Wednesday, December 27, 2006

the accidental president

As i was driving to work this afternoon, listening to Talk of the Nation on NPR they were talking about the late President R. Gerald Ford, and it brought many things to mind. During the 1976 presidential campaign, my candidate of choice was Ford himself (as a diehard democrat who will admit to only having voted for one or two republican in her entire voting career the thought makes me shudder today~but as a mere ten year old i guess it can be excused~i mean the man WAS president and as far as i was concerned he seemed to be doing a fairly good job~and he was running against WHO~a peanut farmer from Georgia of all places~not to mention the fact that my evil stepfather was a VERY STRONG supporter of the Carter/Mondale campaign and in those days that in and of itself was enough to put me in the opposing camp)
Also, what is the deal with all those pratfalls Chevy Chase was taking? Was Ford really known for his clumsiness (i'm really more familiar with Chase's characterization than images of Ford himself, so i'm confused)? I mean he was voted the most valuable player on his University of Michigan football team (a not so shabby school if i do say so myself) he then had offers from both the Detroit Lions and the Green Bay Packers. The navy installed him as a physcial trainer. He was an avid skier and golfer, was he really tripping all over himself every time he walked up to a podium or was it merely a metaphor? (and could anyone bumble their speech quite so much as our current Commander in Chief?)
Speaking of accidental, Ford apparently never really aspired to the world's highest office (and i can't say i blame him) what this lawyer really wanted was to be Speaker of the House. Never elected as either Vice President or President, political scandal placed him in both positions. He officially pardoned Nixon on September 8, 1974 because he felt the nation needed to heal. The nation did not respond well. His rather narrow loss to Carter in the 1976 has often been at least partially attributed to this pardon and it was his first and only election lost (or so i think i heard, i haven't been able to find a source on that.) With time, the pardon has been seen by many as the right thing to do at the time, for whatever that's worth.

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