Wednesday, December 27, 2006
Fellow native Michigander Gerald Ford died yesterday. It wasn't surprising, or even particularly sad; he was, after all, 93 years old, and in increasingly failing health over the past several years. He was a good and quiet man, rather plain, and really without a whole lot of substance. Which is perfectly fine.
I have always questioned the Common Knowledge that his pardoning of Richard Nixon was a Good Thing for the country, that it somehow healed a rift that was in the nation at the time. I do not believe I agree with that Common Knowledge. In fact, I am beginning to believe that pardoning Nixon was probably at least partly responsible for the current batch of elections scandals that have been popping up.
I think that had Nixon been at least indicted for his role in both Watergate and other associated elections chicanery, it would have perhaps been the necessary spark for immediate, substantive elections financing reform. As it stands now, 30+ years later, we have McCain-Feingold, which is okay, but only when enforced by an FEC willing to bare its teeth, which is the polar opposite of the FEC we have now.
I do not necessarily believe Ford's congressional testimony that he and Haig did not make any deals viz The Pardon. I am convinced that conversations between Nixon's people and Ford's people took place about The Pardon. But, in the grand scheme of things, I don't think that matters all that much.
So, RIP Mr. President.