FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Farewell to Our Greatest President

We bid a sad adieu to Gerald Ford. Here at CounterPunch it has always been our position that Gerald Ford was America’s greatest President. Transferring the Hippocratic injunction from the medical to the political realm, he did the least possible harm. Under Ford’s tranquil hand the nation relaxed after the hectic fevers of the Nixon years.

As a visit to the Ford presidential library discloses, the largest military adventure available for display was the foolish U.S. response to the capture of the U.S. container ship Mayaguez by the Khmer Rouge on May 12, 1975. As imperial adventures go, and next to the vast graveyards across the planet left by Ford’s predecessors and successors, it was small potatoes.

Ford was surrounded by bellicose advisors such as his secretary of state, Henry Kissinger; his vice president, Nelson Rockefeller; his chief of staff, and later secretary of defense, Donald Rumsfeld and his presidential assistant, Dick Cheney. The fact that this rabid crew were only able to persuade Ford to give the green light for Indonesia’s invasion of East Timor–an appalling decision to be sure — is tribute to Ford’s pacific instincts and deft personnel management. Unlike George W. Bush, Ford was of humane temper and could mostly hold in check his bloodthirsty counselors.

Kissinger was part of the furniture when Ford took over, after Nixon’s resignation on August 8, 1974. With latitude to chose, Ford made sensible selections, none more fruitful than his Attorney General, Edward Levy, who in turn prompted Ford to nominate John Stevens to the U.S. Supreme Court, where he has long distinguished himself and dignified Ford’s choice by being the most humane and progressive justice.

As a percentage of the federal budget, social spending crested in the Ford years. Never should it be forgotten that Jimmy Carter campaigned against Ford as the prophet of neo-liberalism, precursor of the Democratic Leadership Council, touting “zero-based budgeting”.

If Ford had beaten back Carter’s challenge in 1976, the neo-con crusades of the mid to late Seventies would have been blunted by the mere fact of a Republican occupying the White House. Reagan, most likely, would have returned to his slumbers in California after his abortive challenge to Ford for the nomination in Kansas in 1976.

Instead of an weak southern Democratic conservative in agreement to almost every predation by the military industrial complex, we would have had a Midwestern Republican, thus a politician far less vulnerable to the promoters of the New Cold War.

Would Ford have rushed to fund the Contras and order their training by Argentinian torturers? Would he have sent the CIA on its mostly costly covert mission, the $3.5 billion intervention in Afghanistan? The nation would have been spared the disastrous counsels of Zbigniev Brzezinski.

Those who may challenge this assessment of Ford’s imperial instincts should listen to the commentators on CNN, belaboring the scarce cold commander-in-chief for timidity and lack of zeal in prosecuting the Cold War. By his enemies shall we know him.

During Ford’s all-too-brief tenure a mood of geniality was the rule. Even the attempted assassinations of the president by Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme and Sara Moore, in September, 1975, had a slapdash, light-hearted timbre. The arts flourished, as is attested by Vicki Carr’s frequent appearance in the photographic record of White House galas.

At the side of America’s greatest president was America’s most sympathetic First Lady, Betty, whose enduring memorial is the Betty Ford Clinic, home port for beleagured boozers. We send our sympathies to the former First Lady.

 

 

 

More articles by:

Alexander Cockburn’s Guillotined! and A Colossal Wreck are available from CounterPunch.

April 19, 2018
Ramzy Baroud
Media Cover-up: Shielding Israel is a Matter of Policy
Vijay Prashad
Undermining Brazilian Democracy: the Curious Saga of Lula
Steve Fraser
Class Dismissed: Class Conflict in Red State America
John W. Whitehead
Crimes of a Monster: Your Tax Dollars at Work
Kenn Orphan
Whistling Past the Graveyard
Karl Grossman - TJ Coles
Opening Pandora’s Box: Karl Grossman on Trump and the Weaponization of Space
Colin Todhunter
Behind Theresa May’s ‘Humanitarian Hysterics’: The Ideology of Empire and Conquest
Jesse Jackson
Syrian Strikes is One More step Toward a Lawless Presidency
Michael Welton
Confronting Militarism is Early Twentieth Century Canada: the Woman’s International League for Peace and Freedom
Alycee Lane
On David S. Buckel and Setting Ourselves on Fire
Jennifer Matsui
Our Overlords Reveal Their Top ‘To Do’s: Are YOU Next On Their Kill List?
George Ochenski
Jive Talkin’: On the Campaign Trail With Montana Republicans
Kary Love
Is It Time for A Nice, “Little” Nuclear War?
April 18, 2018
Alan Nasser
Could Student Loans Lead to Debt Prison? The Handwriting on the Wall
Susan Roberts
Uses for the Poor
Alvaro Huerta
I Am Not Your “Wetback”
Jonah Raskin
Napa County, California: the Clash of Oligarchy & Democracy
Robert Hunziker
America’s Dystopian Future
Geoffrey McDonald
“America First!” as Economic War
Jonathan Cook
Robert Fisk’s Douma Report Rips Away Excuses for Air Strike on Syria
Jeff Berg
WW III This Ain’t
Binoy Kampmark
Macron’s Syria Game
Linn Washington Jr.
Philadelphia’s Top Cop Defends Indefensible Prejudice in Starbucks Arrest Incident
Katie Fite
Chaos in Urban Canyons – Air Force Efforts to Carve a Civilian Population War Game Range across Southern Idaho
Robby Sherwin
Facebook: This Is Where I Leave You
April 17, 2018
Paul Street
Eight Takeaways on Boss Tweet’s Latest Syrian Missile Spasm
Robert Fisk
The Search for the Truth in Douma
Eric Mann
The Historic 1968 Struggle Against Columbia University
Roy Eidelson
The 1%’s Mind Games: Psychology Gone Bad
John Steppling
The Sleep of Civilization
Patrick Cockburn
Syria Bombing Reveals Weakness of Theresa May
Dave Lindorff
No Indication in the US That the Country is at War Again
W. T. Whitney
Colombia and Cuba:  a Tale of Two Countries
Dean Baker
Why Isn’t the Median Wage for Black Workers Rising?
Linn Washington Jr.
Philadelphia’s Top Cop Defends Indefensible Prejudice in Starbucks Arrest Incident
C. L. Cook
Man in the Glass
Kary Love
“The Mob Boss Orders a Hit and a Pardon”
Lawrence Wittner
Which Nations Are the Happiest―and Why
Dr. Hakim
Where on Earth is the Just Economy that Works for All, Including Afghan Children?
April 16, 2018
Dave Lindorff
President Trump’s War Crime is Worse than the One He Accuses Assad of
Ron Jacobs
War is Just F**kin’ Wrong
John Laforge
Nuclear Keeps on Polluting, Long After Shutdown
Norman Solomon
Missile Attack on Syria Is a Salute to “Russiagate” Enthusiasts, Whether They Like It or Not
Uri Avnery
Eyeless in Gaza   
Barbara Nimri Aziz
Iraq Then, Syria Now
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail