Tuesday, January 02, 2007

the enabler.

Starting at 6 AM Pacific today, all news networks engaged in another spectacle of presidential necrophilia with the coverage of Gerald Ford's funeral; I suppose these things were always maudlin affairs, but 24/7 news coverage has of course, made it much worse. Analysis must extend to an hour and a half before the actual event begins, with men and women who know nothing more than to utter the usual platitudes in fear that the truth might somehow be misconstrued as to bear the dead some accidental form of ill will. (If you think I'm being overly nasty to a dead Republican president; I'm sure I'll probably be this pissed off at the overexposure when Carter or Clinton shuffle off, as much as I was when Saint Ronnie was lionized.)

From the historical accounts, Mr. Ford will and has been defined by his pardon of Richard Nixon in the post-Watergate years, and now the consensus is that it was the "proper and right thing to do for the country," that the nation could not handle the turmoil that would have resulted from Nixon actually facing the impending charges in a court of law. It's like the rich kids in high school and college thinking they know better than you, and they are now the sick fucks that actually make government policy and influence opinion on it.

Gerald Ford probably was a decent man; his wife's contribution to the concept of rehabilitation from alcohol and drug abuse is beyond dispute. But his pardon began a bad trend by de facto endorsement of Nixon's expression in an interview that "if the president does it, it's not illegal." It allowed Iran-Contra to happen; it allows abuses by the current administration to continue; it will allow future administrations to violate basic civil liberties and circumvent the other branches of government. Mr. Ford decided that the country was not strong-willed enough to ensure that even a president was not above the law, and now, we all agree in some form of perverse conventional wisdom.

And above lies his other legacy, well tied to his first. A company man to the end, and Washington loves a company man.

No comments: