A Scandal in the Cabinet

Gerald Nye was a Republican who represented North Dakota in the U.S. Senate for the 20 years between 1925 and 1945. Nye was a lifelong good-government progressive who grew up in Wisconsin, where his father, a smalltown newspaper publisher, used to take young Gerald to see Fighting Bob LaFollette speak. Ultimately, Nye was appointed to the Senate by the governor of North Dakota to replace an incumbent who died in office.

Article by Charles P. Pierce

Among his other duties was to serve on the Committee on Public Lands. Midway through his first tenure on that committee, the Teapot Dome Scandal landed on Gerald Nye’s desk. On February 25, 1928, with the scandal finally behind the government and as dead as Warren Harding, on whose watch it had occurred, Nye said the following:

The investigation has shown, let us hope, privilege at its worst. The trail is one of dishonesty, greed, violation of law, secrecy, concealment, evasion, falsehood, and cunning. It is a trail of betrayals by trusted and presumably honorable men—betrayals of a government, of certain business interests and the people who trusted and honored them; it is a trail showing a flagrant degree of the exercise of political power and influence, and the power and influence of great wealth upon individuals and political parties; it is the trail of despoilers and schemers, far more dangerous to the well-being of our Nation and our democracy than all those who have been deported from our shores in all time as undesirable citizens. And in the end the story is one of the crushing of brilliant careers when finally the light was played upon those who schemed those unhealthy schemes born in darkness.

I’m going to keep this quote handy because, you know, you never know.

Read more at: esquire.com

comments powered by Disqus