Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

President Ford

It is reported this evening that President Ford has died at the age of 93, the cause of death has not been reported. I am just reading this after being away for several days. I haven't had much time to digest it or to consider Ford's presidency.

However this article refers to Ford as "the only one never elected to nationwide office" and the "accidental president". (Of course, these words might be said about our current president. However, the sentiment behind them would be completely different.)

Ford was, in some ways, the epitome of "accidental" in that he was a true public servant. He didn't seek office, but was asked to serve and he did. He and his wife were, in many ways, a very average Americans who had average problems, such as alcoholism. But they were called to duty, and they rose to the occasion. That should be honored and respected.

Nixon didn't think much of Ford. Yet, it was Ford who redeemed him by choosing to pardon Nixon, a decision that demonstrated his courage and integrity. This isn't to say that I agree with his decision. Nor do I judge it harshly because I understand his reasoning, and I have read about how he agonized over it.

It was under Ford that we pulled out of Vietnam, a war that two other presidents created and fostered. Ford took some of the rap for that, loosing his bid for the presidency in 1976. And he was longed criticized for pardoning Nixon. He put his personal political career to the side to do what he thought best for the country and its healing. I find it somewhat unjust that the year of our bicentennial he lost his own attempt for the presidency as a result.

What do the Citizen's think?


Anonymous said...

I once wrote term paper on Nixon's decision to appoint Ford to replace the disgraced VP, Spiro Agnew. Melvin Laird suggested Ford and Nixon's response was "Can you see Gerry Ford in this chair?!" Laird finally convinced Nixon that Ford was the best choice.

Nixon wanted Connelly (R-TX, recent party switch from D) to be the next President. But with a Democratic majority in the Senate, Laird and other Nixon aides were concerned that Connelly could not be confirmed. The Republican rank and file were split between liberals (they used to exist) who wanted Nelson Rockefeller and conservatives who wanted Reagan. Nixon would not appoint either because that would have given them an advantage in the primaries against his chosen successor.

Ford had recent announced that he was not going to seek reelection to his House seat in 1976. So Nixon probably expected Ford not to contest the primaries. In the end, Ford did contest the primaries and defeated Reagan. Conelly never ran.

Ford's greatest moment was probably losing the 1976 election. Nixon would not have allowed himself to lose an election like that (that's what Watergate was ultimately about). Nor would our current President (that's what Florida and Ohio were all about).

Ford's lowest moment was the botched rescue of the crew of the USS Mayaguez. Khmer paramilitaries had already released the crew when Ford ordered the Marines in anyway. There were more casualities than rescued crewmen.

I'd say Ford was over-rated but he's never been that highly rated.  

// posted by RBR

Anonymous said...

I fault Ford for pardoning Nixon. Call me conservative, but Nixon broke the law and should have been punished. Nixon's crimes were neither minor nor accidental. For personal gain, Nixon deliberately abused his position of trust and authority to assail two pillars of our democracy: fair elections and judicial oversight. A bad precedent has been set, and perhaps now no President shall ever be held to account for their crimes.

A trial for Nixon would have been a distracting media circus that likely would have wounded the Republican party and the Ford Presidency. It would have been painful in some ways, especially for the Republican party, but getting it all out into the open and dealing with Nixon's crimes honestly would have been better for the nation, in the end. The notion that a pardon was "necessary" so we could heal and move on is just an excuse. Ford's pardon did nothing to heal the nation's wounds from Wategrate. The pardon provided no closure, no justice, and no answers--it just changed the topic. Ford's decision to pardon Nixon may have been selfless, in that he knew it would cost him, but it was not noble: he did it for the sake of his party, not his country.

Anonymous said...

Actually, there is a lot of speculation that Ford agreed to pardon Nixon in return for Haig's assurance that Nixon would encourage his supporters in the GOP to back Ford (instead of Connelly) in the 1976 primaries. 

// posted by RBR