Thursday, December 28, 2006

Gerald Ford - A Man Of Contradictions

Gerald Ford died on Tuesday. He was the oldest living former President, and yet possibly understood less than any other living former President. As we were preparing a post about the "Political Look Back at 2006," it seemed more appropriate to create a separate post about President Ford.

Gerald Ford was a living contradiction. While parodied on Saturday Night Live by Chevy Chase as a stumbling "accident-waiting-to-happen", he was probably the most athletic of any American President - he was an All-American and had offers to join both the Detroit Lions and the Green Bay Packers.

Ford assumed the presidency, having never received a vote for himself on a Presidential ticket - either as President or as Vice President. Ironically, he was appointed to the VP position when Spiro Agnew resigned, and then assumed the Presidency when Nixon resigned.

Ford will always wear the cloak of his indefensible pardon of Nixon, signaling to many Americans "business as usual" - corruption and politicians being above the law. While the test of time may have signaled that it was probably the right thing to do, it is indefensible given the speed with which it was done, without Congressional authorization, and before any kind of investigation could even begin.

Ford also holds the distinction of surviving two assassination attempts by Squeaky Fromme and Sara Jane Moore within three weeks of each other.

Of course, we can always thank Gerald Ford for the introduction of folks like Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, and the elder George Bush into the White House Administration.

The position Ford found himself in upon taking control of the White House was not ideal by any means. He found our country in a similar situation to the one we find ourselves in now. Following Vietnam, however, Ford offered healing in the form of amnesty to draft dodgers, and was ballsy enough to announce his decision to an audience of the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

President Ford will not go down in history as the best President, nor will he be remembered as the worst. What remains to be seen is if the focus given to Ford's legacy will present any "learning moments" for our current President, as he faces some of the same challenges that were in front of Gerald Ford.

Posted by FleshPresser at 9:00 AM /


Post a Comment

« Home