Heal the nation my ass.
Gerald Ford was neither amiable or a dunce. Ford was chosen to replace Vice President Spiro T. Agnew, who resigned office in 1974 in disgrace amid corruption charges which stemmed from his stint as Governor of Maryland. Anyone old enough to remember Watergate understands that President Richard Nixon, an anti-Constitutional criminal if there ever was one, chose Ford to replace Agnew precisely because Ford was willing to give Nixon a pardon once Nixon resigned to avoid Congressional indictment.
Watergate was just the tip of the Nixon criminal iceberg. Throughout his six years in the nations highest office, Nixon secretly bombed Cambodia during the Vietnam War; had a hand in the military coup and subsequent assassination of Chilean President Salvador Allende, a socialist who nationalized Chile's lucrative agriculture and metals markets; and likely had a hand in the military coup that ousted Guatemalan President Jacobo Arbenz Guzman in 1954, when Nixon was Vice President under Dwight D. Eisenhower.
As a Congressman in the early fifties, Nixon was a member of the House Un-American
Activities Committee headed by Joseph McCarthy, which falsely accused hundreds of citizens of being communists.
Ford was well aware of Nixon's shady history, and knew Nixon could be criminally prosecuted for his authorization of the break-in of Democratic National Committee Chairman Lawrence O'Brien's office at the Watergate Hotel. Nixon also could have been prosecuted for breaking Federal Election laws by using political contributions received during his second run for office as a slush fund to pay for "dirty tricks" against Democratic contenders Edmund Muskie, George McGovern, and Thomas Eagleton. Nixon subverted the Constitution two more times while President, by demanding the firing of Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox, and by offering edited transcripts of taped meetings he had with his staff concerning the Watergate break-in that were to be turned over to federal judge John J. Sirica under subpoena.
However, none of that mattered to Ford. Consumed by his own lust for power, Ford easily left his personal integrity in the dust on a quest for the presidency. And with that integrity gone, so went the integrity of the nation. Every president since Gerald Ford, with the exception of Jimmy Carter, has flouted the Constitution. Ronald Reagan did it with Iran-Contra; George Bush (41) did it with his illegal war on Panama; Bill Clinton's bombing of a Sudanese pharmaceutical plant; and George Bush (43), well... just too many grievous illegalities to count for this short essay.
The sad thing is Ford could have used his brief time in office to put in reforms that limited executive powers. He did make one very lame attempt, the so-called Ford Doctrine, an Executive Order which prohibits American presidents from assassinating foreign leaders. However, this was likely in response to repercussions of the murder of Allende, and the many failed attempts on the life of Cuban leader Fidel Castro. Each of these actions embarrassed previous administrations. And unlike Congressional law, Executive Orders can be rescinded by a future president, and don't carry penalties if violated.
What Ford will be remembered for by political players is his ability to maintain the status quo in the midst of unscrupulous times, and making sure assets of the poor continued to trickle up into the pockets of the rich. Most importantly, through his graceless stumbling and malapropisms in various tongues, he entertained the masses, allowing the American consciousness to adopt a jaded cynicism about all things political, driving them further away from being involved in the process.
So, hasta luego, President Ford, enjoy your stay in Hell. If you don't make it there for the reasons cited above, you certainly will for helping comic actor Chevy Chase become a star.
If that isn't a crime against humanity, what is?
Authors note: Due to a poor editing job on my part, there is a factual error regarding Richard M. Nixon. Nixon was a member of the House UnAmerican Activities Committee in the 1940's, and along with Senator Joseph McCarthy who later headed investigations into anti-Americanism in the fifties, accused hundreds of innocent people of being communists.
I regret the error. Thank you.