Bag Man is a podcast produced by MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow about the criminal investigation and resignation of Richard Nixon’s vice president Spiro Agnew. Bag Man is one of the most informative, thought-provoking podcasts I have ever heard.
Bag Man presents all kinds of fascinating historical information and weaves it among comments of lawyers from both sides who participated in the Agnew affair. The central question asked by Bag Man is did Attorney General Elliot Richardson do the right thing when he allowed Agnew to use the vice presidency as a ticket to avoid prison.
My answer, which is different from most, is that Richardson got it wrong. Agnew should have been prosecuted. The evidence of his long career of taking bribes was overwhelming. By accepting a guilty plea that didn’t require prison, Richardson reenforced the idea that the powerful are above the law. I understand the argument that in the context of the Watergate investigation, it would have been hard to leave a criminal in the vice presidency. Still, fairness and justice must always rule the day.
Agnew has largely been forgotten. Listening to Bag Man today, I can’t help wonder if Agnew had been sent to prison after the public became aware of his dirty deeds if more people would view the Trump administration as unfit for office.
If you like politics and history, listen to Bag Man you won’t be disappointed.
If you have listened or you do listen to Bag Man, I would love to know your thoughts. Did Richardson do the right thing?