agnew= 33 Bayh = 37
    Louie B. Nunn (R-KY) – Agnew
    Sam Nunn (D-GA) – Bayh
    Robert Packwood (R-OR) – Agnew
    John O. Pastore (D-RI) – Bayh
    James B. Pearson (R-KS) – Agnew
    Agnew= 36 Bayh = 39
    Claiborne Pell (D-RI) – Bayh
    Charles H. Percy (R-IL) – Agnew
    William Proxmire (D-WS) – Bayh
    Jennings Randolph (D-VA) – Bayh
    Abraham Ribicoff (D-CT) – Bayh
    Agnew= 37 Bayh = 43
    William Roth (R-DE) – Agnew
    William Saxbe (R-OH) – Agnew
    Hugh Scott (R-PA) – Agnew
    William Scott (R-VA) – Agnew
    Richard Schewiker (R-PA) - Agnew
    Agnew= 42 Bayh = 43
    Margaret Chase-Smith (R-ME) – Bayh
    John Sparkman (D-AL) – Bayh
    Robert Stafford (R-VT) – Agnew
    John Stennis (D-MS) – Bayh
    Ted Stevens (R-AK) – Agnew
    Agnew= 44 Bayh = 46
    Adlai Stevenson III (D-IL) – Bayh
    Stuart Symington (D-MO) – Bayh
    Robert Taft jr. (R-OH) – Agnew
    Herman Talmadge (D-GA) – Agnew
    Storm Thurmond (R-SC) – Agnew
    Agnew= 47 Bayh = 48
    John Tower (R-TX) – Agnew
    John V. Tunney (D-CA) – Bayh
    Lowell Weicker (R-CT) – Agnew
    Harrison Williams (D-NJ) – Bayh
    Milton Young (R-ND) – Agnew
    Agnew= 50 Bayh = 50
    The Senate chamber fell into a stunned silence as the clerk of the Senate re-read the roll and pronounced the result.

    ’For Vice President Spiro Agnew of Maryland we have fifty votes. For Senator Birch Bayh of Indiana we have fifty votes. The tally is correct Mr. President. We have a tie on the question currently before the Senate.'

    A barely suppressed smirk made its way across Spiro Agnew’s face as he took the block in his right hand and cast a wide gaze across the assembled Senators.

    ’The vote being a tie as on a vote by the full membership of this body, I exercise the right of the President of Senate to cast a deciding vote to break the tie. I therefore vote in the affirmative for the election of Spiro T. Agnew to the office of Vice President of the United States for the term commencing January twentieth, nineteen hundred and seventy three. Let the vote so be entered.’ Agnew banged the block twice, signalling that the question had been settled.

    The Republican caucus rose to applaud, while the Democrats and Senator Margaret Chase-Smith sat in stunned silence. More than a few angry glances were directed at Herman Talmadge, who started down at the notes on his desk.

    While the tumult was still going on – Hugh Scott and Bob Dole were already at the dais congratulating Agnew - Robert Byrd walked over to Talmadge’s desk. “Herman, I hope that you were not expecting a federal appointment out of this, because I can tell you now, your chances of being confirmed by this House to anything more august than men’s room attendant are about as good as my hounds winnin’ the Nobel Prize. No, my hounds have got the better chance.”

    ”Go to Hell. Are you going to threaten Eastland too?”

    ”Jim Eastland’s a cranky old man, who’ll get a might crankier in the next few months ‘cause he won’t get too many of his pet project out of this body. But, as for Hell, as far as this House is concerned, you’re already there, Herman. Enjoy it.”

    'A profile in cowardice' – Sen. Chase-Smith

    (AP) - WASHINGTON Vice President Spiro T. Agnew cast the deciding vote which re-elected him to another term as Vice President. Agnew's vote came after the United States Senate tied 50-50 in a contingent election between Agnew and Indiana Democratic Senator Birch Bayh for the Vice Presidency. Up until the tie vote, which occurred at the end of a dramatic roll call vote in the full Senate, Sen. Bayh had been expected to win the election. Agnew's re-election was a unexpected end to what was thought to have been a straight-forward matter.

    The Senate was deciding the election under the terms of the twelfth amendment to the Constitution which gives the Senate the authority to elect the Vice President if no candidate receives a majority in the Electoral College. Vice President Agnew received 268 Electoral Votes in last year's presidential election, while his challenger Sen. Bayh received 258. Senators vote individually on their choice for Vice President from the top two candidates in the Electoral College. Going in, it was thought that the Democrats had an edge of three votes. However, three Democratic Senators, James Allen (D-AL), James Eastland (D-MS) and Herman Talmadge (D-GA), voted against their party's candidate. One Republican, Sen. Margaret Chase-Smith of Maine, broke party ranks to vote with the Democrats for Bayh, thus creating the unexpected tie vote.

    When the Senate is tied the Vice President, in his Constitutional role as President of the Senate, gets to cast a deciding vote. Vice President Agnew cast that vote for himself. Legal and Constitutional scholars agree that while highly unusual, Agnew's vote for himself is perfectly Constitutional, and therefore legal. Spiro Agnew will be sworn in to a new term as Vice President on January 20.

    Senator Allen said of his vote, 'Senator Bayh's support for abortion and the Equal Rights Amendment made him unsuitable for national office. Mr. Agnew's views on these subjects are more acceptable to my constituents and to me.'

    Senator Eastland commented, 'I couldn't do it. I have nothing but high regard for Senator Bayh as a colleague, but I did not vote for him this past November, and I cannot in good conscience vote for him now.' When asked if he voted for President Nixon and Vice President Agnew, the Republican ticket, last November, Sen. Eastland declined further comment.

    Senator Talmadge declined to comment on his vote.

    'I know there were other members of my party who opposed [Vice President] Agnew's re-election at so sensitive a time, they told me that many times,’ Sen. Margaret Chase-Smith said. ‘But they caved into pressure from Bob Dole and RNC (Republican National Committee) and counted on the Democrats to do it for them. Well, all I can say is that today we have seen a true profile in cowardice from the Republican side of the Senate.'

    'Sen. Chase-Smith is dead wrong,' Senator Bob Dole, the chairman of the RNC replied. 'Spiro Agnew is a great American whose four years of service in the office of Vice President has allowed him to become uniquely qualified to take over the Presidency if needs be. I call today a victory for average American families, who have repudiated the wrong-headed, flimsy, liberal policies Senator Bayh is so attached to. If anything, my colleagues have demonstrated their commitment to the American people and their moral courage as public servants.'

    The House of Representatives has yet to choose a President in a contingent election. The House must choose between President Nixon, Democratic challenger former Governor John McKeithen of Louisiana, and independent candidate Governor George Wallace of Alabama. In the House each state delegation casts one vote, and each State's vote is decided by a majority of its members. Currently twelve delegations are deadlocked over the question, and none of the candidate has the twenty-six votes required to win.

    If the House fails to choose a President-elect before noon on January 20, then Vice President Agnew will become the acting President until the House chooses the next President, or until his term expires on January 20, 1977.
  9. RogueBeaver Well-Known Member

    Apr 28, 2009
    Oh my God. President Ted Agnew- almost as bad as a President Sarah Palin! :eek::eek::mad::mad:
  10. Lord Grattan consigned to OTL

    Dec 20, 2007
    Michigan USA
    Bitter partisanship and legislative gridlock arrive on Capitol Hill 25 years earlier then in OTL. :(
  11. Historico Member

    Nov 23, 2004
    Oh God...We may end up with an President Agnew, if the House doesn't get their act together lol. Keep it comming
  12. Lord Grattan consigned to OTL

    Dec 20, 2007
    Michigan USA
    Acting (hopefully not for long) President Agnew.:eek:
  13. Drew Well-Known Member

    Feb 17, 2010
    Burlington, Ontario, Canada
    Bob Dole always had it in him, and the Watergate mess was in fact very partisan at first, until it became clear that Nixon's people had really done something illegal. IOTL the stakes were never quite so high; ITTL it is a game changer.

    More to come.
  14. Drew Well-Known Member

    Feb 17, 2010
    Burlington, Ontario, Canada
    On a short leash that can be yanked at any time. Of course, it does give him motivation to discredit both Richard Nixon and John McKeithen as viable alternatives. But then there's that nasty thing in Baltimore....
  15. Drew Well-Known Member

    Feb 17, 2010
    Burlington, Ontario, Canada
    To The House

    The Contingent election in the House of Representatives - Jan. 8 - 18, 1973

    Much as commentators had predicted, the membership of the House of Representatives was unable to elect a President. The partisan distribution of the House members elected on November 7, 1972 was too even to allow one candidate to carry the vote of 26 House delegations - the absolute majority - required to win. With the exception of twelve Democratic members in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and Missouri, who cast their votes for independent candidate George C. Wallace, the votes were cast strictly along partisan lines. The results on the first series of ballots were:

    John J. McKeithen: 18 delegations
    Richard M. Nixon: 17 delegations
    Deadlocked: 12 delegations (no vote recorded)
    George C. Wallace: 2 delegations
    Alaska, having no sitting member, cast no vote.

    After the first round of ballots had been cast, the news that the Senate had re-elected Vice President Agnew did cause a stir among the House membership; however it had no immediate effect on the vote.

    Magnimik likes this.
  16. Drew Well-Known Member

    Feb 17, 2010
    Burlington, Ontario, Canada
    'Who here, seriously, wants to allow Spiro Agnew to become President?

    A total of sixty-three ballots (an average of 5.25 ballot rounds per day) were cast in the twelve days between January 8 and 11:30 am on Saturday, January 20, 1973, with no satisfactory result. (This surpassed the record set in February 1801 when it had taken 37 ballots to elect Thomas Jefferson President; however that had occurred under the obsolete rules which had been replaced by the twelfth amendment.) The single significant change occurred on the fifty-sixth ballot when Arkansas Democratic Representative Bill Alexander jr. Switched his vote from Wallace to McKeithen, thus changing vote to the following:

    John J. McKeithen: 19 delegations
    Richard M. Nixon: 17 delegations
    Deadlocked: 12 delegations (no vote recorded)
    George C. Wallace: 1 delegations
    Alaska, having no sitting member, cast no vote.

    Apart from that, partisan differences hardened as members of each party accused the other side of intransigence and obstruction in the election of the President. Rep. Robert H. Steele (R-CT), a former securities analyst, tried to introduce a motion that all Democrats in the deadlocked state delegations abstain, thus allowing President Nixon (who had the largest share of Electoral Votes) to be re-elected. He pointed to the continuing fall in the Dow Jones as a dangerous consequence of the House's inconclusive ballots and said that the House needed to choose Nixon for the good of the economy and the nation.

    Rep. Elizabeth Holtzman (D-NY) then rose to introduce a motion that the country had repudiated Nixon by not giving him a majority in the Electoral College, and that it was Republicans clinging to an 'outdated loyalty to a President the American people have rejected for re-election' that was causing the problem. Holtzman called on all the Republican representatives to abstain. 'Who here, seriously, wants to allow Spiro Agnew to become President?' Holtzman was jeered by several Republican members when she made that remark.

    Speaker Albert ruled both of them out of order. The balloting continued, and tempers became shorter as time passed.

    The Alaska House Vacancy

    Alaska's single at large Representative, Democrat Nick Begich had disappeared in a plane crash in the wilderness on October 16, 1972 (this was the same crash that claimed the life of then House Majority Leader Hale Boggs (D-LA) who was campaigning with Begich). The officially missing Begich was re-elected on November 7, 1972, but declared legally dead on December 29, 1972 along with Boggs (the bodies of Blegich and Boggs, nor the wreckage of their plane were never recovered; it is widely assumed that they went down over the ocean). A special election for the House seat was scheduled for February 27, 1973.

    For a House election in a small state (population wise; geographically Alaska is the largest state, but it is significantly under populated relative to its land mass) the Alaska House race drew an inordinate amount of national attention, and featured almost nightly on the three network's news programs. The reason for that was that this otherwise unimportant Congressional race was turned into the first referendum by voters on the 1972 Presidential election. At various times President Nixon and Vice President Agnew made appearances on behalf of the Republican candidate Don Young. Governor McKeithen, Senator Birch Bayh and Senator (and former Vice President) Hubert Humphrey and his 1968 running mate, Senator Edmund Muskie, campaigned on behalf of Democratic candidate Emil Notti. Their presence drew more attention, and both parties invested heavily in the outcome of that one election (three times the money spent on Alaska’s previous two U.S. Senate races combined was funnelled into Alaska during the special election). The fact that the winner would cast Alaska's one vote in the House (presuming the balloting continued past the February 27 special election), made this election into a stalking horse for the inconclusive campaign between John McKeithen and Richard Nixon for the Presidency the previous autumn, with each candidate as a stand-in for his respective party leader.

    Some even suggested that the House should await the outcome of the Alaska election and choose the next President based on which candidate won in that state. That was too much for Governor William Egan (D-AK) who, while he campaigned for McKeithen himself, reminded Alaskans that they were choosing a representative for their state, and to bear that in mind when they voted.

    Throughout the period of the special election, polls consistently showed Notti and Young in a very close race.

    The Louisiana House Vacancy

    Louisiana had a similar situation, where a special election was being held to fill the vacancy created by the death of Hale Boggs. Unlike the situation in Alaska, the Pelican State outcome was never in doubt. Boggs widow, Marie 'Lindy' Boggs was running as the Democratic candidate in a seat which heavily favoured the Democratic incumbent. Boggs had been popular with his constituents, and their support of him translated directly into support for his widow, who had been a popular figure in her own right as the Congressman’s wife. Mrs. Boggs said during the campaign she would vote for Governor McKeithen, who had wide support in his home state. Many recognized that Lindy Boggs' election would break the deadlock in the Louisiana delegation. Her election became only a matter of going through the process to fill the vacant seat.

    Governor Edwin Edwards (D-LA), himself a former Congressman and a close ally of John McKeithen (who had leant his considerable political weight in Louisiana to support Edwards 1971 bid for the Govenror's office) took upon himself the task of trying to resolve the deadlock in his state's delegation, which had voted as follows:

    F. Edward Hebert (D) - McKeithen
    David Treen (R) - Nixon
    Joe Waggoner (D) - McKeithen
    Otto Passman (D) - Wallace
    John Rarick (D) - Wallace
    John B. Breaux (D) - McKeithen
    Gillis W. Long (D) - Wallace

    McKiethen's failure to carry the delegation of his home state was an embarrassment: however, Democrats were quick to point out that President Nixon could not carry either his home state (CA) or his adopted home state (NY) either. This lead George Wallace (who did carry his home state) to tartly comment - 'tweedle-dee and tweedle-dum want your vote, but even their own neighbors don't want ‘em!' The actual reason for the votes in the Louisiana delegation were largely based on a volatile mix of state politics and personal enmities, which presented Edwards with a complicated minefield to navigate.

    Gillis Long (a nephew of Huey and Earl Long) had been defeated by John McKeithen for the office of Governor of Louisiana in 1964. McKeithen had run as the Long faction's candidate in that election, eclipsing Gillis (the authentic Long). Long's vote now was payback.

    John Rarick was an ardent segregationist and a long-time ally of George C. Wallace.
    Otto Passman was an expert on foreign and military affairs, but an ardent opponent of foreign aid. He sided with Wallace over that issue (since Wallace had campaigned in 1968 on ending foreign aid- 'Let 'em take care of themselves instead of freeloading off the wallet of the American taxpayer.'). Edwards and McKeithen both discerned that Passman was making an issue statement and as such could be won over: so did Nixon's surrogates in the state (they were actively lobbying Passman, Rarick and Long to vote with Treen; Long was receptive to their entreaties, Rarick wouldn't budge).

    Passman was playing both sides, and standing pat for the best deal. Edwards reminded him that when Lindy Boggs was elected he'd have no cards to play, best to make his deal while he could. Passman was still considering which way to go on January 20.

    Governor Edwards tried to lobby David Treen, the lone Republican; however he found him to be loyal to his party.

    Magnimik likes this.
  17. Drew Well-Known Member

    Feb 17, 2010
    Burlington, Ontario, Canada
    Cold Days in January

    January 8, 1973

    Five defendants (Bernard Barker, Frank Sturgis, Eugenio Martinez, Virgilio Gonzalez and Howard Hunt) plead guilty as the Watergate burglary trial begins. Gordon Liddy and James McCord are convicted after the trial.

    January 14, 1973

    Elvis Presley's concert in Hawaii. The first worldwide telecast by an entertainer watched by more people than watched the Apollo moon landings. Asked about the on-going election crisis by reporters after the concert, Presley comments 'let's just make a decision and get it done. People are getting sick of this.'

    Super Bowl VII: The Miami Dolphins defeat the Washington Redskins 14-7 to complete the NFL's first Perfect Season. At the end of the broadcast commentators Curt Gowdy and Al DeRogatis remark:

    Gowdy: 'at least this game ends with a final result'
    DeRogatis: 'yeah, all in one day. If only they could do that in Washington.'

    These remarks become controversial.

    January 15, 1973

    President Nixon announces that since the North Vietnamese have made no concessions and have displayed no signs that they are willing to return to the negotiating table, the bombing will continue.

    A Pentagon report released the same day shows U.S. aircraft losses at over 315 aircraft either shot down or heavily damaged. Aircrew losses are stated at 112 casualties and 181 missing and presumed captured.

    Baltimore U.S. Attorney George Beall empanels a grand jury to investigate allegations of corruption and kick-backs in the letting of public works contracts in the Baltimore County and Maryland State government. Some of these allegations go back to when Spiro Agnew was Governor of Maryland (1967 – 1968).

    House Conference Room - January 15, 1973

    ’I say give it up, do the country a service and let this thing be decided,’ Rep. Peter Rodino (D-NY) said. ‘We need a President before Agnew can take office.’

    ’Fine,’ Rep. Bob Wilson (R-CA) replied. ‘Get your members to sit on their hands and allow us to re-elect President Nixon. He’s tested and ready, the better choice…’

    ’If the American people thought that, they’d have re-elected him,’ Rodino argued.

    ’The American people didn’t elect your man either, Pete, so get off your high horse on that,’ Rep. Leslie Arrends (R-IL) broke in.

    ’Gentlemen, please. We’re here to try and reach a consensus, not re-state the obvious arguments,’ Jerry Ford said.

    The meeting included Ford, House Majority Leader John McFall, the two whips, Democrat Rodino and Republican Arrends, plus the chairs of each party’s congressional campaign committees, Wilson for the Republicans and Phillip Burton (D-CA). Joe Waggoner (D-LA) represented McKeithen, while Del Clausen (R-CA) represented Nixon. Ford hoped they could hammer out a deal that enough members on both sides could be persuaded to go along with and end the cycle of useless ballot deadlocks; eighteen hours of meetings over five days had thus far gotten them nowhere.

    ’I’d like to remind y’all that Governor McKeithen won the popular vote last November, and the polls…’ Joe Waggoner said.

    ’By less than one percent? That’s a fluke, not a mandate,’ Clausen interrupted. ‘All the polls are saying is that the people are tired of this and they’re picking ex-Governor McKeithen’s name because it happens to come first on an alphabetical list. I can show you polls where President Nixon is ahead…’

    ’Fixed by Republican pollsters I’m sure. What’s the question - who’d you choose for President, Richard Nixon or Charles Manson? Or maybe Arnold the pig?’ Rodino shot back.

    Several voices rose in objection, each drowning the other out.

    ’Gentlemen – PLEASE!’ Ford, normally a mild mannered person, was close to exploding. Everyone was suffering from stress and lack sleep; Ford had slept no more than two hours a night since the 8th. ‘Can we not find some way out of this? We’re talking about the Presidency, the most important office in our government. Can’t we settle on one man to hold it for the next four years? I remind you that neither President Nixon nor Governor McKeithen is an ogre, both will serve our nation with competence and distinction. The Governor has proven himself in seven years at the helm of Louisiana. All that’s keeping us apart is party loyalty, that’s what the problem is here.’

    ’Sound like you’re pulling for the Democrat, Jerry,’ Wilson remarked. ‘Planning to switch parties?’

    ’That’s uncalled for Bob,’ Arrends shot back. ‘Jerry is right, its party label that’s dividing us, not any real deficiency in either man.’

    ’Why don’t we agree that Governor McKeithen should be elected, and that he will set aside a number of seats in his Cabinet for Republicans, people to be chosen by Nixon if he likes. Maybe even put Nixon in the Cabinet?’ McFall suggested.

    ’Does this look like the English parliament, John?’ Wilson snapped. ‘This is not about first among equals in some big coalition. Only one office really counts, all the rest is eyewash.’

    ‘Governor McKeithen would consider naming Republicans to his cabinet, of course,’ Waggoner said. ‘He might even consider Mr. Nixon.’

    ’As what, Postmaster General? Secretary of Agriculture? White House Usher? Give me a break,’ Clausen said.

    ’Maybe this is a point we can discuss,’ Ford said, anxious not to let the thread pass.

    ’I agree,’ McFall added.

    ’With all due respect, gentleman, ‘ Clausen said. ‘All the so-called compromises end up with President Nixon taking the fall. Why does that have to be the case? I believe that Richard Nixon is a great President and that is why I voted for him last fall, and why I support him now. Why should I betray everything I believe – no, what I know to be right - just to appease the Democratic Party? Why does my party have to take the hit and help put some backwoods cracker into the highest office in the land…’

    ’That’s an insult,’ Waggoner interjected. ‘I object to his language.’

    ’…just to make peace and restore order. Why can’t you people admit its over and let Richard Nixon get on with the job he’s obviously more qualified for and proven at?’

    ’Because he’s a skunk and a crook,’ Rodino said. ‘Why should we help Tricky Dick…’

    Ford, Arrends and Burton, the three physically largest men in the room, had to pull Rodino and Clausen apart, and prevent the meeting from degenerating into a bench clearing brawl.

    (from Gerald R. Ford, A Time of Trial)

    Individual members came to blows a number of times while the contingent election was going on. Tempers were frayed by long, repetitive votes, lack of sleep, strain and a general sense of frustration that got to us all.

    Les Arrends was right when he said party loyalty was the problem. Everyone stuck to their party’s man in the initial ballot rounds because it was seen as a loyalty question. Then, as the balloting went on, earlier positions became entrenched, and the thought of changing your vote for the sake of getting it over with came with a huge cost in pride and stature. Of course it didn’t help that Bob Wilson was keeping tabs on our side for the Republican Congressional Committee, and of course Phil Burton was doing the same for the Democrats. Even Bob Dole sat in the gallery some days, watching from on high for any signs that someone was going to bolt. People’s futures were in these men’s hands.

    I didn’t think much of Senator Dole’s attitude; I think he had got it into his head that he was going to save the Republican Party by keeping McKeithen out of the White House, and the government in Republican hands, even if that meant four years of Ted Agnew at the helm. I don’t think he expected a position in an Agnew administration; far from it. But I do think he was looking ahead to 1976 and laying the seeds for his own presidential run. That was a conflict of interest, and it hurt our party and our country in the long run.

    A lot of people said many negative – and some downright obscene - things about Ted Agnew during those votes. I didn’t know the man well enough at the time to have a firm opinion on his suitability to be acting President. Richard Nixon had found him sufficient in character and experience to hold the Vice Presidency, which is after all just one step away from being President, so I had to figure Nixon knew what he was doing when he selected him. More than a few men have come to the Presidency with an expectation that they would fail because they weren’t up to the job intellectually or because of some failing in their personality. Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt and Harry Truman all fell into that category, and they turned out far above expectation. I thought Ted deserved his chance to prove himself, and so I gave him the benefit of the doubt.

    Phil Burton, John McFall, Les Arrends, Speaker Albert and I pursued the suggestion that whoever we elected President should put together a coalition cabinet with input from the other candidate, as a way of brokering a settlement. Otto Passman of Louisiana pointed out the flaw in our thinking, which – out of desperation I suppose – we overlooked at the time.

    ’Y’all go sell that to (Edward) Heath and (Harold) Wilson, and see if they can do it, one bein’ PM and the other Chancellor, see if they can do that in a system where it can work, before you try it here,’ Otto advised.

    Of course, he’d hit the nail on the head. In Britain, where Heath was Prime Minister and Wilson Opposition Leader at the time, you could share out two equally important jobs in the Cabinet between two rivals. But, of course, Heath and Wilson headed rival political parties, so British partisan politics made it impossible for them to even consider such an idea. It only worked intra-party, and only then if one aspirant for the top job was willing to bend to his rival already in the PM’s job. Absent a national crisis, such as had fused a coalition between Churchill and Atlee during the War, it was – as the English say – just not on. (I recounted this story to a British friend of mine once, and he laughed for ten minutes at the idea). So if you couldn’t do it in a parliamentary system, how could you do it here?

    Just as we have no formal opposition leader in America, we don’t have a consolation prize for the runner-up in a Presidential election either. The Vice Presidency was supposed fill that role under the original Constitution, but that had been quickly changed when it proved unworkable. In the event, we didn’t have that option; that had been the Senate’s choice to make, and they had filled the job.

    Even if Richard Nixon were to serve as Secretary of State in a McKeithen Administration, or vice versa, our Cabinet is not a collection of equals. As Lincoln once put it, there’s only one vote that counts at that table. You can’t share that out to two men, only one can have the power, and behind whoever that may be there is a political party expecting the patronage and prerequisites of power, which includes the right to extend your philosophy of government over the policy making process. That, together with the shadow of fear cast by the various party committees and organizers, was the source of our deadlock and kept almost everybody from straying. So we were stuck.

    January 15, 1973

    Chinese authorities seize a Soviet freighter at the port of Chin-hsien, claiming that it is bringing in contraband goods not covered in the Sino-Soviet agreement to equip North Vietnam with defensive weapons only

    Soviet authorities denounce the Chinese action as an act of piracy.

    (from Henry Kissinger, Years of Crisis: Why the United States Failed in Asia )

    We knew the Chinese policy in the past had been to allow the Soviets to tranship weapons to North Vietnam through their territory. This was a tightly controlled activity on the part of the Chinese government, given the icy state of relations between the two Communist giants. The Chinese would extract as a 'fee' for their co-operation in the form of a portion of the Soviet shipments, weapons they could no longer purchase from the Soviet Union directly, and which Moscow prohibited the East Bloc nations from selling to them.

    This had changed in February 1972 when, during his historic trip to China, President Nixon had persuaded Mao and Chou Enlai to curtail arms shipments to Vietnam as part of an overall strategy to force the North to the peace table. In the months that followed the Chinese pressured the Hanoi government to come to terms with us. This put them at odds with the Soviets, who could only appreciate that North Vietnam was humiliating the United States and seemed likely to win their war. The Soviets had their eye on taking over the facilities built by us in South Vietnam, once that regime collapsed, in order to establish a permanent military presence in Southeast Asia.

    The Chinese were not willing to grant the Russians such a free hand to do this, and at the same time wanted the conflict on their Southern border to end. In early 1972 a partial victory for the North, but which left a residual U.S. presence in the South, seemed to suit the Chinese fear of a permanent Soviet presence in Vietnam. Although Peking made overtures to the Hanoi government, the two sides experienced cultural difficulties which went back a long time in the troubled history of China and Vietnam: the initiative never went as far as the Chinese leadership had hoped. The Soviet Union remained the major patron of North Vietnam, and their most influential ally.

    After the collapse of Richard Nixon's re-election effort, and the related decision by Hanoi to stay away from the Paris peace talks, North Vietnam began pressuring the Soviets for more advanced weapons. The Soviets in turn were more than eager to supply their ally, but had to fineness the Chinese into going along. Essentially, after the Soviet freighter Omsk Komsomolets was accidentally destroyed by our B-52’s in Haiphong harbour on December 1st, the Chinese agreed to allow the Soviets to use their port, with its rail links to Hanoi. Undoubtedly, Mao and Chou Enlai decided that if the arms trade was going to go on anyway, they were going to monitor it and take their cut of the shipments. But the Soviets were deceiving the Chinese about just what they were sending through their territory.

    The unfortunate accident that killed a second tier Soviet Central Committee official named Mikhail Gorbachev (and we had no reason to believe that it was anything other than an airplane crash caused by some technical problem or bad weather) and a group of Soviet technical experts returning from North Vietnam through China, exposed the fractious Sino-Soviet cooperation to pressures which neither side was prepared for. When the Chinese learned from Gorbachev’s papers (I understand that they survived the crash encased in a steel safe that, for some reason known only to Russian engineering, failed to destruct when the Chinese opened it) that the Soviets had been shipping advanced SAM S-6 anti-aircraft weapons and state-of-the-art MIG-25 high altitude interceptors to Vietnam, while declaring them as older weapons or industrial equipment, that was the last straw. These were weapons that the Chinese could not possibly purchase from the Soviets (nor obtain any approximate substitute from anyone else), and they were being supplied to country on China's Southern border which the Chinese viewed with suspicion. Should a ceasefire occur between our side and the North Vietnamese, the North could then turn these weapons on the Chinese as part of some Soviet coordinated squeeze on Peking, or at the very least imperil Chinese security along their common border. The introduction of these weapons certainly created a situation closer to a rough parity between the Vietnamese and the larger, though technically inferior, Chinese military forces.

    Chinese national pride was wounded by the fact that the Soviets had smuggled these weapons through their territory, and the Chinese had only caught-on as the result of a freak accident. The Soviet attitude meanwhile hardened as their top leadership came to believe that the Chinese had deliberately done in Gorbachev and his party. As so often happens with these situations, ideological rigidity, cultural misunderstandings and mutual contempt mixed into a potent brew of war fever on both sides. All that was needed was a spark to set it off.

    Given the uncertain state of our election, we were unable to do much about this during President Nixon's final days in office: we could only watch. Most disturbing, the Chinese, who had previously been helpful to our efforts to obtain a ceasefire with the Vietnamese, were now actively encouraging the Vietnamese to stand tough against our military. I think that after the President failed to defeat Governor McKeithen outright in the election, and – perhaps more significant to the Chinese leadership – after William Sullivan’s indiscreetly made some false, though sensational allegations about our activities in the 1968 election campaign, together with revealing Operation Menu before the Ervin committee in October 1972, the Chinese leaders lost faith in the United States as a potential partner. This was the most serious damage Sullivan caused to our nation, and as a result he shares a measure of blame for what came afterward.

    I, along with others at the National Security Council and at the Pentagon, suspected that the Chinese were hoping that our forces would destroy or damage the majority of the more advanced weapons the Soviets were giving them, and this motivation lay behind their refusal to help end the conflict after October 1972. In our state of distraction over domestic affairs, our military policy played right into Chinese hands, and did its part to drag the Chinese and the Soviet Union closer to all-out war.

    January 16, 1973

    Lt. George Bush jr. is identified as the son of the United States Ambassador to the United Nations. He is moved to an isolation cell, away from other POWs. Bush will later report that he was interrogated by Soviet personnel. His captors demand that he make a propaganda film, but Bush refuses to co-operate. He is then subjected to torture and chemical interrogation. Bush will later claim that he encountered Lt. Cmdr. John S. McCain III being tortured by the same Soviet personnel. His sighting will be disputed because this is nearly two months after McCain was reportedly killed by a U.S. bomb that hit the Hoa Lo prison.

    January 17, 1973

    Several thousand people protest outside the U.S. Capitol, demanding that the House elect a President. In a sign of the times, the protesters are divided over which candidate should be chosen, which leads to some ugly confrontations between various protest groups.

    With the Chinese port cut-off to them, Soviet and East Bloc freighters resume the more hazardous course of shipping weapons directly into Haiphong and other North Vietnamese ports. As this activities continue these ships are shadowed by Chinese and U.S. naval units. This brings U.S. and Chinese warships into close proximity to one another on several occasions

    January 18, 1973

    North Vietnamese authorities announce that Lt. Commander John S. McCain III, USN, was one of the American prisoners killed by the U.S. bombing of Hoa Lo prison on November 23, 1972. McCain, a prisoner of war since 1967, is the son of the former Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral John S. McCain II. Lt. Cmdr. McCain is the first American casualty of the Hoa Lo bombing to be identified by name. The North Vietnamese decline to return his body, citing the emergency situation in Hanoi due to U.S. bombing as an impediment.

    January 19, 1973

    Chinese and Soviet border units exchange fire near Hien Shan-tou on the Sino-Soviet frontier in Manchuira.

    The White House - January 19, 1973

    Richard Nixon greeted his probable successor with a warm handshake. He guided him to one of the two facing sofas in the center of the Oval Office, while he seated himself on a chair next to the sofa. The President and Vice President chatted amiably while a steward poured coffee for them, and then left the room.

    ’Well Ted, it looks like this will be your office by this time tomorrow. Are you ready?’

    ’Raring to go. I’ve done this before, in Annapolis. You know, I’m thinking of having my first name presented as Teddy, like Teddy Roosevelt. You think that sounds good?’

    Nixon smiled to block any negative expression that might come from his thoughts. ‘I’ll leave that to you, ah, Ted. You know, the Presidency is a lot more complicated than a Govenorship. There’s a reason why they call the man who sits in this office the leader of the free world. It’s an awesome responsibility.’

    ’I know it’s a big job, Mr. President – Dick, but I’ll get the hang of it. I’ve had a great teacher in you, just like you did in Ike. Don’t worry, all will be a-ok.’

    Nixon might have admired his confidence if he could reassure himself it wasn’t just blind ignorance of what he was about to face. He also noted Agnew’s use of the diminutive ‘Dick’ – it was the first time in their relationship – going back to the 1968 campaign – that he had ever addressed Nixon by the name reserved for Nixon’s close friends.

    ’I’m confident you’ll do alright,’ Nixon lied. ‘And I’m available to you – any time - if you need counsel. ‘

    ’Thanks Dick, but I’ve already decided to make Don Rumsfeld my White House counsel.’


    ’A very sharp young man. He’s not a lawyer, but he understands the law better than anyone else I know, especially where politics is involved. And he knows his way around Congress. That will be invaluable to me.’

    ’But keep some of the seasoned hands around here too. Bob Halderman and Erlichman…’

    ’They’ll be hard to replace, of course, but there’s talent out there. Don is working on a list for me as we speak.’

    That little bastard must have been kissing Agnew’s ass when no one was looking, Nixon thought. ‘I’d resist the temptation to rely too heavily on any one advisor, Ted. You want to have a number of different voices giving you advice, you know, to be able to smoke out someone’s agenda.’

    ’I’m pretty clear on where I want to go and what needs to be done. Of course I’ll need expertise to help out, but we’ve got lots of that around here. One thing I want to do is get out and show the people that this crisis hasn’t weakened our nation or our government.’

    ’In your position, I’d want to be cautious at first. You don’t know what’s going to happen in the House. I’d stay close, at first.’

    ’They’ll never reach a consensus, they’re to equally divided. You know, I thought I will campaign in ’74 with a message that voting for Republicans will be a step toward bringing you back. Frankly, my biggest hope is to hand the office back to you, someday.

    ’I’m flattered, Ted. In the meantime, please know that I want you to succeed.’

    ’I’m confident in that, Dick.’

    ’You’ve been briefed on what’s happening with China and the Soviets?’

    ’Kissinger went over that; frankly I think he’s making too much of it.

    ’Really? How so?’

    ’If the Reds want to go to war, I say we let them. They’ll tear each other apart, and while they’re doing that we can settle this thing in Vietnam.’

    Nixon was not a religious man, but a Roman Catholic prayer – of all things – came to his mind when he heard those words. Mary, Mother of Jesus, help us sinners now and at the hour of our peril. ‘Ted, we have to keep in mind that if a Soviet-China conflict escalates, they could go nuclear. Even without that, a prolonged conflict would seriously destabilize Asia, maybe the world. Our allies in Japan and South Korea, not to mention India and Australia, they’d all be very upset if we let this get out of hand without trying to stop it. I’d suggest sending Henry to see if he can calm the waters before its too late.’

    ’I think you’re overrating his talents, but I’ll listen to what he has to say. Still, do you think if they lose a war with the Russians, the Chinese people will rise up against the Communists? Wouldn’t that be an accomplishment, helping Chiang to move the real government back to Peking? Even Ike couldn’t do that, right?’

    The was a fire roaring away in the fireplace, and the temperature in the Oval Office was above seventy; yet Richard Nixon felt icy cold at that moment. God, I wish I’d picked Rockefeller, or even Romney. God help me, even Ronald Reagan looks ok right now.

    The United States Capitol - January 20, 1973

    At 11:50 am Speaker of the House Carl Albert formally notifies Chief Justice Warren Burger that the House has failed to select a President-elect.

    At noon, in a subdued ceremony held inside the Capitol Rotunda, Spiro Theodore Agnew is sworn in for another term as Vice President of the United States. Moments later, Chief Justice Warren Burger administers the presidential oath to Agnew, who then becomes acting President of the United States. After Agnew has taken the oath, Burger, instead of uttering the traditional ‘congratulations Mr. President,’ says ‘God be with you, sir.’

    Acting President Agnew's inaugural speech - Jan. 20, 1973

    Mr. Chief Justice, President Nixon, Speaker Albert, my fellow Americans:

    The oath that I have taken is the same oath that was taken by George Washington and by every President under the Constitution. But I assume the acting Presidency under extraordinary circumstances never before experienced by Americans. This is an hour of history that troubles our minds and hurts our hearts.

    I am acutely aware that you have not elected me as your President, that I have succeeded to the first office of the land only by a turn of fate, and assumed this office only as a caretaker of our great government until such time as the final decision shall be made by those empowered by our great civil contract - the Constitution - do so according to law. Until such time as this happens it is my intent to serve this nation as Chief Executive in a manner which will protect our freedom and security, but which will not exceed the limited mandate I have been given.

    If you have not chosen me by secret ballot, neither have I gained office by any secret promises. Recently I campaigned for the office of Vice President in support of our President. But, though I have not campaigned for the Presidency, I will not shirk it. Those who elected me to serve another term as Vice President were my friends and are my friends. They were of both parties, elected by all the people and acting under the Constitution in their name. It is only fitting then that I should pledge to them and to you that I will be the acting President for all of the people. It is appropriate that I should act to earn their trust by applying myself to steadfastly govern with integrity and humility.

    Thomas Jefferson said the people are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty. And down the years, Abraham Lincoln renewed this American article of faith asking, "Is there any better way or equal hope in the world?"

    I intend, as soon as it practicable, to request of the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President pro tempore of the Senate the privilege of appearing before the Congress to share with my former colleagues and with you, the American people, my views on the priority business of the Nation and to solicit your views and their views. Even though a contingent election is pending in the House, it is not likely at this time that we shall see a speedy resolution. But the nation and the world cannot wait indefinitely on this matter. There is no way we can go forward except together and no way anybody can win except by serving the people's urgent needs. We cannot stand still or slip backwards. We must go forward now together.

    To the peoples and the governments of all friendly nations, I pledge an uninterrupted and sincere search for peace. America will remain strong and united, but its strength will remain dedicated to the safety and sanity of the entire family of man, as well as to our own precious freedom.

    To our adversaries and those who wish us less than the best, I warn you that our resolve is as strong today as at any time in our past. The United States of America remains fixed in its dedication to freedom and to the preservation of the security of the world. Throughout my tenure, however long or short, I will pledge myself to protecting our friends and meeting any challenge put forward by our foes. This is a responsibility of this office which transcends any single man. To the world I say, if you choose not to walk with us, then you risk being thought of as our adversary, for we will not sit idle and allow our domestic concerns to distract us from our nation's historic responsibility in the world. In your hands, not mine, rest the power of peace or conflict in this world. Join with us then on the path of peace, and we shall have no need of conflict or the engines of war.

    I believe that truth is the glue that holds government together, not only our Government but civilization itself. That bond, though strained, is unbroken at home and abroad. Wherever our nation goes, we must be the beacon of truth and the herald of freedom. As President Kennedy once said, we did not chose this role, it was thrust upon us by history and fate, but we, as a people, are more than equal to this responsibility.

    My fellow Americans, our Constitution works; our great Republic is a government of laws and not of men. Here the people rule. But there is a higher Power, by whatever name we honor Him, who ordains not only righteousness but love, not only justice but mercy. And by this truth will we overcome the painful and more poisonous divisions which have cut through our society. Let us restore the golden rule to our political process, and let brotherly love purge our hearts of suspicion and of hate. Let us proclaim once more that we are a nation of righteousness, pledged to the higher course in all of our affairs.

    With all the strength and all the good sense I have gained from life, with all the confidence my family, my friends, and my dedicated staff impart to me, and with the good will of countless decent, upright Americans I have encountered in recent visits to more than 40 States, I now solemnly affirm my promise to you to uphold the Constitution, to do what is right as God gives me to see the right, and to do the very best I can for America.

    May God bless you and the United States.

    Magnimik likes this.
  18. RogueBeaver Well-Known Member

    Apr 28, 2009
    I'm hoping that the House votes to restore Nixon to office- before Agnew screws anything up. But I suspect you have more political turmoil planned. Specifically the resignation of Acting President Agnew when he's indicted, then multiple crises.

    BTW, what's going on abroad? This is the time when PET should be replaced with Bob Stanfield. Perhaps Heath sticks to the proto-Thatcherism on which he was elected in 1970 instead of completely FUBARing domestically as per OTL?
  19. Drew Well-Known Member

    Feb 17, 2010
    Burlington, Ontario, Canada
    Russell Long and Richard Nixon both thought that getting Herman Talmadge to put Agnew in a position to re-elect himself would move the house to select McKeithen (Long) or Nixon (Nixon) as the saner alternative; both failed in that scheming; they underestimated the division which filling the presidency would produce, and the animosity a long battle produces. And Agnew is holding more cards than he realizes, but which Don Rumsfeld will realize for him.

    Its going to take more than bad words about Agnew to bring the House to a decision, of course by then they will be knee deep in crises. So do you replace the acting President at an hour of peril? And with which crook?

    The ripples are only starting now in Asia. This will only have an effect on the democratic governments as matters evolve, specifically economic and security issues. Then more changes will happen.
  20. Historico Member

    Nov 23, 2004
    Oh Crap...It happened, Acting POTUS Spiro Agnew. I guess the question know is how the balloting goes forward after the Inauguration, will Congress push it aside till the midterms to deal with more pressing matters of Governance to deal with? Or will the balloting effectivley freeze Congress for an unforseen period of time? Are McKeithen and Nixon going to now appeal to the divided state delegations on an indiviual basis to extract concessions? I liked Jerry's memoirs about the crisis, but whats Ronnie's POV on things? Can't wait to see what you have in store for Agnew's Acting Presidency...Keep it comming:D
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2010