Howard County Maryland Blog

Local Politics and Current Events

Ranking Loyalty

Posted by bsflag2007 on Thursday, December 28, 2006

I was a teenager when Gerald Ford became president. But not an ordinary teenager.

I had spent much of the previous summer watching the televised Watergate Hearings. I knew who John Dean was. I knew about the Watergate break-in and the simmering controversy before the re-election of Richard Nixon. I couldn’t quite figure out why “we” re-elected Nixon when the opposing candidate promised to bring home the troops. I was 12.

My older brother and I watched the resignation speech (we even tape recorded it) and watched the helicopter take off. And we waited to see what would happen next.

Even though we lived in a republican household, we had our own ideas. I wondered whether Nixon would have a trial – my older brother, already jaded at 14, said it would “never happen” . He was right. When President Ford pardoned Nixon, we were not shocked. I, however, was disgusted. For one, I hated that my smug brother was right… again. But I really hated the idea that lying, cheating, stealing – especially on that level – would go “unpunished”. I figured the pardon had been “prearranged”.

Over the years I have come to believe it is possible that no actual conversation between Nixon and Ford spelling out “the plan” took place. I also came to believe that Pres. Ford was correct when he said that the country could not move forward until the Watergate affair as behind us…. but that letting it run its’ complete course would take so long and be so destructive … and there were truly pressing national issues which needed to be addressed … that it was actually in the best interest of the United States of America to let History be the judge of Richard Nixon.

I think it is also likely that with the abrupt end of the “process” we were not only spared the daily legal shenanigans and posturing that might have eventually taken the spotlight off of the “evil-doer” and refocus it on the chorus of lawyers and politicians and the process – but that in the end, maybe Nixon ultimately shouldered more of his share of the blame and stigma than he might otherwise have absorbed.

Any doubt was removed during the Clinton years when the rabid republicans tried so hard to make so much out of Mr. Clinton’s piggishness. Sure, I wouldn’t want to be married to him (or have him date my duaghter).   Whether it was technically a lie or not, I have no respect for the whole “beating the devil around the bush” of whether he had “any kind of sex” with “that woman” and tried to “finesse” the questions during the deposition.

But in the whole scheme of things — the republicans who were willing to exploit the “non-state issue” to the detriment of the country came off looking much worse than the arguably too clever for his own good legal eagle who probably did not actually tell an actionable lie — but clearly intended to try to mislead and avoid being truthful.

So the idealism of a 12 year old gives way to the pragmatic – yet still idealistic — 44 year old. Nixon lied, cheated and stole in order to advance his campaign and then tried to use the status and power of his office to get away with it (Loyalty to America—nixon minus1)— and Ford was loyal to the United States of America in pardoning Nixon in the best interest of the country — even though it worked to his detriment personally. Loyalty to America – Ford plus 1.

Bill Clinton lied, and cheated on his wife — and tried to mislead and avoid exposure and embarrassment in his personal life — and the republican congress was willing to dessimate the United States of America in order to advance themselves politically. Loyalty to America? Don’t think so. Clinton 0, Republicans -1
Now we have the Bush Administration and the release of the Ford/Woodward interview – after Mr. Ford’s death. All but the most deliberately blind partisans can see that Mr. Bush either did know, or should have known, that the claims he was making as a justification for “going to war with Iraq” were unsupportable.

We can argue over just how damaging the Bush Adminsitration has been to The United States of America — both here at home and around the world. But for a moment, let’s just look at the concept of loyalty.

Mr. Ford gave an interview to Bob Woodward which was under the condition that its’ contents not be released until after his (ford’s) death. In it he gave candid and specific criticism of not only Bush, but many of the Bush administration —- and condemned Bush’s justifications for military action in Iraq.

Why wait until after his death? Did he consider criticism of the sitting president in time of war to be dis-loyal? Was he more loyal to the republican party than to America? Was he right to keep his questions/criticisms to himself? Will time help me to understand why Mr. Ford did not speak out during his life? So far I give Bush -2 for loyalty to American ideals …. but what of Mr. Ford?

Cindy Vaillancourt

While it is sad to be ranking degrees of lying —- I believe  some lies are worse than others.

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2 Responses to “Ranking Loyalty”

  1. I remember the details of the Nixon administration too. Pretty much as you outlined them. I didn’t think about a trial or anything but when Ford pardoned Nixon I understood the implications and thought to myself that something wasn’t quite right. Although, I think Ford did the country a favor by forgoing a trial. After all, Nixon left office and the system worked. No military involvement, no tanks on the streets, etc.

    As for Clinton. I think it would have been worse for the country if Congress did not impeach Clinton. Congress was Constitutionally obligated to proceed with impeachment. If they didn’t do what they did then this time they would have proved that the system did not work.

    I agree that some republicans loved the idea and opportunity to embarass Clinton even further – for the most part I think the majority of the congress (republicans and democrats) loathed the idea but understood they had no choice. This group despised Clinton for forcing their hand and putting them in an impossible situation that forced them to start impreachment proceedings in a congress run by republicans that would surely impeach him.

    If the democrats had been in the majority I think they would have been forced to start impeachment proceedings too. However, the outcome would have been different. They would not have voted for impeachment and Clinton never have gone to the Senate for trial.

    I don’t think Congress is the villian in that situation. Either way Clinton would have faced impeachment proceedings

  2. bsflag2007 said

    Ahh, we are again in agreement…. how can that be? Clinton had to be spanked, the big dummy.

    Oddly, I think you are right about “the majority” of dems and repubs…. but that is one of the things that I find extremely frustrating —- kind of like Mr. Ford.

    “Most” people (politicians included) are well meaning hard working people who are truly committed to the common good.

    So WHY don’t they STAND UP when the time comes???

    It has been about 30 years since the fringes started getting a real hold on the republican party — a tiny blip in geologic time —- but long enough to recognize the destructive force of the unseemly zealots.

    What is taking them so long to stand up?

    Why did President Ford refuse to honestly confront the current pres? OK, he was 90 and dying — does anyone think he is the only “Republican” who has seen through Bush and his Band of self-righteous (bellicose) Bullies?

    What would Ronnie have done?

    Colin Powell has gotten close — but he’s not a real Republican, right?

    Where are the thinking/thoughtful Republicans? Why do they let the seedy little Tom Delay’s and the varius and assorted fruits and nuts hog the spotlight and guide policy?

    Cindy V.

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