Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Goodbye to a President


Not a big surprise, Bush, the news that President Gerald R. Ford died yesterday. He had obviously been in declining health for months, and had reached an age when death comes as not great shock. But sad nonetheless. With most other Americans, I suspect, I had a sneaking fondness for the man, and gratitude for his ability to pull us all out of the slough of Watergate and the war in Vietnam. A remarkable achievement, when you think of it. You had the sense, back then, that this was a man of integrity and honor--a simple man, too, and a man of unfeigned candor--at a time when those qualities had been sorely missing in the White House. I wonder what he could have thought in recent years about the ruthlessness and duplicity evidenced by his party and his President. The TV stations keep replaying that clip where he describes himself as "a Ford, not a Lincoln." But amongst the Fords, surely not one of those lemony Edsels. And compared with his current successor in the Oval Office--I make the analogy with a certain sadness, Bush--Gernald Ford was possessed of the class and the stability of a Bentley.

3 comments:

PK said...

Yes, it was sad, as you say, not a big surprise though. I rather liked him, until the day he said he pardoned Nixon on TV. I gasped at that... called an older friend of mine ranting... he asked if I was through, and proceeded to tell me it was a good thing that he did, and why. At first I thought he was a traitor, didn't say so, but thought it. After we hung up, I thought on this for about a month. Called another friend, this time just to ask questions. I came away with a whole different point of view of this Ford. Also one on forgiveness... Hope he kept a diary all these years so we could have the benefit of his thoughts on all events since he left office.

Anonymous said...

Yes, don't get too caught up in the misty eyed eulogies. His pardoning of Nixon made the Bush you despise a political possibility, removing forever from the political landscape any sense of accountability for wrongdoing, and making true the outlandish claim by Nixon that when the President does it, it is not illegal--whatever that is.

And don't forget too, that his pardon made it possible for so many members of the Nixon administraton to become members of the current administration.

It couldn't have happened if we'd held Nixon accountable. And because we didn't hold Nixon accountable, it is unlikely we are going to be able to hold Bush accountable, even if we decide we want to.

Don't get me wrong, Ford was a wonderful man, but not a great president.

Anonymous said...

And, as a follow up, we find out today that Ford did a four hour interview with Bob Woodward in which he said that the Iraq invasion was a huge mistake.

How very Republican to know a terrible truth and to refuse to tell that truth to the American People until you are beyond the reach of any earthly consequence.

Well, that State Funeral is going to be a little uncomfortable.