JFK Murder Part 17
Sat Jan 27, 2007 18:12

The silence in the room was in marked contrast to the steadily rising noise at the Joe Louis Arena. There, word was spreading that Reagan was going to choose Gerald Ford, the former president and his bitter adversary in the 1976 primaries, to be his running mate.

As Reagan’s foreign policy adviser, I didn’t have much business getting involved in the selection of a vice president. But as someone who signed on with Reagan because I admired his principled criticism of the foreign policy of the Nixon, Ford, and Carter administrations, I couldn’t help venturing to the suite to see what was going on. And so, at 5:30 in the evening, before I was to head over to the convention, I walked up the single flight of stairs that separated Reagan’s floor from mine. It didn’t take long for my suspicions to be confirmed. As I stepped into the hallway, there, coming out of Reagan’s rooms and flanked by his Secret Service detail, was a tanned and fit Gerald Ford.

Once the former president and I had exchanged pleasantries, I made my way past security to Reagan’s suite. Alone among those gathered on the couch, the nominee looked up and greeted me. I asked if he needed anything before I left for the arena. “Oh, no,” he replied, “but thanks.”

As I turned to leave, he asked, “What do you think of the Ford deal?”

“What deal?” I responded, genuinely surprised that the two parties were already working out details. In addition to the vice-presidential slot, Reagan said, “Ford wants Kissinger as secretary of state and Greenspan at treasury.” My instant response was, “That is the craziest deal I have ever heard of.” And it was.

This election year, both major presidential candidates conducted highly structured searches for their running mates. Though it was only 20 years ago, the process in 1980 could not have been more different from the one today. It is hard to imagine an unexpected vice-presidential pick at the last minute, like John Kennedy’s selection of Lyndon Johnson in 1960, Richard Nixon’s choice of Spiro Agnew in 1968, or even George Bush Sr.’s elevation of Dan Quayle in 1988 - all of which caught the candidates’ advisers by surprise.

But it was Ronald Reagan’s nomination of Governor Bush’s father that bears special telling. Reagan’s selection of Bush in Detroit represented a turnabout within six hours; it came only when the negotiations with Ford, having taken on a life of their own, appeared to have reached an impasse. Had the talks succeeded and had Ford been selected, the Reagan campaign, crippled by infighting, might well have lost to the Carter-Mondale ticket in the fall. Had Reagan and Ford managed to win the election, it’s very likely that their administration would have been hobbled by an unworkable power-sharing arrangement. It’s also possible that the Republicans might have a different candidate today.

There are many plausible versions of how and why Reagan chose George Bush as his running mate, but most are wide of the mark. One conventional view is that Reagan, about to be nominated, recognized that he "needed a moderate" like Bush to balance the ticket; another version has it that Reagan, supposedly unschooled in foreign affairs, saw the wisdom of naming someone with extensive experience in the field to offset his own shortcomings. Yet another explanation holds that Reagan, a Californian, needed “geographic balance” and got that in Bush, with his Connecticut and Texas lineage.

These explanations are wrong. George Bush was picked at the very last moment and largely by a combination of chance and some behind-the-scenes maneuvering. Many Reagan advisers have claimed a deal was never close. The postconvention media commentary has largely reflected this view. In fact, Meese and Deaver have gone so far as to declare that Bush was their first choice all along. I take exception to their account. I saw a very different story unfold and saw it from a privileged vantage point. From the moment I walked into that suite until the moment Bush was finally selected, I was the only person to remain in Reagan’s presence throughout the adventure. With detailed notes to back up my memory, this is what I saw at the dawn of the Reagan revolution on that long night in Detroit.

(12) Harold Jackson, The Guardian (28th December, 2006)

There has been endless speculation whether this pardon was part of a deal to persuade Nixon to abandon his rearguard fight against impeachment. Certainly there were well-attested, if tangential, discussions on the subject between Vice-President Ford and the White House chief of staff, Alexander Haig. But the consensus is that, even as his tenure crumbled, Nixon remained confident that his longstanding influence over Ford would stop him facing trial.

Ford had, in fact, not been Nixon's first choice as vice-president when Spiro Agnew was forced out of office in 1973 for corruption. The president wanted one of his closest political allies, former governor of Texas John Connolly, to take over, but he was warned of insuperable opposition in Congress where, under the unusual terms of the recently adopted 25th amendment, any nominee required confirmation by a majority in both houses.

So, after a review of a wide variety of candidates ranging from Governor Nelson Rockefeller of New York on the Republican left to Senator Barry Goldwater on the party's right, Nixon settled for the minority leader in the House of Representatives.

He did so to ensure an easy confirmation - which he got. But, according to the former White House chief of staff HR Haldeman, Nixon also calculated that a House familiar with Ford's inadequacies would never risk presidential impeachment, since that would put Ford into the Oval Office. Henry Kissinger acknowledged in his memoirs that he made a similar judgment at the time.

Nixon and Ford had been politically associated since both were young congressmen in 1948. Alexander Butterfield - Haldeman's White House deputy who revealed to a startled Senate committee Nixon's habit of taping his conversations reminisced in 1983 that the president had always had the minority leader totally under his thumb. "He was a tool of the Nixon administration, like a puppy dog. They used him when they had to - wind him up and he'd go 'arf 'arf."

(13) Jon Wiener, The Nation (27th December, 2006)

Gerald Ford is gone, but he lives on in two of his key appointees: Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney. Their impact on America today is greater than Ford's, who died Tuesday at 93.

Ford appointed Rumsfeld his chief of staff when he took office after Nixon's resignation in 1974. The next year, when he made the 42-year-old Rumsfeld the youngest secretary of defense in the nation's history, he named 34-year-old Dick Cheney his chief of staff, also the youngest ever.

Those two Ford appointees worked together ever since. The Bush White House assertion of unchecked presidential power stems from the lessons they drew from their experience of working for the weakest president in recent American history. "For Dick and Don," Harold Meyerson wrote in The American Prospect last July, "the frustrations of the Ford years have been compensated for by the abuses of the Bush years."

Ford also named a new head of the CIA - a former Texas congressman named George H. W. Bush. Thus you could also credit also Ford with launching the Bush dynasty.

It was during Ford's presidency that the last Americans left Vietnam - that photo of them struggling to get into that chopper on the roof of the Saigon embassy remains our most powerful image of American defeat, and it shadows our current debate about how to get out of Iraq.

Ford did leave one positive legacy, as Meyerson reminds us: his supreme court appointee, John Paul Stevens. Few remember it today, but when the Court majority appointed Bush president in December, 2000, Stevens wrote a blistering dissent, damning the other Republican appointees for their blatant partisanship. And this year Stevens wrote the majority opinion in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld declaring that the military tribunals at Guantanamo violated the Geneva Convention.

But we wouldn't need Stevens if we didn't have Rumsfeld, Cheney and Bush - that's the legacy of Gerald Ford. "

More on Allen Dulles under http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/USAdullesA.htm,

" Allen Dulles, the son of a Presbyterian minister, and the brother of John Foster Dulles, was born in Washington in 1893. His grandfather was John Watson Foster, Secretary of State under President Benjamin Harrison. His uncle, Robert Lansing, was Secretary of State in the Cabinet of President Woodrow Wilson.

After attending Princeton University he joined the diplomatic service and served in Vienna, Berne, Paris, Berlin and Instanbul. In 1922 he was appointed as chief of Division of Near Eastern Affairs.

During the Second World War Dulles served in Europe with the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) under William Donovan. The organization that was given the responsible for espionage and for helping the resistance movement in Europe. Dulles was stationed in Switzerland and was able to use his base in this neutral country to obtain important information on Nazi Germany and the Gestapo.

As soon as the Second World War ended President Harry S. Truman ordered the OSS to be closed down. However, it provided a model for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) established in September 1947. Dulles joined the CIA and became director of the organization in 1953.

Under his leadership the CIA had success in assisting right wing coups in Guatemala and Iran. His attempts to oust against Fidel Castro ended in failure and was forced to resign after the Bay of Pigs disaster.

Dulles published The Craft of Intelligence (1963). After the death of John F. Kennedy Dulles served on the Warren Commission that investigated the assassination. Allen Dulles died of cancer in 1969. "

Lastly, an overview on the Warren Commission under http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/JFKwarrenR.htm,

" After the death of John F. Kennedy, his deputy, Lyndon B. Johnson, was appointed president. He immediately set up a commission to "ascertain, evaluate and report upon the facts relating to the assassination of the late President John F. Kennedy." The seven man commission was headed by Chief Justice Earl Warren and included Gerald Ford, Allen W. Dulles, John J. McCloy, Richard B. Russell, John S. Cooper and Thomas H. Boggs.

Lyndon B. Johnson also commissioned a report on the assassination from J. Edgar Hoover. Two weeks later the Federal Bureau of Investigation produced a 500 page report claiming that Lee Harvey Oswald was the sole assassin and that there was no evidence of a conspiracy. The report was then passed to the Warren Commission. Rather than conduct its own independent investigation, the commission relied almost entirely on the FBI report.

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