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.