There is nothing more to be said about Gerald Ford, so I’ll keep this short.
Jerry pardoned Dick.
That’s really it. Jerry pardoned Dick for what may have been perfectly principled reasons, but the simple truth is, in doing so, he let a dangerous and destructive genie out of the bottle.
In an era famous for its “Silent Majority” of hardcore, hardhat, pig-eyed Republicans squealing that lazy hippies only needed to be beaten a little harder, buzz-cut and sent of to the ‘Nam to straighten ‘em out, Ford – the Republican -- let Nixon -- war criminal and betrayer of his office and our Constitution -- walk, instead of paying the price for his crime.
We were we told that "healing" and getting past our "national nightmare" of Republican domestic treason and wartime crimes against humanity were somehow vastly less important than justice...by the same Party that wanted to lock up pot smokers until the end of time.
We figured that maybe, just maybe, the GOP would learn its lesson, let cooler, Ford-like heads prevail, and quit trying the use the United States Constitution as ass-floss.
We were, of course, utterly wrong, and the fact that the greatest criminal to ever occupy the White House was given a "Get Out Of Jail Free" backstage laminate by the Law and Order Party is a sickening irony that the thugs and perverts who run the GOP have spent years carefully leveraging into a deep, wide moat around their criminal syndicate.
Nixon deserved nothing – nothing! – but to be shackled hand-and-foot and perpwalked in sackcloth and dung through every Middlesex village and farm. To be mocked and shunned and laughed at and spit on by children for the rest of his miserable life.
Chained to a block in the public square (as either Harlan Ellison or Hunter Thompson once suggested) with every American entitled to one slap.
If you lost a limb or a loved one in Vietnam, you could use your closed fist.
In letting him 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.
Or, for all you Aldous Huxley fans out there: "Ford is Bunk" -- History.
(Oh, and for those of you keeping score at home, this is post #900.)