'Ford did the right pardoning Nixon. We'd have looked like a banana republic if an ex-president was being investigated by the law-enforcement agencies'* driftglass:
"Pure poetry, and that’s about all in the way of words that the passing of murdering tyrant and longtime United States ally Saddam Hussein deserves, but his hanging makes not one iota of difference to the situation on the ground either way.
Like a quarterback doing an end zone dance when his team is losing 105-6, this was the closest thing George W. Bush will see to a victory lap until they plant him, mocked and unmourned, once sunny day many years from now.
Dubya had one more card to play in the only game at which he ever excelled: executing people. And he was going to play it as big and loud as possible, and scripted to make all the Year End lists and talking head shows.
Saddam’s trial -- far from the sober, impartial and meticulously serious affair the world should expect when a truly murderous dictator has been deposed and has fallen into the just hands of the last superpower -- became both bloody and buffoonish. It transformed what should have been serious proceedings with international implications into farce, and the tyrant into a clown. And so in this most anticlimactic death of a cartoon villain since Boba Fett, the only reaction I have is “So what”?
I mean, great. Bad man dead. Good. But other than being the unsurprisingly small, brutish and creepily personal denouement of our own small and brutish Ahab-In-Chief’s private Moby Dick, can anyone fit this into a larger context that sheds any fucking light whatsoever on the only question that matters?
Why are in Iraq?
If it was regime change, we’re done. Boy howdy, are we ever done. Regime changed…with extreme prejudice.
If it was to roll up all of the House of 52 Cards in the famous, cutsie war deck, well aren’t they all gone now?
If it was to get rid of those WMDs, well they ain’t there.
They weren’t “…in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat.”
We have not found them on a boat.
We have not found them with a goat.
We have not found them near Saddam.
They were not there. It was all a scam."
* drifty on billmon:
"He has done yeoman's work, and no one but the runner can decide when to quit the race, but I would miss Billmon more than a little."
"In letting (Nixon) skate -- instead of letting the criminal justice system napalm the fascist Thalidomide babies squirming around in the GOP whelping box and cauterize the Constitution against their wasting disease -- Ford allowed the sickness that was killing the soul of his Party survive, mutate, and come roaring back less than ten years later.
And more virulent, more hateful, and more openly, frantically horny for an end to Constitutional government and the establishment of a Thermonuclear Christian Empire than Nixon ever dreamed of.
Ford also told New York City to fuck off and a few other things of varying degrees of bad ideaness.
And yet he took a shitty job at a perilous time and played a pat, losing hand in a way that may have been the best it could have been played.
I don’t know, but with the when you consider the suite of awful-to-Apocalyptic alternatives that Preznit Drinky has left us with in Iraq, it is worth taking a moment to consider with some humility and charity that the store is not always stocked with choices that are good.
In other words, you face History with the choices you have at the moment, not the ones you wish you had later on.
That being said, the reason to miss Gerald Ford is he was the last Republican leader who wielded genuine influence within his Party who is not a whore, a Bible-thumping hate-monger, or a despicable prick.
There are Republicans who I could respect for what they allegedly stand for, but for the fact that the Party they continue to defend beyond all reason completely abandoned them and their ethos long ago. Left them face-down, with a gen-u-ine complimentary souvenir “Justice Sunday” day-glow plastic Cross rammed up their asses all the way to the tiny, flashing “INRI” LED.
They are left humiliated in the ditch, nose-deep in their own blood and filth, and yet like St. John McCain, they crawl obediently back to Jerry Falwell’s Elephantine Buttocks Kissing Booth and beg for more.
The struggle for Conservatives has always been to find a way market their essentially contemptible and anti-Democratic ideology to the people they're planning to fuck over. And if Reagan was “Radical Conservatism with a Smile”, and Bush is “Corporate Theocracy with a Dimwit Smirk”, then Ford was at least Moderation with a Midwest Accent.
He was perhaps the last Republican of standing one could point to and say that there was anything but bile, sanctimony and fascism left in the GOP soul.
And now, that long nation daydream is over."