February 23, 2018
Art, politics, angels, demons . . . and righteous dogs.

The Saturday Night Massacre + 40

Today celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Saturday Night Massacre. This graphic treatment in tomorrow’s LA Times. Thanks to Susan Brenneman and Wes Bausmith for above and beyond the call help.

The firing of the special Watergate prosecutor Cox, by Nixon marks a moment in history when the nation changed by widespread immediate consensus that a politician had gone too far. It has implication for our times. We learned that he incredible cannot happen . . . until it does. Etc.

SNM Nixon 1

Nixon would not let go of tapes that are suspected of implicating him in the cover up.

SNM Cox 2


Special Prosector Archibald Cox needed those tapes for his investigation.

SNM Nixon 3


Nixon, of course, says no, claiming executive privilege.

SNM Sirica 4

Judge Sirica, a tough guy, doesn’t buy that.


SNM Nixon 5

Nixon comes up with a plan to release the tapes where they would be reviewed . . . by him!

SNM Cox 6

Cox calls it what it is: BS.


SNM Richardson 7

That’s all, Nixon says. On Oct, 20, Saturday, Nixon orders AG Richardson to fire Cox. Richardson refuses and quits!


SNM Ruckelshause 8


Next in line was Dep. AG William Ruckelshaus. He quits too!

SNM Bork 9

Next Nixon goes to Solicitor General Robert Bork.  Bork says yes and fires Cox.


SNM Protest 10This becomes a huge story, reported in media in almost real time. That night young people gathered at the White House. The American people rose up and demanded action.  Leaders in Congress held a meeting that weekend to for the first time seriously discuss impeachment.

The people (well informed and) united will (mostly) never be defeated.

PS: Nixon was forced to hire a replacement prosector, Leon Jaworski, who, it turned out, was just as tough as Cox would have been. Every single player in Watregate, that includes cabinet members as well as many senior and junior lieutenants, went to prison. Except, of course, for You Know Who. Who by the way goes down in history primary, not for any achievements in the White house, but for Watergate, impeachment, resignation and disgrace. Justice was ultimately done.

Saturday Night Massacre Final150 w correx


  1. Roger Bloyce says:

    Apart from the stunning caricatures, which include the best Nixons I’ve seem yet, the 40th anniversary of the Saturday Night Massacre comes at a perfect moment to remind the American people of how corrupt their government, and in particular the Republican Party, can be.

    American/Spanish philosopher George Santayana is best remembered for having said: “Those who cannot remember the past are doomed to repeat it.” Unfortunately, it is beginning to look like the past we have forgotten and are going to repeat is the French Revolution.

  2. ALEX MCCRAE says:

    @ Rodger… are you suggesting heads should, literally, roll, and the return of the historically ‘unkindest cut of all’, the swift dispatch of the descending glistening guillotine blade, w/ your raising the specter of a French Revolution redux scenario?

    I could see a cartoon panel w/ Hillary Clinton as a bemused Madame DeFarge, knitting away at the chopping block, as the vocal Tea Party dogmatist, Ted Cruz, and his pack of zealous rabble-rousing sycophants, each step to meet their ultimate fate. (Chop! Clunk!) She could be fashioning a blanket w/ a large GOP elephant mascot motif.

    I’d have to say the late, great multiple Pulitzer Prize winning editorial cartoonist, Paul Conrad, while doing his thing at the L.A. Times, IMHO, came up w/ the most consistently brilliant caricatures of Tricky Dick Nixon… enough to fill an entire top NY Times-listed best-selling book, no less… or maybe two.

    But, I have to agree that Steve’s reprise of the grand political schemer, RMN, is right up there w/ Conrad’s best renditions.

    That “Saturday Night Massacre” , in my mind, seems like it went down only yesterday. Forty plus years… Hmm… boggles the mind.

    These days, particularly after this most recent shutting down of the Fed government, and the senseless brinkmanship re/ raising the Nation’s debt ceiling before the Treasury defaulted on its debt obligations, the GOP appears to have, as you’ve suggested, collective amnesia.

    Sadly, the hubris that pushed Nixon over the edge into blatant criminality and gross ethical malfeasance, may have again reared its ugly head in the guise of this upstart GOP obstructionist, Ted Cruz. However, the guy thankfully hasn’t stooped into the political gutter… as yet, like the infamous Watergate mastermind of old.

    Oh, by-the-by Steve, super job on this latest piece. I was pleasantly surprised to see it in the editorial section of my Sunday (hardcopy) Times, this morning. Liked the vertical layout orientation, as well.