Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Remembering the Ford Administration

They say the job of every (Republican?) president is to make his predecessor look good. The web is awash with commentary this morning on the passing of Gerald Ford; I cheerfully align myself with the “Ford was a decent man” faction—virtually the last American president who could do the job without letting his ego get in the way.

Dissenters from this view cite, as exhibit #1, the fact the Ford White House was the same gang of ruffians who created the current mess—Cheney and Rumsfeld. It’s hard to argue with this but I would like to throw out one idea that I haven’t seen discussed elsewhere. This comes from my friend Gladys, an old-time East Coast GOP pro, who remembers a day when she thought you could be both a Republican and a feminist. Gladys recalls:

I think it is the heart surgery. I remember Cheney from the Ford administration. You could deal with him. He was a hard Wyoming conservative, but you could deal with him. He stood for what he stood for, but that was that. These days he is bitter and angry and dark. He’s had the surgery; he never really came back. He’s an old man and he is near the end and it shows.

It’s worth a thought. And no, not really Gladys. Nobody is named Gladys. But since I am quoting without permission (and paraphrasing from memory, at that)…

Postscript: Two other quickies. One, remember it was the Reagan right who undertook to destroy Ford for ideological impurity. And two, recall the 76 election: Ford v. Carter. On the decency scale, things have changed, not so?

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