Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Death of a Quiet Man

Gerald R. Ford, 38th President, died yesterday at 93 years of age. He was a simple man, whose goal in life was to be Speaker of the House and instead had the Presidency thrust upon him when Nixon resigned. Ford is credited with humanizing the White House and Presidency, after Nixon's Imperial Presidency, but he counted among his friends Donald Rumsfeld and Richard Cheney. It is said of Ford that he was friends with everybody. Still, even "Everyman" makes bad decisions.

In 1975, Ford fired James Schlesinger from the Pentagon. Ford replaced Schlesinger with Donald Rumsfeld, whom Nixon found to be "admirably Machiavellian." While in Congress, Rumsfeld had "his own little plumbers-type unit at the Office of Economic Opportunity in 1969, charged with sniffing out "revolutionaries" who might disburse federal funds to 'subversives'."

When Ford became President, he said "Our long national nightmare is over." And here we are again, perhaps in a worse state than before. Rumsfeld is no longer Defense Secretary, but his hand is all over the war in Iraq. We have an idiot King/President at the helm, whose stubborn arrogance is leading not just America, but the World, to the brink of destruction. How ironic that it is Bush who praised Mr. Ford for his contributions to the nation “in an hour of national turmoil and division,” in a statement released early today from his ranch in Texas.

“With his quiet integrity, common sense, and kind instincts, President Ford helped heal our land and restore public confidence in the presidency,” Mr. Bush said. “The American people will always admire Gerald Ford’s devotion to duty, his personal character, and the honorable conduct of his administration.”


This praise, from George Bush, who is neither kind, nor blessed with integrity nor common sense, has done more to destroy public confidence in the presidency than anyone before him, sickens me. Ford, while not perfect, was a moderate Republican, a Centerist, and a mender of fences. His pardon of Nixon was probably the right thing to do, despite the horrific unpopularity of his action. But today, today we have a cynical despot in the highest office. Someone explain to me how we got here.

9 comments:

Peacechick Mary said...

I think Ford launched the cover-up way of life for the Repubs. He not only pardoned Nixon, but he hid the results of the Warren Report (Kennedy) and embraced numerous neocon agendas. So, I will not salute the happy go-lucky slip and fall man in life or death. sorry to be such a stick in the mud.

Donnie McDaniel said...

Well at least he wasn't Dubya. So there, I said something nice about him.

Anonymous said...

I feel indifference about the man. He was an un-elected president during a very difficult time in our history. He liked Donald Rumsfeld, that says a lot about the man. I'm sure people will miss him. Me, not so much.

Frederick said...

He was good SNL fodder. That's all I have to say about the man.

Anonymous said...

It's so nice that Dubya has speechwriters for his tributes. He couldn't conceive of the sort of praise he heaped on Gerald Ford.

pekka said...

I still remember the feeling I had about your President Ford. However, it has been articulated so well by the others that I have nothing new to add. It seems that this tumble of his is the last one. Bon Voyage, skipper!

Despite not being the sharpest knife in the drawer, I venture to answer your question as to "how you got here". It's possibly the men like Ford, by his amnesty of Tricky Dick, that erroded the consept of justice and honour. Also the sense of right was lost which slowly but surely gave the birth to likes of your present disasterous head of state.

pissed off patricia said...

It was interesting watching him read that speech yesterday. If he were a man with a brain and a heart I'm sure he would see the irony in what he said.

DivaJood said...

Peace Chick, I don't think you're being a stick in the mud about it. What I recall about Ford is that he seemed to be a decent guy, with modest ambitions who became the Accidental President. Had he not pardoned Nixon, I think the resulting turmoil would have been incredible, but Nixon was a criminal who needed to be tried in a criminal court. But I think Ford really had a heart, and soul, unlike the current regime.

Donnie, that's saying a lot, actually.

Robin Andrea, I guess that's what it is. Indifference? Or ambivelence? He like Rumsfeld AND Cheney, but he also said that anyone who has to keep a list of his enemies has too many enemies. But no, I'm not going to miss him.

Frederick, yes, Chevy Chase's finest moments.

Lulu Maude, I wonder if Dub's speechwriters were laughing when they wrote that stuff about Ford, knowing that Dub was the one to open his mouth.

Pekka, it started before Ford, that culture of secrets and lies. Long before Ford.

Patricia, could you not just see the straw and sawdust falling out of Dub's ears?

Helen Wheels said...

I just remember as a kid liking him because he was pres. in 1976 - the Bicentennial, which was a big deal. We got to do all this extra celebrating. So fond memories... before I was political...