Friday, December 29, 2006

Opinipundit Opines on Ford

Just a few reflections on Gerald Ford and his Presidency.

I liked Ford well enough, he was an unassuming man who, unlike most of the politicians in this country and the world for that matter, had no obscession with the spotlight. He was an intelligent, relatively capable but fairly average man with fairly average abilities.

My first impression of him is he neither relished the Presidency nor the responsibilities that went with it. He shyed away from confrontation whenever possible and was devoid of the type of strong ideological motivations that have led many past Presidents to shape world events. He is the only President I can recall that actually sought to reduce executive power rather than expand it. Granted he was faced with a lopsided opposition majority in Congress and a unsympathetic public so any sweeping change he might have initiated would likely be doomed to failure.

Looking back he was in many ways the right person in the right job at the right time. A scrupilously honest man who kept a low profile, was pragmatic and amiable both personally and professionally . Go along to get along is rarely the modus operandi one looks for in a POTUS however in those unprecedented times it's what was called for. The country did not need a firebrand or earth shaker but rather a methodical steadying hand to sooth the inflamed sensibilities of past Presidential malfeasance. In Gerald Ford they got exactly that.

When you consider that Ford only lost the Presidential election to Carter 50.1% to 48% it becomes clear that his tenure was amazingly successful. Considering how fresh past events were in peoples minds and a relentlessly brutal press, Ford should have been clobbered by at least 10% points.

In the final analysis Ford did what he needed to do, no more, no less. He mollified the American public and helped exenterate the sour taste in the mouths of the collective populace concerning the Republican party. As much as Carters haplessness this opened the door for a Republican in 80. Ronald Reagan's viability was due in large part to Gerald Fords action , or maybe rather, inaction.

Under 99.8% of all possible scenarios I would not want Gerald Ford as my President. But at that very specific time in our history from 1973 to 1976, he was just what the doctor ordered.

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