Gerald Ford

Alav hashalom (RIP).

Ford’s presidency looks better with time and Jimmy Carter’s looks worse. Yet I remember the sense of disappointment with Ford, and enthusiasm for Carter, before the 1976 election among my parents’ contemporaries. (I’m sure that I would have voted for Carter if I had been old enough.)

At the time it seemed natural to frame any evaluation of Ford or Carter mainly in comparison to Nixon rather than in terms of urgent national issues. Ford came across, unfairly, as dull and clumsy and was prone to malapropisms. Carter, with his pious demeanor and then-novel southern political background, seemed to many people to be a sort of anti-Nixon. But Carter turned out to be seriously inept, while Ford’s judgment looks pretty good in hindsight, particularly if you consider his many vetoes, and the bad decisions he avoided by being essentially a practical politician rather than a zealous man.

Times change. Time clarifies.

2 thoughts on “Gerald Ford”

  1. RIP. A man of solid virtues. Not my kind of conservative, but he came in during a howling crisis and calmed everything down. Nixon’s selection of him was a stroke of genius, and Ford’s performance was a great service to the country.

    Also, Ford was an outstanding athlete, probably the best athlete we have ever had as president, and his reputation for clumsiness is a good example of the vicious bias of the media and entertainment industries.

  2. With all respect for both Ford and the previous comment, Ford will be remembered for his vetoes? Perhaps also for letting Nixon go free, as in payback time. Yes, Ford says he did the right thing for the good of the nation; similarly his party did the right thing with Clinton and decided Not to impeach him. As for the many fumbles, if he did that while playing football, and the media noted it, would that again be an example of reality or of media bias?

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