It has been 40 years since Gerald Ford became President, upon the resignation of our most dangerous President, Richard Nixon, due to his impending impeachment and trial in Congress, based on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of justice in the Watergate Scandal.
The 25th Amendment, only ratified and added to the Constitution in 1967, allowed Ford, who had replaced the corrupt Vice President Spiro Agnew, to become our 38th President.
Ford helped to end the great national nightmare of a corrupt President and a corrupt Vice President. He was the right man for the time, well liked and well respected, and not ambitious to be President. All Ford had wanted to do in his 25 year career in the House of Representatives was to become Speaker of the House.
Suddenly thrust into the responsibilities of the Presidency, Ford showed courage and guts in his selection of Nelson Rockefeller as his Vice President; the pardoning of Richard Nixon, which probably helped to defeat him in a close race for the Presidency in 1976 with Jimmy Carter; his handling of the Mayaguez Affair with Cambodia, which save captured hostages; and his brilliant appointment of Associate Justice John Paul Stevens.
Ford knew how to cross the aisle, and make friends of rivals, including President Carter, with the two men becoming fast friends once Carter left office, and with Carter giving the eulogy at Ford’s funeral in 2006.
Ford also gave us one of the greatest First Ladies in American history in Betty Ford, and his moderate conservatism is what one would wish for now from the much further right wing Republican Party of 2014.
It is well worth a visit to Grand Rapids, Michigan, to the Ford Presidential Museum, as this author and blogger did a year ago, which caused him to gain growing respect for the 38th President of the United States, who showed up at the precisely proper time when the Presidency itself was under attack!