Gerald Ford (1913-2006)

He was the only president not elected to national office by the people of the united states (well technically they are all elected by the electoral college, but that’s another civics lesson for another time).
Gerald Rudolph Ford, Jr. was born Leslie Lynch King, Jr. in Omaha Nebraska. His parents separated before he was born. His father was abusive and had an alcohol problem. His mother married business man Gerald Rudolph Ford and started calling Leslie Gerald, even though a formal adoption never took place and Gerald Ford himself didnt change the name legally until 1935, when he was 22.
He was the president who saw the true end of the Vietnam war, which proved to be LBJ’s undoing. His handling of it was highly criticized, as was his full pardon of Richard Nixon. Conservative members of his own party had severe problems with his wife’s views on premarital sex and abortion. They even went so far as to say she wasnt a lady and pushed for her “resignation”. Yes, this is the same Betty Ford who brought addiction out of the closet AND was a groundbreaking crusader in the fight against breast cancer, of course with her husband’s full support. Never mind that she also had a 75 percent approval rating.

I think that he did what he honestly thought was best for the country with the Nixon pardon. I’ve got highly mixed feelings concerning that decision to say the least. He paid with his political career. He appeared to have peace with that. A lot of people with longer political careers seem to have a lot less to me.
He did not agree with Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld and their cause for going to war in Iraq. This is interesting because Cheney and Rumsfeld worked for him. I think that he was a fairly good president who sought to do the right thing. Leaders in both parties respected him for his integrity, which is way more than I can say for those two former staffers who he later came to disagree with. I really respect that he had such a great family life. It wasnt perfect by a long stretch, but for a politician, it was way above par.

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