Tuesday, January 02, 2007
A Ford and not a Lincoln: I have a different opinion of former President Gerald R. Ford now than I did before he died. The plethora of eulogies and kind remembrances metamorphosed my opinion. Before his death I thought his pardon of Richard Nixon was wrong, biased and ill conceived. I even thought, perhaps, he and Nixon had a gentleman’s agreement that Ford would assume the presidency and in return not hold Nixon accountable for the dismantling of our democratic process.
Then Ford died. Perhaps my former belief was in error. So many journalists and historians believe that Ford was the right man at the right time. Many believe his pardon spared a Watergate-weary nation from indicting a President for the high crimes he avoided through his resignation. Perhaps this was so. It seems now to me that Ford spared the nation a lot. Most importantly though, too, I liked Ford’s thoughts on feminism, abortion, a woman’s right to choose, and his thoughts today about homosexuality and gay marriage. I liked Betty Ford’s openness. I liked the fact that people seemed to think Ford was an honest man. He really was reminiscent of that old time Republican politics whereby an innate suspicion of government's involvement in the economic and personal lives of the population prevailed. Ford’s funeral was a return for a moment to that old time Republican political religion. Oh, yes, by the way, I also liked that Ford left a few choice uncomplimentary words for George W. Bush's Iraq debacle. Ah, for the good old days when honesty was indeed the best policy.