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RIP Gerald Ford

[info]applez alerts me to the sad news that Gerald Ford has died, aged 93 years, and a month more than Ronald Reagan was when he died a few years back. Ford was the oldest ex-President of the United States ever, and the oldest living ex-Vice-President. George Bush senior, born four months before Jimmy Carter in 1924 (and three and a half years before Walter Mondale), now becomes the oldest former holder of both offices.

Ford was the first president whose term I remember in full (I was not yet two years old when Nixon was elected). It's a scary thought that the kids who were born the year he lost the election to Jimmy Carter have now turned thirty. I am instinctively leftish of the political spectrum, but I retain a soft spot for Ford. He clearly was a more pleasant person than the average Republican candidate - it oozes out of this 1976 campaign commercial - but more importantly, his intervention in the Helsinki Accords process in 1975 made a greater contribution to bringing about the end of the Cold War through the peaceful implosion of Communism than any of Reagan's adventurist efforts. Any of us living in a peaceful Europe today - especially in Eastern Europe - owe him a huge debt.

Having said that, although as a nine-year-old I cheered for Ford, the one I had heard of, against Carter, the one I hadn't heard of, I would certainly cheer the other way now. But alas, as of yesterday, we have only Carter left to cheer for.

Trivia point: Ford was the only President since Herbert Hoover not to feature as Time Magazine's Person of the Year during his term of office. He was also, however, the only President to have featured on the cover of Cosmopolitan as a male model.

ETA counslr_tragedy alerts me to a piece on Ford's progressive position on gay rights.

Comments

( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
counslr_tragedy
Dec. 27th, 2006 10:31 am (UTC)
You might also appreciate this post from Pandragon about Ford, too.

I thought of you when I heard this news, first thing from BBC World Service.

I think I spent the time of Ford's turn in the presidential hot-seat reeling from the evil that was Nixon, but I was otherwise pretty unengaged from US politics. (Think duvet covers and teddy bears, as my major reaction to controversies...)
mizkit
Dec. 27th, 2006 11:18 am (UTC)
This morning when my husband told me Ford had died, the first thing I thought was, "Oh, Nicholas will be very sad." He had a good run, though. And I didn't know about his stance on gay marriage. That's pretty cool.
shsilver
Dec. 27th, 2006 12:50 pm (UTC)
After he left office, Ford and Chevy Chase (who parodied him on Saturday Night Live) hosted a comedy workshop for several years.
pixelfish
Dec. 27th, 2006 07:07 pm (UTC)
Apparently he and Mrs. Ford were also pro-choice, or so several articles I have read about his passing have mentioned. I was really surprised, although I don't remember him at all, being one of those kids who is about to turn thirty.
hfnuala
Dec. 27th, 2006 10:55 pm (UTC)
I too thought of you when I heard the news.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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