Friday, August 8, 2014

The Day Next Door

August 8, 1945 was a Wednesday.  On the following day, Thursday, August 9, 1945, the United States dropped our second atomic bomb - on Nagasaki, Japan - and effectively ended World War II.  Too bad too for the Soviet Union, which had - on August 8, 1945 - declared war on Japan.  In case you suffer from the delusion that Vlad Putin is the first shifty son of a bitch to be in charge of things at the Kremlin, think again.

August 8, 1974 was a Thursday.  In a nationally-televised address from the Oval Office, President Richard M. Nixon annouced that he would resign the Presidency of the United States at 12:00 noon on Friday, August 9, 1974.   Vice-President Ford took the oath as advertised and subsequently named former New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller as his Vice-President.  

If you are heading back to college this fall and you want to impress the good-looking hippie chick standing across the room or at the other end of the bar, then drop a little American Electoral Knowledge on her.  When Rockefeller took the oath of office as Vice-President, it marked the first (and to date only) time in American history that the top two positions in the Executive Branch of United States Government were occupied by a person for whom exactly zero people had voted.  Ford had been Vice-President for less than one year when Nixon resigned - having replaced Spiro Agnew.  Agnew resigned as Vice-President on October 10, 1973 as a condition of a plea deal he entered into with the United States Attorney for the District of Maryland.

Ford had been the Minority Leader in the House of Representatives when Nixon, in accordance with the provisions of the Twenty-Fifth Amendment, nominated him to be Vice-President.  Upon Nixon's resignation and his ascendancy to the office of President, Ford nominated Rockefeller to be Vice-President.  Voila! A brand-new, wholly unvoted for Administration was born.  In fairness to both Ford and Rockefeller, the zero votes they had received for the positions they ultimately occupied in the Summer of '74 were only a couple of thousand less votes than George McGovern had received when he ran against Nixon in 1972.

Moral of the story?  If at any point today you start to feel as if this is just a lazy summer day on which not a whole hell of a lot of anything is happening, just hang in there.  You never know what tomorrow might bring.  If history is any guide, it may well be something big. 

Really, really big...


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