Monday, January 01, 2007

Where Gerald Ford Went Wrong

By Robert Parry (A Special Report)
January 1, 2007

After replacing Richard Nixon in 1974, Gerald Ford turned his back on the imperial presidency that had reached new heights under Nixon. But facing political pressure from the Republican Right, Ford gradually reversed course putting the nation on track for even worse excesses under George W. Bush.

This mixed legacy has been missed amid the effusive eulogies that have followed Ford’s death on Dec. 26 at the age of 93. Ford has been showered with near universal praise for helping to bring the nation together in the wake of Nixon’s Watergate scandal and the U.S. military defeat in Vietnam.

Ford is depicted as a common man who toasted his own English muffins, respected the constitutional role of Congress, supported reform of the CIA and advocated negotiations with the Soviet Union, a process known as “détente.”

But this praise focuses on the first months of his 2 ½-year presidency. By late 1975 and early 1976, Ford began shifting direction when he found himself threatened by Ronald Reagan’s insurgent campaign for the Republican nomination.

To stave off Reagan’s challenge from the Right, Ford made a series of critical concessions, such as backpedaling on CIA reforms, forsaking détente, and compromising the integrity of the CIA’s analytical division to pacify hard-line Cold Warriors.

Read on.

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