Gerald Ford Passes

CNN and FOX is now reporting that Gerald Ford has died (via Michelle Malkin). No links yet, but CNN is covering it wall to wall at the moment.
We can expect plenty of analysis of Ford’s impact on American politics, but to me he will always be the Accidental President. Plucked from near-obscurity to be Nixon’s VP in the wake of Spiro Agnew’s resignation, he never appeared at ease in the glare of presidential scrutiny. He soon garnered an undeserved reputation as a klutz, thanks to Chevy Chase, but in truth he was a star athlete. His was the first presidency to get defined by video bites and cheap shots, but unfortunately he was not the last.
His first action as President pretty much ensured his defeat in the 1976 election. He pardoned Richard Nixon, an act that still inspires debate among people all along the political spectrum. Critics accused him of conspiring with Nixon to let him off the hook in exchange for the Presidency after Nixon knew he would have to leave. Nor was that his only brush with conspiracy theorists. Ford was a member of the Warren Commission that insisted that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone in the assassination of John F. Kennedy.
Most Presidents try to find a little more immortality after they leave office, but Ford mostly shunned the limelight. He kept to himself, spending time with his wife Betty and their family rather than chase after the press or attend splashy public events. He received visitors and kept mentally alert, but his physical health began to fail a few years ago. He surpassed Ronald Reagan as the oldest former President in American history earlier this year, but none thought he would live much longer than that.
Gerald Ford may have been at the center of more than one controversy, but he left with his reputation as an honest man more or less intact. Unlike Jimmy Carter, he never felt the need to campaign for affection or respect; it came to him naturally. He did an admirable job leading the nation during one of the worst times in our history. Our prayers go out to his wife Betty and their entire family in their grief, and we hope our respect follows him into the next life. Godspeed, Mr. President.
UPDATE: George Bush has a written statement on Ford’s death out now.
Also, I forgot to note another odd tidbit of the Ford presidency — he was the only President to survive two serious assassination attempts. Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme and Sara Jane Moore both attempted to shoot him from close range with handguns within three weeks in autumn 1975. Moore fired a shot but got thwarted by a quick-thinking bystander, who hit her arm as she fired; Fromme forgot to load the firing chamber before she pointed the gun at Ford. Both women continue to serve life sentences.
UPDATE II: Here are some links: Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, AP. I assume that most news agencies had their obituaries updated frequently in the past few months.
UPDATE III: See-Dubya at Hot Air calls him the best President of the 1970s, a brilliant example of damning with faint praise. I believe him to be a good President for the times, but a man who would not have won the office otherwise — nor would he have pursued it. Also, Rick Moran has a touching remembrance of Ford at Right Wing Nuthouse.

19 thoughts on “Gerald Ford Passes”

  1. RIP Gerald Ford

    Breaking – former President Gerald Ford has died at age 93.
    May The Lord bless you and keep you.
    May the Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you.
    May the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace.
    Our prayers are wi…

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  3. President Gerald Ford, RIP

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