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Friday, October 7, 2022

October 7, 2022: Bad Presidents: Gerald Ford

[October 4th marks the 200th birthday of Rutherford B. Hayes, a good-looking young man who went on to be a very bad-governing president. So this week I’ll contextualize Hayes and four other under-remembered bad (in the least good sense) chief executives, leading up to a weekend post on the worst we’ve ever had.]

I’m gonna keep this one pretty short and to the point. Gerald Ford was a big lovable dude, a former football star whose biggest problem seems to have been keeping his balance. In many ways, he was a perfect figure to return post-Watergate America to a place of greater normalcy and calm. But there’s the rub—one of the ways he decided to do so was by issuing a full presidential pardon for his predecessor, Richard Nixon, insulating Nixon from prosecution for his very real and very troubling crimes. Whatever we think of the case for that particular action (and I’m not a fan), there’s no doubt that is established some frustrating precedents that continue to inform our own moment—if one past former president had been rightly investigated for and charged with his crimes, that is, certain current former presidents (on whom more this weekend) and their supporters would have a far more difficult time arguing that such steps are unprecedented and out of bounds. For that and that alone, Gerald Ford deserves a spot on this list of under-remembered bad presidents.

Trump-tastic post this weekend,


PS. What do you think? Other baddies you’d highlight?

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