Wednesday, December 27, 2006

The Importance of Not Being Nixon

When Richard Nixon resigned, the American people would have been happy to see the Oval Office vacant for a while.

A pleasant, well-meaning man, Gerald R. Ford came close to giving them what they wanted. Aside from his misstep in abruptly pardoning his predecessor, Ford's most memorable act in two years was asking citizens to fight rampant inflation by wearing buttons saying WIN ("Whip Inflation Now").

After Ford, voters chose an obscure Southern governor who wore a sweater for TV fireside chats while puzzling over a "national malaise."

It is no disrespect to Ford's memory to point out that a terrifying President like Nixon lowers the bar for his successors, just as whoever takes the oath in January 2009 will benefit greatly from not being George W. Bush.

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