Saturday, December 30, 2006

Ford

I worked for a small newspaper in August of 1974. We had followed Watergate and watched the drama unfold on national television. We knew it was only a matter of time before Nixon resigned or was impeached. There was a lot of arrogance in Washington then and Nixon's handlers were mean spirited men. It was obvious that they felt they were "above the law".
But when it started getting hot, things began to come unraveled. John Dean, special counsel to the president made a startling revelation before congress. The president recorded all conversations in the white house. The race was on to get those tapes. Nixon and his cronies refused so a legal battle ensued. Nixion provided transcripts of some of the tapes to try and quail the uproar but the Democrats and the media were out for blood and finally on August 8th 1974, Nixon resigned.
Spiro Agnew, who had been elected with Nixon in 72 had already been forced to resign in October of 73 for unrelated criminal activity. Gerald Ford was tapped to take Agnew's place. So we as a country found ourselves with a president that we did not elect. But Gerald Ford was a breath of fresh air. He was totally clean of the whole Watergate fiasco. He took the reins in a turbulent time for our country and a calm ensued.
He did run for president in 1976 but was defeated by Jimmy Carter, a peanut farmer from Georgia. Had Ford not pardoned Nixon, he would have had a much better chance of winning the election, but Watergate would not go away and there were those who felt Nixon should have been prosecuted.
A few months after Ford took office, a comedy show came on the air. Saturday Night Live was very funny and President Ford was the brunt of many jokes. When Ford stumble while deplaning Air force One, SNL jumped all over it. And Ford who was actually a gifted athlete, was depicted as being a klutz and that label remained with him.
I think Ford was a good and decent man who served this country with honor and dignity. I was saddened to learn of his passing.

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