Fear, Loathing and Gumbo on the Campaign Trail '72

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

  1. John Farson The Good Man

    Sep 24, 2009
    Between Sweden and St Petersburg
    Mother of Jesus Christ and all the saints help us... Acting President Agnew...:eek: No wonder Nixon was shitting himself back there, with Agnew talking things like that. That was shades of For All Time back there. Was Agnew really that sanguine about a Sino-Soviet conflict in real life?

    Will the way how Agnew got the presidency lead to jokes about "One man, One vote" in which "Agnew's the Man and he has the Vote"? (To spoof Discworld:))

    I wonder how Moscow, Beijing/Peking and Hanoi will react to President Agnew, not to mention the Free World? I think it's safe to say that any resolution to the Vietnam War is out of the question as long as he occupies the Oval Office. In OTL he resigned as Vice President on October 10, 1973. If the same thing that came to plague him OTL surfaces here, that would give him about eight months or so. And with the Yom Kippur War starting that month...:eek:

    Writing about Yom Kippur reminded me of another pivotal event in 1973, namely the Chilean Coup of 11 September. How will Agnew replacing Nixon affect that, if it is affected at all?

    I concur with Historico, keep it coming, regardless whether the world ends up as a utopia or a FOT-like hellhole.:)
  2. RogueBeaver Well-Known Member

    Apr 28, 2009
    Chile won't be affected at all. If Agnew's serious about China, he makes Sarah Palin look like a Harvard PhD. :eek::eek::eek:
  3. Drew Well-Known Member

    Feb 17, 2010
    Burlington, Ontario, Canada
    IOTL Agnew suggested to Nixon that he be sent to China to hammer out a deal, which Nixon thought a bad idea. Then, when Nixon did announce he was going, Agnew told an African leader it was a bad idea, essentialy contradicting his own president.

    In reality, Spiro Agnew was a neophyte when it came to foreign relations. Nixon tried to educate him, but gave-up out of frustration. Since Agnew's views tended toward the conservative middle-class outlook (simple solutions to simple problems) I'm portraying his presidency in that light. His attitude about China is a prevelant attitude about a decade or so out of date with the strategic reality by this point, but still widely held by the kind of people Agnew is associating himself with.

    The effects will continue, though after tonight's contribution it may be 3 or 4 days before I can continue.

    Allende's a Red; send in the Marines. ;)
  4. Drew Well-Known Member

    Feb 17, 2010
    Burlington, Ontario, Canada
    Almost immediately the novel situation of an acting President created ripples between the Agnew White House and the press. While the news media referred to Spiro Agnew as ‘the acting President’, the White House press office quickly dropped the ‘acting’ part of the title, referring to him as ‘President Agnew’ or ‘the President.’ The word ‘acting’ in his title soon became a symbol of the partisan divide over Agnew’s exact status, and by extension created debate about the scope of his powers to ‘act’ as the President. Whether a commentator considered Agnew to be a caretaker, or the Chief Executive with full authority, quickly became the mark of which side of the partisan divide that commentator was considered to be on.

    At first Agnew abided by his promise to continue his predecessor’s policies. In the first month of his acting presidency, Agnew (hereafter called ‘the President’ or ‘President Agnew’ for ease of reference) changed little overtly, save for his own staff arrangements. Bob Halderman and John Erlichman had left with Nixon, to be replaced by Donald Rumsfeld and his associate Dick Cheney. Pat Buchanan and William Safire also became senior advisers to President Agnew; Buchanan replaced Ron Ziegler as the White House press secretary.

    Henry Kissinger remained as National Security Advisor; however his deputy, Major General Alexander Haig, soon began to eclipse his nominal boss in having access to, and the confidence of, ‘the boss.’ Although Agnew was influenced by the tougher line advocated by Rumsfeld and Haig, a degree of anti-Semitism seems to have influenced the President’s attitude toward Kissinger as well. Curiously, Donald Rumsfeld was himself Jewish, and Angew’s supporters long have pointed to this to dispute the claim of anti-Jewish bias by Agnew. However, while Rumsfeld was ‘all-American’ in manner and speech, Kissinger’s heavy accent and urbane manner seems to have done in him in the Agnew White House.

    Four other people who were drawn into Agnew’s circle during his first month in the Oval Office included conservative activist Paul Weyrich, who became a domestic affairs counsellor, conservative Republican Rep. John Ashbrook (who had challenged President Nixon in the 1972 Republican primaries for not being conservative enough) and Rep. Philip Crane (another leading figure in the conservative movement), both of whom acted as informal advisors while remaining in Congress; they became Agnew’s agents in the House. Robert Bork, a conservative law professor from the Yale University School of Law, and an outspoken critic of the Warren Supreme Court, was added on to the staff of the White House Counsel’s office. All of these personnel changes came at the expense of Nixon’s key domestic affairs advisors, such as Patrick Moynihan and Robert Finch, both of whom found themselves marginalized in the new Administration.

    When Defense Secretary Melvin Laird officially resigned on January 29, the Agnew Administration at first left Deputy Defense Secretary Bill Clements in place as the acting Secretary of Defense. Agnew had previously withdrawn the pending nomination of Elliott Richardson to fill the post. Most thought it likely that Agnew would nominate Clements in his place.

    Agnew also withdrew the pending nomination of L. Patrick Gray to become Director of the FBI. In his place he nominated (Agnew’s first nomination) Colonel Tom Smith, the Superintendent of the Maryland State Police. This controversial nomination of a police official from his home state was widely dubbed as a ‘job for the boys back home’ appointment. (Smith in fact had become Maryland State Police superintendent under Agnew’s Democratic successor as Governor of Maryland, Marvin Mandell.) Agnew justified the appointment stating that he wanted to bring ‘fresh blood’ into the FBI. Many Maryland commentators praised Col. Smith for his professionalism and high level of personal integrity.

    January 22, 1973

    Former President Lyndon Baines Johnson dies at his ranch in Stonewall, Texas. Johnson, who in his lifetime had been condemned for the escalation of the Vietnam War, was lauded at his funeral for advancing the cause of Civil Rights. Agnew attends the public memorial service.

    January 22 – January 30, 1973

    President Agnew completes a twelve city speaking tour at which he tries to rally the nation and the Republican Party behind him. The emphasis of his speeches (mostly written by Buchanan) are that the nation has survived its ordeal, democracy has been preserved, and that while he, Spiro Agnew, is a nominal caretaker, he will do his best to lead the nation for ‘as long as my services are required by you, my fellow citizens.’ At more partisan Republican gatherings, Agnew returns to his old stump speech habit of slamming the ‘liberals’ and blaming them for ‘driving President Nixon from office against the will of the people.’

    The Dow Jones index continues on a cycle of upswings and reverses, mostly tied to reports of whether the House of Representatives is about to choose a new President or not. With each ineffective ballot, gains are reversed. This uncertainty puts downward pressure on the value of the dollar, and leads to heavy speculation in commodities markets, putting upward pressure on the cost of many of them. The price of oil and food rises, exacerbating inflationary pressures throughout the economy. International centers of finance and banking are uncertain of the outcome of the American political crisis, and this limits foreign investment and trade with the United States. Europe becomes the net beneficiary of capital flows out of the U.S. and into European currency funds, where the money is parked for safekeeping. This has a further downward effect on the U.S. dollar over the first half of 1973.

    As a result of the wariness of capital markets in the United States, Britain and other major European economies received an influx of capital, which created a hot market for investment and growth. In Britain the influx of capital lead to a sharp up-turn in already mounting inflation, but this was eased when Chancellor Anthony Barber introduced a series of tax protected directed investment funds which, over the balance of 1973 and into 1974, directed more cash flow into direct investment in the British economy, specifically in export and small business oriented funds. This staved off some militant action by trade unions and public service workers as the directed investment eased the hot money competition, lessening inflation, and re-distributed investment flows to the pet projects of various interest groups. The British government also benefited from a boom in North Sea oil prices, and an influx of ready cash from the newly introduced VAT (Value Added Tax) that it was able to direct spending to other areas (including trade union and public sector wages) in the run-up to the 1974 British general election. While this did not alleviate stagflation and wage demands in the UK, it did add enough of a lateral boom to improve the standing of the Heath government in the national polls. However, the rise in the domestic economy in Britain leads to an increase of ‘Euroscepticism.’

    The rising price of oil, a consequence of the uncertainty in the U.S. election, leads to a boom in domestic oil exploration and production in the United States, Canada and a number of other oil importing markets as well. President Agnew resists pressure to impose price control on oils, seeking instead to allow oil prices to find a ‘natural level’ and stabilize. At the same time his administration ends the Mandatory Oil Import Program, established in 1959 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower. The program had limited imports of crude and product east of the Rocky Mountains to a percentage of domestic crude production. While this opens the domestic oil market up to more imported oil (at this point still cheaper than domestic oil) it also creates inflation as oil prices overall continue to increase.

    Former President Richard Nixon remained in Washington, his public statements ever hopeful that the next ballot would re-install him as President. He tried to exert some authority over Agnew, at first acting as if he were a President-in-exile. Agnew soon rebuffed Nixon though.

    John McKeithen remained in Louisiana, where he took up a teaching position at the Louisiana State University while he awaited the result of he contingent election.

    The contingent election in the House of Representatives election remained undecided, as ballot after ballot repeated the same intractable stalemate as before. The two major campaigns began lobbying individual House members in the deadlocked delegations in order to bring about a breakthrough. For the most part though, partisan politics still had the members locked into supporting their party leader. Both the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) and the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) actively reinforced this by threatening to withhold support to any party member who crossed the floor to support a candidate of the other side. Behind the Congressional committees stood the respective National Committees of each party, adding to the pressure on individual members to remain loyal.

    Sen. Bob Dole was active in lobbying for Nixon’s re-election. He completed a speaking tour of several districts of members he considers ‘waverers’ and ‘closet liberals’, and acting as Nixon’s cheerleader-in-chief he extolled the GOP faithful to pressure their representative to stand by President Nixon. It was not lost on some observers that by appearing in these venues, particularly in places like New Hampshire, Iowa and California, Sen. Dole was building his own profile in key primary states.

    Behind the scenes Governor George Wallace of Alabama continued to twist the arms of southern Democrats, promising to support those who stuck with him, while promising to punish those who backed ‘tweedle-dee or tweedle-dum.’ Dick Cheney has been in contact with Wallace’s people on behalf of the White House; the essence of their understanding was that Wallace would continue to obstruct in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi, to prevent those States from going to McKeithen.

    In the case of Arkansas, Rep. Ray Thornton (D), who had been voting for Wallace, now (at the direction of Wallace) changed his vote to one for Nixon, thus undoing the defection of Rep. Bill Alexander jr. Arkansas became deadlocked.

    Further clashes between Chinese and Soviet forces along their mutual border were curtailed by the cold Siberian-Manchurian winter. While no active conflict existed in the first part of 1973, tensions remained high. Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Turdeau, UN Secretary General Kurt Waldheim, President Josip Tito of Yugoslavia, President Kenneth Kuanda of Zambia (Secretary-General of the Non-Aligned Movement), Indian Prime Minister Indira Ghandi, Japanese Prime Minister Kakuei Tanaka and Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme all lead mediation efforts between Moscow and Peking during this period of stand-down.

    Tensions between units of the Chinese, Soviet and United States Navy remain high in the Gulf of Tonkin.

    February 1, 1973

    The House of Representatives had been casting ballots every day since January 8 (except Sundays) but had failed to break the deadlock. This lead to a situation where very little of the House’s regular business was getting done, a situation which could not continue indefinitely into the future – and certainly not over four years. The idea was mooted that the House should declare an impasse, and in effect treat the matter as a court would treat a mistrial that ends with the case being sent back for re-filing or dismissal.

    This opened-up the possibility of a special election for president in 1973 (a situation provided for in the Presidential Succession Act of 1792, but which had been terminated by its 1886 and 1947 successors) or a simple acknowledgement that Spiro Agnew would act as President until January 20, 1977. A number of Representatives opposed this on the grounds that the Constitution’s language stated that the balloting should continue until a president was chosen (thus the 1801 precedent of thirty-six ballots). The 1792 precedent was argued down as being irrelevant, since two successor acts had terminated its provisions. In the immediate situation, a compromise was crafted in which one round of balloting would take place every Wednesday evening until the question was resolved. This weekly balloting became a pro-forma exercise, as it only reinforced the deadlock among the delegations. It did, however allow the House to carry on with its regular business.

    This House decision was challenged at once before the Supreme Court in two cases. McKeithen and Nixon v. Albert, McFall and Ford petitioned the Supreme Court to order the House of Representatives to continue the uninterrupted balloting as provided for under the language of the twelfth amendment. (No few observers noted the irony of the Nixon and McKeithen campaigns joining together as co-plaintiffs in this action.)

    United States v. Albert, Ford and McFall, initiated by the Agnew Administration, and crafted by Robert Bork, argued that the counts should be stopped altogether until the 94th Congress was seated on January 3, 1975. Bork argued that the on-going count, with the current membership of the House, was like a hung jury that could not resolve the question before it. Only a change of jury make-up, which would only occur in any substantial manner after the 1974 mid-term elections, could change the outcome, and as such the vote should be postponed until that time. As the issue stood, Bork argued, the on-going ballots, which produced no results, represented an on-going injury to the national prestige of the United States by creating daily doubt as to its leadership. By tying down the House, the impasse represented an injury to the United States people who had one branch of government – the legislative – impaired by the on-going and irreconcilable dispute. Bork argued that their rights to an operating, Constitutional government could only go forward if the balloting was stopped until the 94th Congress was sworn in.

    The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in both cases in February, but did not immediately rule. In a rare move the Court did call Speaker Albert, and Representatives McFall and Ford to provide direct testimony ( in camera with only the nine Justices and lawyers for each side present, so that their remarks would be candid) as to the status of the vote in the House and to offer their expectations of a resolution. None of the three was particularly optimistic about an early outcome.

    February 16, 1973

    At a meeting with the Joint Chiefs of staff and acting Defense Secretary Clements, President Agnew declared:

    ’Vietnamization was a good idea; but President Nixon tried to pull it off too quickly, probably because he was thinking too much about the election, and not enough about the long term. LBJ did the same thing; he pulled back in 1968 because of the election. I think, being honest with ourselves, we have to admit that this Vietnamization should have been done over a period of a decade, slowly building down our forces as the South Vietnamese were built up. Instead we got this quick evacuation of our forces, and we left behind a corrupt little tin pot dictatorship in Saigon with a half-baked army that couldn’t defeat a troop of girl scouts at a Sunday afternoon tug-of-war contest. I’ve decided that the only responsible thing to do, for our nation’s security and that of South Vietnam, is to finish the job.’

    Clements: ‘Finish the job, sir?’

    Agnew: ‘Yes, finish it. Admiral Moorer, how soon can we begin operations against the North Vietnamese – I don’t just mean the bombing that’s going on now, but hit ‘em hard on the ground and roll ‘em back.’

    Moorer: ‘Mr. President, we have very few troops left in Vietnam. Mainly, apart from Special Forces, we have air units and their ground support contingents, with some troops providing security at our facilities. Maybe ten thousand in all.’

    Agnew: ‘Yes, I know. But how long before you can put together a force with enough size to defeat the enemy, and get them into the field. I mean soldiers, tanks, Marines – a real combat force.’

    Moorer: ‘We’d have to study that.’

    Alexander Haig: ‘Ninety days; you can do it in ninety days if you put your minds to it, Admiral.’

    Moorer: ‘That’s very optimistic, General.’

    Clements: ‘Look, I see Henry’s not here. Have you talked this over with him, Mr. President? He’s been involved in the planning for Vietnam since President Nixon took office, and …’

    Agnew: ‘I have other things for Kissinger to do. General Haig here has developed a plan for me, which I’d like you to look at. He says we can get this going by June, July at the latest, with a little effort, and I think it is worth doing.’

    The meeting adjourned with a stunned group of Admirals and Generals returning to the Pentagon to study Haig’s plan.

    ’They’ll do their best to tear it apart,’ Haig commented after the meeting.

    ’That’s why you’ll stay on them, Al,’ Agnew said. ‘This country has been indulging cry-babies and liberal defeatists long enough. It’s time we got back to being great. You’re my point man in that job, Al.’

    ’Yes, Mr. President.

    February 27, 1973

    Alaska voters elect Republican Don Young to fill the vacancy in the House of Representatives. This places Alaska’s vote on the side of Richard M. Nixon.

    Before the election of Lindy Boggs, Rep. Otto Passman (D-LA) cuts a deal with Governor Edwards and changes his vote to McKeithen, which moves Louisiana over onto the side of John J. McKeithen.

    March 17, 1973

    Watergate burglar James McCord writes a letter to Judge John Sirica, claiming that some of his testimony was perjured under pressure and that the burglary was not a CIA operation, but had involved other government officials, thereby leading the investigation to the Nixon White House.

    Magnimik likes this.
  5. Dathi THorfinnsson Daði Þorfinnsson

    Apr 13, 2007
    Syracuse, Haudenosaunee, Vinland
    Tsk, tsk. Reading too much Rogue Beaver?
  6. Historico Member

    Nov 23, 2004
    Damn, it's starting to look like Agnew is going to stay in office longenough to screw things up untill the bribery charges began to leak out(Which will be a lengthy thing to take off if, Congress want's to press forward on Impeachment). And if he resigns(Hopefully this thing is resolved before the '74Midterms) with Speaker Albert become another Acting President untill a special election can be held let's say in 1974? Keep it comming Drew
  7. Lord Grattan consigned to OTL

    Dec 20, 2007
    Michigan USA
    Some of the deadlocks in these tied-up delegations have got to begin breaking soon. Each one of them must be receiving mail and phone calls by the hundreds from constituents saying "This is assinine - elect someone." I'd anticipate a couple marches on Washington during the long, hot summer of '73 if this drags on 'til then.

    On another note, as Nixon has cleared out his office and the family has left the W.H., I presume that Nixon's oval office tape recordings have been boxed up and sent to California somewhere for storage.
  8. Drew Well-Known Member

    Feb 17, 2010
    Burlington, Ontario, Canada
    Springtime For Spiro

    February 6, 1973

    Construction begins on Toronto's CN Tower.

    February 12, 1973

    Paul Gaudreau, Owner of a Baltimore county, Maryland Engineering firm, begins co-operating with US Attorney George Beall. Beall is probing corruption, bribery and tax evasion charges in the letting of public works contracts in Baltimore County ove r the previous decade. (Sprio Agnew was Baltimore county Executive and Governor of Maryland during this period). Gaudreau has no direct personal knowledge of Agnew's involvement, but his co-operation opens the door for Beall's probe.

    February 13, 1973

    The United States Dollar is devalued by 12 1/2%

    February 19, 1973

    Top secret planning begins on Operation Bold Eagle, a plan to re-introduce 175,000 – 200,000 US combat troops into Vietnam, with the intent of conducting offensive operations against the North Vietnamese Army, and capturing and holding North Vietnamese territory. The overall strategic objective is to force the North Vietnamese into a position in which they will remove their military units from the South and return to peace negotiations on American terms.

    February 27, 1973

    The federal government began a siege of activists with the American Indian Movement at the town of Wounded Knee, South Dakota, site of an infamous massacre of Sioux tribal members in 1890 by U.S. troops. At first federal agents entered into negotiations with the AIM activists, hoping to avoid bloodshed. After these proved inconclusive President Agnew federalized the South Dakota National Guard, and brought in regular army troops to bolster their numbers. Confronted with the Posse Comitatus Act, which prohibited the use of the U.S. military in domestic law enforcement, Agnew countered that AIM was a “foreign controlled” terrorist organization, and that what was going on at Wounded Knee was “an insurrection.” He then invoked the right of Presidents since Washington to use military force to deal with “domestic insurrection,” under the terms of the Insurrection Act of 1807. On March 16, Agnew, citing the terms of the 1807 Act, ordered army troops together with Federal Marshalls and FBI agents into Wounded Knee for the purposes of ending the stand-off. What ensued was an exchange of gunfire which ended in a loss of life and widespread dismay over the action. A subsequent inquiry continues for nearly one year before determining that Agnew's invocation of the Insurrection Act was an overresponse, and that there is no evidence that the AIM activisits received outside assistance.

    ( from John W. Dean Blind Ambition: The white House Years)

    I had known since the beginning that the image people had of Vice President Agnew being a closet liberal was complete bunk. He'd cultivated that reputation in Maryland by running against a segregationist. Since the local Wallace clone - Mahoney was his name - was such an obvious misfit, Agnew could be all things to all people (which is the only way a Republican could have been elected governor of Maryland).

    During the Nixon administration Agnew was Nixon's Nixon, the public attack dog: he sounded like a dyed in the wool conservative, but most people assumed that was because he was speaking the lines the President and his staff had given him. Agnew would appease the Goldwater wing of the party, while the President went about the business of governing.

    They all missed the obvious. Spiro Agnew was a suburban conservative. He'd campaigned enthusiastically for Goldwater in 1964. People made a lot of his support for Rockefeller in 1968, but I suspect that was because Agnew thought Rockefeller would be the winner, not out of any loyalty to the man or his ideas.

    The minute he became acting President, Agnew's true colors came out, egged on by Buchanan and Rumsfeld. They largely had their way with the Vice President, and before long he was cocooned by these conservative types. Some say they captured Agnew, but a man in the Oval Office only gets captured if he allows himself to be. At heart he agreed with what these guys were selling.

    When they brought in Robert Bork, that's when the real chill descended. Everything went through Rumsfeld's and Bork's office, and Rumsfeld's officious lackey Dick Cheney was busy sniffing around for even the hint of disloyalty or 'deviation.' Those guys were determined to make Agnew's tenure an experiment in their brand of conservative ideology, and the whole mess took off from there.


    March 1, 1973

    President Agnew nominates Maj. Gen. Alexander Haig to become the next Secretary of Defense.

    (from Henry Kissinger The White House Years)

    My trip to Moscow had met with a frigid reception much frostier than the sub-zero Russian winter. In my meetings with Gromyko (Brezhnev was never available to me; he had a cold they said) I was blasted for our activity in Vietnam and for encouraging the Communist Chinese to act in a belligerent manner toward North Vietnam and the soviet Union. To try and explain that we had no part in Peking's decision making met with a stony wall of indifference and more condemnation.

    In the European capitals of our allies, I was met most often with astonishment at how our elections had turned out, and anxious questions about Spiro Agnew. As Vice President under Richard Nixon, Agnew had travelled often, and many friendly leaders had had the opportunity to meet him at least once. Most carried away from even such casual encounters the impression that while he was a likeable fellow, they had serious reservations about his intellectual capability to be President, even in a temporary sense. I could not agree a openly with such observations, lest I only increase their sense of panic about the whole situation. I did my best to reassure them and restore their confidence, but I do not think I was very convincing.

    Prime Minister Heath observed, rather undiplomatically but truthfully, 'All nations suffer their fools, Henry. I'm afraid it's your turn. Let's hope your turn is a short one.'

    When I returned to Washington, I found that Al Haig, with connivance of Rumsfeld, had taken over many of my duties. Rather than presenting my report directly to the acting President, I had to give a written version to Dick Cheney, and await Agnew's summons.

    That summons did not come for six days, which I found intolerable since there were pressing matters I need to discuss with him. I tried to communicate that through Haig, who was briefing Agnew daily, but I'm sure the General frustrated my efforts.

    When I did get in to see the acting President in the Oval Office (unlike President Nixon, who preferred other, out of the way offices for his private meetings, Agnew took every meeting in the ceremonial office: he wanted to be seen in that setting only) he made some cursory remarks about my report, and seemed to show no interest in the details at all. When I tried to steer him to those points I thought needed his attention, Agnew deflected my comments with idle banter.

    Then he thanked me for my services and wished me well. He asked if I would be returning to Harvard. It was only then that I realized that I was being let go.


    March 2, 1973

    In the case McKeithen and Nixon v. Albert, McFall and Ford the U.S. Supreme Court rules that the presidential balloting must continue, as provided for under the twelfth amendment. However, based on vagueness in some of the provisions, and upon the compelling national interest in having the House of Representatives (‘a crucial half of the Legislative Branch’ ) being able to function and conduct regular business, the Court leaves it to the House of Representatives to ‘regulate the timing and frequency of ballots in accordance to its rules, provided that at least one ballot is cast every week.’ This upholds the weekly (as opposed to daily or even hourly) ballots.

    In the case United States v. Albert, McFall and Ford the Court determines that the Agnew Administration argument is premature and that the House of Representatives is fulfilling its proper Constitutional function. It is not up to the Court to enjoin the House from doing so, nor can the Court arbitrarily postpone for two years a process whose timing is specified by the Constitution. The Court does suggest that Congress and the Administration address this and related questions with ‘clearer legislation’ or a Constitutional amendment to further clarify the process of a contingent election in such a situation. Meanwhile, the Court finds no impediment to the proper functioning of the acting President, who can continue in his post and conduct the day-to-day executive functions of the federal government until the House chooses a president by ballot. The acting President should have had no expectation otherwise when entering into the office, and in its execution he need consider his constitutional responsibilities, upon which the contingent election places no direct impediment.

    ‘Uncertainty as to outcome should not, and cannot, be seen as sole reason for discontinuing a constitutional process. By this logic the uncertain outcome of an election should be considered enough to do away with elections in order to promote certainty and stability. We reject this argument in full as unconstitutional and unfounded in the body of law of this nation. Even in war time this nation has allowed elections to go forward, and Commanders-in-Chief from Washington to the present have had to manage the uncertain outcome. In no case has this limited their capacity to operate in accordance to their Constitutional responsibilities, and the current situation presents no overriding impediment on the current acting Chief Executive.’

    Justices Rehnquist and White dissented from both these rulings, variously arguing for an interpretation that favoured stability, and presenting the argument that the founders who wrote the twelfth amendment never intended it to extend past an inauguration day. Justice Rehnquist pushed forward the idea of this situation being like that of a ‘hung jury’ and that, absent any prospect of a change, the founders had provided for a mistrial in the form of the contingent election in the Senate. Rehnquist likened the acting Presidency to a caretaker, but also noted that the founders had , by allowing only two candidate and the Senators to vote individually, intended that contingent vote in the Senate to be ‘final’ and a ‘reserve’ for ‘stability and the good order of government.’ A number of constitutional scholars found Rehnquist’s argument to be ‘novel’ and ‘original’ though not necessarily persuasive. Critics accused him of trying to elect Spiro Agnew president through the Court.

    March 3, 1973

    National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger is fired by President Agnew. He is briefly replaced by Alexander Haig. Haig is replaced in the post by Security and Exchange Commission Chairman William Casey, a former OSS officer and New York businessman with a network of contacts in both the intelligence world and within the Republican Party.

    March 7, 1973

    Beginning on Wednesday, March 7, the House ballots went forward once per week on Wednesday evenings until stopped again by Court order on August 1, 1973. Twenty-one ballots fail to produce a margin of 26 votes for any one candidate.

    Prof. Milton Friedman of the University of Chicago is appointed to head the President’s Council of Economic Policy Advisors.

    ( from Colin Powell My American Journey )

    I was nearing completion of my one-year White House fellowship when the planning began for Operation Bold Eagle: General Haig's pet project for re-introducing our forces into Vietnam. My main job was to run top secret plans back and forth between Haig's office at the White House and Joint Staff at the Pentagon. One of the first things I noticed was that there was very little enthusiasm for this at the Pentagon; the Administration was forcing this on them. As the messenger, I got the cold shoulder for delivering the bad news.

    Having served two combat tours in Vietnam, I was no more eager than they to see that war pick-up again. From what I saw of the Bold Eagle plan it was long on wishful thinking and short on process, which was a danger sign right there. For the most part the planners at the Joint Staff tried to fill-in the holes in Haig's concept.

    I noted form early on that Haig had decided to pass over the current military commander in Saigon, General Frederick C. Weyand, and bring in Major General Henry "The Gunfighter" Emerson, who had previously commanded the first brigade of the ninth infantry division, and received two distingusihed service crosses in 1968. Where he gained notice was in his controversial methods in fighting, which had gained him recognition for his tactical ability on the battlefield. Emerson conceived aerial reconnaissance and combat methods employed effectively against the Viet Cong, which included "checkerboard tactics," "Jitterbug strikes" and Eagle Flights. His achievement was to demonstrate that American soldiers could effectively "out-guerrilla" the Viet Cong. Emerson also developed the "seal-and-pile-on technique" (the rapid build-up of combat power to surround and destroy an enemy force): these highly complex tactics shattered many large enemy units. That was what attracted Haig to him and that was why he was given command of this operation.

    I didn't know Emerson myself, but a bit of discreet asking around turned-up that he was decent officer who thought outside the box. For example, he insisted his troops train only at night and made them repeatedly watch the television film Brian's Song to promote racial harmony. The 'Gunfighter' nickname came from his habit of carrying a cowboy-style six-shooter in place of a regulation Colt .45 semi-automatic pistol; which sounded almost Pattonesque.

    I concluded that Emerson was a good man to do the job, but I continued to have nagging doubts about whether we should be doing that job in the first place.


    March 8, 1973

    In the 'Border Poll', voters in Northern Ireland vote to remain part of the United Kingdom. Irish nationalists are encouraged to boycott the referendum.

    Provisional Irish Republican Army bombs explode in Whitehall and the Old Bailey in England.

    March 10, 1973

    Sir Richard Sharples, Governor of Bermuda, is assassinated in Government House.

    March 12, 1973

    President Agnew receives Taiwanese Foreign Minister Shen Chang-huan at the White House and re-affirms US support for the Republic of China as 'the historic govenrment of a free china.

    This draws a strong rebuke from the People's Republic of China which accuses Agnew of reniging on the Nixon-Mao agreemetns of 1972. President Agnew does not bother to deny this.

    John McKeithen begins a national speaking tour, during which he presents alternatives to the course currently being follwed by the Agnew Administration. These speaking engagements also allow him the opportunity to meet with Democrat and Republican members of the House and their supporters.

    March 16, 1973

    At the urging of Senator Sam Ervin (D-NC) the Senate forms a special investigative committee called The Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities, known as The Senate Watergate Committee (although it investigates Democratic campaign activities as well.)

    The Agnew Administration tries to block this committee, filing a petition with the Supreme Court that the Senate committee violates the separation of powers, and that the Justice Department should investigate the matter. The Supreme Court refuses to hear the claim. (In fact the Agnew White House wants the hearings to go ahead in order to discredit both Nixon and McKeithen, but it files its objections both to create a precedent, should it be needed in the future, and to appear to be loyally supporting the Republican candidate.).

    March 17, 1973

    Queen Elizabeth II opens the modern London Bridge.

    Pink Floyd's The Dark Side of the Moon, one of rock's landmark albums, is released.

    March 18-19, 1973

    The USS Douglas H. Fox (DD-779) an American destroyer on patrol duty in the Gulf of Tonkin shadows the SS Grishky Sofia and the SS E.I Prokov, a pair of Bulgarian freighters sailing toward Haiphong in North Vietnam. They are shadowed by a pair of Chinese Type 51 class destroyers. At approximately 4:25 am a flare is seen coming from the Prokov, followed by an explosion on board. The duty officer on the bridge of the Fox notes it as a potential explosion and attempts to offer aid (he has no Bulgarian speaking officers aboard). One of the two Chinese destroyers opens fire on the Prokov (The Chinese later claim that the Prokov fired on them from a hidden deck gun). As the two Chinese destroyers close on the Prokov one of them abruptly suffers a series of waterline explosions, alerting the Chinese and the crew of the Fox to the presence of a Soviet submarine escorting the two freighters. At 5:05 am the Fox offers assistance to the Chinese destroyer, but is warned off. At 5:19 am the Fox is hit amid ship by a torpedo which ruptures the hull and causes an ammunition bunker explosion. The Fox suffers 150 casualties out of a crew of 320. 170 crew members make it off the Fox before the destroyer sinks. Of these 155 are picked-up by U.S. Navy air-sea rescue units over the next few hours. However 36 remain missing at sea. 5 arrive two days later in Haiphong aboard the Grishky Sofia where they are turned over to North Vietnamese authorities as Prisoners of War. 3 are returned to China, although this is not publicized at the time, while the remaining 7 are presumed drowned at sea.

    March 20, 1973

    The United States protests the sinking of the Fox and the death of its Naval personnel to the Bulgarian, Soviet and Chinese governments. The Soviets and Bulgarians blame the Chinese (and vice-versa). The Soviets deny they had a submarine in the area and suggest that it was a Chinese submarine that attacked the Fox. When the United States protests the surrender of the five US Navy sailors to the North Vietnamese by the Bulgarians, the Bulgarians reply that they are officially neutral in the conflict and that the injured seamen were turned over to ‘medical authorities’ at the nearest port in compliance with international agreements.

    President Agnew addresses the nation about the Fox Incident

    'My fellow Americans, I come before you tonight to report on a grave crisis confronting us in the Gulf of Tonkin. As I speak, I am mindful that another President addressed a similar crisis nearly nine years ago in the same place, and the result was a long conflcit which ended in stalemate.

    Tonight I must report to you that powers hostile to the United States attacked one of our naval destroyers, the USS Douglas H. Fox killing over one-hundred and fifty of our countrymen. As I speak, a further thirty or more remain unaccountted for in those far away waters. At the time the Fox was subjected to an unprovoked and cowardly attack, she was attempting to give aid to a Soviet ship which had sustained a fire. That a foreign nation should so brazenly attack a United States warship sailing international waters, offering assistance to another vessel in distress, can only speak to the contempt our adversaries hold for us and for international law. We have not ascertained whether the attacker was Soviet or Chinese, and this for the moment stays our hand. However, we can be sure that the attacker was Communist, and operating in support of Communist North Vietnam, and that the purpose of whichever Communist power that did this is to chase the United States Navy from the seas, and thus imperil the peace of the free world.

    Accordingly, as the Commander-in-Chief of the United States Armed Forces, and as the man entrusted with protecting all United States citizens no matter where in the world their duty may take them, I find that we have no alternative but to turn our attention again to that troubled corner of Southeast Asia which has so bedeviled this nation over the past decade.

    What occurred in the Gulf of Tonkin yesterday only shows that our withdrawal from the region was too rapid, we have left a power vaccum into which our adversaries have attempted to insert themselves. That insertion is to the detriment not only of the Vietnamese people, but also the security of the world. For the past two years the Nixon Administration in which I served has tried to reach an understanding with the North Vietnamese Communists which could bring a lasting peace to all Vietnam. Yet, the leadership in Hanoi has rebuffed us, and turned instead to receiving arms and supplies from outside interlopers, who enter this war-torn country like ravenous wolves ready to devour a feast of innocents. This we cannot allow, for if we allow it there, soon we shall again be facing down the Communists off our coast, or on our shores.

    Therefore, I state our committment to patrol the waters of the Gulf of Tonkin and to protect the security of the Republic of South Vietnam. At the same time, I pledge my committment to ensure that our sailors shall travel the world's seas safely and with the measure of respect which they deserve.

    My pledge is not to aggressive action yet, over-and-above the necessary work our Air Force is engaged in in destroying North Vietnam's ability to make war. To our enemies I signal a warning, do not test our hand. To the American people I say this, we have been lead to war in this part of the world before by promises of quick and easy victory, and by those who have lied to you about what is involved. I shall not lie to you. This will not be easy, it may not be quick. But whatever action we are compelled to take, if we are compelled to take action, it will be sure and directed toward victory. Good night my fellow citizens, and may God Bless the United States'.

    Polls taken immediately afterward show a swell in support for President Agnew in 'middle America' and deepening opposition on college campuses and among young voters.

    A British government White Paper on Northern Ireland proposes the re-establishment of an Assembly elected by proportional representation, with a possible All-Ireland council.

    March 21, 1973

    A mining disaster is barely averted at a British coal mine located in Lofthouse Gate, West Yorkshire, England. Miners at Lofthouse, West Yorkshire Colliery were working at a coal face which unknown to them was close to some 19th century mine workings which had become flooded. One of the workers discovered this when he accidently opened a crevice between the mine they were working in and the adjacent abandoned shaft. All the miners were safely evacuated as the shaft flooded and the crack grew larger. Although no one was killed, this near catastrophic accident lead to a Royal Commission on safety in the British mines.

    March 23, 1973

    The Pentagon rescinds a January 1973 moratorium on the draft, however no new call-up is initiated.

    March 28, 1973

    Details of Operation Bold Eagle are leaked from the Pentagon and appear on the front pages of a number of newspapers.

    US Attonrey Beall's investigation closes in on the architecture and engineering firm Matz, Childs and Associates. One of its owners, Lester Matz, is a close friend of Spiro Agnew's and has direct knolwedge of Agnew's involvement in corruption. Jerome B. Wolff, another close Agnew associated, is drawn into the probe.

    April 1, 1973

    Call-up and deployment of units begins for Operation Bold Eagle. In addition to regular units, the Pentagon calls-up National Guard units to fill troop requirements. The use of National Guard units (not previously done during the Vietnam conflict period) is to fill manpower requirements without having to resort to drafting new inductees, which would attract more public and press attention to the activity. The call-up of Air National Guard Units has been on-going since December to meet attrition in air operations associated with Operation Linebacker.

    Among formations called up are the 37th Infantry Division of the Ohio National Guard (units of which became infamous at the time of the Kent State University shootings in 1970) and the 38th Infantry Division of the Indiana National Guard. The case of the 38th’s call-up makes headlines in Indiana when the Director of the Inheritance Tax Division of the Indiana Department of Revenue, Sgt. J. Danforth (Dan) Quayle, attempts to fight his call-up. As Quayle comes from a wealthy and politically connected family, his efforts to get out of military service attract the same negative publicity as those of Lt. Bush of the Alabama Air National Guard the year before. As in the Bush case Quayle is ordered to report for duty or face prosecution. Quayle reports, since prosecution would end his future plans for a political career.

    April 2, 1973

    The LexisNexis computerized legal research service begins.

    An invitation to Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev to visit the United States, previously extended by the Nixon Administration in 1972, is revoked by the Agnew Administration. The White House calls on the Soviets to end their activities in Vietnam before the invitation will ‘be reconsidered.’

    Soviet and Chinese fighter aircraft exchange fire over the Soviet-Manuchrian border. Each side claims the other trespassed into their airspace.

    Confirmation Hearings for Alexander Haig - April 2, 1973

    Sen. Stennis (Chairman): The question is General, how do we understand this new deployment to Viet-nam? I mean we just completed a withdrawal from what has been a costly and bloody adventure, is that not so?

    Haig: Not an adventure, Senator. Not at all.

    Sen. Stennis: How would you characterise it then?

    Haig: A necessary mission to interdict the forces of global chaos and oppression. First, let me say, I agree that it has been a bloody battle. I know, I served a combat tour there. I watched fellow soldiers - friends - die in front of me, so I need no reminder of the terrible price of war. But, I believe, and President Agnew...

    Sen. Bayh: Acting President.

    Haig: ... Mr. Agnew and I believe that we are following the best possible course to prevent a true disaster, which would be a Communist monolith across Southeast Asia and possibly as far as Japan and the Philippines. The question is not if President Nixon's Vietnamization was the correct course, it was. What the attack on the USS Fox shows us is that the timetable was too quick, too political. If we had forces of sufficient strength stationed in Vietnam today, this would not of happened.

    Sen. Nunn: You can't know that. How is this different from the Gulf of Tonkin Crisis in 1964? That lead directly to escalation, and that's exactly what this sounds like.

    Haig: Whatever you may think of that event Senator, you must concede that it did not involve Soviet Bloc ships and Soviet Bloc personnel, or Mainland Chinese attackers. This time we have both. The reason? Our adversaries have grown bolder. Part of that is their build-up in advanced weapons over the past decade, but the true cause is their belief that we have grown weaker. The reason they believe that is our withdrawal from Vietnam, which has allowed the North Vietnamese near uncontested military control of much of the country. To them it looks like we ran away. That is why we must return, in force, to prove to them just how mistaken they are.

    Sen. Bayh: Frankly, I don't see the difference between this and 1964, except now we have an opportunity to head it off at the pass.

    Sen. Jackson: I must disagree, Senator. There's no question that our rapid withdrawal - let's not forget we went from the dominant military force to practically no force presence in just three years - has sent the wrong signal, that the United States is not in it for the long haul.

    Sen. Thurmond: You plannin' on a long-term presence there, Mr. Haig?

    Haig: We anticipate two years; but this time we will not leave until the job is done.

    Sen. Nunn: How do you define that?

    Haig: A strong and stable South Vietnam. That's the element President Nixon's policy overlooked, but which we will not. We will demand reform of South Vietnam, and this time we will see to it that we get it. We'll withdraw when the South Vietnamese army can truly stand-up, and in the meantime we will take the fight to the enemy if we have to.

    Sen. Bayh: Sounds like a recipe for disaster to me. In fact, this sounds like Robert McNamara...

    Haig: No Senator, this not Robert McNamara speaking to you. Secretary McNamara never had to deal with Soviet naval sssets shipping supplies directly into Haiphong. He never dealt with an American warship being sunk on the high seas by a foreign superpower. Senators, North Vietnam has rendered Vietnamization moot by refusing to engage in peace talks - in fact, they broke them off. The Soviet Union and Red China have made this into an international test. This time, we must meet the challenge, as President Kennedy did in Berlin and Cuba, because to fail is to broadcast to the world that we have given-up.

    Sen. Goldwater: Here, here! I for one want to see a strong voice in our defense again.

    Sen. Bayh: Strength is one thing, Mr. Goldwater. But re-fighting a war we've already lost is....

    Sen. Goldwater: One we didn't lose, one we walked away from and messed around with while we were there. I for one see nothing wrong with planning to win one for a change.

    Interview with Senator Henry Jackson (D-WA)

    Interviewer: Didn't you think General Haig's plan was reckless?

    Jackson: On the contrary, I thought it was bold. I think Secretary Haig could be a little - over-zealous - in his advocacy, but the idea was sound.

    Interviewer: How could a return to the Vietnam war, after all it had cost America, seem sound?

    Jackson: Because the circumstances had changed; the Russians and the Communist Chinese were directly involved. That is why we had to be there, and why we had to make sure we pulled it out of the fire.

    Interviewer: That's why you voted to confirm Secretary Haig?

    Jackson: Yes.

    Interviewer: And do you have any regrets?

    Jackson: (Pause) We were acting as best we could - for the security of our nation - with the information we had at the time. I believed that then, I still do.

    April 3, 1973

    The first handheld cellular phone call is made by Martin Cooper in New York City.

    April 4, 1973

    The World Trade Center officially opens in New York City with a ribbon cutting ceremony.

    Secretary of State William P. Rogers, a personal friend of Nixon, resigns (or is asked to resign, depending on the source). President Agnew announces that he will nominate UN Ambassador George Bush to replace him, and US Ambassador to South Korea Phillip Habib is nominated to replace Bush at the UN.

    April 6, 1973

    White House counsel John Dean begins cooperating with federal Watergate prosecutors. He is fired by the Agnew White House on April 8.

    April 9, 1973

    TWA flight 209 from San Francisco to Taipei, Taiwan is harassed by unknown (though suspected mainland Communist Chinese) fighter aircraft as it approaches the island of Taiwan. Not publicly known at the time, but revealed later, is that the U.S. Air Force has been flying RC-135 reconaisance planes along the south coast of China, which have been detected by Chinese radar. TWA 209 is a Boeing 707, a civilian design similar in general appearance to the RC-135 aircraft.

    April 10, 1973

    Israeli commandos raid Beirut, assassinating 3 leaders of the Palestinian Resistance Movement. The Lebanese army's inaction brings the immediate resignation of Prime Minister Saib Salam, a Sunni Muslim.

    April 12, 1973

    Maryland State Police Superintendent Col. Tom Smith is confirmed by the U.S. Senate as Director of the FBI in a vote of 58-42.

    US Attorney Beall gives process immunity to the employees of Matz, Childs and Associates (but not to Matz, Childs or Wolff) so that they can testify about corrupt activities that the firm has been involved with. 62 employees tell the grand Jury about a long list of corrupt activities, including kick-backs and bribes to politicians, including Spior Agnew. All of this testimony is behind closed doors.

    Chinese Armed Forces cross the Sino-Mongolian border, attacking both the 29th Soviet Army and Mongolian forces. The Chinese present this as a war to ‘liberate Mongolia from imperialist domination and return the oppressed Mongolian people to the heart of China.’ This thrust by the Chinese is accompanied by several armed raids into Eastern Siberia, which bog down Soviet Far eastern forces from quickly replying to the Mongolian incursion. ‘The Shooting War’ in Mongolia becomes a seven-month quagmire of attrition and inconclusive battles, which are eventually stopped in November when the Mongolian winter sets in. The Soviets rush in reinforcements, but are reluctant to seriously downgrade the forces they have stationed in Europe facing NATO. This limits the overall numbers and quality of front line forces the Soviets send to Mongolia in the summer of 1973.

    Meanwhile, the Soviet Air force seriously damages the operational capability of the Chinese Air Force, but itself suffers heavy losses in the process.

    (from Yin Jao [1] In The Time of Trials Caused By Fools)

    Our leaders' disappointment with the Americans was profound. Their President Nixon had offered so much, and yet he had not been able to hold his own people with him, much less leave a permanent imprint on America's foreign policy. When his protégé took power, the one called Spiro Agnew, we soon learned that he was a greater warmonger than Nixon had once been. Nixon may have adapted his thinking, but this Agnew was unregenerate in his love of war. The United States was indeed as Comrade First Premier Chen Yu had said, a paper tiger devoid of ability to pursue long term policy with any honesty. The receival in Washington of officials from the renegade province by Agnew - only thirteen months after Nixon had solemnly agreed with the Comrade Chairman that there was only one China - showed this. It was an insult! Nixon had been a liar or a fool; either way nothing of what he had said could be believed.

    The Soviet leadership was no better. For all their talk of friendship and reconciliation, they proved themselves to be as duplicitous as we had thought. While the Central Committee official M.S. Gorbachev offered co-operation and friendship, and a promise to arm the Vietnamese with defensive weapons only, and bring them back to the peace table, we learned from his papers that it had been a lie. His papers showed that they were encouraging the feckless Vietnamese to continue their war with the Americans, and that they were giving them aggressive weapons to do it with; which they had been smuggling through our territory. The Soviets had betrayed our trust on our territory like common brigands and pirates. Worse, although Gorbachev died due to faulty engineering on a Soviet made airliner, they had the gall to accuse us of murdering him. It was too much for the Comrade Chairman to stand: he felt personally affronted and because of that he felt the need to react with a military action.

    By the spring of 1973 we were very concerned that with the Americans under Agnew were stirring-up war again in Vietnam, playing into the Soviets' hands. Moscow provoked the feckless Vietnamese to prolong the war for their own aims, mainly to keep both us and the new American leader off balance. To our South the Soviets were busy building their hegemony so that they could pinch us from South and North at their will. We might lose our independence, or at least our ability to act as a sovereign nation and become subservient to Moscow once more. Avoiding this had been the aim of our policy since the border troubles in 1969. Comrade Chairman Mao determined that in new crisis we would not backslide into the old dependency.

    What no one would say aloud, but what all knew was true, was that the People's Liberation Army Navy was not equal to the naval conflict in the Gulf of Tonkin. We could not stop the Soviet fleet, much less the more powerful American one. The incident of the Bulgarian ships and the American destroyer Douglas had sobered us to this point, and the fleet was withdrawn. Fortunately, the Soviets had taken the bait and they increased their naval presence, further provoking the Americans. They had even pressured the North Koreans into helping them. We decided for the future to watch this but not act.

    Instead the Comrade Chairman's tame Generals conceived his operation in Mongolia. This was a great cause of shame for us. Stalin had ripped Mongolia from the Chinese homeland in the 1920's, and forced the pre-revolutionary criminal regime to recognize it as a sovereign state rather than a lost province. That the pirate Chiang did so was a cause for shame. But our leaders were no less shamed when, after the Revolution, we were compelled by our weakness to abide by the original agreement between Stalin and Chiang. Now, with our national prestige in the balance, the Comrade Chairman decided it was time to take back our territory, and prove once more that we were a power in our own right. He argued that if we could wrest Mongolia from the Soviets, then we could make our terms with them over Vietnam. Even the fool Agnew would have to notice this.

    This policy was not universally accepted. More than a few feared that our People's Liberation Army could not stand muster with the Red Army, but it took rare courage to say this to the Politburo. Only Comrade Deng Xiaoping was courageous enough to say so, and for his words he stood branded as a defeatist and a counter revolutionary. It was not long before he fell from the Politburo and was sent to a labour camp, along with many others who voiced similar concerns, or were suspected of harboring loyalty to Deng. Others kept quiet to preserve their place, and with the Comrade Chairman's blessing the PLA took us forward into a direct conflict on our northern border. And this was a disaster.

    [1] Yin Jao is a pseudonym for someone who purports to be a People's Republic of China official with an intimate, inside knowledge of the people and events that he writes about. The source is impossible to verify. The above translated account first appeared in Hong Kong in 1975.


    April 18, 1973

    After extensive in-fighting with Haig and Rumsfeld, CIA Director Richard Helms resigns. He considers the planning for Operation Bold Eagle to be flawed.

    Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Affairs Pau H. Nitze is nominated to replace Helms.

    April 19, 1973

    Agnew's personal lawyer, Judah Best (a law partner of Charles Colson), meets with George Beall in order to persuade Beall not to investigate the President. Beall declines to overlook the acting President's role in the corruption.

    April 25, 1973

    The United States Supreme Court issues its decision in the case of Roe v. Wade overturning a ban on abortion, and setting a controversial national standard for access to abortion. The Court held that a woman may abort her pregnancy for any reason, up until the &quot:winkytongue:oint at which the fetus becomes 'viable'". The Court defined viability as the potential "to live outside the mother's womb, albeit with artificial aid," adding that viability "is usually placed at about seven months (28 weeks) but may occur earlier, even at 24 weeks." The Court said that, after viability, abortion must be available when needed to protect a woman's health, as defined in the companion case of Doe v. Bolton. The Court rested these conclusions on a constitutional right to privacy emanating from the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, also known as substantive due process.

    In disallowing many state and federal restrictions on abortion in the United States, Roe v. Wade prompted a national debate about issues including whether and to what extent abortion should be legal, who should decide the legality of abortion, what methods the Supreme Court should use in constitutional adjudication, and what the role should be of religious and moral views in the political sphere. Roe v. Wade reshaped national politics, dividing much of the nation into pro-Roe (mostly pro-choice) and anti-Roe (mostly pro-life) camps, while activating grassroots movements on both sides.

    President Agnew publicly denounces the decision in Roe as ‘court licensed infanticide’ He announced that he would introduce a bill into Congress banning federal institutions from funding or supporting abortion related activity.

    The case had been argued the previous autumn, however the issuing of the decision was delayed by the election related cases which the Court was forced to consider in the period in between.

    approx. April 26, 1973

    The cargo ship Claudia lands a boat load of weapons donated to the PIRA by Lybian dictator Muamar Quaddafi safely in Ireland. Many (but not all) of the weapons are found to defective and substandard, leading some among the PIRA to swear vengeance against Quaddafi and the Lybians.

    April 27 - 30, 1973

    Former acting FBI Director L. Patrick Gray is implicated in the Watergate cover-up after it comes to light that he destroyed files from E. Howard Hunt's safe.

    Former Nixon Administration officials John Ehrlichman and H. R. Haldeman are implicated in the Watergate cover-up.
    Attorney-General Richard Kleindienst is forced to resign when it is revealed that Halderman consulted him about the break-in in June 1972 and Kleindienst failed to report it.

    The Agnew Administration nominates J. Clifford Wallace (a conservative Federal Judge Appeals Judge serving on the Ninth Federal Circuit Court of Appeals [no relation to George C. Wallace] ) to be the new Attorney General. Wallace is the first Mormon to be nominated for the post.


    Last edited: Mar 30, 2010
    Magnimik likes this.
  9. RogueBeaver Well-Known Member

    Apr 28, 2009
    Keep it coming, I want to see how the Presidential balloting is resolved. Or at least how badly Agnew, Rummy and Al Haig create a foreign policy clusterfuck. :p
  10. Drew Well-Known Member

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

    May 1, 1973

    The British destroyer HMS Hampshire is shadowed for several hours by an unidentified submarine in the Pearl River Estuary on the border of Hong Kong territorial waters.

    May 3, 1973

    The Soviet Frigate Suirepyy, the helicopter carrier Lenningrad and the destroyers Krasnyy Krym and Ordanenoyy and a North Korean corvette of the Sariwon class escort four Soviet merchant ships through the Gulf of Tonkin and into Vietnam. They are trailed by the USS Constellation carrier group which also tracks one submarine submerged beneath the flotilla and notes two Chinese fishing trawlers shadowing the Soviets at a discrete distance.

    ( from Anonymous [1] Behind the Fortress Walls)

    Brezhnev never stopped believing that Spiro Agnew had engineered Richard Nixon's downfall: he convinced himself that Agnew had been the real power all along and that Nixon had been his dupe. According to the General Secretary, Agnew had planned it all and had used this McKeithen, a provincial governor of no distinction, as his tool to bring down Nixon. By doing so he had discredited the peace party which Nixon and his man Kissinger appeared to represent. On taking power Agnew pursued the policy of confrontation and war in Vietnam, which Brezhnev discerned as the true policy of the ruling oligarchy in the United States. All Nixon had done could be discarded as lies and deception. Only the Ambassador to the United States Anatoli Dobrynin tried to dissuade him from this thinking; but Brezhnev was so convinced that he began to suspect Dobrynin was an American agent spreading disinformation.

    The Soviet policy in regard to Vietnam was to do all we could to give Agnew the war he seemed to want. The fact that our submarine sunk one of their destroyers (it was an unfortunate accident, the captain had been aiming for the Chinese warship nearby but missed) and that the Chinese took some of the blame was all the better. Agnew had his cause for war; and our leadership was content to let him wallow in it for the next few years.

    Regarding the Chinese, Brezhnev was under intense pressure from within the Party leadership to deal a blow to those ingrates. Mao's alienation from the international cause had been the source of great embarrassment and no little blame fixing over the previous two decades. Most agreed that Mao was ungrateful, and Khruschev had been a fool in his handling of Peking. Leonid Brezhnev did not wish to fall into this category. Both he and Kosygin had been embarrassed by the events of 1969, when China provoked a war, and then humiliated Kosygin when he visited Peking to offer reconciliation. Indeed, our tepid response had lead Mao and Chou Enlai to believe that they could deal with the United States as an equal, and so by implication become an equal with us. That was an affront, not to mention a political scandal of the first order among our party cadre, and that is why Brezhnev determined to bring down the hammer on the rice eaters at the first opportunity.

    The murder of Mikhail Gorbachev by the Chinese was a provocation which helped us. It was unfortunate the steel safe on his plane did not explode as expected; our engineers could not understand why it failed to explode when the Chinese tampered with it. KGB Chairman Andropov had the answer: one of more of the engineers and technicians we had sent to Vietnam with Gorbachev had been Chinese agents and had not died in the crash, but he or they was/were still alive in China. This spy, or spies, had given the rice eaters the combination to the safe. From this information we knew they had planned the event beforehand. You could feel a chill come over the room when Chairman Andropov announced that his service was searching for other Chinese spies inside our government and party.

    When we lost the use of the Chinese port, the supply operation directly into Haiphong became more dangerous. But Defence Minister Andrei Grechko convinced the executive committee that it was necessary to keep the North Vietnamese equipped. Even with the patriotic engineers from the German Democratic Republic, aided by Yugoslav mercenaries (who despite their bourgeois motives knew their craft), building them tunnels and bunkers, the heavy American bombing was taking its toll. That is how we came to supply them with armed convoys. Grechko and Foreign Minister Gromyko were convinced that neither the American Navy nor the worthless Chinese flotilla (one could hardly call what the rice eaters had a navy in the true sense) would attack our warships. But it would provoke Agnew to a greater commitment on the side of his puppet.

    That is what Brezhnev wanted, that and to humiliate the ingrates in Peking. He expected that with an eventual Vietnamese victory and a humiliated United States driven from Asia once and for all, we would have China surrounded and in a place where they would come crawling back to us.

    No one counted on the invasion into Mongolia. Initial reports of the accumulation of forces along the Chinese border were dismissed as sabre rattling by Mao and his clique. Too late, we saw when they invaded that they meant business. There were also flanking attacks along the Siberia-Manchuria border, which kept us from reinforcing the 29th Army in Mongolia from that quarter. Marshall Grechko refused to send substantial forces East from Europe, fearing that Agnew would use such a move to spur NATO into some mischief there. Thus the battle in Mongolia became a stalemate. Our forces were inferior in number to theirs, but the quality of Red Army forces was such that we could fend off the hordes of rice eaters for over a year. The Red air Force destroyed theirs in no time though. Only the caution of Air Force Chief Marshall Kutakhov restrained our pilots from all out attacks on the Chinese interior.

    One interesting side light of this episode occurred in the People's Democratic Republic of Korea when that country's leader, Kim Il Sung, panicked during the opening Chinese moves, and displayed an annoying vacillation between ourselves and Peking. He was summoned to Moscow to account for himself, and while he was here a Korean People's Army General named Hyung Ju overthrew him, massacring Kim's rather large extended family in an abrupt coup. General - now First Grand Marshall of the Eternal Korean People's Republic - Hyung, preferred neutrality, but he allowed us to use assets of the Korean People's Navy for our sea operations, so the executive committee was content to let him be for now. Kim Il Sung was thrown into Valdimirov prison and later sent to a labour camp, where I understand he died.

    [1] This is said to be the inside account of a Soviet Politburo member with close access to the leadership; the author often uses the pronoun 'we' when discussing acts of the Soviet leadership, leading some analysts to speculate that this work is the ghost written journal of a senior Soviet leader, although this cannot be verified. This account has been translated form a German language text that first appeared in Western Europe around 1979. The racial epithet 'rice eater' is translated from the original text and in no way reflects the views of the editors. It has been left unchanged to reflect the original language and context of the author's work.


    May 4, 1973

    Inspired by the example of his elder brother (and under some family pressure), John Ellis ‘Jeb’ Bush, second son of George Bush sr., a recent graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, enters the USAF OCS training program at Lackland AFB in Texas.

    President Agnew orders Deputy Attorney General (Acting AG) Jospeh T. Sneed to fire US attorney George Beall. Sneed refuses to do this and is fired by Agnew. Solicitor General Erwin Griswold, the next in seniority at the Justice Department, also declines to fire Beall, and he too is fired. Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal counsel, who is now acting Attorney General, Ralph Erickson, fires Beall.

    These mass firings, dubbed by the press as The Friday Night Massacre, first draw the Washington press corps attention to the corruption probe going on in Baltimore County (which to this point has been local news, in whose coverage the name Spiro Agnew has yet to be mentioned). The Washington reporters are slow to pick-up on it at first because these firings take place late on a Friday night, after the news filing deadlines.

    May 7, 1973

    George Beall's older borther J. Glen Beall, Maryland's junior Republican Senator, attempts to intervene with the Agnew White House on his brother's behalf. He is rebuffed by Rumsfeld.

    May 9, 1973

    Under mounting pressure from Congress and the press, acting AG Erickson is compelled to name a special prosecutor in the Baltimore County investigation. Erickson names former Solicitor General and Warren commission Chief Counsel J. Lee Rankin (a Republican) as the special prosecutor.

    May 10, 1973

    In an address to the nation from the Oval Office President Agnew makes use of areal photos of the Soviet flotilla to make a case that the Soviets are building up North Vietnam as a threat to stability and peace in Southeast Asia, and ‘making possible North Vietnam as a base for destabilizing the region.’ He cites the Sino-Soviet tension as a sign of ‘Communist aggression.’

    ’I know many of you are nervous about our policy toward Vietnam, given the long and unpleasant history of our involvement there. I ask you to believe me that I wish we could end this tomorrow and leave. However, I cannot in good conscience, with the trust of this office, abandon our allies in the region to the mercy of the Communists. The fact remains that we disengaged too rapidly over the last two years, and the power vacuum which this policy created is being exploited by aggressive forces with the intent of subjugating Asia to the yoke of Communism. Our mission in the next few months must not, and will not be, to prolong this conflict, but to apply a measure of force to bring stability to the region. Only by being strong will we bring our adversaries to the negotiating table, which has been our policy all along. Only when they realize that the United States will allow no aggression to go unchallenged, will they relent in their de-stabilizing and aggressive pursuits. Only then will we be able to assure a lasting peace for which fifty thousand young American men have already given their lives. Let us not run away, and make their sacrifice in vain. Let us instead, as a just and strong nation, ensure that their sacrifice will long be remembered as contributing to the lasting peace of our world.’

    During the speech Agnew also praises Alexander Haig as a ‘fine soldier, who understands war, and hates it. Having seen war, he wants peace more than anyone, but not peace at any price, and not the humiliation of appeasement. My friends who love this country, and I believe that is most of our hard-working, decent citizenry from across this great land, I call upon you to tell your Senator to help me defend this country. Send letters telling your Senator that you want General Al Haig confirmed as Secretary of Defense. I need him to help defend our nation, and I hope you will lend me your pens to the cause of his being confirmed as soon as possible.’

    Senators receive many letters, about evenly split on the question of Haig’s confirmation. There is strong support for the President’s call in the mid-West and South though.

    May 11, 1973

    The House votes 261- 174 to cut off funding for war activity in Vietnam. The Senate follow suit two days later with a vote of 61 – 39 in favour of cutting off funding for the war. President Agnew vetoes the bill, citing the president’s constitutional authority in the conduct of war operations. Neither Houses of Congress can muster the two-thirds votes required to override Agnew’s veto (66 in the Senate; 290 in the House). Operation Bold Eagle continues.

    Governor McKeithen at Auburn University - May 12, 1973

    We are faced with grave perils, that I will not deny. However, I must ask, which of these perils are imposed upon us, and which are we imposing on ourselves? Don't get me wrong. I stand by our fighting men in uniform in all circumstances. Having served in uniform myself, and having faced enemy fire, I understand the great challenges and dangers our armed forces face. My heart goes out to the families of the crew of the USS Fox, especially to those who have lost loved ones in that incident. I agree with our acting President that we must stand strong whenever and wherever our armed forces are challenged in the lawful pursuit of their duties. But, at the same time, we must be careful that we do not allow one incident to serve as justification for a policy which opens the door to greater disaster.

    Are we not well rid of Vietnam; have not those distant jungles taught us a lesson in caution and prudence? Having withdrawn our troops, why should we now be so eager to re-engage? Russian and Chinese support of North Vietnam is not a new thing. I looked it up; President Eisenhower made remarks about it nearly twenty years ago, as did President Kennedy after him. Yet each President before 1964 approached the problem of Vietnam with caution. Years later, and after fifty thousand casualties, do we not look back at those days with nostalgia? Do we not wonder about the cost of expedient folly?

    My friends, I campaigned against President Nixon last year on a variety of issues, but during that campaign I never directly criticized his policy of turning the war in Vietnam over to the Vietnamese and withdrawing our troops. It was the correct policy. I fear that under the present leadership, all of that has been lost. So, I come before you, and ask you to write your Congressman and tell them to resolve this matter, so that we can restore the equilibrium in our foreign affairs. Won't you help me do that?

    May 14, 1973

    Gallup and Harris polls show that after his speech, support has risen for President Agnew rising in the wake of the Wounded Knee incident and the Fox incident. Polls give Agnew 51% approval on law-and-order; 53% on Operation Bold Eagle (With the caveat that it will swiftly end the Vietnam-Tonkin conflict) and only 32% on the economy. Poll participants when asked about increasing U.S. involvement in Vietnam said, by 54% of those polled, that they favoured U.S. involvement provided the military action was ‘quick’, ‘decisive’ and ‘would end the war quickly.’ 58% thought that giving up in Southeast Asia under the present circumstances would only lead to more international trouble for the United States; 61% of those polled thought that the Fox had been attacked because America’s adversaries had lost respect for American power. Only 43% favoured a full scale war in Vietnam, but 51% thought two years was adequate time to allow the armed forces to ‘win a decisive victory’ over the North Vietnamese. 59% thought Congress had been wrong to try and cut-off funds to the military. 57% supported the choice of Alexander Haig as Defense Secretary. 75% of respondents felt that the House should give-up on the pointless ballots for the presidency if no winner was to be chosen. Those polled were evenly divided between Richard Nixon and John McKeithen as to which candidate they would like to see win the House ballot. President Agnew’s overall approval was at 51% with the highest level of dissatisfaction, 68%, on the question of the economy. Asked if the U.S. would be diminished by a defeat in Vietnam, 63% of respondents agreed. Support for Agnew’s policies tended to be lowest among those under 30 and between 55 and 65. Agnew’s support was strongest in the 30-55 group, and among those over 65. His support also tended to be strongest in mid-western and Southern states, with lower levels of support in the Northeast and on the West Coast. (Agnew said of the latter, ‘normal Americans are with me.’). Most of these polls do not take into account the effects of The Friday Night Massacre or subsequent legal events.

    ( from Don Clancy [1] Congress Wars: How I Survived Washington And Lived to Tell You About It)

    By May of seventy-three I was getting thousands of letters and calls from angry voters who were fed-up with the damn election. 'Get it over with.' 'End it.' Was the repeated message. Every other representative from across the country, both Democrat and Republican, was getting the same sort of calls. The problem was - and I tested this by talking to a few of the callers and letter writers - deciding how to end it. I did an informal poll and guess what: fifty percent wanted me to vote for Nixon (which is what I was doing - note Nixon had carried my district in the November election) fifty percent wanted me to vote for McKeithen, and two odd-balls wanted me to swing it for George Wallace. So which way was I supposed to go?

    After the Supreme Court rulings in March we tried to get down to business as usual, but everyone was still bitter from the constant balloting in January and February. Pete Rodino, the Democrat House Whip, and Del Clausen, a Republican from California, had nearly come to blows over it. Ron Ginn of Georgia (Democrat) and Larry Hogan of Maryland (Republican) reportedly did have a donnybrook which sent them both to the hospital. No one talked about it. At least after the Court ruled we were doing it only once a week; that lessened the pain of a pointless exercise.

    Things boiled over again when the Democrats started a resolution to cut-off funding to any military operations in Vietnam. Was Spiro Agnew a cretin, as they loudly accused him of being? I suppose he wasn't the sharpest knife in the drawer, but that charge was excessive. He was our President - well acting President - and he was trying to lead us through a crisis. I supported him out of loyalty, and because I thought it was wrong to undercut our troops when they were facing peril. A lot of the Democrats didn't get that; they wanted to cut and run, when it was their Presidents who had caused the problem over there in the first place. They were being ingrates and cry-babies - period.

    Like a lot of my colleagues in the Republican caucus, we thought President Nixon and Kissinger had solved the Vietnam problem. Obviously we had been premature, and he had got us out too quickly. He had been thinking too much about the 1972 election and not enough about military and political issues in Vietnam, some said. They were right. Look at what fishing for the anti-war vote in '72 got him? Really, I blame Nixon for being too soft for what happened with the 1972 election. He should have stuck it out in Vietnam for another few years, the peace-nicks be damned. Then we wouldn't have had this problem that Agnew had to fix (still better than Bayh, at least the Senate got that choice right).

    Still, in the contingent ballots, I stuck with Nixon, just as the Democrats stuck with their guy, out of principle, or because some of us were afraid of Senator Dole's party Gestapo (Bob Strauss at the DNC had the same sort of thing going) which was holding our futures hostage. Me I was a Nixon man, and if I was going to piss-off some of my constituents, I was at least going to show a little integrity in doing it. At least fifty percent of the voters in my District were with me, and that's better than being out on a limb all by yourself.

    Ralph Regula, a fellow Republican from the sixteenth district, gave-up in frustration and presented a blank slate (no vote or abstained) long about the middle of May to protest the whole thing. A Democrat from Indiana changed sides, but in both cases it made no difference. The Republicans in New England decided to sit on their hands, which gave McKeithen a big swing, but all that happened at the end of July, and of course by then everything changed.

    To this day, when people ask me about it - and they still do a lot - I still say I stuck by Richard Nixon to the bitter end because I believed in him. That was before the Watergate crap came out, of course, but at least I stood my ground when it counted.

    [1] Rep. Donald D. Clancy (R - Ohio 2nd)


    May 17, 1973

    Televised hearings of the Senate Watergate Committee begin.

    May 23, 1973

    After a contentious debate, Alexander Haig is confirmed as Defense Secretary by a vote of 52-47 in the U.S. Senate. He is supported by 40 Repulicans and 3 Independents, plus 9 Democratic Senators - John Stennis, Henry Jackson, James Allen, James Eastland, John Sparkman, Lee Metcalf, Bennett Johnston, Russell Long and Gale McGee. The 5 Republicans who vote against Haig are Edward Brooke, Margaret Chase-Smith, Charles Mathias, Robert Stafford and Richard Schweiker. Hemran Talmadge is absent from the vote.

    May 29, 1973

    Harvard Law Professor and former United States Solicitor General Archibald Cox is hired by the Justice Department as a special prosecutor to investigate the growing Watergate scandal.

    May 31, 1973

    Some militants associated with the American Indian Movement attempt to abduct former President Richard Nixon outside the Nixon and Mudge law firm offices in New York. This action is an attempt to exact revenge for the massacre at Wounded Knee in March. The attackers are driven off by Nixon’s Secret Service detail after a shootout which kills two agents and five of the attackers. Richard Nixon is seriously wounded during the attempt. It is later discovered that a number of the attackers are veterans of the U.S. military who have had combat experience in Vietnam.

    Nixon is seriously wounded and rushed to hospital. After emergency surgery he is pronounced to be stable but in guarded condition. Doctor’s inform the press that while Nixon’s injuries are serious, there is no irreparable damage to major organs and no paralysis as a result of the shooting.

    June 1, 1973

    The Greek military junta abolishes the monarchy and proclaims a republic. President Spiro Agnew, a Greek-American, proclaims his support for a Republic as a ‘more just form of government.’ Some observers are dismayed by this comment because the Greek Republic is in fact a dictatorial Junta.

    June 2, 1973

    Lead elements of Operation Bold Eagle land in South Vietnam under the command of Lt. General Henry “Gunfighter” Emerson. Colonel H. Nomran Schwartkopf serves as his adjutant.

    Captain Oliver North USMC, a Vietnam combat veteran, is detailed to lead an Marine Recon unit which prepares field intelligence reports on North Vietnamese forces in South Vietnam.

    Pamela Agnew-DeHaven 29, the daughter of President Spiro Agnew is abducted by a group of people later identifying themselves as the Black Liberation Army, militant off-shoot of the Black Panther Movement. Zayid Malik Shakur, Assata Shakur, Sundita Acoti and Adbul Majid abduct Pamela DeHaven from her home in Towson, Maryland and hide her in a basement in Baltimore, Maryland. Even though she it the child of the sitting President, as an adult over twenty-one Mrs. DeHaven did not receive Secret Service protection under the rules then in force.

    The BLA demands the release of all political prisoners, the establishment of a ‘sovereign black people’s republic’, one hundred billion dollars and a nuclear bomb to return the President’s daughter.

    President Agnew says that he will not cave-in to terrorists. He gains more sympathy, which shows-up as higher poll numbers.

    June 8, 1973

    George Bush Sr. is confirmed as Secretary of State by a Senate vote of 61-38. Philip Habib is confirmed as UN Ambassador by a vote of 72-27.

    Adminsitration Televison Advertisment - June 9, 1973

    QUE: John Wayne walks across a western town set.

    Wayne: Good evening folks. Our President has asked me to give him a hand by having a word with you. Right now our country is going through a lot of troubles at home and overseas, and I'm glad that Spiro T. Agnew is at the helm, guiding us with a steady hand.

    A few years ago I made a film about the war in Vietnam called The Green Berets. I hope you saw it. Back then, in doing rehearsals and research, I got to travel to Vietnam and meet some of our Vietnamese friends. I also met with our fine young fighting men, and their counterparts in the South Vietnamese Army. You know what I saw: plain, ordinary, honest, hard working, friendly folks fighting for their families, their homes and their freedom. Many of the people I met disagreed about a lot of things, but that is their right in a free society. What they all agreed on was that they wanted to be free of Communist oppression and the tyranny coming from the North. They were willing to fight to be free, as you would for your family, like your fathers and grandfathers did. I saw their battlefields, their Valley Forge, their Yorktown, their Gettysburg. The places were different, the temperature hot, the plant life exotic, but the call to freedom and family, that was just like our own.

    Lately we've heard a lot about how we lost the Vietnam War. I think some of our leaders gave-up, without really trying. I know when I made my movie a few years back, our soldiers were ready to win it. They just needed the politicians to give them green light, but it never came. We left, and today its a mess, and its spread out on the seas. American sons are still dying, but now its in international waters while trying to help others.

    If that makes your blood boil the way it does mine, the way it should any red-blooded, patriotic American, then I say to you stand-up for our country, stand-up for freedom, stand-up for our Republic and our free way of life. Call your Congressman and Senator, and tell 'em that you support our great President in this tough time. Tell them that you want them to support our President too. Join with me in standing behind President Agnew when he needs us most. Thank-you.'

    June 16, 1973

    Pamela Agnew-DeHaven is killed in a shoot-out between her abductors and the FBI and Baltimore Police. Three of the abductors are killed, and one, Sundita Acoti is wounded and taken into custody. Most controversially, a young child is killed during the shoot-out: police claim the BLA militants killed him, while the BLA’s supporters claim he was gunned down by the police and FBI.

    June 21, 1973

    Sprio and Judy Agnew receive sympathetic press coverage at the funeral of their daughter in Towson, Maryland. Pat Nixon attends, representing her husband, while both John McKeithen and George McGovern attend to lend their support to Agnew over the tragedy.

    June 25, 1973

    Former White House counsel John Dean begins his testimony before the Senate Watergate Committee.

    June 28, 1973

    Elections for the Northern Ireland Assembly, which would have lead to power-sharing between unionists and nationalists in Northern Ireland for the first time are disrupted by armed attacks on polling places. PIRA attacks are up; the British government blames in influx of weapons from foreign supporters as the reason for this.

    A confrontation between LAPD and several Black Panthers explodes into urban violence which will grip Los Angeles over the next three weeks in the Southeast Riot of 1973. While militants protest the shooting of BLA militants in Baltimore, the larger portion of the community protests the economy and Agnew’s policies. The situation quickly degenerates into urban chaos and Governor Ronald Reagan sends in the National Guard with orders to ‘break heads’ if needed to restore order. A kind of urban strife continues for over two weeks after the Guard moves in, resembling – according to a number of veterans who witness it – the sort of urban guerrilla warfare they have experienced in Vietnam. The riots end after three weeks with 4 Guardsmen killed and 102 seriously injured, 3 LAPD officers dead and 53 injured, an estimated 91 civilians dead and around 6,000 injured.

    Angela Davis: ‘We’re at war; Whitey is doing to us what they’ve been doing in Vietnam – committing cold blooded murder, slaughtering our people. It’s time to hit back at the pigs. Six thousand is just the beginning; Baltimore and Los Angeles are the first battles. Pick-up the gun brothers and sisters and shoot any Whitey who comes your way, because the man is coming for you, and it ain’t to give you a check!’

    Ronald Reagan: ‘We have acted to restore order. Those police and soldiers who were murdered, they are true American heroes. They fought against anarchy and violence, they stood for true American values. The people who caused this, the rioters, they have blood on their hands. Blood as red as the foreign ideology that started all of this trouble. Let no one be in doubt, honest, decent Americans will fight to preserve our democratic way of life, especially against those who want to take it away with violence and terror.’

    June 30, 1973

    A very long total solar eclipse occurs. During the entire 2nd millennium, only 7 total solar eclipses exceeded 7 minutes of totality.

    July, 4, 1973

    President Agnew announces a sixty-day moratorium on the bombing of North Vietnam (which has been going on for fourteen months) in order to allow ‘the North Vietnamese leadership a period to reflect on the course of war or peace.’ In reality the USAF and USN need the down time in order deal with issues of operational strain and to deploy new resources. A classified estimate shows US air losses at nearly 500 aircraft, 1,025 airmen killed and 1,200 or more missing and presumed captured. Estimates of damage to North Vietnam’s infrastructure and war fighting capability vary from ‘total’ to ‘uncertain.’ Secretary Haig suggests they assume ‘60% of capacity has been damaged beyond repair.’

    The North Vietnamese Army, which has been re-deployed to remote jungle locations to get it away from American bombers, in fact remains at close to 75% of its 1972 capabilities. Also, Yugoslav and East German engineers have built a warren of bomb resistant bunkers around Hanoi which serve as a virtual underground city from which the North Vietnamese government leadership and military can operate with relative impunity.

    Loud anti-war protests in 23 American cities disrupt Independence Day celebrations. A number of these turn ugly as protesters clash with police, turning into mini-riots in some cases. Police officials later claim militants started the violence. 650 protesters, including Jane Fonda, Paul Newman, Warren Beatty and Bill Cosby are arrested and thrown in jail. Among the protester chants are: Hey, hey, ho ho, Spiro has got to go! * Zero Spiro, burnin’ it down just like Nero. * Agnew the agony *

    Pat Buchanan: ‘What these people did is spit on our flag and all those who have sacrificed to make this country free. We have no sympathy for a bunch of spoiled kids and pampered celebrities who want to spend their time destroying the country that gives them freedom they enjoy. Jail is where they belong.

    (from Abbie Hoffman - America: Burn it Down and Piss On It! )

    The pigs were just butchering anyone; you didn’t have to be really loud or in their face to feel the club and the boot. Agnew was the biggest pig of them all. I’d called Nixon a pig, but compared to old Tricky Dick brain Zero Spiro was the warthog! The King Pork with blood dripping out of his snout. He wanted to make sure everyone died. Just when it looked like we were out of Vietnam for good, this schmuck was pulling us back in.

    Were we violent? Sure! Yeah man we were breaking out with our fists because they were coming after us with clubs and guns and why? To start up a war again that they’d lost. Man, if that wasn’t looking at the world through your asshole, I don’t know what was. So yeah, Zero Spiro – burn it baby, burn it down!


    July, 7, 1973

    Facing indictment and prison time for tax fraud and bribery, Jerome Wolff admits that he funnelled bribes and kick-backs to Spiro Agnew from 1966 through to 1969. Wolff tells Special Prosecutor Rankin and the Grand Jury that he delivered the last pay-off to Agnew personally in January 1969 at the White House, after Agnew had become Vice President.

    July, 9, 1973

    An attempted drug arrest at the Cabrini-Green housing project in Chicago sparks a four day riot in that city. 29 people, including 2 Chicago Police officers are killed in the violence. Fire damages a portion of the housing project, leaving hundreds homeless.

    Pat Buchanan: ‘They want to burn their homes down, they can find the money to rebuild. This administration hasn’t go one red cent to give rioters.’

    Paul H. Nitze is confirmed as CIA Director by a Senate vote of 89-10

    July, 11, 1973

    Rep. Ron Dellums (D-CA) introduces a motion to impeach acting President Agnew on grounds that he has ‘licensed and permitted murder, and he's a crook. The acting President can’t even act like a real President. The man’s a disgrace and he needs to be sent packing!’

    Dellums’ motion is defeated.

    July, 16, 1973

    Former White House aide Alexander Butterfield informs the United States Senate Watergate Committee that President Richard Nixon had secretly recorded potentially incriminating conversations.

    July, 17, 1973

    King Mohammed Zahir Shah of Afghanistan is deposed by his cousin Mohammed Daoud Khan while in Italy undergoing eye surgery.

    July, 19, 1973

    J. Clifford Wallace is confirmed as Attorney-General of the United States in a 58-41 vote of the United States Senate.

    U.S. troop levels in South Vietnam exceed 100,000, the first time they have reached that level since mid- 1971.

    July, 28, 1973

    The Summer Jam at Watkins Glen, New York, a massive rock festival featuring The Grateful Dead, The Allman Brothers Band and The Band, attracts over 600,000 music fans. Senator George McGovern is invited to speak, and he uses the forum to denounce the policies of the Agnew administration. This leads to an anti-war, anti-Agnew demonstration.

    New York State Police, supported by units of the National Guard, move in to quell the demonstration, which quickly escalates into a riot.

    Pat Buchanan (for Agnew): ‘This government will not give in to a mob of dirty, hairy anarchists. We stand for civilization and the rule of law and we commend Govenror Rockefeller on his correct action to prevent this festival of punk induced violence from getting out of hand.’

    July, 29, 1973

    At the conclusion of a lenghty meeting in the New York apartment of Richard M. Nixon; after assorted lawyers and aides have been asked to leave so that the two candidates can share a private word.

    'I hardly have the words to express what a momentous thing you have chosen to do, Mr. President,' John McKeithen said. 'For my part, I'm still willing to flip a coin.'

    'Thank-you, Governor. But a simple count of the members in the House, and a look where the problem is, makes it obvious that getting you elected will be the easier task,' Nixon replied. 'To say I have mixed feelings is an understatement, but this cannot go on.'

    'I salute you as a Statesman, sir.'

    'Statesman is a fine word to describe someone who has to tear out their own teeth for the better good, and smile while doing it,' Nixon said.

    'I'll remember that, Mr. President.'

    'Oh? Where you're going, Governor, you'll get the chance to live it - believe me,' Nixon said with dry sarcasm. 'Tell me, how soon do you think we can finish this?'

    'I'm on my way to New England to speak with six or seven Republican House members. I think, with your announcement, we should add five states to my ballot by next week. After that, I have meetings out west.'

    'You need me to call anyone, just let me know. We'll get this done, get Agnew out of there. I wish I could go speak to our members in person, but my doctors want me to stay put for now,' Nixon said.

    'Not to mention the Secret Service,' McKeithen replied. 'I've had more trouble with them since your incident.'

    Nixon chuckled. 'Get used to that, Governor.'

    ’When it’s all done, you can take comfort in one thing you’ve bequeathed me.’ McKiethen said with a wry smile.

    ’What’s that?’ Nixon asked, a troubled frown descening across his rumpled face.

    ’Vice President Spiro Agnew.’

    After a moment of stunned silence Richard Nixon broke into a deep, hearty belly laugh.

    (from Richard M. Nixon The Memoirs of Richard Nixon)

    When I chose Ted Agnew to be my running mate, I had seen in him the sharp, dynamic qualites which I thought would make for a good Vice President, and I thought he could be moulded into an excellent candidate for the Presidency over the following eight years. Four years of working with him at close proximity had disabused me of that notion. In 1972 I had seriously considered replacing him on the ticket with John Connally, only to have Connally tell me in no uncertain terms that he was not interested in the Vice Presidency. By July of 1973 I wished I had tried harder, and that I had ignored those who told me that I needed Agnew on the ticket because he was popular with the conservatives. Mitchell ahd told me I needed Ted to lock-up the conservative and blue-collar vote because, thanks to the speaking engagemetns we'd assigned Agnew to, and the speeches Safire and Buchanan had written for him, he was very popular with those voters. Evidently, he hadn't been popular enough with them, or the nation wouldn't have ended up in the deplorable situation that we found ourselves in that summer. I can't see how I could have lost anymore by asking him not to run with me. But that was the past, and I had to deal with the present as it was.

    It is difficult to blame someone for the deficincies of character for which they are not personally to blame. Some things come to us from our nurture, some from our genes, and even more from the unique circumstances that make-up their lives. That the combination in Ted's case was not sufficent to make him a good acting President was not his fault. In the end, I must blame myself for being the one to place him in that position. I knew better, but failed to act while there was still time. For that I accept my measure of responsibility.

    But, at the same time, Ted had stubbornly eschewed good advice from many sources. He had allowed himself to fall in with that circle of second-raters who ensnared him almost from the first day, and from them he received a very jaundiced view of the world. That expressed itself in how he conducted the Office of the President, and the mess he made of our foreign affairs. Foreign affairs had never been Ted's forte, and he had resisted my efforts to school him in it. That, in itself, should have been a clear signal of his failings. I had left Henry behind in the belief that he would guide Ted through the rough spots, and that between them they could establish the same cordial and productive relationship I had had with my National Security Advisor. Henry was certainly capable of adapting to the new man; Henry had a gift for that sort of thing. To my astonishment, Agnew fired Henry after only six of seven weeks. Henry later told me that the man was cordial, but that the court around him, Rumsfeld and Haig in partiuclar, were impossible to get along with. Al Haig had wasted no time in adapting to the new order; he almost literally walked over Henry's prone body to get what he wanted. To this day I regret not sending Haig back to the Army before I left office, and packing Rumsfeld off to the depths of the Commerce Department or something as remote, for I left Ted in a very vulnerable position around these vipers.

    Being shot and lying in the hospital after they have dug three bullets out of me made me reflective. I can't say my life passed before my eyes, but certain choice moments paid me a visit in my dreams. By the time I was released, I came to realize that there was only one thing to be done that would correct this mess.

    I spoke with Governor McKeithen several times in June and July, both from my hospital bed and while I was recuperating at my New York apartment, and I found that despite our political differences, he did have a good head on his shoulders. That in itself eased my mind and helped me to finalize my decision. Of course he was agreeable, though he made clear that he did not envy me the decision. I found John McKeithen to be a gentleman of the long standing Southern tradition, and to my mind, he would have made an fair to good President. It really is very sad that it didn't come to pass through an act of blind fortune.

    My decision was not just for myself, or Governor McKeithen. I chose my next step for the welfare of our nation, and for the security of the world. As I told John McKeithen, there seemed only one path open to the impasse, and I had to take the step. To his credit he offered to do the same, but as it was apparent to both of us, if I stepped aside, the path would be easier for him, than it might be if our situations were reversed. So we agreed. It was done, and I was much relieved.

    What I chose to do I did for Ted as well. I hoped that in releasing him from the burden of the acting Presidency he might again find a measure of stability in his life. Unlike some, I did not wish him ill. I hoped he would return to a life better suited to his limitations, and that our country could heal under a new President.


    July, 30, 1973

    Richard M. Nixon makes the following statement to the press:

    ’I have today decided to concede the Presidential election to former Governor John J. McKeithen of Louisiana. I have sent a letter to House Speaker Carl Albert asking that my name be immediately withdrawn from further consideration in the contingent election currently being conducted by the House of Representatives. Governor McKeithen and I have spoken at length, and I have congratulated him on his victory. Many of my supporters are puzzled and astonished by this decision, and let me say, I understand their feelings on this. I do not choose this course easily. For me to quit before the contest is done and walk away is abhorrent to every instinct in me; I am not a quitter. However, I recognize that the current deadlock in the House of Representatives is unlikely to be resolved, and this nation cannot continue at this perilous time with the Presidency in a state of uncertainty. Therefore, for the well-being of the United States, I encourage the House of Representatives to elect Governor John McKiethen at once to the office of President, and let the matter be resolved. Let our nation face these times of peril with strong leadership, clear of the uncertainty we have experienced these last six months. It has created a state of uncertainty in the world which our adversaries are exploiting to their own ends. I stand ready to support President-elect McKeithen in any way he should require of me. God Bless the United States.’

    Speaker Albert: ‘I congratulate President Nixon on his statesman-like stand and I applaud his patriotism at this hour of crisis. Richard Nixon has today proven his deep and abiding love for the well being of his country and all of its people . Of course, it will be up to our individual members to make the final decision.’

    The Washington Post runs a three part in-depth report on the corruption scandal in Baltimore County. In that investigative story The Post documents pay-offs to Spiro Agnew during his Maryland political career, and includes portions of Jerome B. Wolff's statements about delivering bribe money to Vice President Agnew at the white House in 1969.

    July, 31, 1973

    Delta Air Lines Flight 173 DC9-31 aircraft lands short of Boston's Logan Airport runway in poor visibility, striking a sea wall about 165 feet (50 m) to the right of the runway centerline and about 3,000 feet (914 m) short. All 6 crew members and 87 passengers are killed, 1 of the passengers dying several months after the accident. John J. McKeithen is among the passengers on board who is killed in the crash.

    Presumptive President-elect dies in Boston Airplane crash

    (AP) BOSTON John Julian McKeithen, 55, former Governor of Louisiana and Democratic candidate for President was killed in plane crash this morning. Delta Airlines flight 173 from Manchester, New Hampshire to Boston crashed on approach to Logan International Airport, killing all but two of the 87 passagners and 6 crew members on board.

    Governor McKeithen had flown to Manchester for a speaking engagement to the New Hampshire Democratic Association after meeting with former President Richard Nixon in New York on Saturday. Governor McKeithen did not campaign in last year’s New Hampshire Democratic primary, nor did he carry that State in the Presidential Election. According to his spokesman, the Governor had gone to Manchester to mend political fences. He also met with key New Hampshire Democratic Party leaders, and New Hampshire’s two U.S. Representatives, Lewis C. Wyman and James c. Cleveland, both Republicans who had previously voted for President Nixon in the contingent election. Also present was Vermont’s lone Representative Richard W. Mallary and Maine Republican William S. Cohen. Between them the four representatives controlled the votes of three delegations in the House of Representatives (Maine had been deadlocked).

    After President Nixon’s surprise announcement just yesterday that he was conceding the Presidential election to Governor McKeithen, many began to presume that McKeithen would be the President-elect as soon as the House of Representatives cast their next round of ballots. No word has yet been received on the status of the contingent election given these developments. Governor McKeithen was accompanied by three Secret Service agents who provided his personal protection. They also perished in the crash. He was flying on a commercial flight as he was not entitled to government transport since he held no official position with the United States government. His flight was paid for by the Democratic National Committee.

    Governor McKeithen was flying in to Boston to meet with the Massachusetts Democratic Committee and planned to visit Connecticut and Rhode Island on Tuesday (both have been deadlocked in the House vote). No information has been released yet about funeral arrangements.


    Speaker Albert: ‘This is a tragic and most unexpected development.’

    August, 1, 1973

    The Agnew Administration files a request for an injunction against any further votes in the House, citing the death of John McKeithen and the concession of Richard M. Nixon as grounds for declaring the Presidency vacant, so that Vice President Spiro Agnew can formally succeed to the Presidency. Nixon’s concession of July 30 is described in the Agnew submission, crafted by Robert Bork, as ‘a forfeiture of his candidacy.’

    The DC Circuit Court of Appeals is the venue chosen for this because the United States Supreme Court is in summer recess. The DC Court issues a stay against any further House ballots until it can hear the matter en banc. Richard Nixon’s lawyers file an objection, citing that matters have changed since his concession two days earlier, and that he wishes to renounce his concession.

    George Wallace files an objection against both Agnew and Nixon, arguing that there is still a viable candidate on the ballot currently before the House, and that it is him. He asks the DC Court to enjoin the House of Representatives to elect him as President as he is the only one of the three candidates still in active consideration.

    Governor Wallace tells the press, ‘I’m still here, I’m not dead and I haven’t conceded a damn thing. I didn’t take any bribes, which the IRS proved beyond a shaodw of a doubt last year, thanks to Mr. Nixon, and I didn't order-up any key stone cop burglaries.’

    Attorney General Wallace meets privately with Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney and Robert Bork. He informs President Agnew's senior advisors that Baltimore Special Prosecutor Rankin is about to receive a grand jury indictment charging the former Governor of Maryland Spiro Agnew with conspiracy, extortion, bribery and tax fraud from a period dating from 1966 up to 1969, including receiving a pay-off in the White House. AG Wallace tells the others that as far as he can tell it is a very solid case. Upon examination of the documents, Bork concurs. All three decide to keep quiet about it for the time being.

    The film American Graffiti is released.

    August, 2, 1973

    Archibald Cox serves a subpoena on Richard M. Nixon demanding that he produce the Oval Office tapes ‘immediately and in good order.’ Nixon’s lawyers go to federal court to block the subpoena on the grounds that the tapes contain national security matters which are highly classified and which, since they were made when Nixon was still in office, are protected by executive privilege.

    Cox files a second motion asking that a Special Master appointed by the court take the tapes into custody to safeguard them.

    August, 3, 1973

    Donald Rumsfeld, Robert Bork and Spiro Agnew have a closed door meeting at which the Maryland indictments are discussed. No notes of the meeting are kept.

    The United States District Court for DC orders Richard M. Nixon to surrender the master copies of all Oval Office tapes to a Special Master appointed by the court. They will be held, but not transcribed, pending litigation by both sides.

    August, 4, 1973

    Jesse Jackson, Tom Hayden and Jane Fonda lead what they call a 'million person' march on Washington DC, emulating the August 1963 Civil rights march on Washington at which Martin Luther King jr. gave his famous 'I have a dream' speech. The point of this march is to protest the return to Vietnam, and to call for the resingation of Spiro Agnew. Some three hundred thousand protesters converge on Washington for the march. The main event features speakers on the front steps of the Lincoln Memorial (from where King spoke in 1963) and some musical events on the Mall.

    Later in the day protesters surround the White House grounds in a circle and chant peace now. Jesse Jackson attempts to deliver a petition to President Agnew at the West Gate of the grounds. He gets into a scuffle with White House Police, which quickly escalates to mini-riot outside of the White House. President Agnew then calls in troops to disperse crowds across Washington, which leads to further violence with protestors. That night another riot breaks out at the overcrowded DC jails.

    Spiro Agnew: 'This government will never surrender to these vagrants. This so-called protest is nothing more than an excuse to indulge in violence and vandalism for the sake of personal gatification. I shed not a tear for any hooligans hurt in all this, they brought it on themselves. My feelings, and my time, is reserved for those patriotic young Americans serving their country in uniform and in the police. They are what this country is about, not these long-haired freaks.'

    August, 5, 1973

    Black September members open fire at the Athens airport; 3 are killed, 55 injured.

    August, 7, 1973

    Special Prosecutor Rankin receives a true bill indictment from a Maryland Grand Jury charging Spiro T. Agnew with criminal tax evasion, fraud and accepting bribes while Governor of Maryland and as County Executive of Baltimore county.

    The Wall Street Journal

    Baltimore Grand Jury Indicts Acting President for Conspiracy, Tax Fraud

    August, 8, 1973

    A closed door meeting between Senate President pro-tempore Sen. James Eastland (D-MS), Sen. Mike Mansfield (D-MT), Sen. Hugh Scott (R-PA) [Senate Majority and Minority Leaders], Speaker of the House Albert, Rep. John J. McFall (D-CA) and Rep. Gerald Ford (R-MI) [House Majority and Minority Leaders].

    Eastland: Gentlemen, we must do something. This country is falling apart in front of us and we have to stop it!

    No one disagrees.

    The Cabinet and Senior Administration Personnel on August 7, 1973

    President: Spiro T. Agnew acting
    Vice President: Spiro T. Agnew (Constitutional position)

    Secretary of State: George H.W. Bush
    Secretary of the Treasury: George Schultz
    Secretary of Defense: Alexander Haig
    Attorney General: J. Clifford Wallace
    Secretary of the Interior: Rogers Morton
    Secretary of Agriculture: Earl Butz
    Secretary of Commerce: Peter Peterson
    Secretary of Labor: James Hodgson
    Secretary of Health Education and Welfare: David R. Kellum acting
    Secretary of Housing and Urban Development: James Thomas Lynn
    Secretary of Transportation: Claude Brinegar

    Director of Central Intelligence: Paul H. Nitze
    Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation: Thomas C. Smith
    United States Ambassador to the United Nations: Phillip Habib

    President's Chief of Staff: Donald Rumsfeld
    Assistant Chief of Staff: Richard Cheney
    Special Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs: William Casey
    Special Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy: Paul Weyrich
    Press Secretary: Patrick Buchanan

    White House Counsel: Robert Bork
    Chairman President's Counsel of Economic Advisors: Milton Friedman


    Last edited: Mar 30, 2010
    Magnimik likes this.
  11. Drew Well-Known Member

    Feb 17, 2010
    Burlington, Ontario, Canada
    No easy outs in this time line.

    Right now I want to read Mourning in America. Haven't had time since you started it.
  12. John Farson The Good Man

    Sep 24, 2009
    Between Sweden and St Petersburg
    God in heaven...

    Sino-Soviet war in Mongolia, urban riots around the country, re-escalation in Vietnam, McKeithen dead, power vaccuum in D.C...

    This is chilling, but believable, reading indeed. Kudos for a job well-done.

    One question though. This:

    While gripping reading, the casualty figures look a bit excessive. I wouldn't think that 6,000 civilians would be killed in three weeks of rioting in L.A unless they used B-52s and SuperCobras to carpetbomb and strafe the city. For that matter, why the high National Guard and police casualties? Would such heavily armed forces really have so much trouble against a mostly untrained and undisciplined rabble of rioters? Overall I'd say 10% of the figures stated would be more likely.

    Since the POD of this TL, how many additional U.S. servicemen have been killed in Vietnam, in addition to the 1,000 airmen killed in Operation Linebacker? For that matter, how heavy do you think North Vietnamese losses have been?

    I bet that there will be all sorts of conspiracy theories about McKeithen's death, with allegations that Agnew or his handlers engineered the crash in order to prevent McKeithen from becoming President and relegating Agnew back to the vice-presidency.

    Fearfully awaiting the next installment.
  13. Orville_third Banned

    Mar 3, 2009
    Piedmont Socialist Republic
    Wow...this is scary.
  14. RogueBeaver Well-Known Member

    Apr 28, 2009
    Actually, Agnew's Cabinet is quite competent. They'd be fine if someone who has more brains and foreign policy experience than Sarah Palin was President.
  15. Unknown Member

    Jan 31, 2004
    Corpus Christi, TX
    Talk about opening Pandora's Box:eek:. I can take some comfort in the fact that it can't get any worse than it...I just had a thought. If Agnew resigns and Carl Albert is also killed or doesn't assume the presidency, then that means that James Eastland will become president:eek:!!!

    There is no way, short of nuclear war, that this will be worse than A World of Laughter, A World of Tears or For All Time.

    Keep this up!!! And take it to the present day, assuming there is one.
  16. joea64 Unabashed Edwardian Era fanboy

    Feb 14, 2007
    A few miles south of Henry House Hill
    Subscribed. I think this is going to get a LOT worse before it gets better. I hope to God Congress finally gets its act together and reins in Agnew before it's too late!
  17. Drew Well-Known Member

    Feb 17, 2010
    Burlington, Ontario, Canada
    That sort of inner government/outer government thing. Keep an eye on that Cabinet, they're going to start to get restive about all of this too.
  18. Drew Well-Known Member

    Feb 17, 2010
    Burlington, Ontario, Canada
    Don't count old George Wallace out yet. You never know what the courts might do.

    Kinda makes Bush v. Gore tame. I haven't taken it all the way to the present just yet, though it will follow that there will be big changes from the the TL we know. Of course, Agnew may yet pre-empt global warming.
  19. Drew Well-Known Member

    Feb 17, 2010
    Burlington, Ontario, Canada
    You are correct; that should probably read one or two guardsmen and police killed, 102 and 55 injured or something in that regard. 6,000 casualties is high, I agree, though I'm hinting at some intra-rioter damage as well. OTL the 1965 Watts riots produced 34 dead, 1,032 injured over five days. The 1992 LA riots over six days produced 53 deaths, something like 2,500 injured (there seems to be a lot of dispute over the exact number). Assuming the same level over three weeks, with encounters with police and the guard, maybe 90-110 dead might be more realistic and around 6,000 injured +/-. What I'm trying to go for is a complete breakdown in law-and-order being exasperated by some brutality on the enforcement side.

    I've been vague about casualties in North Vietnam in part because for a long time afterward IOTL there was a dispute over the civilian casualties of Operations Linebacker (May - Oct 1972) and Linebacker II (Dec 1972 - Jan 1973). You can assume that the North Vietnamese are playing up the number while the US is playing down the number. But I would expect Vietnamese civillian causalties to be large.

    Apart from the pilots and sailors on the Fox, Nixon didn't leave behind very many US personnel to be attacked by January 1973, so there would be very few casualties to report in the first six months of 1973. May to October is the rainy season in Vietnam, when the weather is not best suited for large offensives. However, now that 'Gunfighter' Emerson and his units are arriving, you can expect that to increase.

    I haven't said much about casualties in the Soviet-Mongolian conflict because neither government is going to be free with information about that. You can expect massive Chinese casualties as at this stage in their history they would still be relying on human power and human wave assault tactics to overwhelm the enemy. Soviet casualties would be lower, but significant. Absent other factors, I would expect that conflict to - in some respects - resemble the stalemates in Korea in 1952 and 1953, or a larger scale variation of the Soviet-Mujahedin war in Afghanistan with the Soviets controlling the air and the Chinese engaging in hit and run attacks on their ground forces and overwhelming some outlying outposts, requiring the Russians to reinforce their bases with artillery and armor.

    Yes, I imagine there will be all kinds of conspiracy theories about that flight, the crew and the other passangers. The irony is that the event really happened IOTL, so I put McKeithen into it by virute of circumstances in this TL. I expect ITTL there will be a whole cottage industry dealing in conspiracy theories involving the shooting of Nixon, the abduction and death of Agnew's daughter, Agnew's election and even the inability of the House to elect a President. The Supreme court and the DC Circuit Court of Appeals will come in for their fair share of conspiracy theories too.
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  20. Drew Well-Known Member

    Feb 17, 2010
    Burlington, Ontario, Canada
    Pardon Me

    August 6, 1973

    The United States resumes active bombing of North Vietnam without prior warning after only 34 days of the 60 day freeze announced by President Agnew on July 4 have elapsed.

    Secretary Haig: Our information is more than compelling that the enemy has used the lull in bombing to rebuild their war making capabilities. Instead of seeking a road to peace, they have re-dedicated themselves on the road of war. We will not allow them to get away with it.

    August 7, 1973

    In accordance with its by-laws, the Democratic National Committee nominates the Party's 1972 Vice Presidential candidate, Sen. Birch Bayh, to replace John McKeithen as the official Democratic candidate for the still unresolved 1972 Presidential election.

    The DNC then files suit in the DC Circuit Court of Appeals to have Bayh placed on the House ballot in place of John McKeithen. At the same time it files litigation arguing that since Richard Nixon has conceded the election, his name should be removed from all future ballots, which should then be a direct contest between Bayh and George Wallace.

    Lt. General Emerson (he was promoted Aug 1) begins ground operations in Vietnam by probing enemy strongholds. US forces engaged in the first ground combat (apart from Special Forces units) with North Vietnamese forces in nearly a year. His force now numbers 125,000, composed of 70% regulars and 30% of National Guard component troops. This number does not include South Vietnamese allied forces or Special Forces and CIA sponsored irregular units which have continued to operate in the country over the previous year, but which are now placed under Emerson's command (Special Forces and CIA forces).

    August 8, 1973

    The attack submarine USS Sea Devil SSN-664 torpedoes two freighters entering Haiphong Harbor. One is a Bulgarian ship, the other is later discovered to be a Cypriot leased freighter flying a Panamanian flag. This causes an international incident between the United States and Panama.

    August 9, 1973

    The Chinese Destroyer Fushun exchanges fire with the USN cruiser USS Biddle CG-34 in international waters off the coast of Hainan Island. The Fushun breaks off the encounter before inflicting serious damage. Sonar operators on the Biddle detect a diesel submarine in the water, and the Captain elects not to pursue the retreating Chinese boat, suspecting a trap.

    Robert Bork files a motion with the DC Circuit Court of Appeals arguing that with his concession, Richard Nixon has forfeited his status as the Republican nominee for President. In a mirror of the DNC motion, Bork argues that the 1972 Republican Vice Presidential candidate, Spiro Agnew, should now appear on the ballot as the Republican Presidential candidate. (Agnew and Rumsfeld had been trying since Nixon's concession on July 30 to persuade Bob Dole to have the RNC pass such a motion, but Dole - who remains loyal to Nixon - refused the request.)

    August 10, 1973

    President Agnew issues a pardon for Lester Matz, John Childs and Jerome Wolff. Since their testimony is already a matter of public record, Agnew at the same time - and most controversially - issues a pardon for himself. This precludes any further prosecution, but it is a very unpopular move.

    ABC News Broadcast

    Frank Reynolds (ABC): To discuss today's pardon by acting President Agnew of himself we have Antonin Scalia, who is an attorney with the Administration's Office of Telecommunication Policy. Prior to that Mr. Scalia was a Professor of Law at the University of Virginia Law School. Also with us is Harvard University Law School Professor Alan Dershowitz. Welcome to both of you. First off, is this legal? Can the acting President pardon himself?

    Scalia: Without question, yes.

    Dershowitz: The only Constitutional restriction on the President's power to pardon is that he cannot issue pardons in cases of impeachment. Other than that, he can pardon whomever he wants, including himself. Of course doing so clearly violates the intent of the founders when they drafted that clause.

    Scalia: Now just a minute. If the founders had thought that, they would have written a restriction into the text. Clearly the framers of the Constitution wanted the President to have the leeway to pardon himself, particularly when the allegations at the center of the charges were politically motivated.

    Dershowitz: Politically motivated? The man was indicted for accepting bribes and then not paying taxes on them. That's a criminal act - two in fact - plain and simple.

    Scalia: I'm not sure it's so straight forward. There's grounds to believe that the prosecutors in this case have allowed political considerations, namely who they were investigating, to influence their actions.

    Dershowitz: Both prosecutors, the one the acting President fired, and the special prosecutor that was brought in, are Republicans. Mr. Rankin was a close associate of President Eisenhower's. I don't think the idea of this being about politics will fly.

    Reynolds: Gentlemen, let's re-focus our discussion. Prof. Dershowitz, you said a moment ago that the acting President pardoning himself violates the intent of the founders. Could you expand on that?

    Dershowitz: The founders were concerned about the Royal abuse of the pardon, which was a serious problem under the British crown. Colonial governors, who exercised the pardon power in the King's name, often used it to get themselves and their cronies off the hook. At the Philadelphia convention, the people who wrote our constitution weren't sure that they wanted any official to have that power; it was only reluctantly given to the President when Article II was crafted. Still, it remained highly controversial. Alexander Hamilton devoted Federalist No. 74 to defending it as the only way to ensure that there was a method of re-dressing abuses of justice. Since impeachment was the method created by the founders to remove executive branch officers who committed crimes and misdemeanours while in office, they specifically prohibited the President from issuing pardons in cases of impeachment. They didn't want Presidents using the pardon power to interfere in the political process. By extension, they couldn't have wanted the President to have the power to pardon himself either.

    Scalia: I'm sorry, but that last part is just not so. The Constitution was written by deliberate, reasoning men who used very specific language. I agree with Prof. Dershowitz that they did not want the President interfering in the impeachment process by granting pardons, so they explicitly wrote the pardon clause to prohibit pardons in cases of impeachment. Had they intended to limit the power in any other way, they would have said so. Since they did not, President Agnew's action - even in pardoning himself - is Constitutional. I've read Federalist No. 74, and I see no objection there by Hamilton to the idea of a President pardoning himself. Quite the contrary, he speaks of a broad discretionary power available to the President, especially when the action of a pardon runs counter to the popular mood.

    Dershowitz: Hamilton is speaking of clemency to a defendant who is socially unpopular - and a victim of injustice as a result of the 'popular mood' as he calls it. I'm sure it never occurred to him, or the other framers, that an acting President would need to pardon himself; they were men of rectitude. But clearly, they didn't intend the President to exercise that power like the Royal Governors had, as a gift of the office and to get his friends - and himself - off the hook.

    Scalia: Nonsense. Show me where they deliberated any such point.

    Reynolds: We're running out of time. Just to recap, while you gentlemen disagree on the founder's intent, you would both agree that acting President Agnew's pardon of himself is Constitutional and therefore will hold-up?

    Scalia: Yes.

    Dershowitz: Unfortunately, that's true.

    August 11, 1973

    Robert Bork adds another pleading to the case presented to the DC Circuit Court in which he argues that Richard Nixon's status as a potential criminal defendant in the Watergate matter precludes him from being considered as a candidate for President by the House of Representatives.

    The government of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam announces that it will put on trial for war crimes the following individuals:

    Lt. George W. Bush USAF (held since Jan. 1973)
    Maj. Leo Thorsness USAF (held since April 1967)
    Cmdr. Jeremiah Denton USN (held since July 1965)
    Ernest C. Brace (CIA-officially an Air America employee) (held since May 21, 1965)
    Cmdr. Everett Alvarez USN (held since Aug. 5, 1964)
    Capt. Floyd James Thompson USA (held since Mar. 26, 1964)

    The prosecutions of Bush and Brace are thought to be political, Bush being the son of the US Secretary of State and Brace being linked to the CIA. The other four appear to be included as representatives of the airmen bombing North Vietnam (all but Thompson are aviators) while Thompson is the longest held POW in North Vietnam, suggesting he is being used as a symbol for the North Vietnamese to prosecute the whole US war in Vietnam in a show trial. With the exception of Bush, this announcement is the first indication that the other five survived the accidental bombing of the Hoa Lo prison on November 23, 1972.

    Having completed US Air Force Officer Candidate School and being inducted into the USAF as a Second Lieutenant, Jeb Bush now enrols in USAF flight training (projected finish Sept. 1974).

    August 12, 1973

    US Naval assets detect a land based air attack by the Chinese Air Force on a Soviet convoy approaching the Gulf Of Tonkin. American radar operators note that the Soviet anti-aircraft missiles are very effective at shooting down the Chinese aircraft.

    When Al Haig sees the report of this he concludes that the US has little to worry about as far the Chinese air force is concerned.

    Haig orders work on Operation Eastern Thunder, a top secret project to plot all Mainland Chinese nuclear production facilities, to be sped up. Once these are located, Haig plans to make use of the Sino-Soviet border war as cover for a USAF B-52 strike on the Chinese nuclear production facilities. President Agnew has signed the authorization for this.

    Large street protests against the United States and the 'war policy' of Spiro Agnew take place in London, Paris, Rome, Munich, Amsterdam and Hamburg. Outside of Europe there are large peace demonstrations in Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver, Mexico City and Tokyo.

    August 13, 1973

    Three men met at an exclusive resort nestled among the alpine slopes of the Obersaltzburg in Southern Germany, not far from the ruins of Hitler's Eagle's Nest. The resort, fashioned around a five hundred year old hunting retreat, had been cleared of all guests for the three men's exclusive use - and this at the height of the summer season! The men who rated this special treatment, and who met beneath a four hundred year old wood carved ceiling depicting Bavarian hunting scenes, were Edward Heath, Prime Minister of Great Britain, Willy Brandt, Chancellor of West Germany and George Pompidou, President of the French Republic. Through the large picture window carved out of the wall sometime in the last decade they looked out on the snow covered alpine peaks that straddled the German-Austrian border. In the green valley below them they could see - if they cared to look - the remains of the Dachau concentration camp.

    'The difficulty is that this row the Americans seem hell-bent on having with the Russians and the Chinese could be very problematic for us,' Heath said.

    'Look Eddy, we've seen this before,' Brandt replied. 'You remember Cuba, Berlin, yes?'

    'Too well,' Heath replied. 'But this time I have a real sense that they've lost control in Washington.'

    'I am persuaded to agree,' Pompidou commented between puffs on his cigarette. 'I think this fool Agnew is in the deep water but can't swim, and his how you say...?' Pompidou made a grasping motion with his arm.

    'Flailing,' Heath said.

    'Oui, flailing like a desperate child.'

    'How did it come to this?' Brandt asked.

    'They have a poorly developed election system,' Pompidou observed after another puff. 'Their own Jefferson said it was an accident waiting to happen. Well it has happened, to them and to us.'

    'The main thing is that we need to make it clear to Moscow that whatever mischief happens in Asia, they shouldn't think it a pretext to turn their sights on us.' Heath said.

    'Not so easy, Eddy, not with the US Army all over Germany, and you hosting their air force. It is only logical that if they come to blows, we shall be drawn into it,' Brandt said.

    'There's no chance of dissuading this Agnew? Perhaps if we were to appeal directly to him, he might listen,' Pompidou ventured.

    'About six months ago,' Health replied, 'I had a visit from Henry Kissinger, as did you two as well, and he tried to persuade me all was well. Except, I don't think he really believed it. Then, not more than a week later, he was gone. Dismissed like that.'

    'Your meaning, Eddy?'

    'Kissinger was Nixon's man; and he had no true confidence in the man. Why then, should we? If Agnew so completely repudiates Nixon, then what does that augur? Can any of you argue that what he has done since taking office has been helpful, or wise?'

    'What do you suggest then, Eduard?' Pompidou asked.

    'Under present circumstances, we must make sure that the Russians see us as independent of the United States; same for the Chinese. More, we must remain the center of reason against this madness that's going on. We must become the honest broker in all this.'

    'Independent? Honest broker? Are you suggesting we end NATO?' Brandt asked with astonishment.

    'Not at all, Willy,' Heath replied. 'But we may care to re-think the symmetry in NATO.'

    'Not a problem for me, since DeGaulle walked out of NATO,' Pompidou said with a degree of smugness.

    'I see your meaning, Eddy. You are suggesting a NATO of Europe only?' Brandt asked. 'With the US as what - an associated power?'

    'The Americans will never sit still for that,' Pompidou replied.

    'Not under normal circumstances. But Agnew is getting them embroiled in an Asian war we cannot support. Can either of you say your people would back it, and support us if we stayed at his side?' Both men remained silent. 'Moreover, if we do not act, we will be leaving ourselves open to being pulled in with the Americans. Was not the purpose of NATO a collective security? We welcomed the Americans because they were the one balancing power against the Russians?'

    Heath was greeted by two nodding heads.

    'Well, I put to you that Agnew and the people around him have tipped that balance, and not to our favor. I am suggesting that we need to consider that now is the time to move from a bi-polar to a tri-polar system. At the very least, we must take concrete steps to protect ourselves.'

    The other two leaders absorbed what the British Prime Minister had to say. Each man could think of a hundred reasons why what they were discussing sounded absurd. But they couldn't dismiss his ideas out of hand, because they knew at heart he was right. So they concluded that these talks must continue, until they had a workable solution.

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