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RIP, President Ford

With respect for the man and his family, we note the passing of President Gerald R. Ford, the only unelected vice president and president in our nation’s history (Florida 2000 nonwithstanding).

There are a number of revisionist histories in the Letters section of the newspaper and in various blogs on Ford’s legacy.  He will always be known as the man who pardoned President Nixon and the VietNam “draft-dodgers” seeking to put two dark chapters in our nation’s history behind us.  His support for his wife Betty’s battles with addiction was also notable.  His greatest accompishment was that he held the country together and made decisions to heal us rather than divide us.

Comparisons of Ford with the current occupant of the White House are ill-advised.  Many letter writers in the Register opine how history will judge George W. Bush.  Here’s a spoiler for you: harshly.

On Flash Report, Jon Fleischman writes with respect for President Ford, a Republican so moderate that, if he ran today, Fleischman would have advocated his removal from the election cycle for Ford’s lack of conservative credentials.  Ford actually understood the value of working across the aisle to get things done and was great friends with Speaker Tip O’Neill.   

Ford did defeat Ronald Reagan for the GOP nomination in 1976, but tried to court the base by selecting Bob Dole as his running mate over Nelson Rockefeller.  And the Ford administration spawned the team of Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld.  And’s safe to say, Chevy Chase owes his career to Ford.