Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Gerald R. Ford Dies

In my post from just after the November elections, I quoted President Gerald Ford. Last night, I saw the news that he has died at the age of 93. Much has been said about his decision to give former President Richard Nixon a full and absolute pardon for crimes he may have committed while in office. The pardon put a stop to the probability of long inquests and trials for Nixon. Whatever one's politics, President Ford has to be given credit for getting the nation on to other business, and not letting Watergate consume any more of our resources and time. While I wish he had structured it differently so that Mr. Nixon would have had to face the music for his deeds, I understand and appreciate his intentions.

I met President Ford one time, after he had left office. I was covering a Republican fundraiser for a radio station in Houston, where Mr. Ford was the keynote speaker. While I only exchanged a few short words with him, he struck me as a gracious and intelligent man. Despite his well-publicized foibles on the golf course, he was not the klutz so humorously portrayed by Chevy Chase in his "Saturday Night Live" impersonations.

Gerald Ford has been called the nation's first unelected President, but he held the office with dignity. I believe he did his best during his short term to restore respect and honesty to the institution of the Presidency. For that, President Ford gets my respect.

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