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.