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.