Gerald Ford

Hola Bambe, Hungala Dimba Gerald Ford. (1913-2006)


Gerald Ford, the only president never to be elected to either office in the executive branch, is dead at 93.

"My family joins me in sharing the difficult news that Gerald Ford, our beloved husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather has passed away at 93 years of age," Mrs. Ford said in a brief statement issued from her husband's office in Rancho Mirage. "His life was filled with love of God, his family and his country."

The statement did not say where Ford died or list a cause of death.

Jesse Walker spotted CNN's too-early obituary for Ford in 2003. Alexander Cockburn, who contributed to Reason's "Person of the Year" forum, is the only man (apart from Chevy Chase, maybe) who will argue that Ford was our greatest president.

Headline explanation here. And note that the SNL joke predated Ford's passing by a full decade. This man was built Hoover tough.

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  1. I’ve never seen that SNL skit before, but that headline was perfect. I usually don’t laugh at obituaries, actually.

  2. He was the best president of my lifetime. He didn’t do anything.

  3. I’ll remember him with a bowl of nachos and some football.

  4. Thank god his name wasn’t Spiro Agnew.

  5. I thought he was the best president I remember, which admittedly only goes back to around 1963. He appeared on a PBS series on the Constitution, and gave great insight on the constitutional functioning of the Executive branch.

    I like that almost his first act was to take out the microphones and taps Nixon put in the White House. I bet they were put in again soon after he left.

    All in all, I thought he had the healthiest view of the presidency in my lifetime.

  6. Nice to hear what Cockburn said about him. I always liked him just because he played football at the University of Michigan, but I certainly needed a better reason, and now one has been provided.

    BTW, It’s said that prominent deaths tend to come in threes. I wonder who’s next?

  7. I like that almost his first act was to take out the microphones and taps Nixon put in the White House. I bet they were put in again soon after he left.

    The prolific Dr. Gary North has some ideas about the microphones and their purposes.

  8. BTW, It’s said that prominent deaths tend to come in threes. I wonder who’s next?

    Saddam Hussein

  9. I thought Cockburn was lauding him for expanding federal spending?

  10. BTW, It’s said that prominent deaths tend to come in threes. I wonder who’s next?

    Already three this month:

    Peter Boyle – James Brown – Gerald Ford

  11. Don’t act like Nixon was the first president with a recording system in the White House. That goes back to FDR.

    Things Ford actually did were sign the first Executive Order against assasinations, created the “wall” between the FBI and the Intelligence Community and signed the Anti-Impoundment Control Act. The last item makes Ford the last president to have a spending check against the Congress.

    And before the misinformation about pardons for impeachment start flying around again, impeachment is not a pardonable crime. Look it up, it is right there in the Constitution.

  12. Restricting the list to dead presidents, this has been a pretty banner month. Augusto Pinochet, Saparmurat Niyazov, Gerry Ford, not to mention the imminent deaths of Castro and Hussein.

  13. Isn’t Hussein scheduled for next month?

  14. No cause of death; Hey guys, he was ninety-three.

  15. Ford was also the last surviving member of the Warren Commission. (I tried, but I can’t make a joke about that this early in the morning.)

    I do wonder how long Castro will live, now that the last real Cold War American president is dead. Castro’s successor can now say that The Revolution outlasted all the men who tried to undo it, and then proceed to undo the Revolution himself. Everybody wins that way.

  16. Note the juxtaposition.

    Republican Gerald Ford dies and our friends at Reason crack a joke about it in the headline. Couple items below, Reason notes the passing of James Brown, and there’s a respectful RIP next to his name.

    Ford was a Republican so it’s just fine for cynical libertarians to crack jokes about him.

    Brown was a liberal Democrat, and an American of African ancestry. So, better be respectful, and politically correct.

  17. Drop it, Eric Dondero. We get it.

  18. Eric Dondero,

    Was James Brown the only liberal Democrat supporter of Richard M. Nixon?

  19. Drop it, Eric Dondero. We get it.

    Why are you trying to shut Eric up. His implications are incorrect, but you should probably address that on the merits, T., instead of just trying to shut him up.

  20. Nixon was a RINO.

    You certainly got that right.

  21. And to address Dondero’s merits:

    if it had been Jimmy Carter (you know, the FISA guy) and Merle Haggard who had died this week, which deceased do you think would have gotten the more favorable obit here at a blog like HnR?

  22. “Any time you find someone in the middle, any time you find someone who is tepid, any time you find someone who is lukewarm, any time you find someone who has been in Congress for twenty-five years and no one ever heard of him, you got? Oatmeal Man.”


    Greatest headline EVER. If only he had stuck by it.

    Ford may not have been the best President of my lifetime, but if he isn’t, I don’t know who is. Look at it this way, if Ford had been reelected, we would have been spared Carter, and probably Reagan as well.

  24. Clearly, in the future David Weigel and Jeff Taylor will have to get together and discuss their blog posts in advance, so that all headlines have the same respectful or disrespectful tone and Eric Dondero will have one less conspiracy theory to froth over.

    Remember after Katrina, when one news agency had a picture of black people “looting” food, and a completely different news agency had a picture of white people “foraging” for food, and people with a vested interest in finding injustice where none exists made a huge stinking deal over it and implied that the two agencies worked together? Same thing.

  25. David Weigal is just shilling for Gerald Ford to win in 2008.

  26. Eric Dondero dude,
    maybe there is no RIP, but there is a comment that he might be the best president of our lifetime.

    They are not saying that about Clinton, Carter, Kennedy, or whoever else.

  27. If Ford had won in 1976 we would have been spared the president who set the wheels in motion for the destruction of the United States.

    We probably would have gotten Reagan too, another great president from the last century. I regret staying home for his funeral, even though it was just a few miles away. Someone on television said his reaction to the turnout at his own funeral might have been “don’t all of these people have something else to do?”

    Anyway, not missing this one. Paying attention to when and where, all of that.

  28. This just in… Chevy Chase’s career? Still dead.

  29. I liked Gerry Ford. The Nixon pardon, despite the caveats, was necessary. The US had to get on about its business instead of continuing to wallow in Watergate. [BTW: Since Nixon was no longer in office, he could no longer be impeached. So Guy’s comment is a non-sequitur. Impeachment is a process, not a crime.]

    And as Syd noted, he was the only President in recent memory who didn’t think that the office conferred Divine Right.

  30. So Guy’s comment is a non-sequitur. Impeachment is a process, not a crime.

    Um, I was heading off the expected “Ford pardoned Nixon’s impeachment” fabrications that are already popping up elsewhere on the intrerweb.

    Perhaps I wrote unclearly, or someone did not bother reading what was written?

  31. As a liberal Dem at that time I HATED Ford.

    Now, he looks GOOD.

  32. Guy

    Fair enough. I concede that Ford’s pardon was for “crimes he may have committed while in office” or some such formulation. I misunderstood your intent.


    “David Weigal is just shilling for Gerald Ford to win in 2008.”

    Does the Constitution specify that the President actually has to be alive? Or is that just one of those things that people assume?

    FORD IN ’08! He won’t say anything that offends anyone!

  33. I guess I’ll post the obligatory video link to that amazing skit…

    It is still hilarious.

  34. Aresen-

    I think you still have to have a heartbeat to remain in office. But there is ample historical precedent for allowing a brain-dead person to hold public office.

  35. which deceased do you think would have gotten the more favorable obit here at a blog like HnR?

    Given that Jesse is still on staff, I’m going with Haggard.

  36. The Pardon was a political calculation that Ford got wrong. On the one hand, had Nixon not been pardoned, a federal prosecutor could have tried to indict him on charges derived from his actions while President. A sitting President would be immune from such indictments, but that is why we have impeachment. Prosecutors refer evidence of criminality to the relevant committee of the House, which then decides how to proceed.

    A former official could indeed be impeached. If convicted, the most that could be done to the malefactor would be the removal of his federal pension and other benefits, and

    Article 1, Section 3, Clause 7 “Judgment in cases of impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust or profit under the United States: but the party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to indictment, trial, judgment and punishment, according to law.” – U.S. Constitution

    By avoiding the risk of conviction an impeachment brings, and taking a pardon, Nixon lost the chance to vindicate himself, but kept his pension and all the other perks an ex-Prez gets. Ford was willing to take the political hit and move on, but it was too much to overcome in 1976.

    I never met Mr. Ford, but I did have lunch with Betty when I was a pre-libertarian college boy.


  37. Eric,
    Like you are one to judge what is libertarian about anything. You know, smaller government, less intrusion into daily life and business, etc. Just like your “libertarian” dream Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, eh?

    Let’s review her released ’08 budget highlights shall we?

    It is a direct reflection of the governor’s commitment to spend less, save more, and live within the state’s means by controlling government growth.

    * Fully funds K-12 education foundation formula
    o Includes $35 million appropriated by the Legislature last year
    o Adds $200 million in new dollars to cover increased retirement costs

    * Reinstates the longevity bonus for seniors who were prematurely cut from the program

    * Includes funding to help local governments
    o Plus provides full funding for Power Cost Equalization

    All while cutting taxes. Care to tell me how that reduces the size of government and the goverment debt? She, and you, are doing nothing more than spouting the same old Republican BS. Saying you will reduce the size of the government all the while you expand it. Hell, at least Dems don’t lie, they tell you straight out that they are gonna bloat the system.

    For those who are not aware of the demographics of Alaska, 600k residents, 8100 teachers. If the population had to pay an additional tax burden of $220 each to cover teacher’s “additional retirement costs”, you betch your ass she’d be hearing from it. But, like all past Governors, she will suck the money from either the Federal Government (Income Tax) or from the Oil Industry.

  38. 55MPH speed limit
    Ford’s greatest accomplishment
    not counting the Lee Harvey Oswald biography

  39. One thing about Gerry Ford was that he knew how to veto a bill; 66 of them in fact.

    And only twelve of those were overruled.

    If it were only that I would like Gerald Ford. But, hey, you know what? HE WAS ALSO A TRULY LIKEABLE GUY.

  40. Ah yes, I see that the cynical puritanical Libertarian set is already hard at work tearing Sarah apart.

    Life sucks doesn’t it Kwix? Everything that Palin does is “statist.” All Republicans are bad, right?

  41. “Does the Constitution specify that the President actually has to be alive? Or is that just one of those things that people assume?”

    not sure about the pres – but remember that ashcroft lost a senate race to a deceased gov. carnahan. so maybe a dead guy can win the presidency too!

  42. Winning the election is one thing, but taking the oath of office might be tricky.

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