Thursday, December 28, 2006

Bill Bennett: Ford's comments about Bush administration indecent

Bill Bennett is known for having a thing for dead presidents--as long as they're falling from a slot machine--but, over at the Corner, he's calling Gerald Ford a coward.
Since "decency" seems to be the watchword of the day and the consensus modifier for Jerry Ford (a view with which I generally concur), may I nevertheless be permitted to ask this: just how decent, how courageous, is what Jerry Ford did with Bob Woodward? He slams Bush & Cheney to Woodward in 2004, but asks Woodward not to print the interview until he's dead. If he felt so strongly about his words having a derogatory affect, how about telling Woodward not to run the interview until after Bush & Cheney are out of office? The effect of what Ford did is to protect himself, ensuring he can't be asked by others about his critiques, ensuring that there can be no dialogue. The way Ford does it with Woodward, he doesn't have to defend himself...he simply drops it into Bob Woodward's tape recorder and let's the bomb go off when fully out of range, himself. This is not courage, this is not decent. The manly or more decent options are these: 1. Say it to Bush's or Cheney's face and allow them and us to engage the point while you're around, or 2. Far more decently, say nothing critical of Bush will be on the record until his presidency is over. There's a 3. Don't say anything critical of George Bush to Bob Woodward at all.
Note that the options Bennett provides seem designed not to transmit the opinion that Ford clearly wanted to get out, but to protect the Bushies from criticism. Had I the opportunity, I think I would ask Bennett whether he thinks it's decent to call a dead man a chickenshit rather than use one or more of his numerous oppportunities to appear in the media to argue with Ford's opinion that the U.S. shouldn't attempt to "go hellfire damnation around the globe freeing people, unless it is directly related to our own national security" or that caving to the right and dumping Nelson Rockefeller from his presidential ticket "was an act of cowardice."

I have a problem with an embargo of this type, but I don't think this is an issue of Ford's cowardice. Rather, this simply raises once again the question of Bob Woodward's ethics. While listed in the byline of the piece Bennett describes as a "Washington Post Staff Writer," Woodward is, in fact, an assistant managing editor at the newspaper. If Woodward agreed to keep something from his paper for the purposes of a future book, then what good is he to the Post any longer? Shouldn't the paper use his salary to hire three young go-getters to find the next Watergate scandal and let Woodward write his books full time? What else might Woodward, who's said he's "in the habit of keeping secrets," be squirreling away for future release? Why trust a paper whose reporters put statements--made in an election year, I should point out--up on a shelf for long-term storage?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, Ford's actions remind me of Mark Twain's decision not to have "The War Prayer" published until after his death. Heck, I'm sort of envious. That I should ever have the luxury of so much troublemaking at my disposal that I can afford to make a nuisance of myself after I'm gone... [wistful sigh]

That being said, Bob W. hasn't carried much creditibility with me for quite a few years now--he's a prima-donna who sold out long ago and has been resting on his laurels ever since. One only wonders what he agreed to keep mum about so that he could snuggle up to Bush & Co. a couple years back.

10:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can someone please tell Bill Bennett I called him a shameless hack after I die - thanks.

12:03 PM  
Blogger Bulworth said...

"There's a 3. Don't say anything critical of George Bush to Bob Woodward at all."

I sense this was Bennett's preference.

2:32 PM  
Blogger Ed said...

Bill's just mad because he actually bet large sums on number three and came up craps instead.

8:53 PM  
Blogger Robert Lewis said...

As long as you're up - please tell hypocritical gas-bag Bill Bennett I'm pretty sure he's 500 lbs of pig manure in a 300 lb bag - and some of him seems to be sloppin' over the top of the sack.

6:41 AM  
Blogger Pete Bogs said...

Ford should have had the balls to criticize Bush during his lifetime... as a president during Vietnam, he knew damn well the harm that these conflicts can do to our nation... Woodward should have had the courage to insist on immediate publication, or no interview... instead he enabled Ford's questionable decision...

6:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What Ford did was actually what Bush does all the time. He don't allow reporters to ask certain questions so therefore dont have to answer the REAL questions. So why the big fuss? Its ok for Bush, but not Ford? Typical conservative hypocritical garbage. Go wine to someone who cares.

7:47 AM  
Anonymous 3reddogs said...

By pardoning Richard Nixon BEFORE any comprehensive investigation much less any indictments, Ford paved the way for the likes of George W. Bush and his cabal. Of course he also deprived this country of its right to know exactly how many high crimes and misdemeanors Nixon was guilty of. My outrage over this hasn't lessened over the years so I guess I'm one American Mr. Ford didn't "heal" when he waved his presidential wand and gave Richard Nixon a free pass. To now learn that he wanted his criticism of Bush withheld until after he died doesn't surprise me in the least. Why risk being accused of disloyalty when you could join all your fellow Congressional Reputlicans in simply looking the other way while your president prosecuted a war based on a tissues of lies and distortions.

Adding insult to injury are Democrats like Nancy Pelosi and Howard Dean who have declared that impeachment of George Bush is "off the table". What a great message politicians like Ford, Pelosi and Dean send to future presidents ... feel free to commit whatever crimes you like because we have no intention of holding you accountable for anything you do.

9:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Anonymous said...

Can someone please tell Bill Bennett I called him a shameless hack after I die - thanks."

Best post reply I've heard in ages! Perfect. Pointed. Funny. Zen! I wish I would have thought of that! Thanks!

9:26 AM  
Anonymous Dr. S said...

Fuck Bill Bennett.

10:03 AM  
Anonymous Harold The Hark said...

Bill Bennett is yet another "family values" hypocrite who has gambling and alcohol problems, and who, as head of the DEA during Bush 1,.... ruthlessly targeted concertgoers, deadheads, and and senior citizens in california... all to find his favorite enemy: marijuana.

Bill Bennett is the worst type of human on the planet. Authoritarian control freaks who gain power and hide behind fake values.

5:46 PM  
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