Friday, December 29, 2006

The death of Gerald Ford

Now the mourning has begun. We find countless stories of a man described as 'good', 'honest', and 'principled' by friends and colleagues, both Democrats and Republicans. What a pity that such a good and honest person would make such a deeply unpopular decision, namely, to pardon Richard Nixon he crimes he did (or may) commit.

Many people have voiced views on all sides, but have a different slant. The question of whether Ford should have pardoned Nixon got us talking about Ford as president. What the hell was an unelected person doing as president in the first place? Presidents before have served terms where they lacked a vice president. The fact that Nixon sacked Spiro Agnew did not then hand whatever mandate Agnew had to his office to someone of Nixon's choosing. Ideally, Nixon should never have had a second vice president and when he was forced to resign the country should have held a special election. I genuinely think this is the big wrong. There are lots of good, decent, hard working people in the United States (and elsewhere). That doesn't qualify someone to assume the presidency of the US shortly after becoming appointed. The trouble with Ford is not merely the pardon business, but that he would ever have thought it acceptable to assume an elected office by appointment knowing full well that he was about to become America's unelected president.

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