Gerald Ford: The Medicine Our Country Needed, When We Needed It Most

Squeezed December 28, 2006

When you’re sick, you take medicine. You pop the pill, and the medicine does its work, and just as quickly it gets dissolved, leaving behind, hopefully, a you that feels better.

It was 1974 and the nation was sick and tired of hearing about Richard Nixon this and Watergate that. Enter Gerald Ford, who probably would have been happy to be Speaker of the House in 1973, but found himself in the position of having to play doctor to a sick country.

Basically, he was the President who cleaned up after two of the nation’s worst messes in recent years – Watergate and Vietnam, both of which came to closure under his watch.

The first prescription that Dr. Ford wrote was strong medicine…pardoning Tricky Dicky for the crimes against the nation he may have committed. And the second prescription he wrote was one that was a long time in coming…the final withdrawal from Saigon that brought the Vietnam War to an end. The medicine he prescribed had side effects and a backlash, which probably cost him the 1976 election.

But now history has looked favorably on Gerald Ford, and now when we think about his legacy, we think about what he did to help the country move on and get back on its feet again. Six out of ten Americans believe that pardoning Nixon, a move much criticized at the time, was, in the end, the right thing to do.

He was a caretaker President, to be sure, but take care he did. And like effective medicine, he left the presidency better than he found it.

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