Friday, December 29, 2006


Herblock On Nixon And Ford

In order to combat the huge wave of revisionist history being shoved down our throats, here's the late Herbert Block (aka "Herblock"), courtesy of poputonian, to give us a little reality check:

After Nixon left office, the idea was still being promoted that those who believed in letting the law take its course were somehow moved by personal motives. But quite the contrary was true. It was not Nixon who had been assaulted by government, but the government that had been assaulted by Nixon. It was not those who believed in the American system of justice who operated on a highly personal basis, but staunch Nixon supporters like Gerald Ford. When President Ford recommended that Congress give former President Nixon large sums of money -- beyond all that was provided by law -- and when he suddenly granted Nixon total and absolute pardon without even waiting for an indictment or a plea of nolo contendre, it was Ford who placed personal feeling for Nixon above his obligations to the people he was sworn to serve.
It gets better:
When Nixon left office, there was a general sigh of relief. And in his first talk as President, Gerald Ford said that "our long national nightmare" was over. But one month later, in the Sunday morning statement that shocked the country, he said he could not "prolong the bad dreams that continue to reopen a chapter that is closed." So he issued a "full, free and absolute pardon unto Richard Nixon," and decided that Nixon should have control over access to White House tapes and documents. He thus insured that the nation's bad dreams would be prolonged far into the future. Gerald Ford, in what columnist Mary McGrory called a Pearl Harbor "sneak attack on the due process and common sense," sought to still conscience forever with a sudden stunning blow, just as Richard Nixon tried to do in his "Saturday Night Massacre." Ford's attempt, like Nixon's failed. But he did enormous damage to the nation. Ford's secret decision proved, if proof were needed, how shaky the basis for the national self-congratulations of only a few weeks before on how well "the system worked."
Herblock has this to say about the Republicans and their media sycophants who whined and still whine about the "hanging" that Nixon had allegedly endured:
It was a strange kind of "hanging," in which President Ford shortly afterward asked Congress to appropriate $850,000 for Nixon. Of this, $450,000 was allotted for expenses related to an "orderly transition." The allotment for travel expenses was $40,000 and there was $100,000 for "miscellaneous." It was a "hanging" that seemed more like a payday at the mill.
And there's more:
As Americans were relaxing and enjoying their good fortune on coming through the crisis, there was the smashing blow of the new President's 8th-of-September statement.

The Gerald Ford -- who, at the hearings on his confirmation to be Vice President, had said that "the public wouldn't stand for" a possible Nixon pardon, and who only days earlier had said clemency would be reserved while the law went forward -- this Gerald Ford now suddenly issued an irrevocable pardon to his predecessor for all offenses -- known and unknown.

It was as if he regarded offenses against the public as none of the public's business. In judging that Nixon had "suffered enough," he punished still further an already suffering nation.

The New York Times said:

President Ford speaks of compassion. It is tragic that he had no compassion and concern for the Constitution and the Government of law that he has sworn to uphold and defend. He could probably have taken no single act of a non-criminal nature that would have more gravely damaged the credibility of his Government in the eyes of the world and of its own people than this unconscionable act of pardon.

The speech was boggling to Americans who thought credibility had at last been restored to the Oval Office.

Ford said: "I deeply believe in equal justice for all Americans whatever their station or former station" -- and then went on to show that he believed in no such thing.

He talked about the danger of passions being aroused and of opinions polarized -- and proceeded to arouse passions and to polarize people. He spoke of ensuring domestic tranquility -- and created domestic turmoil.

And he said that he, as President, was exercising his power "to firmly shut and seal this book."

And so the idea of some divine right of Presidents went on.

Go read the whole thing, as an antidote to the political revisionism going on.

It's strange. When I saw the C-Span listing, "Gerald Ford Lying in Repose," the first thing that came to mind was "Lying again?"

It's sad that there are essentially no Republicans worthy of respect. Richard Lugar, Warren Rudman, and... who?
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