The late 1970’s was a lousy half-decade for America. And a lot of the bad stuff that happened was going to happen regardless. As close as the 1976 election was, it is impossible to think that Ford’s pardon of Nixon didn’t play some part in his loss. What’s more, without the Watergate scandal, Ford likely isn’t even running. And who knows? Maybe someone else would have won! And probably NOT Ronald Reagan. In 1976, the country was not ready for Reagan. In fact, thanks to Nixon’s malfeasance and Ford’s pardon, the Democrats were looking pretty good!
But, just for a moment, imagine if Ford (or some other republican) had won. And imagine if THEY had to deal with (and largely get blamed for) all the crap in the late 1970’s that would have happened regardless. Do you really think that, as malaised and hungry for change as America was in 1980 that they would have gone farther to the Right with Reagan? Not likely. It’s as likely to bet that TED KENNEDY might have ended up our 40th president.
Now… despite leaning decidedly liberal, I’m not an unabashed admirer of the late Senator Kennedy. As a legislator, he had many successes and wielded great influence. As a MAN, I found him lacking. But whatever. As it was, we got Reagan. And with Reagan we got runaway deficits and debt, and religious fanatics like Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson gained mainstream influence. We also armed the Mujahadden, led by none other that Osama Bin Laden, to get Russia out of Afghanistan. And we all remember how grateful THEY were for our help. We also armed SADDAM HUSSEIN to keep Iran in check. Which brings me to…
George H. W. Bush. Bush’41. Actually, IMHO, not a bad President all around. Probably the best Republican administration since Teddy Roosevelt’s. But without Reagan selecting him as his vice President in 1980 and 1984, he would most likely have been retired and living in political obscurity by 1988. Not running for President. And if Daddy Bush was never anything more than an Ambassador or CIA Director, it’s hard to imagine George W. Bush running anything but the Texas Rangers. It’s far less likely he becomes Governor of Texas, let alone our 43rd President! (He traded SAMMY SOSA for CECIL EPSY for cripes sake! He was a moron even in BASEBALL!)
So Nixon’s crimes gave us Ford, and Ford’s pardon gave us Carter.
Carter gave us Reagan, who gave us crushing deficits, empowered religious loonies at home, armed religious loonies abroad and Bush’41.
And because of Bush’41, we have Bush’43.
Nixon really was a lousy President, wasn’t he?