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Gerald R. Ford, 38th President of the United States, 1913-2006
President Ford has died. He lived longer than any other person to have served as President, eclipsing Ronald Reagan by a few months on this Earth. He was saddled with a monumental job and did it. Some conservatives may disagree with my next sentence, but he did his job well. Was he a great President? No. But, against the standards set by the Democrat who preceded him, and the Democrat who succeeded him, he was outstanding. Johnson set this country on a course of dependence and entitlement that is proving nearly impossible to break. Carter was the worst flop of a president since Warren Harding, by far the worst president to serve without a criminal scandal. Yet, President Fordís success in bringing healing to this nation are ignored by the media. Instead, we saw a story that changed 180 degrees in the 24 hours since this man died.
At the beginning, the coverage focused on President Fordís controversial pardon of Richard Nixon one month after he ascended to the White House, and on the fact that he was the only president to have served without first standing for national election. The media were getting ready to bash a dead Republican president, in the same way that they conducted a hatchet job on the still-warm body of Ronald Reagan (easily the greatest president since Lincoln). Then, out came Bob Woodward with the news that President Ford, in 2004, granted an interview in which he was alleged to have disagreed with the Iraq war, and -- ALA-KAZAAM! Gerald Ford became a Saint!
I highlight this not because I respectfully disagree with President Ford, although I do. President Ford thought that Iraq did not involve a threat to our National Security. For the reasons set forth previously, in numerous articles, Iraq was a real and imminent threat, and was preparing to arm al-Qaeda and provide it a new home-base. The invasion and liberation of Iraq has saved fifteen lives for every one lost, and perhaps more. But I digress. I highlight the mediaís about face because the media loves, in its zeal to discredit conservatism with whatever it can manufacture, to highlight a GOP politician who breaks ranks. President Ford is by far the highest-ranking politician to ever do so. Listening to the Woodward tape, one hears President Ford criticizing the justification for going to war, namely, WMDs. What one does not hear is a direct condemnation of the war itself. That has been "spun" into the interviews by Woodward and the rest of the leftist media.
And, you know what? President Ford forced Woodward to embargo the interview until after his death! This is an indicator of class. He did not want to join Carter and Clinton in vitriolic stabbing for its own sake. Therefore, while I disagree with President Fordís conclusions, I do so respectfully. And apparently, President Ford gave that respect back to President Bush, with whom he appeared in public in June. I am sure that they discussed things. However, unlike Woodwardís tape, the contents of that conversation remain between the two Presidents and God.
We can sit around and pontificate. Some on talk radio are doing that, judging President Fordís work, or lack thereof, and saying things that intimate that he was a milquetoast who let the left run amok. I was young when President Ford took office (12 to be exact), but I remember the chaos caused by the Watergate scandal, and the Cronkite-fueled America-hatred of the Vietnam era. President Ford was a consummate politician (member of Warren commission, House minority leader) before being appointed Vice President in the wake of the Agnew scandal. He remained so in the White House, and had achieved great things in bringing the country together. Why he was not re-elected was simple backlash from Watergate. Even Abraham Lincoln would have lost to an actual peanut, much less Jimmy Carter, in 1976. Ronald Reagan did not help, with a strong campaign that lasted into the GOP convention, with a real possibility that the delegates would toss Mr. Ford to improve their chances. President Reagan was lucky that he lost that bid in 1976. For, his election in 1980 saved America from ruin. Unfortunately, that ruin is about to come back upon us, as the Democrats take over the Congress in a mere six days from this writing.
Gerald Ford was a great man, and an above-average President, accomplishing more in his two years than Carter and Clinton did in a combined twelve. May he rest in peace, with his good works unspun by leftists.