The news of President Ford’s passing last night caused me to think about him, and the office that he held, and the others who have held it. The 38th President holds the distinction of being the only President not elected to either the Presidency or Vice-Presidency, and is probably best remembered for his pardon of Richard Nixon following the Watergate affair. For the next week or so, expect the press to be lavishing over this fact, and the moments of his life through his loss to Jimmy Carter in the 1976 election.
What may not be mentioned is that President Ford was one the last of a dying breed – the politician who actually rides into the sunset. After his term of office, the President had to be cajoled by Ronald Regan to attend the funeral of Anwar Sadat. While he wrote his memoirs, he did not work to ensure a “legacy.” He campaigned for Ronald Regan because “You win some and you lose some, and you have to accept the responsibility to do what you think in the bigger perspective. I sure didn't want Jimmy Carter to be president again in 1980 because I was very sour on his performance as president.” (Washington Post, 2004) Note that this was said 24 years after the Carter presidency. On the other hand, the target of that comment spoke thus of the sitting president: “I don’t think George W. Bush has any particular commitment to preservation of the principles of human rights.” In addition, ex-President Carter has felt the need to openly criticize the sitting President on everything from elections to the War on Terror. And don’t get me started about Clinton.
What I will miss about Ford is the “un-Presidential President” aspect of his life. He made his own breakfast in the White House, and didn’t just make a show of it (for example, carrying empty suit-carriers onto Air Force One.) Ford attempted to hold the Congress to it’s commitments – losing continued funding for South Vietnam (allowing the North Vietnamese to take over within months). He attempted to control spending, vetoing over 60 bills, mostly for extra government spending, to come out of the Democrat controlled Congress in the 2 ½ years he spent in the White House. He was a man of his word, something that politicians could use a lesson in today. But most of all, I’ll miss not having to hear about him every day after he left the Presidency, unlike some other ex-Presidents.
Margaritas ante Porcos,
Right Wing Toledo