How counterfactuals can help clarify the past
I agree it would not have changed Donald Trump's behaviour.
But would it have changed the behaviour of some Republicans? Would Mitt Romney and Liz Cheney have been so ostracized by the party? Would they have got the handful of extra votes they needed to convict?
I remain gobsmacked at the blind hatred of Donald Trump in Canada generally, and by the Canadian bien pensants in particular. Its as if no Canadian has ever previously encountered a brash bullshitting New Yorker, yet there are legions of them. As off-putting as Donald Trump may be to Canadian sensibilities, he is not THAT exceptional. I am not sure you can even call him a liar per se, he is more of a chronic bullshitter (there is a technical difference). And I don't think even as someone ethically challenged, he is much different from most current politicians.
The cost of Ford not pardoning Nixon has nothing to do with Trump. The real payback would have come from seeing a responsible person doing a difficult job. This was a crime on a grand scale and after Nixon’s resignation, Ford could feel self-righteous for the wrong reasons, Congress could, with a sigh of relief, move ahead without further ado, fast food restaurants needn’t manage their young workers, Boards of Directors could just pay off their problems, S&L’s could take one risk too far and be bailed out. We forfeited management, grossly.
Real management and supervision very difficult, very personal tasks and are very hard to teach in the workplace. The art of covering over and covering up is the easy way out and has become too standard in all walks of life. We should be proud that we are currently seeing the Federal Reserve take responsibility in the SVB case.
To me the important question is not about Trump’s behaviour but about the reaction of the public and of other political actors to that behaviour -- did Ford pardoning Nixon help establish the environment where members of congress and others, particularly on the Republican side, refuse to take seriously Trump’s misdeeds (up to and including voting to acquit, twice)?
Whatever the answer, I think both Iran-Contra and the Clinton impeachment are likely at least as important as precedents, perhaps more important than the Nixon pardon.
As a retired HS history teacher, I must thank you for this insight and your causing me to reflect.
Counterfactuals are rubbish and not logically useful to understand anything. They’re the tools of charlatans.
How about he ran for president because he knew what Nixon said to Frost.
If not for the belief that once you are a president you are truly untouchable would he have ran at all?