Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Gerald Ford Dies

Just saw this go up on the TV. Ford was 93 years old (the longest living president ever.)

He was a nice, down-to-earth man liked by people in both parties. His pardon of Nixon did him in politically and cost him re-election in 1976. Some of his policies were a little crazy (remember WIN buttons?), but overall I think history will judge him well for what he did post-Nixon.

Ford had a reputation for being clumsy (due mostly to Chevy Chase's silly shtick imitating him on Saturday Night and a few prominent accidents captured on camera like the time he hit his head getting into the presidential helicopter), but you have to understand that Ford was an All-American football player in college, continued to ski well into his 70's, and played golf nearly up until the end. He was really a very good athlete as well as a nice man.

I also have a spot in my heart for Betty Ford for what she did both for the fight against breast cancer and for the alcohol/drug recovery movement. (NY Daily News reporter Tom Defrank just said on CNN that Gerald Ford gave up drinking after his wife went into recovery as moral support for her - which says an awful lot about him.)

My thoughts and prayers are with Betty Ford and the Ford family tonight.

Rest In Peace, Jerry.

He was a nice, down-to-earth man liked by people in both parties.

Hmmm... Since the 70s, Ford has come in for quite a bit of criticism over his Warren Commission actions. I also don't give Ford too much credit for healing the country in Nixon's wake. As you mention the pardon did him in politically, and I'd add that it delayed any real 'national healing' until 1976 and Carter's election.
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