President Gerald Ford who was “blessed” with great health just about to the end of his life, died at 93 years old on December 26, 2006.
Now that’s what I call a great run on life!
After any President or world leader dies, the media and politicians of all parties and philosophies generally do their best to find ways to laud the deceased’s life.
In Ford’s case, they speak of him as being a once upon a time great college athlete. A remarkable golfer. An upstanding and outstanding Member of Congress (Republican Minority House Leader). And the man who kept it all together after Nixon was driven from office.
The pundits say with virtual unanimity that the reason Ford didn’t beat Carter in their race for the Presidency (1976), was because he (Ford) had pardoned Nixon for Nixon’s crimes against the US Constitution.
Here’s my take on the Presidency and political life of Gerald Ford:
Ford was a public bumbler who was an accident waiting to happen. He was chosen to be Nixon’s Vice President (1973) after Spiro Agnew was turfed from the Vice Presidency for being a thief and worse (bribery).
Ford was Nixon’s choice only because he was the least objectionable choice he could make. He was liked by everyone; Democrats and Republicans alike, which meant a speedy confirmation.
It also tells me that he was a man who went out of his way not to ruffle feathers. And didn’t present a threat to anyone else’s political aspirations on either side of the great political divide.
The Democrats Certainly had no fear of him. And as history proved in his defeat to Carter, they were right.
To me, a politician who is liked by everyone is a politician who does very little. He takes no hard positions. And spends his time grooming his “nice” image rather than fighting the good and aggressive fight for things he believes in.
When Ford became the unelected President of the USA (1974) after Nixon left office, the only thing he did that was memorable was to sign a pardon which kept Nixon out of jail.
But make no mistake about it. The pardon Ford signed was worked out in detail long before Nixon left office. And more probably than not, by the political heavyweights behind the scenes from both Parties, rather than by Gerald Ford himself.
The reason why Ford lost to Jimmy Carter in 1976, had everything to do with the fact that Ford did not have the charisma, strength of character, or public competence to inspire people to vote for him.
In essence: Ford lost to a man who should never have made it to the White House.
Had it been a different candidate facing Carter, other than Ford, we would be living in a very different world today.
Arguably a better world, since the Soviet Union would have fallen sooner, Israel would not have been forced into making suicidal concessions to their Arab enemies, and the Islamists would not have been emboldened by watching America and its hostages squirm for more than a year in Iran.
The only thing I can say about Ford as President, was that he did no harm. And maybe, given the circumstances of the day, that could be considered an achievement.
Not much of an achievement. But perhaps an achievement nonetheless.