The pardon of Richard Nixon by President Gerald Ford started this nation on the path that eventually gave us the Constitutional abuses of George W Bush. The current media frenzy supporting the pardon is both simplistic and illogical.

Ford pardoned Nixon before Nixon was brought to trial or convicted. The rule of law was ignored in favor of a double-standard where Presidents were not held accountable for law-breaking. The illegal activities of Nixon in the political sphere were an assault on American Democracy and should have been severely punished. Because of Ford’s outrageous pardon, Right-wing Republicans never understood how un-American the tactics of Nixon were. The current national Republican leadership is still Nixonian to their core!

The current Bush Republicans attack the patriotism of their political opponents. Republicans are still inclined to criminalize dissent. Bush has let domestic political considerations and Republican partisan advantage influence decisions about war and peace. Bush Republicans still support wiretapping without court approval. Republican policies still include attempts to control or intimidate the media. Republican dirty campaign tricks are still much more widespread and of a more severe nature than Democratic ones. Republicans still want to politicize our court system. Republican leaders are still living in a culture of corruption. All of these negative attitudes evolved from the legacy of Richard Nixon.

Gerald Ford could have moved our nation toward a reform agenda. He could have publicized and moved to fundamentally correct the corrupt, abusive course of Nixonian Republicanism. He did not. Ford put Republican political advantage before cleansing American politics. The Nixon crimes went unpunished. The rule of law was undermined. Our nation was damaged and never fully recovered.

We should never forgive Gerald Ford for his betrayal of America. We still have before us the challenge of reforming our government, combating corruption and abuse of office by Republicans in power. These challenges should have been fully explored in the 1970’s but Ford cost America a full generation. Ford was a very bad President. He was not quite as bad as Richard Nixon or George W Bush but should be held partially responsible for their abuses.

Written by Stephen Crockett (host of Democratic Talk Radio ). Mail: P.O. Box 283, Earleville, Maryland 21919. Email: . Phone: 443-907-2367.

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