Of course I'm old enough to remember President Ford, the only unelected president in American history. I remember well Nixon's resignation speech which I watched on my grandparents' television while visiting them one summer in Chicago. I remember Ford's fumbling (ironic that the media would highlight his trips and stumbles given his illustrious athletic history), his genuinely caring look and the healing he offered our country post Viet Nam and Nixon. I always felt a little badly for him, as though citizens saw him as a president who didn't really deserve to be president. Still, the transition of power from Pres to VP demonstrated one thing clearly: our system could withstand a failed president without missing a beat. And that is a comfort, if you stop to think about it.
My other memory of Ford has more to do with the election he lost. I remember the way Jimmy Carter's bigger grin easily beat Ford's apologetic smile in an election where the Republican party had completely lost credibility. I can't help but think about Nixon, Ford, and Viet Nam as we enter into primary season in 2007 during an equally unpopular war and amid controversy about the efficacy of a Republican leadership team... Those Dems seem primed to fill the vaccuum.
I want to add Dave's blog post on Jerry Ford too. Excellent.
What do you remember about Ford? Did you like him?
(Btw, we just passed the mark where more Americans have died in the Iraq war than died in 9/11.)