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Old 03-07-2021, 05:06 PM
 
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And sobbing, again.

I grew up with the idea that pardoning Nixon was a good thing, to get past everything (wrong-doers always talk about moving forward), but these days I'm more with the idea, excerpted from Jane Mayer, that it's bad in the longer run.


He wasn’t especially religious, but, as daylight faded outside the rapidly emptying White House, he fell to his knees and prayed out loud, sobbing as he smashed his fist into the carpet. “What have I done?” he said. “What has happened?” When the President noted that the military could make it easy for him by leaving a pistol in a desk drawer, the chief of staff called the President’s doctors and ordered that all sleeping pills and tranquillizers be taken away from him, to insure that he wouldn’t have the means to kill himself. The downfall of Richard Nixon, in the summer of 1974, was, as Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein relate in “The Final Days,” one of the most dramatic in American history.
Scholars today are far less united than they used to be about the wisdom of pardoning Presidents. Beschloss, the historian, who interviewed Ford about the matter, told me, “I believe he was right to offer the pardon but wrong not to ask for a signed confession that Nixon was guilty as charged. As a result, Nixon spent the rest of his life arguing that he had done nothing worse than any other President.”

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2...afford-to-lose
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Old 03-07-2021, 07:29 PM
 
Location: The High Desert
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I always think of Gerald Ford as having an asterisk by his name in a list of Presidents because he was never elected as President or Vice President -- our only unelected President. He was selected and appointed to the Vice Presidency when Spiro Agnew resigned. He then was elevated to President due to Nixon's resignation. There was some sense of Ford being too sympathetic and even in cahoots with Nixon with regard to the pardon. He fended off those criticisms but the pardon was not popular. Nixon never admitted guilt other than that some decisions that he made were wrong (but he insisted to be in the country's best interests).

I do shudder to think of Spiro Agnew elevated to President.

I wonder if Jimmy Carter would have granted Nixon a pardon if Ford had not done so. Nixon would have likely faced indictment and trial without Ford's pardon, which would have dominated public attention for months or years.
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Old 03-07-2021, 11:12 PM
 
Location: Iowa
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Such a pity Agnew was taking payoffs, it was part of the culture of Maryland politics of that time, and it was done in many other states, past and present. The FBI became more aggressive in trying to stop it, someone mentioned a while back, the next gov of Maryland after Agnew went down for the same thing. As a VP, his political abilities were superior, and he was an excellent speaker and had speaking engagements booked up 6 months in advance, just before the bribery was revealed to the public in fall of 1973. He had nothing to do with Watergate, had he been clean, with or without Watergate, he would very likely have become our 38th president, but only because John Connally refused the VP job, which Nixon put forth great effort to convince Connally to take the job, but he would not bite.

The thing to remember with Nixon, he did eventually turn over the tapes. Any other president in hot water would have destroyed the evidence against them (if possible) before the subpoena for such evidence was issued. The tapes were his, I think he falsely believed the courts would let him keep possession, but he ultimately decided to turn everything over, but for one 20 minute segment, one of the remaining mysteries of Watergate, and Deep Throat #2 was never revealed either, the mysterious source/informer who pumped info to investigators Gerstein/Dardis in Florida, about the burglar's bank accounts and helped lead them to the camera shop where the burglars developed their photos taken inside the Watergate complex.
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Old 03-08-2021, 07:14 AM
 
13,298 posts, read 12,482,488 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SunGrins View Post
I always think of Gerald Ford as having an asterisk by his name in a list of Presidents because he was never elected as President or Vice President -- our only unelected President. He was selected and appointed to the Vice Presidency when Spiro Agnew resigned. He then was elevated to President due to Nixon's resignation. There was some sense of Ford being too sympathetic and even in cahoots with Nixon with regard to the pardon. He fended off those criticisms but the pardon was not popular. Nixon never admitted guilt other than that some decisions that he made were wrong (but he insisted to be in the country's best interests).

I do shudder to think of Spiro Agnew elevated to President.

I wonder if Jimmy Carter would have granted Nixon a pardon if Ford had not done so. Nixon would have likely faced indictment and trial without Ford's pardon, which would have dominated public attention for months or years.
I remember the time well even though I was only in high school. The country had been dealt a huge blow by Watergate. It was the only subject the media was talking about. There were endless revelations and stories being reported. The idea that the man we had elected President in 1968 and reelected in a landslide in 1972 was a criminal was very hard even for some on the left to absorb.

I think a pardon was truly the best solution. I think Gerald Ford acted not in Nixon's interest, but in the best interest of the United States when he pardoned Nixon. He paid for it too. I personally think Ford would have beaten Carter in 1976 had he not given Nixon that pardon. As it was, it was a close election determined by about 2% of the national vote.

Whether Carter would have pardoned Nixon is an unanswerable question. I do think Ford and Carter had many similarities in that both men (despite their faults) were motivated to act for the good of their country and both were bright enough to see what continuing Watergate would do to the fabric of the country. I think Carter would likely have reached the same conclusion that Ford did.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mofford View Post
Such a pity Agnew was taking payoffs, it was part of the culture of Maryland politics of that time, and it was done in many other states, past and present. The FBI became more aggressive in trying to stop it, someone mentioned a while back, the next gov of Maryland after Agnew went down for the same thing. As a VP, his political abilities were superior, and he was an excellent speaker and had speaking engagements booked up 6 months in advance, just before the bribery was revealed to the public in fall of 1973. He had nothing to do with Watergate, had he been clean, with or without Watergate, he would very likely have become our 38th president, but only because John Connally refused the VP job, which Nixon put forth great effort to convince Connally to take the job, but he would not bite.

The thing to remember with Nixon, he did eventually turn over the tapes. Any other president in hot water would have destroyed the evidence against them (if possible) before the subpoena for such evidence was issued. The tapes were his, I think he falsely believed the courts would let him keep possession, but he ultimately decided to turn everything over, but for one 20 minute segment, one of the remaining mysteries of Watergate, and Deep Throat #2 was never revealed either, the mysterious source/informer who pumped info to investigators Gerstein/Dardis in Florida, about the burglar's bank accounts and helped lead them to the camera shop where the burglars developed their photos taken inside the Watergate complex.

Sigh.....Agnew was bribe-taking scum. No other way to put it. He was taking bribes from contractors that did business with the state of Maryland. Essentially, in order to get a contract, the contractor had to "kick back" about five percent of the sum of the contract to Agnew personally. The argument that "other people have done it too" doesn't fly with me. Taxpayers shouldn't have to tolerate crooked bribe-taking politicians. When this is discovered it needs to be rooted out.

In a sense, Agnew was worse than Nixon. As much as I disdain Nixon's breaking of the law, money or greed was not his motivation. Nixon had an idea that he had to protect his administration and reputation. Its still a wrong motive and does not justify crimes like obstruction of justice, but its not as bad a motive as taking money simply to become wealthier than you are.

Nixon really had no choice, but to turn the tapes over after the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that he had to do so. Refusal to turn the tapes over would have lead to the same outcome: Impeachment. In those days, both parties had certain bottom line standards of ethics. Arizona's Barry Goldwater was the one finally told Nixon he had to resign and leave the presidency. I developed an admiration for Goldwater that day that transcended politics. He did much to free the presidency of a dishonest, crooked, and unethical president.
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Old 03-08-2021, 09:40 PM
 
Location: Iowa
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I agree that Agnew had go, and yes, his crime of bribe taking was more serious than Nixon's cover up crimes. However, I don't think Nixon should have been removed from office, because he was so effective at shaping American policy around the world to our favor, and his domestic policy was on the right track, clean air, strong farm economy, free determination for Indian tribes, OSHA, a universal healthcare plan that Ted Kennedy would have collaborated on and passed, had it not been for Watergate. Nixon had something for everybody, we never had it so good.

It was foolish to get rid of Nixon for something that would have served America much better by simply ignoring it, sweeping it under the carpet, like the media did for JFK and his affairs, or Landslide Lyndon's shady FCC kickbacks on the TV station he bought, after the small local radio station he bought just a few years earlier made him a millionare in just a few years. Yeah, right, what a scammer he was.

IMO, Nixon's highest foreign policy achievement was NOT opening up China, because of the path it set us on later when Bush1 gave them most favored trading status in 1989. The results of that have been horrific. The best long term policy achievement was turning around the Arab oil embargo in 1973, and turning a bitter enemy into an ally and trading partner, Saudi Arabia, which paid off in the long term, while at the same time, we still maintained a good relationship with Israel, and Iran until the Shah died. That was very tricky, only Richard Nixon could do something like that. I would be wholly proud and satisfied to have Richard Nixon as king of America from 1960 to 1994. We would be so much better off under his divine rule than what we ended up with. I can't imagine how bad things would have become, had he never been president.
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Old 03-09-2021, 08:30 AM
 
Location: Southwest Washington State
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mofford View Post
I agree that Agnew had go, and yes, his crime of bribe taking was more serious than Nixon's cover up crimes. However, I don't think Nixon should have been removed from office, because he was so effective at shaping American policy around the world to our favor, and his domestic policy was on the right track, clean air, strong farm economy, free determination for Indian tribes, OSHA, a universal healthcare plan that Ted Kennedy would have collaborated on and passed, had it not been for Watergate. Nixon had something for everybody, we never had it so good.

It was foolish to get rid of Nixon for something that would have served America much better by simply ignoring it, sweeping it under the carpet, like the media did for JFK and his affairs, or Landslide Lyndon's shady FCC kickbacks on the TV station he bought, after the small local radio station he bought just a few years earlier made him a millionare in just a few years. Yeah, right, what a scammer he was.

IMO, Nixon's highest foreign policy achievement was NOT opening up China, because of the path it set us on later when Bush1 gave them most favored trading status in 1989. The results of that have been horrific. The best long term policy achievement was turning around the Arab oil embargo in 1973, and turning a bitter enemy into an ally and trading partner, Saudi Arabia, which paid off in the long term, while at the same time, we still maintained a good relationship with Israel, and Iran until the Shah died. That was very tricky, only Richard Nixon could do something like that. I would be wholly proud and satisfied to have Richard Nixon as king of America from 1960 to 1994. We would be so much better off under his divine rule than what we ended up with. I can't imagine how bad things would have become, had he never been president.
No, Nixon was devious and without morals. During his first successful presidential election run he sent a secret message to Hanoi that they would get a better deal from him, after the election, thus delaying peace talks until after the election. How many more lives were lost because of this?

He needed to go because the stuff he did in secret to help guarantee his reelection was illegal. And, frankly, stupid.

And we do now know the identity of Deep Throat.
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Old 03-09-2021, 09:41 AM
 
Location: Iowa
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Originally Posted by silibran View Post
And we do now know the identity of Deep Throat.
Yes, we know Mark Felt (Deep Throat) was the informer who fed information to the Washington Post in the months following the break in, but there was another informer in Florida who predated the work of Mark Felt. This informer knew of the break in team and gave Gerstein (Dade County prosecutor) names and bank account info, and led Gerstein to a local camera shop were members of the break in team developed the Watergate film from the first break in. From study of the photographs, this is how they knew there was more than one break in at the Watergate complex. This is how they knew about the campaign funds check from Kenneth Dahlberg, deposited in bank account of burglar. Gerstein's investigator, Dardis, knew Kenneth Dahlberg from WW2 battle of the bulge, where Dahlberg was one of the first relief troops sent in to liberate, but ended up firing on Dardis thinking he was a german soldier, almost killing him. I'm sure Dardis remembered the name, and was very happy to turn over the information to Woodward when the Washington Post sent him down.

The movie ATPM makes it look like Dardis was reluctant to cooperate, but in reality, Dardis probably called them and threw out the red carpet for Woodward. Dardis later worked in the Clinton administration for Janet Reno, so I think we know his party affiliation, and Gerstein as well. Gerstein was actually a very good prosecutor for state of Florida and kept a tight lid on criminal activity thru the 1970's, after he was gone, there was an explosion of crime and drugs in Miami.
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Old 03-09-2021, 12:56 PM
 
Location: The High Desert
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Originally Posted by mofford View Post
However, I don't think Nixon should have been removed from office, because he was so effective at shaping American policy around the world to our favor, and his domestic policy was on the right track, clean air, strong farm economy, free determination for Indian tribes, OSHA, a universal healthcare plan that Ted Kennedy would have collaborated on and passed, had it not been for Watergate.
I think Nixon's resignation, crimes, and personality will forever get in the way of accurately judging his accomplishments. We spent a long time studying his administrative policies, budgeting practices and domestic policy when I was in graduate school. He actually tried to increase rationality into government administration. He certainly was anti-communist to the core but saw the folly of our China policy.

He lost it with his paranoia and his enemies list. The break-in at Watergate was absolutely unnecessary as McGovern was not gaining any real traction in the election. He just could not step away from pursuing his imagined demons. He would be well respected had he been a one-term president.
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Old 03-09-2021, 01:08 PM
 
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Nixon did at a primal level have regret and shame as a removed president.
He had some actual heart in how he brought shame to the office . And our country..
He spoke about it later in an interview ..
I think his years as a lawyer brought him a reality of what he was up against.
There is no doubt he was involved in Watergate. His hands weren't clean.

Pardoning him though. That's been a hard pill ..
Today the duty to pardon has lost its original intention.. now it's free candy to gain favor. Back then it really was a serious decision based on genuine redemption ,time served or an invalid charge being removed .

Maybe Ford saw a remorse by Nixon or knew he would face the life sentence of shame . Nixon genuinely did have a presence when leading this nation. Sometimes being publicly Dishonored is punishment.
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Old 03-09-2021, 02:03 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nov3 View Post
Nixon did at a primal level have regret and shame as a removed president.
He had some actual heart in how he brought shame to the office . And our country..
He spoke about it later in an interview ..
I think his years as a lawyer brought him a reality of what he was up against.
There is no doubt he was involved in Watergate. His hands weren't clean.

Pardoning him though. That's been a hard pill ..
Today the duty to pardon has lost its original intention.. now it's free candy to gain favor. Back then it really was a serious decision based on genuine redemption ,time served or an invalid charge being removed .

Maybe Ford saw a remorse by Nixon or knew he would face the life sentence of shame . Nixon genuinely did have a presence when leading this nation. Sometimes being publicly Dishonored is punishment.
Is that really settled history, that Nixon was aware of the break-in and spying before the fact? I only remember him being charged with the cover-up. I have to wonder how history would have evolved had he stayed in office (if he would have not been involved to begin with, and not covered up the break-in). With Nixon (honorably) completing his second term, would Ford have run in 1976? Would the R's have captured another term if not for Watergate? Would the Iranian Hostage crisis gone down the same way? Have historians ever war-gamed that scenario?
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