Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Sowell: Alternatives to seriousness

Sowell years ago writing on Ford's pardon of Nixon.
To this day, President Ford seems not to understand what was so deeply wrong about his pardon of Richard Nixon. It offended the most fundamental principle that the Watergate impeachment process was all about --- that no one is above the law.

This is more than a catch phrase. It is what our whole system of government is about. It is what all our freedoms ultimately depend upon. You cannot have holders of power who are above the law and still have free citizens.

To throw the rule of law overboard because we were sick of hearing about Watergate -- and today Monica Lewinsky -- is an irresponsible self-indulgence. Many a diabetic may be sick of taking insulin, but what is the alternative?

Both with Nixon and with Clinton, we were not talking about people who happened to stray over the line. We all stray over the line sometimes. But that is very different from deliberately driving your tractor-trailer on the wrong side of the road and forcing everybody else out of your way.

Corrupting witnesses, concealing evidence, evading subpoenas, retaliating against "enemies," misusing the FBI --- these things are not straying over the line. They are driving the tractor-trailer of the presidency on the wrong side of the road. Nixon and Clinton both did it, but the issue is bigger than either or both of them.
Healing, bringing-us-together, had a price.... I don't think it was worth it.


Anonymous said...

"Healing, bringing-us-together, had a price.... I don't think it was worth it."

I am not sure what you mean here Bill. Are you saying the questionable pardon of Nixon wasn't worth it, or are you saying that the price of "Healing, bringing-us-together" (presumably by ensuring that Nixon faced justice and was subjected to some accountability) wasn't worth it?

Bill Baar said...

The pardon didn't bring healing worth the damage and uncertainity (what were they looking for in the Watergate?) it left us.... the pardon didn't heal much.

Levois said...

There goes that profile in courage award.

Anonymous said...

That's what I thought you meant but your words were open to some interpretation so I thought I would ask for clarification.

Happy New Year Bill!