Commonplace Book: Tom Wolfe on Impeachment and Continuity

Compelling passages, notable quotables, bon mots, disjecta, ephemera, and miscellany.


The chief lesson of Watergate: the stability of the American political system is profound. It has a center of gravity like a 102-inch High Point Vinyleather sofa. The President of the Republic was forced from office, and as a result … nothing happened … The tanks didn’t roll, the junta delivered no communiqués from the Pentagon, the mobs didn’t take to the streets, either before or after … Not even a drunk Republican ventured out to heave a brick through a headshop window … Instead, everyone sat back and watched Nixon’s handpicked successor, Gerald Ford, do a pratfall from one side of the continent to the other and enjoyed that, too, as if he were William Bendix playing Chester Riley in The Life of Riley. Then, just to show how concerned they were about the steadiness of the ship of state, the citizens elected, off the wall, an unknown down-home matronly-voiced Sunday-schoolish soft-shelled watery-eyed sponge-backed Millennial lulu as the next President.

In Our Time, by Tom Wolfe (Farrar Straus Giroux, New York: 1961,1963,1964,1965,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1976,1977,1978,1979,1980)