Thursday, January 6, 2011
Gerald Rudolph Ford
Ford has the distinction of being the only president to not be elected. Also, being the shortest serving president not cut short by death. This was not for lack of trying, as Ford also has the distinction of being the president with the most near assassinations. One was from a Charles Manson follower who went to shoot Ford but found their gun without a bullet in the immediate cartridge. The second assassination attempt was foiled by a bystander, who knocked the assailant's arm so they would miss the president. Ford is probably the second luckiest president when it comes to dodging death, the first being Jackson, who had two pistols shot at him point blank, with both misfiring though they were in perfect working order.
Ford is the only president from Michigan, which makes him awesome in that respect, and was a prodigy for the U of M Wolverines football team. His ascent to the Presidency is a note to all Speakers of the House that the presidency isn't necessarily out of reach. You just have to have to be picked for Vice-President by a President that you are sure is on his way out. As a note of clarification, the Speaker of the House is not in the line for President. Ford was picked by Nixon to replace Spiro Agnew as Vice-President.
Ford was in a bad situation. There was no transition time for him. He was literally stuck with Nixon's cabinet, who he could not effectively command. He made the unwise decision to pardon Nixon for everything he did regarding Watergate, which angered the American public. Ford also wasn't able to generate media appeal. The economy was still bad, and Ford wasn't able to help it with his plan to balance the budget any way possible.
Ford did however pull us out of Vietnam completely, something the U.S. had waited a very long time for. Ford, in the end, couldn't distance himself from Nixon and Watergate, and found himself beaten by Jimmy Carter in the 1976 election, though not by much.
Ford wasn't as clumsy as people made him out to be. Nor was he as bad as some make him out to be. He was put into an unfortunate position, when the country didn't believe in the office of the President anymore. He was surrounded by Nixon's cabinet, and couldn't help the economy or unemployment. Had he not pardoned Nixon, many would probably of liked him more.