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United States Government Politics

Former President Gerald Ford Dead at 93 367

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the to-many-submissions-to-ignore dept.
Rancid Altoid was one of a large number of readers to tell us that "Former U.S. President Gerald Ford, who was swept into office after the Watergate scandal and later pardoned Richard Nixon, died at age 93, his widow said on Tuesday."
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Former President Gerald Ford Dead at 93

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  • Cnn does it best (Score:3, Interesting)

    by BoomerSooner (308737) on Wednesday December 27, 2006 @09:42AM (#17375758) Homepage Journal
    CNN Special coverage [cnn.com]

    He was pretty interesting! I didn't realize he was a Michigan football player who turned down the NFL to go into Yale law!

    Not sure I agree with the Nixon pardoning but it did get the messiness behind us. However, it allows presidents to seem to operate with out regard to legality (ie, current war crimes, etc...)
    • Re: (Score:2, Offtopic)

      He was pretty interesting! I didn't realize he was a Michigan football player who turned down the NFL to go into Yale law! Not sure I agree with the Nixon pardoning but it did get the messiness behind us. However, it allows presidents to seem to operate with out regard to legality (ie, current war crimes, etc...)

      I am very saddened to read of this. I found a little more pertinent info here [wikipedia.org], a much less biased source. I am planning on travelling to DC to pay my respects. He was quite a man.

      • by teflaime (738532) on Wednesday December 27, 2006 @10:58AM (#17376446)
        Bias? I'm not sure where you are seeing bias in CNN's coverage. They portrayed him as a kind and honest man who did what he thought was best for the country, as opposed to what was best for himself or the Republican party. Which, to be accurate, was pretty much how Ford said he wanted to be remembered.
        • Re:Cnn does it best (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Vicissidude (878310) on Wednesday December 27, 2006 @03:13PM (#17379728)
          Bias? I'm not sure where you are seeing bias in CNN's coverage. They portrayed him as a kind and honest man who did what he thought was best for the country, as opposed to what was best for himself or the Republican party.

          There's your bias right there. Honest? That's completely laughable. Best for the country? Pah-lease.

          Ford is a man who let a crook go free for the benefit of the Republican party. Just imagine Nixon, a dirty Republican, and 4-5 years of a trial where everyone knew he had broken the law. Reagan would have never made it into office in a political climate like that. And all of Nixon's cronies such as Rumsfeld, Cheney, and Bush Sr, would have had their careers ruined.

          No, Ford's actions were for the benefit of the only person who elected him to the position of President of the United States: Richard Nixon.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by WillyPete (940630)
          He was also aware in advance of the plan by Indonesia to massacre the East Timorese with U.S.-provided weaponry (~200,00 killed). Now, I'm not certain that we really needed to act militarily, but if the Indosesians wanted to kill a third East Timor's population I fail to see why we got to provide the weapons.

          http://www.chris-floyd.com/index.php?option=com_co ntent&task=view&id=975&Itemid=135 [chris-floyd.com]
          http://redstateson.blogspot.com/2006/12/gaw-in-act ion.html [blogspot.com]
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by eln (21727)
        The wiki article on Gerald Ford currently has several areas where a word in the article has been replaced with the word "wank," or where that word has been inserted. Fairly subtle, but easy to catch if you actually read the article start to finish.
      • by Reziac (43301) * on Wednesday December 27, 2006 @01:40PM (#17378580) Homepage Journal
        Please take my respects with you. From all that I know of him, Gerald Ford was a good and honest man who did the best he could even in a tough situation, and always had his countrymen's best interests at heart. I am saddened by his passing, but glad that we had him in life.

    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      by elrous0 (869638) *
      I didn't realize he was a Michigan football player who turned down the NFL to go into Yale law!

      Considering what a joke the NFL was in the 30's, that's not as big a surprise move as you might think.

      -Eric

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by afidel (530433)
      I heard on NPR this morning that there were two assassination attempts against Ford. One of them was a result of a local paper publishing his complete travel itinerary when he was in town, when this was discussed with Ford not long ago he remarked that he was not aware that the paper had published that information! It's interesting that the attempt against Regan that injured Brady gets so much notoriety but the two attempts against Ford are never talked about.
    • Not sure I agree with the Nixon pardoning but it did get the messiness behind us. However, it allows presidents to seem to operate with out regard to legality (ie, current war crimes, etc...)

      I always wondered if Nixon's resignation was a negotiated deal with other members of the Republican part, with the pardon being part of the deal.
    • When Ford pardoned Nixon, it did not get the messiness behind us, it just pushed it all in front of us by a few decades. The end of the 20th Century needed to see a crooked American president dragged before a court and sent to jail. If it had been done back then, we might not be seeing the kind of lawlessness we're getting from Jackass 2 in the White House today.

      Instead, we came to a near constitutional crisis because a President cheated on his wife. It gave a free pass to presidents for generations to co
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by JavaLord (680960)
        When Ford pardoned Nixon, it did not get the messiness behind us, it just pushed it all in front of us by a few decades. The end of the 20th Century needed to see a crooked American president dragged before a court and sent to jail. If it had been done back then, we might not be seeing the kind of lawlessness we're getting from Jackass 2 in the White House today.

        Really, and what "Lawlessness" is that, and how does it relate to what Nixon did? Are you acusing GW Bush of rigging the elections, and if so
        • by udderly (890305) * on Wednesday December 27, 2006 @12:34PM (#17377610)

          But then again, why should the OP allow facts to get in the way of what he/she wishes to believe?

          The logical fallacy of Blank and White Thinking [cuyamaca.edu], which is a hallmark of those with Borderline Personality Disorder [aapel.org], seems to affect most of us when dealing with political figures.

          Maybe GWB and/or Bill Clinton are saints, sent from God himself; maybe they're full-on sociopaths. However, the most likely scenario is that they're the usual mixture of good and evil, altruism and selfishness, who through various turns-of-events became President despite their flaws.

          Likewise, their policies could be completely evil or completely good, but more likely the result of mixed motives and the general imperfection of the human intellect and psychology.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by calidoscope (312571)

            Maybe GWB and/or Bill Clinton are saints, sent from God himself; maybe they're full-on sociopaths. However, the most likely scenario is that they're the usual mixture of good and evil, altruism and selfishness, who through various turns-of-events became President despite their flaws.

            Very well put, that's the most insightful statement I've ever seen in the politics section of Slashdot. To think that presidents may be allowed to be human...

            What's really sad to see is how little people know of abuses of presidential power by presidents before Nixon, specifically Woodrow Wilson.

    • by nxtr (813179)
      You think they came in handy [snopes.com]?
  • ...is one of my favorite quotes of all time, and was said by Mr. Ford in the wake of the Nixon resignation. I'm actually old enough to remember when Ford was president (And Chevy Chase spoofing him on Saturday Night Live). From what I know, he seemed liked a geniunely nice guy. He will be missed.
  • by cyberon22 (456844) on Wednesday December 27, 2006 @09:47AM (#17375784)
    He should never have pardoned Nixon.
    • by CrazyTalk (662055)
      Why? It was the "classy" thing to do.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by tomhudson (43916)

      He should never have pardoned Nixon.

      Definitely agree. His excuse at the time was lame, and paved the way for future excesses.

      Part of the responsibility of the highest office in the land is to make the tough calls, and he totally failed it on that one. No wonder people kept asking if he had played football without a helmet.

      When a president who nobody voted for pardons his predecessor and former "boss" for criminal activities, it stinks. The "National Nightmare" was over when Nixon resigned - putting

      • by NorbrookC (674063) on Wednesday December 27, 2006 @10:29AM (#17376118) Journal

        Part of the responsibility of the highest office in the land is to make the tough calls, and he totally failed it on that one.

        Considering that every one of his advisors recommended against the pardon, and he still did it, I'd say that was a tough call.

        The other thing that all the people that froth at the mouth about this (still) forget is that an article of impeachment |=criminal charges. In fact, Nixon hadn't been indicted in the legal system, when the pardon was issued. Now, whether he would have been, and whether he would have convicted is something that can be argued (and probably will be) for a long time.

        • by smchris (464899)
          I'm not crying a lot of tears. Another anecdote was that he was paid to appear at his next door neighbor's party. Perhaps not a big thing in this day of celebrity and star party appearance hirings but it seemed awfully petty at the time. And that he made the guy appear at his door with the money before he would go over there.
    • by Pharmboy (216950) on Wednesday December 27, 2006 @10:24AM (#17376064) Journal
      He should never have pardoned Nixon.

      He didn't do it for Nixon, he did it for us. It isn't like Nixon was going to run for any other office, and if you are old enough to remember, with Vietnam, JFK, Bobby Kennedy, MLK, Kent State, and everything else that had happened over the last decade, we really didn't need another investigation to tell us what we already knew.

      Everyone knew Nixon was guilty, and because he was ex-pres, he wasn't going to go to "pound you in the ass federal prison" regardless of the outcome. We did not need 5 years of court hearings at that time.
      • by BCW2 (168187)
        Thank you for the only accurate comment on this subject. I agree that we didn't the continuation of the media clusterfuck. A trial would have made the later OJ circus look boring. Ford was one of the most honourable men to ever be President.
      • by CyberLord Seven (525173) on Wednesday December 27, 2006 @11:19AM (#17376618)
        By pardoning Nixon, Ford stopped all of the investigations and set the US up for another Imperial Presidency. Rather than putting Watergate, and it's excesses, behind the country, Ford's pardon put them into the future. Take a look around and you'll see for yourself.

        For those too young to know better; the Watergate scandal is NOT about the break-in at the Democratic National Headquarters! Watergate is about everything that happened AFTER!

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by catfood (40112)
        Nixon was so obviously guilty that bringing him to justice would have been a mistake.

        I'm really failing to see the logic in that. Would it have been okay to try Nixon if he'd been just kinda-sorta-somewhat guilty of lesser crimes instead?
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by afidel (530433)
      Nope, pardoning Nixon was the single greatest thing the man accomplished, and it cost him a lot both politically and personally. Most historians agree that the nation would have been much worse off with the protracted political fight that would have resulted from the trial. Sure there are many who think he should have been punished, but I think resigning in shame and having that as his legacy is probably one of the greatest punishment for a man with the drive to become president. Look at the guys involved w
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Nope, pardoning Nixon was the single greatest thing the man accomplished, and it cost him a lot both politically and personally. Most historians agree that the nation would have been much worse off with the protracted political fight that would have resulted from the trial. Sure there are many who think he should have been punished, but I think resigning in shame and having that as his legacy is probably one of the greatest punishment for a man with the drive to become president.

        No, it wasn't. It has given

      • by Mr. Slippery (47854) <.ten.suomafni. .ta. .smt.> on Wednesday December 27, 2006 @11:54AM (#17377040) Homepage
        Sure there are many who think he should have been punished, but I think resigning in shame and having that as his legacy is probably one of the greatest punishment for a man with the drive to become president.

        Shame? What shame? He's still defended as a hero by neocons. His people are still to be found in power in D.C.

        The fact the Nixon didn't go to jail is what let Reagan and Bush II get away with their subversions of the Constitution.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by anaesthetica (596507)

          He's still defended as a hero by neocons.

          Not really. There's very little about Nixon that fits either the neocon mold or the mold of their various heroes. Nixon was a liberal Christian--a Quaker--rather than an observant Jew or Christian like the neoconservatives. He adopted a policy of decline (along with Kissinger) rather than one of a powerful, resurgent America like Reagan or Bush. In fact, the neoconservatives are explicitly against the kind of Nixon/Kissinger realism, eschewing it for a "musc

      • Helsinki Accords (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Lawrence_Bird (67278)
        In fact, ultimately his most important decision was to sign the Helsinki accords against the opinion of his party and frankly many in the US at that time.  People thought it was a copout to codify the post WWII boundaries but he recognized that the human rights provisions would be a timebomb ticking inside of the USSR.  It was not long after that dissent began to appear in the combloc, specifically Poland.  These were the first cracks in the soviet empire.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by jafac (1449)
        Most historians agree that the nation would have been much worse off with the protracted political fight that would have resulted from the trial.

        How would it be better had justice not been served?

        How is sticking our head in the sand as a nation "better for us"?

        That justice was not done, set the stage for the future. The Iran-Contra traitors are all back on the job, instead of jail, where they belong. Karl Rove actually served on Nixon's campaign, and his poisonous brand of divisive politics or character a
  • by thermopile (571680) on Wednesday December 27, 2006 @09:48AM (#17375790) Homepage
    Interestingly, President Ford is the only person to have served as both Vice President and President, and been elected to neither position.

    Obligatory wiki quote. [wikipedia.org]

  • I guess the wolves finally got him.
  • by Ubergrendle (531719) on Wednesday December 27, 2006 @09:48AM (#17375794) Journal
    Was he eaten by wolves?
  • He was (Score:3, Funny)

    by dl107227 (632747) on Wednesday December 27, 2006 @09:50AM (#17375812)
    He was delicious.
  • by Iphtashu Fitz (263795) on Wednesday December 27, 2006 @09:52AM (#17375828)
    A lot of people, especially younger ones, weren't aware that Ford was the only US president who was never elected to office. When Nixon's vice president, Spiro Agnew, resigned over charges of tax evasion, Nixon chose Senator Ford to replace him. Then when Nixon resigned over Watergate, Ford took the top job. I think most people these days only know of Ford through accident-prone appearances on shows like the Simpsons and impersonations by Chevy Chase on Saturday Night Live reruns. Some people believe that his unremarkable term of office was just what this country needed after the previous administraitons focus on Viet Nam, Watergate, etc.
    • I think most people these days only know of Ford through accident-prone appearances on shows like the Simpsons and impersonations by Chevy Chase on Saturday Night Live reruns.

      It's worth mentioning that Ford was actually very athletic (more so than probably every other president, though Dubya liked to jog and now bikes when he can, and of course Teddy Roosevelt was Action Guy). Ford played very hard in his younger years and it really took a toll on his knees, which is why he had trouble on stairs later o
  • by E.J.Thribb (910683) on Wednesday December 27, 2006 @09:54AM (#17375846) Homepage
    So.
    Farewell then, Gerald Ford.
    Many said you were not the sharpest tool in the box.
    How wrong they are, now.
  • A very decent human being, was the only president to not have been elected to either of the executive positions he held (appointed by nixon to VP, later president in wake of Nixon's resignation). Apparently, elections make candidates into jerks.
  • Minor typo (Score:3, Informative)

    by SNR monkey (1021747) on Wednesday December 27, 2006 @10:07AM (#17375928)
    Not to be a grammar nazi, but it should read "from the too-many-submissions-to-ignore dept"
  • by Boone^ (151057) on Wednesday December 27, 2006 @10:19AM (#17376030)
    This is why digg is so very popular, guys. There's no cranky /. editors to bust through! :)
  • "Hola bambe, hungala dimba Gerald Ford.. *click* *click* *click* *click* ..hola bambe, allah bumba bubba hulla humba hey."
  • by Liberaltarian (1030752) on Wednesday December 27, 2006 @10:26AM (#17376078)
    as Tom Brokaw immediately came to mind when I heard the news. There are audio bits on Dana Carvey's website [danacarvey.net], and occasionally someone will upload the entire skit to YouTube (before it's inevitably taken down by the copyright police).

    Tom Brokaw: Gerald Ford dead today at the age of 83.
    Producer: Good, now one for next year.
    Tom Brokaw: Gerald Ford dead today at age 84.
    Producer: Now one for if he's shot.
    Tom Brokaw: Gerald Ford shot dead today at age 83.
    Producer: Add the word senseless.
    Tom Brokaw: Okay, Gerald Ford shot dead at the senseless age of 83.
    ...
    Tom Brokaw: Alright, we got it?
    Producer: No. We've got "eaten by wolves".
    Tom Brokaw: What? Now, come on!
    Producer: Just read it!
    Tom Brokaw: Gerald Ford isn't gonna be eaten by wolves!
    Producer: Taft was.
    Tom Brokaw: Really? Taft?
    Producer: Uh... yeah.
    • You know what's really amusing about that?

      I was watching the late night talk shows last night, when the broadcast was interrupted by a "special news report". Well, unfortunately for them, their sound was screwed up, so I flipped over to the cable news channels. CNN was the only other channel reporting anything about Ford's death, and Anderson Cooper was giving his report over a crapload of stock video of various events in Ford's presidency.

      In other words, they've had this queued up and ready to go for som
  • by Slithe (894946) on Wednesday December 27, 2006 @10:28AM (#17376100) Homepage Journal
    http://snltranscripts.jt.org/96/96dbrokaw.phtml [jt.org]

    Tom Brokaw: Alright. "Gerald Ford is dead today, and I'm gay." Now, wait a minute!

    Voice of Producer: What? That'd be a huge story - Ford dying, and you coming out!

    Tom Brokaw: But I'm not gay!

    Voice of Producer: Today you're not gay, you know.. but then one day you wake up, you like men, and Gerald Ford dies, and we're screwed. Everyone's hearing about it from Dan Rather!
  • It's a hoax (Score:2, Funny)

    by Hognoxious (631665)
    At least, there's nothing on netcraft about it.
  • by MrSteveSD (801820) on Wednesday December 27, 2006 @10:39AM (#17376204)
    Ford and Kissinger visited Jakarta in 1975 and gave approval for the invasion of East Timor. Kissenger told Suharto...

    It is important that whatever you do succeeds quickly.


    Well it did succeed and over 200,000 East Timorese died during the invasion and subsequent occupation. It's strange that neither Ford nor Kissinger mentioned they gave the green light for the East Timor invasion in their memoirs. It must have slipped their minds. Fortunately details of their meetings with Suharto are now available (released by the National Security Archive in 2001). Yes Ford will be sorely missed by the people of East Timor.
  • by jbarr (2233) on Wednesday December 27, 2006 @10:42AM (#17376250) Homepage
    When I was 17, I received an Eagle Scout award. Our local Scout council was holding a benefit dinner, and President Ford (by that time, former president) was the guest of honor, who was a former Scout himself. I was asked if I wanted to be in the color guard, and I readily accepted. I also had the honor of sitting next to him at the head table for dinner. He was a very gracious man, and was happy to talk with us about him and Scouting. Being young, I was quite nervous, but he interacted with us in a comfortable, casual, yet respected manner.

    One thing that I'll never forget is that for dessert, we were served a "grasshopper pie", which was a mint ice cream and chocolate pie. Interestingly, they served him a bowl of three simple scoops of vanilla ice cream. When I asked him about it, he said that he loved vanilla ice cream, and didn't like the other fancy stuff.

    Anyway, it was a pleasure to have had the honor of spending a short time with him.
  • The country had way more serious problems than letting congress have a blood-letting, including Vietnam and the economy. He also argued against impeaching Clinton.
    • The BBC tends to agree with you, as per their article on the BBC News web site: "Analysts believe in the short term it may have cost him the 1976 election, but in the long term the decision has been seen as astute."

      At the time there was so much going on and so much devisiveness because of Vietnam that a long, drawn-out impeachment would have been just about guaranteed. Nixon did the right thing by getting out of there so that he couldn't bring further disgrace to the Office of the Presidency and Ford d
  • There goes another great University of Michigan alumni. Go Blue!
  • Betty Ford.. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by aapold (753705) on Wednesday December 27, 2006 @10:45AM (#17376278) Homepage Journal
    I think Ford may be the only President whose wife left a longer-lasting legacy and larger impact on our consciousness than he did. I mean, he was pretty bland other than dealing with things he didn't start...but the Betty Ford clinic is practically part of our national vocabulary.
  • That makes it sound like a landslide election victory. Ford was in fact the first US president to never be elected by the voters. He was appointed by congress after Nixon had to resign under threat of impeachment due to corruption and blatant violation of the constitution, and Spiro Agnew had to resign due to corruption.

    Ford was chosen because he was innocuous. He ended up becoming Kissenger's sock puppet.
  • A former President is dead and all we can comment on is the rightness or wrongness of a decision made to seek justice or move on. The comments from both sides appear pretty hot too even after all of these years. It's scary just how polarized we have become. It really seems as if you are firmly entrenched one way or the other.

    It doesn't give me a whole lot of hope for the near future. Every time we see something on slashdot it is hotly debated with no middle ground and no compromise. With that attitude, I
  • ... every time I think of Gerald Ford, I think of a 1976 TV campaign
    advert in which they showed this feisty little old lady saying:

    "Right now I'm voting for Jerry Ford definitely!
    Well, I was still too young to vote at the time, but at our Florida
    high-school mock elections, he lost big time. He wasn't exactly
    inspiring to the younger generation.
  • Actually, I have no idea if there is one or not. Last night, as I was toasting the memory of Ford with his favorite drink, Jaggerbombs, I tried to rally the bar to go down and hold a vigil. Sadly, this didn't happen.

    Here's the google map link. Enjoy it.

    http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&q=3202+Wool w orth+Avenue,+omaha,+ne&ie=UTF8&z=18&ll=41.245829,- 95.958989&spn=0.002307,0.005783&t=k&om=1&iwloc=add r [google.com]

    Side note, Omaha also is the birth place of Malcom X.

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