Ford: Healer or Corrupter?

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President Gerald Ford is being remembered today after passing away last night. Much is being said regarding his legacy of healing the nation during a time of great turmoil, inheriting the loss of the Viet Nam War, wrestling with an impeached President Nixon, and riots and demonstrations in America's streets. His legacy is laudable on many fronts. His ill-considered pardon however, damaged America and continues to do so.

Gerald Ford chose Alan Greenspan to fight inflation. Ford was instrumental in making inflation job one for the Federal Reserve. Pres. Ford had the wisdom to refuse the Fed Chairman's appointment every 4 years with each new president; thus removing in part, the political partisanship that would have damaged economic monetary policy far more than it occasionally does. Pres. Ford took the responsibility for removing our troops from the roof tops of Viet Nam and closing down that civil war without end, as long as we remained.

Pres. Ford reached across the aisle on many issues to Democrats, and though his tenure in office was short, he accomplished much in moving the nation forward. All this and more, President Ford should be remembered for.

Pres. Ford must also be remembered for turning his back on the American people, refusing to represent them and their will, in pardoning President Nixon, preempting trial, certain conviction, and years of appeals, before Nixon would serve time in prison. It was a watershed moment that clearly marked a course of American history to this day of not holding politicians accountable, and giving immense latitude to the office of President to lie, deceive, mislead, and indeed violate the oath of office, the U.S. Constitution, and other laws of the land with impunity and a perception of immunity.

President Ford should be remembered for the many good things he did including leniency for draft dodgers after the close of the Viet Nam War, the most unpopular war in American history until today's Iraq war. However, Americans and historians should never forget that Ford's polling numbers dropped like a rock after pardoning Nixon. In pardoning Pres. Richard Nixon, Ford established a precedent for not representing the will of the people who elected him.

Pres. Ford pushed America down that slippery slope that led to Ronald Reagan's Iran-Contra lawbreaking, Bill Clinton's defiling of the Oval Office and lying to the American people, and G.W. Bush's legacy of violating international treaties on the treatment of prisoners, violating the laws regarding FISA courts, and domestic surveillance. These legacies of circumventing the moral and legal obligations of the office of President without fear of consequence, or recourse, other than censure or impeachment without conviction or removal from office, all stem from Pres. Ford's pardon of Nixon.

The Nixon pardon established one set of laws for citizens, and another set for politicians, opening the door to widespread corruption and legalization of corruption in the halls of our government without fear or recourse by the people, because Pres. Ford's argument to this day, is still pulled out of the drawer when popular politicians fall afoul of the law. The argument was and is: it is not in the best interest of the country or her image to prosecute and jail federal politicians for wrong doing.

Rep. Foley, Pres. Clinton, Rep. Jefferson, Rep. Tom DeLay, Pres. G.W. Bush, and a long list of other offenders and abusers of office and power have all escaped accountability and atonement for their misdeeds that the rest of American citizens cannot participate in when we run afoul of the law or our obligations in our places of employment. Pres. Gerald Ford's intentions were honorable, but, the consequences of his decision to pardon Pres. Nixon became a cancer within American politics that is still growing today.

Pres. Ford was both a healer and an unintended corrupter of American politics. Such is the nature of power when so much of it is posited in the office of one person. Rest in Peace, Pres. Gerald Ford. Your long service to our nation was always well intended: that too should never be forgot.

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This page contains a single entry by David R. Remer published on December 27, 2006 9:07 AM.

Racism Recedes: Classism Grows was the previous entry in this blog.

Bush: Immoral Surge of U.S. Soldiers? is the next entry in this blog.

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