Former President Gerald Ford has died at the age of 93, and no, as the famous Saturday Night Live skit predicted over a decade ago, he was not eaten by wolves.
Observing Gerald Ford over the years, he struck me as the sort of person who was almost too good for politics. He was in the pantheon of those few politicians who was never personally involved in aÃ‚Â scandal, intern buggering,Ã‚Â said anythingÃ‚Â horrendously stupid, or was an incredible suck-up weasel. We often refer to this as “boring,” but it’s in a good way and one that’sÃ‚Â not often applied to politicians.
But if you are a politician, unfortunately, “boring”Ã‚Â apparently isn’t enough toÃ‚Â beat Jimmy Carter.
After President Nixon’s resignation, Ford became president and subsequently pardoned Nixon — a move that might have sealed Ford’s loss in the 1976 election and put Jimmy Carter in the driver’s seat as Captain Hazelwood of the SS America.
Gerald Ford might be one of those presidents –Ã‚Â along with perhaps Bill Clinton –Ã‚Â whose wifeÃ‚Â ends up havingÃ‚Â a greater legacy than he will. In the case of Bill Clinton, it comes down to “one trip to the dry cleaners = goodbye ‘presidentialÃ‚Â legacy’,” but Ford’s case, it’s got something to do with the Betty Ford CenterÃ‚Â founded by his wife, which has been home to more Hollywood celebs than MGM.
Ford’sÃ‚Â life has been filled with some great milestones:
And some incredibly uncomfortable and awkwardÃ‚Â moments:
But through it all, including an assassination attempt by a person with a nickname usually reserved for a dog’s rubber chew toy,Ã‚Â Ford handled himself with aplomb. Anybody who has his own airportÃ‚Â (one which I’ve flownÃ‚Â into and out of many times, and is — you guessed it — boring, but in a good way, like Ford himself)Ã‚Â has to have done something right.
Funeral plans for President Ford are pending, and no doubt in won’t be as lengthy and as covered as Ronald Reagan’s, but Gerald Ford is a man who is owed a good deal of respect for inheriting some ugly situations (Nixon resigning,Ã‚Â Vietnam, the conception of disco)Ã‚Â and handling them with class and dignity.
In addition to the presidential aspect of this, the last living member of The Warren Commission has now died. Get ready for all the conspiracy theories to start flying again, since Ford’s no longer here to continue to say they’re complete bunk.
Rest in peace, Mr. President — and pleaseÃ‚Â tell Nixon to take that suit off and relax for God’s sake.
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