Gerald Ford is dead at the age of 93. I was a bit too young to remember much about Nixon or Watergate, and a bit too young to remember much about Ford, other than his bid to win legitimate election against Jimmy Carter.
My first clear memories, politically, are of Carter’s victory because I remember a Donny and Marie Show sketch making fun of the “peanut farmer from Georgia.” Given former President Carter’s recent antisemitic book on the Middle East, maybe he should have stayed down on the farm.
Anyway, the clearest memories I have of Gerald Ford are not of him, but of Chevy Chase pretending to be him, falling down on nearly every opening sketch of the first season of Saturday Night Live. That’s a shame.
Although Gerald Ford was never elected, he became the man who held the office who went on to live to the oldest age. Not sure what that’s worth. But I do know that, other than the presidential pardon, he is largely credited with bringing some respectability back to the GOP immediately after Nixon left a bad taste in everyone’s mouth.
My understanding is that Ford was a Rockefeller-style Republican, what in today’s parlance we would call a RINO – a Republican In Name Only. Be that as it may, I think I probably missed some of the greatness of the man, given the era in which I was born.
While the passing of Gerald Ford in no way matches the sadness I felt at the passing of Ronald Reagan, I do think his gentleness and integrity in the wake of roughness and corruption are a good reason to take a moment and remember him, before moving on with our daily lives.
Bye, President Ford. Hope you’ve been elected to a house in heaven!