Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Call me blasphemous...

...but the mad scramble to add significance to the term of a President who will mostly be remembered for tripping down stairs is somewhat humorous to me. You'd look at gatherings of former Presidents in the '90s and think to yourself, "Look! It's Reagan, Carter, Bush, and Chevy Chase!"

I mean, seriously, I came within a hair of titling this post "Ford Takes His Last Stumble".


Glenn Bartley said...

It is, I think, a sad commentary that you would even think that President Ford was clumsy; but I guess the media pulled the wool over your eyes as they did with many others.

Very many of the shots of him falling or otherwise being clumsy were cleverly arranged pitfalls that the media had set for me. They were caught at it, on film, at a ski resort one day as they set him up. Members of the press had gathered at the bottom of the hill, and a Ford skied there, they all called his name wildly to get him to turn toward them. Because of that he did not see the ski tow line and he went into it and fell over. It was seen as no coincidence that the spot near the tow rope was where the media gathered with their cameras, and was therefore the spot to where the president skied. Funny though how the media slacked off on showing him falling down after that, maybe since they had gotten caught red handed, at causing his 'accident'.

In fact, President Ford was an accomplished athlete. He gave up a potential career in football to go to law school. He was much more athletic than many another president.

He, of course, was not a great president as to his accomplishments, but he did have an impeccable character and integrity about him. Since the media had noting with which to attack his character, they attacked his physical attributes, though most unfairly and skewed so as to their goals.

While in office he prevented several pieces of ultra liberal legislation from being passed as he exercised his veto power 38 times while in office.

I wrote a short piece about him on my blog this morning, and as I said there, I say again here: He was impeccably respectable. That is much more than we can say for some recent presidents.

All the best,
Glenn B

Dr. StrangeGun said...

Glenn, I don't know about clumsiness but Ford was prone to accident certainly, he nearly got pitched off his aircraft carrier in WWII during a storm.

What President Ford was, however, was a perfect model of a president... a president that didn't want to be president. It's often said that anyone who wishes to be president isn't fit to be; anyone who desires to he a politician shouldn't be allowed. Ford was minority leader... then got "assigned" to the vice presidency and presidency.

Tam said...

I'm not commenting on his character or his athleticism. I'm sure he was honest, loyal, kind to children, and held Betty's hair out of her face while she was hurling in the toilet.

I am commenting on the fact that history remembers him as an SNL sketch between Watergate and giving away the Panama Canal.

Dr. StrangeGun said...

Well, he was pretty much a footnote, true...

Porta's Cat said...

I sort of "came of age" with Ford as POTUS. I was in grade school at the time, and he is sort of the first Prez I can recall being aware of.

I have a postcard of him and his family sitting around a fireplace in one of my childhood scrapbooks. I seem to recall his dog, a Golden Retriever, being named "Liberty". He sent it to me after some school letter writing campaign they put us up to as an assignement.He holds a bit of a special place in my heart, as a result.

Oddly enough, the next Prez, Carter did not hold such esteem in my heart as a child. Even then, at that age, I could tell a difference between the men.

It is a bit of a sad day.

3yellowdogs said...

Sad, yes, that a decent, honest President is gone. He lived a good, long life.

Historically, however, he'll be known as little more than a place-holder that pardoned Nixon (the right move) presided over the fall of Viet Nam (set in place prior to his time in office) tried to stand up to an ultra-libertal Congress (60+ vetoes, 12 overturned).

Substantively, though, it's pretty hard to get past the memory of those moronic WIN buttons.

LawDog said...

he nearly got pitched off his aircraft carrier in WWII during a storm.

It was the typhoon of 18 December 1944. During that storm, three US Navy destroyers (USS Hull, USS Spence, and USS Monaghan) were capsized and sank. 790 officers and men died, and a further 80 were injured.

Gerald Ford was stationed on the USS Monterey, upon which several palnes broke loose of their moorings and collided, starting a fire which rendered the carrier unfit for service.

Gerald Ford maintained his duty station on the deck of the USS Monetery during the storm, until relieved. During his exit of his battle station, the USS Monterey rolled a full 25 degrees, sending the future president sliding off of the flight deck.

Gerald Ford snagged the two-inch-high steel ridge around the flight deck and used it to roll himself onto the catwalk below.

During a Pacific typhoon that not only was tossing his ship 25 degrees, but sank three other vessels, at night, in the rain and spray ...

If that isn't athleticism, I don't know what is.

markm said...

Ford was first elected to Congress following one scandal that left the Grand Rapids Republicans looking for a squeaky-clean candidate, and a few decades later reached the Presidency following a greater scandal. His public image seems to have been "too stupid to be crooked" - and I think the "stupid" part was entirely an act. He wasn't that honest, either, but he was as decent as a successful politician can be.

Gewehr98 said...

I would've thought that of all independently-minded people with blogs, Tamara wouldn't fall for the "clumsy president" stereotype that the media portrayed, let alone repeat it for the benefit of the web.

Oh, well.

Comatus said...

"I'm sure he was honest, loyal, kind..."

Also trustworthy, helpful, friendly, courteous, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent.

He was the one and only Eagle Scout President. And, on his honor, he did his best to do his duty.

Comatus said...

Chevy Chase is now free to join Vaughan Meeder in Comedy Hell.

Matt G said...

Sorry, Tamara friend, but you're missing the mark on this one. At 61, Ford was still in better shape than most any president I can think of, including JFK. Following back-to-back championship seasons at football, he turned down two offers to play professional football (the Packers and... the Rams?) to go to law school. Interestingly, in a time when they were optional (pre-1939), Ford chose to play center without a helmet. Thats' tough. (Consider, for a second, the concept of Brett Farvre taking a snap from... never mind. Time be slippin')

Ford took a huge hit for pardoning his predeccessor, which some in the media have called a "backfire," as if it were a miscalculation. No, that's Clintonian thinking, there. History, I think, has shown that letting Nixon fade into obscurity and just a dirty word has been good for this nation. Ford was right to spare his country the impeachment hearings and trial. We were floundering, and it was time to move on, regardless of the reflection in his approval rating in polls (which dropped from 70+ to barely 50% in a single day.).

Ford was self-effacing, and was liked by many on both sides of the aisle. His confirmation hearing was a cake walk, with affirmations from opposition leaders that he was a good guy. Imagine that today.

I suppose it's a race to see who the next former president to go is. I don't guess that we'll have much trouble deciding who among the prime candidates is the nicer guy, regardless of who we voted for or would vote for today. But none was a better man or necessarily did better presiding, than Ford. He ferried through a rocky patch with grace.