Thursday, December 28, 2006

The Legacy of Gerald R. Ford

Ford will be best remembered for the controversial pardon he gave Richard Nixon. ~ Unknown News Commentator on the FOX Network

I do not know where the talking head that spouted the above got his information. I suspect that he wasn’t born when the Watergate fiasco took place and has no personal memories of the crisis it caused. But I was around as an educated and politically aware adult and I remember it all too well. So I suggest that the pardon of Richard Nixon is the least of the legacy President Gerald R. Ford leaves this nation.

It took a brave and self-sacrificing person to do the things that Ford did. And I’ll add to that: it took an honest person. After spending twenty-five years in Congress, he accepted the responsibility of the Vice Presidency after the elected Veep, Spiro Agnew, pleaded nolo contendere to falsifying federal tax returns (based upon bribes he received when governor of Maryland) and resigned as Vice President of the United States. Nine months later, with the resignation from the Presidency of Richard M. Nixon, Ford became President of a depressed and stressed United States.

The people of the United States were in state of shock from the revelations about the crimes, lies, corruption, and cover-up perpetrated in the Oval Office and beyond. At the moment, American solders were still dying in Vietnam; the nation was in the midst of its first major OAPEC inspired oil crisis; the national economy was in a tailspin with inflation eating away at the value of the dollar faster than my cat, Alex, can lap up a bowl of milk.

As the first and only President of the United States not to have been elected as either President or Vice President, Ford inherited this national mess. As Barry Werth wrote yesterday:

Ford, who never sought national office and never got a single vote for president or vice president, stepped onto the world stage just as his government was sundering, which alone must qualify him for a place among history's bravest, if most untested and lightly regarded leaders.

I shall not go into the details of his all-too-short Presidency. I shall say that Gerald Ford met the challenges placed before him. And I am most thankful that he did. I join the nation in mourning his passing.

About that pardon? I am certain the President Ford did the right thing. Perhaps it was the only way we could have quickly and easily gotten Nixon out of the White House and allowed the nation to get on with the real business of government. And I believe that for the majority of mature Americans, no matter what our political beliefs were, we were just happy to get Tricky Dickey Nixon out of the headlines and our minds.


  1. Very sad indeed. I join my American neighbors in mourning a man who epitomised the term 'service' in the word civil service.

  2. He was an honest and intelligent public servant and a good and decent human being who, at a time when we really needed it, put the good of the US ahead of his own personal or political gain.

    I'm a far-left-leaning liberal, but I'd be thrilled if we had a President like him again. Soon.

  3. Hi, Nick. Did you check out WanderingScribe's new post?

  4. As usual, Saintly Nick, you wrote the words I was thinking but couldn’t put into words. It is too bad that we do not have a civil servant like President Ford among today’s politicians.

  5. I really enjoyed reading this. Very nicely put.


  6. Thanks Nick. Many people made fun of him and continued to do so long after he left office. Thank you for pointing out the mess he walked into and the challenges he faced. I read this morning that he disagreed with Bush's Iraq policy and questioned it up until his passing.

  7. Another awesome post, Nick. Your blog is a pleasure to read.
    Thanks, Laurie

  8. This is one of your best. Thank you for reminding us of what we owe President Ford. I heard tonight that on the day President Carter was inaugurated, he said about President Ford, “For myself and for our Nation, I want to thank my predecessor for all he has done to heal our land."

  9. Ford’s administration seems so very long ago—and I suppose that it was. I’m rather glad he was around to puts some closure on some very nasty events.

  10. Very well-said, Nick. I agree completely.

  11. Wasn't there an assasination attempt on Ford? I could be wrong, but I seem to vaguely remember - & I haven't heard it mentioned these past few days...

    (I'm not signed in)