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Reply #14: There's a great Rolling Stone article from 2004... [View All]

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starroute Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-27-06 01:13 PM
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14. There's a great Rolling Stone article from 2004...
http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/story/6450422/the_... /

When Gerald Ford succeeded to the presidency, he needed experienced loyalists by his side who were untainted by the Nixon scandal, so he named Rumsfeld his chief of staff. Rumsfeld brought Cheney right along with him into the Oval Office.

The period between August 1974 and November 1976, when Ford lost the election to Jimmy Carter, is essential to understanding George W. Bush's disastrous misjudgments -- and Dick Cheney's role in them. In both cases, Cheney and Rumsfeld played the key role in turning opportunity into chaos. Ford, like Bush later, hadn't been elected president. As he entered office, he was overshadowed by a secretary of state (Kissinger then, Powell later) who was considered incontestably his better. Ford was caught as flat-footed by the fall of Saigon in April 1975 as Bush was by the September 2001 attacks. A better president, with more astute advisers, might have arranged a more orderly ending to the long and divisive war. But instead of heeding the country's desire for honesty and reconciliation, Rumsfeld and Cheney convinced Ford that the way to turn himself into a real president was to stir up crises in international relations while lurching to the right in domestic politics.

Having turned Ford into their instrument, Rumsfeld and Cheney staged a palace coup. They pushed Ford to fire Defense Secretary James Schlesinger, tell Vice President Nelson Rockefeller to look for another job and remove Henry Kissinger from his post as national security adviser. Rumsfeld was named secretary of defense, and Cheney became chief of staff to the president. The Yale dropout and draft dodger was, at the age of thirty-four, the second-most-powerful man in the White House.

As the 1976 election approached, Rumsfeld and Cheney used the immense powers they had arrogated to themselves to persuade Ford to scuttle the Salt II treaty on nuclear-arms control. The move helped Ford turn back Reagan's challenge for the party's nomination -- but at the cost of ceding the heart of the GOP to the New Right. Then, in the presidential election, Jimmy Carter defeated Ford by 2 million votes.

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