38 Years Since Gerald Ford Became President: The Last Moderate, Mainstream Republican Before Conservatism Took Hold Of The GOP!

On this day in 1974, President Richard Nixon resigned, and Gerald Ford, who never sought the Presidency, became President, serving out the term of two years, five and a half months, losing a full term to Jimmy Carter in 1976.

Ford had his problems and opponents, and his administration will never be ranked among the best, but as Ted Kennedy said in 1999, awarding special honors to President Ford, 25 years after he pardoned President Nixon, Ford had indeed done the right thing regarding Nixon, and had demonstrated both courage and decisiveness in office.

In so doing, Ford gained the respect of the American people, maybe somewhat belatedly, but when on looks back almost four decades ago, one realizes that Gerald Ford was a decent man, a compassionate man, a moderate conservative who worked in the mainstream, but was weakened by the beginning of the right wing takeover of the GOP by Ronald Reagan, which also affected the Presidency of George H. W. Bush and that of his son, George W. Bush.

Ford looks better all of the time, particularly at a time when the GOP is so far to the right that it is literally scary what they wish to do–abolish the New Deal of Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Great Society of Lyndon B. Johnson!

And his wife, Betty, is also an inspiring figure, much beloved and respected.

So in retrospect, Gerald and Betty Ford look a lot better than what we have been offered since by the party that once had as leaders such luminaries as Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, and Dwight D. Eisenhower!

8 comments on “38 Years Since Gerald Ford Became President: The Last Moderate, Mainstream Republican Before Conservatism Took Hold Of The GOP!

  1. Engineer of Knowledge August 9, 2012 8:42 pm

    Hello Professor,
    Back in the days when I was a Regional Sales Manager, I had a good customer in Old Town Alexandra, VA just south of Washington D.C. He had been in charge of all radio and T.V. communications for Richard Nixon. He left after the first four years… (He did not get along with Henry Kissinger)

    Well he still had connections in the White House when Nixon resigned in that memo to Henry Kissinger. He got a Xerox copy from the original of that memo and years later I made a Xerox from his copy. I have it back home in a frame sitting up on a book shelf in my home office.

    As you may know I am doing consulting engineering work in Columbus, Ohio for the time being. If I get a chance to scan that copy when I get home I will try to e-mail it to you.

    On a side note; my son-in-law’s mother as a young 20 something after college and was working in the White House in the secretary pool at this time too. Remember the photo of Nixon with Elvis? Elvis was there to see someone else and security almost did not let him in. My son-in-law’s mother was the one to greet Elvis and escort him in. When Nixon found out that Elvis was in the White House, he took the opportunity to have the photo opportunity……When she was telling me this story her oldest son ask, “Gee Mom, I wonder who will play you in the movie?” 🙂

    Take Care Friend.

  2. Ronald August 9, 2012 9:05 pm

    Haha! 🙂 A great story and accounting! 🙂

  3. Paul Doyle August 10, 2012 6:50 pm

    Engineer of Knowledge,
    Is it true that Elvis showed up at the White House with the intent on getting Nixon to appoint him as a deputy agent for the DEA?

    I thought I’d read somewhere Elvis somewhat showed up unexpectedly or short notice. From the photos I remember seeing, it looked like Elvis would have had to make a citizens arrest on himself. ; )

  4. Ronald August 10, 2012 7:46 pm

    That is what I have always believed was the explanation for him showing up at the White House! That uncomfortable pic with Nixon is priceless! 🙂

  5. Engineer of Knowledge August 10, 2012 10:26 pm

    Hello Paul,
    As I do have family members well established with influence in D.C. I can say that what most people here through the media sources is not accurate or factual of what really goes on behind the scenes. What most people don’t understand is what the population hears and thinks to be fact through media sources is what the White House publicist and the publicist on every Congressmans’ and Senators’ staff passes on to the media. That is the first level of filtering of information to be let out to the public…..many times it is referred to as “Damage Control.” 🙂

    The “In House” White House publicist during the Nixon Administration’s story that Elvis showed up at the White House with the intent on getting Nixon to appoint him as a “Deputy Agent” for the DEA, was a manufactured and “An After The Fact” story of the Elvis’s visit.

    My son-in-law’s mother told me who Elvis was there to really see but I don’t remember who that was now. (It was a friendship thing. No body in the higher up aspects of the Administration.)

    When Nixon found out that Elvis was there, they whipped up a media photo shot and came up with the “Honorary Deputy Agent” DEA story. I guess Elvis could not tell Nixon “No” but it was a pure Bull Crap story from the start.

    From your statement, “From the photos I remember, it looked like Elvis would have had to make a citizens arrest on himself” yea he was running on pills pretty good at that time. 🙂

  6. Paul Doyle August 11, 2012 5:32 pm

    E of K,

    Curious, I surfed to find some additional info. National Archives site shows Elvis’ letter to Nixon asking for a meeting. Methinks, the passage of years sometimes makes memories fade.


  7. Justin December 3, 2012 9:37 pm

    Republicans are not on the far-right for all issues.

    Since Reagan became president the Republican Party has changed.

    On social issues the party is on the far-right. The social conservatives aka religious right started to grow during Reagan’s presidency and these people are the extremist in the party when it comes to social issues like abortion and gay marriage.

    On economic issues the party is moderate. Republicans always preach fiscal conservatism which means less spending, balanced budgets, smaller federal govt., lower taxes and fewer regulations. Reagan lowered taxes and regulations but he made the federal govt. bigger, increased spending, had skyrocketing deficits and tripled the national debt. Lowering taxes and regulations are conservative actions but making the govt. bigger and increasing spending are liberal actions so Reagan was clearly a fiscal moderate. George W. Bush was exactly the same he too is a fiscal moderate.

    Before Reagan the Republicans were fiscally conservatives on economic issues and moderate on social issues.

    Since Reagan the party is fiscally moderate on economic issues and far-right on social issues.

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