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Former President Gerald Ford Dead at 93

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One of America's "good Presidents" died today. Gerald Ford, who became the first and only unelected President of the United States when Richard Nixon resigned from office (Ford had been nominated by Nixon and confirmed by the US Senate to replace Vice President Spiro Agnew, who had resigned earlier), was not a great President but was a good one and a good man as well.

His brief Presidency featured two dramatic events.

First was his almost immediate pardon of Nixon from any and all crimes he may have committed (while controversial at the time it has since become widely affirmed as a wise, long-sighted, and correct decision).

Second were the two unsuccessful assassination attempts made on Ford in a three-week period by two women, Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme (in San Francisco) and Sara Jane Moore (in Sacramento) in the fall of 1975.

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingFord is also unique in that he did not seek the Presidency but accepted the office (it was widely believed that Nixon would not complete his second term when Ford was appointed VP) out of a sincere desire to serve his country and lead it through one of the worst crises in its history.

He led simply and, in many areas he led with hesitation and uncertainty (consider his approach to the "Swine Flu," his Edsel-like "WIN" ("Whip Inflation Now") program, and misplaced (and uninspiring) honesty(?) in his 1975 state of the union address when he declared, "the state of the union is not good."

Among his virtues I suppose the one that stands out the most was his sincere humility. Ford did not seek the limelight of fame and popularity either during his presidency or after his retirement from public office.

Ford was a quiet, uncomplicated and honest man. He may not have been great… but he was good.

And that is more than enough to justify honoring him on the occasion of his passing.

Footnote: Ford recently passed Ronald Reagan as the longest living former President.

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  • Sylvia Muffaleto

    “Widely affirmed”?

    From Bob Woodward’s article:

    Pres. Ford: “I looked upon [Nixon] as my personal friend. And I always treasured our relationship. And I had no hesitancy about granting the pardon, because I felt that we had this relationship and that I didn’t want to see my real friend have the stigma.”

    Yeah, that sounds like he did it to save the country.

  • Sylvia, well . . . maybe Nixon’s pardon wasn’t (from Ford’s point of view) a “wise” nor a “far-sighted” decision. But I still believe that history has shown that it was a “correct” decision.

    As one who went through that era as a draft-eligible young man I can say that the pardon of “draft-dodgers” that had fled to Canada, etc., was equally correct. The “system” was already widely perceived has being broken. Putting Nixon on trial for crimes committed while President of the United States would not, at that time in our history, have done anything to “fix” anything.

    If anything, Nixon’s punishment for his crimes had already been handed down. His sentence? 1. Resignation (in disgrace) from the presidency, and; 2. Spending the rest of his life living in the shame of that resignation.

    Satis est. It is enough.

  • Bliffle

    The purpose of the pardon was to exculpate his supporters, not Nixon. Now, all these years later, the deadenders who supported Nixon to the end can feel guilt-free. In fact, by spreading the blame to fictional ideas of national malaise and spreading the blame to everyone in the US they can say “we are all guilty”, much as the Bush deadenders said later “everyone thought there were WMD in Iraq”.