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December 27, 2006

Former President Gerald Ford - May He Rest In Peace

Topics: Human Interest

President_Ford2006-12-27-1167208527.jpgAs most readers know by now, President Gerald Ford died at his desert home at 6:45 p.m. Tuesday.

Every American should be:saddened by the passing of former President Gerald R. Ford, a great American who gave many years of dedicated service to our country, who unlike Jimmy Carter, never felt the need to campaign for affection or respect; it came to him naturally and deservedly.

President Bush says of President Ford's passing:

President Ford was a great American who gave many years of dedicated service to our country. On August 9, 1974, after a long career in the House of Representatives and service as Vice President, he assumed the Presidency in an hour of national turmoil and division. With his quiet integrity, common sense, and kind instincts, President Ford helped heal our land and restore public confidence in the Presidency.

The American people will always admire Gerald Ford's devotion to duty, his personal character, and the honorable conduct of his administration. We mourn the loss of such a leader, and our 38th President will always have a special place in our Nation's memory. On behalf of all Americans, Laura and I offer our deepest sympathies to Betty Ford and all of President Ford's family. Our thoughts and prayers will be with them in the hours and days ahead.

Ed Morrisey offers a perspective on his presidency:
[...] His first action as President pretty much ensured his defeat in the 1976 election. He pardoned Richard Nixon, an act that still inspires debate among people all along the political spectrum. Critics accused him of conspiring with Nixon to let him off the hook in exchange for the Presidency after Nixon knew he would have to leave. Nor was that his only brush with conspiracy theorists. Ford was a member of the Warren Commission that insisted that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone in the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

Most Presidents try to find a little more immortality after they leave office, but Ford mostly shunned the limelight. He kept to himself, spending time with his wife Betty and their family rather than chase after the press or attend splashy public events. He received visitors and kept mentally alert, but his physical health began to fail a few years ago. He surpassed Ronald Reagan as the oldest former President in American history earlier this year, but none thought he would live much longer than that.

Gerald Ford may have been at the center of more than one controversy, but he left with his reputation as an honest man more or less intact. Unlike Jimmy Carter, he never felt the need to campaign for affection or respect; it came to him naturally. He did an admirable job leading the nation during one of the worst times in our history. Our prayers go out to his wife Betty and their entire family in their grief, and we hope our respect follows him into the next life. Godspeed, Mr. President.

Outside the Beltway points to a WaPo piece that speaks of Ford's significant accomplishments:
In the 2 1/2 years of his presidency, Ford ended the U.S. involvement in the war in Vietnam, helped mediate a cease-fire agreement between Israel and Egypt, signed the Helsinki human rights convention with the Soviet Union and traveled to Vladivostok in the Soviet Far East to sign an arms limitation agreement with Leonid Brezhnev, the Soviet president. Ford also sent the Marines to free the crew of the Mayaguez, a U.S. merchant vessel that was captured by Cambodian communists.

On the domestic front, he faced some of the most difficult economic conditions since the Great Depression, with the inflation rate approaching 12 percent. Chronic energy shortages and price increases produced long lines and angry citizens at gas pumps. In the field of civil rights, the sense of optimism that had characterized the 1960s had been replaced by an increasing sense of alienation, particularly in inner cities. The new president also faced a political landscape in which Democrats held large majorities in both the House and the Senate.

You'll find factoids about President Ford's life and academic, athletic, military, political careers - here.

Unlike Jimmy Carter, Gerald Ford was a gentleman and a statesman who supported his country to the end of his days.

More at Flopping Aces, Blue Crab Boulevard, Michelle Malken, and Wizbang

Posted by Richard at December 27, 2006 10:09 AM

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