It’s always been assumed that Nixon selected Ford simply because he was confirmable, and that Ford pardoned Nixon because… well, because he was a nice guy and a bad President. Today, Bob Woodward (writing for a “newspaper”!) reveals that the two were the best of friends for years, which helps explain both those acts a little better. When you’re friends with Nixon, though, you end up looking like a dick every now and then:
“He’s nuts,” Ford told Nixon in the call picked up by Nixon’s secret taping.
“He’s on the sauce,” Nixon said, suggesting the majority leader was drinking. “Isn’t that it?”
“Well, I’m afraid that’s right, Mr. President.”
“Or is he crazy?” Nixon asked.
“Well, he’s either drinking too much or he’s taking some pills that are upsetting him mentally,” Ford replied.
This isn’t quite the Ford we’re supposed to be remembering — the Nixon-enabling sycophant role fits so much better on Kissinger — but it does remind us that Congress is and always has been a den of pill-popping page-fucking drunks, and for that, we are thankful. Godspeed, Mr. Kind-of President.