There is no more dangerous experiment than that of undertaking to be one thing before a man’s face and another behind his back

Gerald R. Ford, Ex-U.S. President, Dies

Ford was an accidental president, Nixon’s hand-picked successor, a man of much political experience who had never run on a national ticket. He was as open and straight-forward as Nixon was tightly controlled and conspiratorial.

He took office minutes after Nixon resigned in disgrace over the Watergate scandal and flew off into exile. Ford famously declared, “our long national nightmare is over.”

But he revived the debate over Watergate a month later by granting Nixon a pardon for all crimes he committed as president. That single act, it was widely believed, cost Ford election to a term of his own in 1976, but it won praise in later years as a courageous act that allowed the nation to move on.

Other then seeming like a genuinely nice man unlike the presidential actor-conman Ronald Reagan, Nixon’s pardon is what sticks out in my mind about Ford. Those that thought and still think that it was for the best, time to move on and so forth may have a point. On the other hand much of the abuse of presidential power that we saw during the Reagan administration and now under Bush can be traced back to Ford’s decision. It would have been one thing to have a trial, convict Nixon thus drawing an historical line that future presidents would have known not to cross then pardoned Nixon, but not a preemptive pardon. If not for that pardon I doubt that we would have had Iran-Contra

2.) To the extent one can tease out a story line, the Iran-Contra saga is at odds with what we “know” about some of the characters involved, a great many of whom hold positions of power in the current Bush administration. For example, the conventional wisdom holds that Robert Gates is a white knight brought in to restore to greatness to a Pentagon yoked for six years to a preening blowhard. Yet Gates, who served as a high-ranking CIA official during the Reagan administration, appears to have been well aware at the time of illegal White House activities concerning the Contras and was not especially candid about this to Iran-Contra investigators. (For the evidence, click here and scroll down to documents 6a, 6b, and 6c.)

Another contemporary narrative holds that President George W. Bush is dwarfed in stature by his statesmanlike father. But that isn’t easy to square with the conclusion of Independent Counsel Lawrence Walsh—a Republican—that Bush senior, “[c]ontrary to his public statements … was fully aware of the Iran arms sales” and some of the Contra-related shenanigans, too. Walsh further hinted that the elder Bush, at the end of his presidency, pardoned Reagan Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger in order to avoid being called as a witness at Weinberger’s trial, a circumstance that would have required the ex-president to come clean about his own involvement in the scandal.

Ford was rightly noted for his openness in contrast to the dark and Machiavellian Nixon. Betty Ford also unlike many modern conservative women seemed to be thoughtful and engaged about people and issues and didn’t act like an appendage of a cold disciplined political machine like we have now. Given the extreme Right face of today’s conservatism  a new generation of Geralds and Bettys wouldn’t have fit in very well with the movers and shakers. In a way Ford was the last remnant of true Republicans, the party of Eisenhower.

By way of Treehugger, The Toyota FT-HS Hybrid Sports Concept Car

No, the interesting thing is the “halo” effect it could have, making hybrids cool and desirable to a new public.

I’m not particularly into marketing, but it does seem to be true that some products have to reach a certain tipping point before they become something the public really lusts after. Judging from the photos at the link this new Toyota has the kind of look that will appeal to die hard sports car affectionados and Treehugger makes a very salient point that the car and the technology around it will have a halo effect on other models that the average driver will buy.

Bush Inc. is lawyering up Bush is bracing for new scrutiny

“Like any White House that has to deal with a Congress run by the other party, this White House has to bulk up its staff to deal with the inevitable flood of subpoenas. They’re also going to have to coordinate with lots of friends and supporters,” said Mark Corallo, a former top Republican aide to the House committee that issued more than 1,000 subpoenas to the Clinton camp.

If Conservatives will truly the party of old fashioned values they wouldn’t need to “bulk” up legal staff. They could do something startling and amazing like being forthright and honest. Most of the Whitehouse’s paranoia about secrets has nothing to do with national security, but has a lot to do with hiding serious breaches of the law and the national trust.

The Buck Stops Everywhere

I was working on another post, entitled, “How is the War in Iraq like a Frontal Lobotomy?” (answer–false advertising), but really, I’m not that interested in the history anymore. I’m more interested in the “surge”. I’m interested because the “surge” is a classic example of a loser’s strategy, and it is about to be put in place by a bunch of
losers. The “surge” is about saving face rather than achieving an objective, and, let me say it right here, it’s a guy thing. It’s like “going down fighting”, except that those who are going to be going down aren’t going to be those who want to save face.

It’s only a “guy thing” if we exclude Condi Rice and all the women that voted for Bush in 2000 and 2004, but we’ll let that slide. It is not a losing strategy Jane. The idea of the surge is to hand off the Iraq war and all the dead to the next guy(or gal). President Joe Bob or Jane Doe Democrat is president, war ends with Iraq still in chaos and the name on the toe tag is a Democrats. Bush tried his best – good intentions – and so forth, but it was a Democrat that was left holding the bag. Karl Rove and every wing-nut from coast to coast crys in their imported beer while simultaneously blowing out the candles on the cake. They will have written a million books by then that swear Bush didn’t lie us into a quagmire and mismanage the whole thing like a drunk 13 year old behind the wheel of a new Porche. Unless some Democrats and Republicans ( the ones that still care about the republic before their party) stand up and say cut the crap, the troops will just pay the price.

However, the unnecessary deaths of others never stopped little George from having it his way. One of the words they use to characterize what he cares about now is “honor”, but in fact the Iraq War was never “honorable”. It was a sleazy, ill-planned act of arrogance, as much a longshot as gambling your house on the 99 to 1 horse in the Kentucky Derby.

That is how the Right views the military as a useful pawns. Too many Americans fall in line behind the fake patriotism of these frat boy cowards that pretend to be ordinary folks and until they wise up expect more of the same one way or another. There is nothing in George Bush’s history that suggests that he has ever acted with honor. Honor is a superfluous hindrance to the conservative movement. That is what his father should have been crying about. His son suffers from being so drunk on hubris that it prevents him from having normal human empathy for others. Our troops are not enough grist for the mill apparently, Military considers recruiting foreigners

 The armed forces, already struggling to meet recruiting goals, are considering expanding the number of noncitizens in the ranks — including disputed proposals to open recruiting stations overseas and putting more immigrants on a faster track to US citizenship if they volunteer — according to Pentagon officials.

“There is no more dangerous experiment than that of undertaking to be one thing before a man’s face and another behind his back.” – General Robert E. Lee