As everyone knows by now, former President Gerald R. Ford passed away late yesterday at the age of 93. Ford was the first president who took the Oval Office without being elected; George W. Bush did the same thing in 2000 when the Supreme Court appointed him President.
For the next few days we'll be hearing what a wonderful guy and competent leader President Ford was. This is typical, and it reflects the MSM's reluctance to point out unpopular facts about a deceased president.
Well, I'm not buying into it.
Gerald Ford was an ambitious quack whose lust for the White House overcame any reluctance he may have had over selling out his principles, and he did the nation grave damage by establishing the dangerous precedent of "pardoning" Richard Nixon of any and all crimes he "may have committed" associated with Watergate, or indeed, anything he may be guilty of whatsoever. Ford created the model for today's "culture of corruption" and the lack of accountability that exists in the Executive Branch today.
Many of the same "crimes" that Nixon committed back in the early '70's are being replicated by the Bush administration today. Because Nixon was never held accountable for his abuses of power, the current leaders don't feel they'll ever have to answer for their flaunting of the laws.
Yes, Nixon did resign the Presidency, but by doing so he sidestepped the utterly deserved indignity of being impeached and convicted, and being physically dragged out of the White House before a jeering crowd; then, when prosecutors continued their dogged snd rightful pursuit of justice for the ex-president, Ford's hand was forced and he issued his infamous pardon.
I've always felt that Nixon made a deal with Ford when offering him the Vice-Presidency saying that he'll eventually be President if he promises to give him a pardon if needed. I'm sure Ford was caught unawares at how quickly Nixon called in that favor, and he brought a lot of heat down on himself by issuing the pardon.
Once this precedent was set, Executive Privilage began to grow beyond the balance of power envisioned by our Founding Fathers. After Reagan's Iran-Contra mess, George H.W. Bush happily issued pardons to both convicted felons and players who were under indictment, thereby circumventing the justice process and preventing once again the guilty from being held responsible for their crimes.
So it's not a big stretch to see how the current Administration has made the lack of accountability it's trademark. Unless things change, Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rove, etc. won't ever be held accountable for their betrayals of the public trust.
That's what I think of Ford's legacy. I'll allow everyone else wax poetic about what a good President and all-around swell guy he was.
For me, all I have to say is "good riddance".