The more I think about it, the more I think Gerald Ford was guilty. I read the comments on my last post about Ford and I think the people who wrote in made two excellent points.
BobKincaid pointed out:
"The fact is, Gerald Ford helped create the idea of an imperial presidency that bedevils us today. Richard Nixon argued that it was de jure impossible for the president to break the law. While Ford's pardon superficially disagreed with that assessment, its legal effect was to ratify it."
When Nixon broke the law there should have been consequences. The fact that he was embarrassed is not good enough. When someone is caught robbing a bank, they are also embarrassed, but we don't leave it that.
Sending our President to jail would not have sent a bad message, it would have sent a great message. That we are truly a nation of laws, not men. That no one -- absolutely no one -- is above the law in this great nation.
Instead, we sent the message that the President never has to personally face the consequences of any of his decisions or law breaking. That left the only punishment for breaking federal laws like FISA as "embarrassment." Whoop di doo. As we have seen over and over, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney are impervious to embarrassment.
Ford sent the signal not just to the whole nation and all future presidents, but also to Dick Cheney, his Chief of Staff, that the President could break the law -- and get away with it. This wound up coming back to haunt the country.
Second, QuestionandThink wrote in:
"Cenk, the entire country has the Gerald Ford disease! We're in a war that never should have been started, the administration is at the point of escalating our involvement rather than withdrawing, budget and trade deficits are growing worse by the day, global warming is still described as merely a liberal hoax, and the U.S. is down to 20th place on the world corruption index, but no one says anything."
I love it. Gerald Ford disease! That's exactly it. That's what I'll call anyone who is afraid to speak up until it's too late from now on. Or anyone who waits around to do something after they die. What a stunning lack of courage and initiative.
This was the whole point of my last post, but it must be emphasized again. Ford sat around waiting to die so that his opinion could be heard. I find that disturbing to my core. Speak the fuck up, Gerald! I can't hear you from the grave.
Please, please, don't wait to do anything until you're dead. It's an awful strategy. It leaves you dead both before and after you die.