Friday, December 29, 2006

Bush to Avoid Ford’s State Funeral

President Bush will skip out on President Ford’s state funeral on Saturday, instead remaining in Texas until services are held on Tuesday. Ford gave two embargoed interviews critical of the current president that were released shortly after his death.

LSB: What a chicken-shit! Yes, Ford dissed you a little in a interview he probably didn't expect to see the light of day while you were still in office, but he was responsible for giving your father (and by extension, you) a political career. Besides, you both are part of a pretty exclusive club in which there have only ever been 43 members. So get off you high horse, you petulant little asshole, and show the man some respect!

I have been a rapid, yellow-dog Democrat all of my life (much to the chagrin of my parents and other family members). Yet as a 21-year old college junior voting in my very first Presidential election I pulled the lever (yes, boys and girls, they used a mechanical voting machine back in those days) for Gerald R. Ford. Why? Because he had the “stones” to pardon Richard Nixon.

Back in the day, Nixon was likened to Hitler and the Anti-Christ. (In today’s political climate, he would have been likened to Saddam or Osama.) I hated Nixon and so did much of the country for the Watergate cover-up and the political upheaval it had created. So it was amazing to me that President Ford would set aside any political ambition he may have had for the future to pardon this man FOR THE GOOD OF THE COUNTRY.

As it has been borne out (i.e., the Lewinsky scandal), Ford could not have governed while the rest of the country was tied up in knots over the inevitable trials, delays, retrials, etc. of Richard Nixon. In the end, not only would the Presidency have been dragged through the mud, but so would the country. We have a saying in the South, “If you MUST kill grandma, slit her throat and be done with it quickly.” (I’m not sure how that saying ever came about, but you get the intention.) Pardoning was politically painful for Ford, but it was the right thing to do for the country, and he moved quickly to get us past the painful past to start on a better future.

After six years of a “regal” presidency (not unlike the past six years where deference is paid to the White House or else), the Fords were a breath of fresh air. Here was a guy that made his own breakfast, a first lady who shared her personal battles so that others might learn from them, one son who was “perfect,” one son who smoked dope, one son who had a child out of wedlock, and a moody teenage daughter. They were us!

A single act, by a single individual, to do what was right. Today we need bi-partison study groups to give political cover in order to do what is right. That was the reason I voted for him, that was the kind of honest leadership our country needed then (and needs now).

While I admire President Carter and all of the work he has done since leaving the White House, I have never regretted my decision to vote for President Ford. Can anyone tell me of a more politically courageous act in the past 32 years since that pardon?

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