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Ford's assessment of fellow presidents released

Old 01-12-07, 10:19 PM
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Ford's assessment of fellow presidents released

http://www.cnn.com/2007/US/01/12/for...rss_topstories

GRAND RAPIDS, Michigan (AP) -- In 25 years of interviews with his hometown paper that could only be released upon his death, former President Ford once called Jimmy Carter a "disaster" who ranked alongside Warren Harding, and said Ronald Reagan received far too much credit for ending the Cold War.

"It makes me very irritated when Reagan's people pound their chests and say that because we had this big military buildup, the Kremlin collapsed," Ford told The Grand Rapids Press.

Ford contended his own negotiation of the Helsinki accords on human rights did more to win the Cold War than Reagan's military buildup.

The best president of his lifetime, Ford said, was a more moderate Republican: Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Harry Truman "would get very high marks" for his handling of foreign crises, Ford said. He also praised Richard Nixon as a foreign policy master, despite the Watergate scandal that drove him from office.

Ford considered John F. Kennedy overrated and Bill Clinton average. He admired George H.W. Bush's handling of the Persian Gulf War and had mixed opinions of Carter, who defeated Ford in 1976.

In 1981, Ford said: "I think Jimmy Carter would be very close to Warren G. Harding. I feel very strongly that Jimmy Carter was a disaster, particularly domestically and economically. I have said more than once that he was certainly the poorest president in my lifetime."

But two years later, he praised Carter's performance on the Panama Canal treaty, China and the Middle East. And in 1998, he said Carter "will be looked on as a better president than some comments we hear today."

"He was a very decent, fine individual," Ford told the paper. "There were no major mistakes. There just weren't a lot of exciting results."

Ford gave the interviews on the condition they be withheld until after his death.

According to the newspaper, Ford declined to rate George W. Bush, saying he did not know him well enough.

Ford said Reagan, who challenged him unsuccessfully for the GOP nomination in 1976, was "a great spokesman for attractive political objectives" such as a balanced budget and defeating communism, "but when it came to implementation, his record never matched his words."

Reagan was "probably the least well-informed on the details of running the government of any president I knew," Ford said. In a separate interview, he said Reagan "was just a poor manager, and you can't be president and do a good job unless you manage."

Under the 1975 Helsinki accords signed by Ford, the United States recognized borders in Soviet-dominated Eastern Europe in exchange for the Soviets' pledge to respect basic human rights.

Ford said other key factors that won the Cold War were the Marshall Plan that helped rebuild Europe after World War II and the establishment of NATO.

"When you put peace, prosperity and human rights against poverty, a massive unsuccessful military program and a lack of human rights, communism was bound to collapse," he said. "No president, no Democrat or Republican, can claim credit for those programs. I'll tell you who deserves the credit -- the American people."
I wasn't old enough to appreciate politics at the time, but I wish I was. Ford seemed like he made a really great president. Unfortunately, I don't know much about him or what he accomplished, but his words indicate someone who was both thoughtful AND honest. He also seemed like a genuinely decent person.

Last edited by hahn; 01-12-07 at 10:26 PM.
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Old 01-12-07, 10:31 PM
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Originally Posted by hahn
According to the newspaper, Ford declined to rate George W. Bush, saying he did not know him well enough.

his words indicate someone who was both thoughtful AND honest.
and diplomatic...
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Old 01-12-07, 11:17 PM
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In 25 years of interviews with his hometown paper that could only be released upon his death, former President Ford once called Jimmy Carter a "disaster" who ranked alongside Warren Harding, and said Ronald Reagan received far too much credit for ending the Cold War.
That Gerry Ford was smarter than I gave him credit for. Carter was a disaster (OK, that one's a gimme, particularly for a Republican), and Reagan does get far too much credit for ending the Cold War.
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Old 01-12-07, 11:32 PM
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n 1981, Ford said: "I think Jimmy Carter would be very close to Warren G. Harding. I feel very strongly that Jimmy Carter was a disaster, particularly domestically and economically. I have said more than once that he was certainly the poorest president in my lifetime."
I don't get this comparsion. I don't think Harding was a bad president but he had a huge corruption problem in front of him - can the same be said about Carter?
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Old 01-12-07, 11:35 PM
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The Helsinki accords are very underrated. President Reagan's role not so much.

President Ford's two biggest problems were his woefully bland and ineffectual economic program (WIN), and the pardon of Mr. Nixon which cost him the election to Carter.
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Old 01-12-07, 11:37 PM
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Carter was abysmal despite not having major corruption problems. If he was as corrupt as Nixon or Clinton, he could have been #1 in reverse.
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Old 01-13-07, 08:22 AM
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Ford was an Eisenhower type Republican at a time when Eisenhower Republicans no longer were 'in style.'

Although, IMO, he was not a very effective (that's being somewhat kind) president, he was probably the type of a president the country needed at the time.
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Old 01-13-07, 10:18 AM
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"When you put peace, prosperity and human rights against poverty, a massive unsuccessful military program and a lack of human rights, communism was bound to collapse," he said. "No president, no Democrat or Republican, can claim credit for those programs. I'll tell you who deserves the credit -- the American people."

Yep.
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Old 01-13-07, 10:57 AM
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It's o.k. if you have a successful massive military program.
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Old 01-13-07, 12:35 PM
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This may sound cruel because he died, and I am pretty young (relative to this discussion), but my opinion of Ford was always that he was a "place holder" president.
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Old 01-13-07, 01:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Vandelay_Inds
Well, North Korea is still around. And so is Cuba, with its lack of prosperity, human rights and all.

I'd say Reagan did push the Soviets over the edge, even if their own socialist shortcomings account for most of their demise.
Yeah, I'd give Reagan credit for being the straw that broke the camel's back. North Korea---ehh, the nuclear issue makes that one hard to predict. As far as Cuba, I can't see Fidel's successors keeping the lid on like he did in perpetuity.
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Old 01-13-07, 07:01 PM
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So Ford's opinion of the following two Presidents was "They weren't as good as me." I'm not that surprised. You can't sit in the Oval office unless you have a serious ego.
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Old 01-18-07, 04:36 PM
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I'd rank Ford as being one of the presidents who most undermined democracy. Pardoning a president of clearly illegal activity did more harm than Nixon and every subsequent criminal/president ever did. He gave a blank check to all further administrations. I don't see him in much of a position to judge other presidents basically.
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Old 01-18-07, 04:46 PM
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Gerald Ford is bronzed in my mind for all time as the first target of the Not Ready For Prime Time Players on the then-new "Saturday Night Live" program.

During "Weekend Update with Chevy Chase," one story reported that Betty Ford had discovered a foolproof method of birth control. Before going to bed, she gave the president a stick of chewing gum.
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Old 01-18-07, 05:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Vibiana
Gerald Ford is bronzed in my mind for all time as the first target of the Not Ready For Prime Time Players on the then-new "Saturday Night Live" program.
Yeah, Chevy Chase always did the great pratfalls as Ford. But I did hear a piece recently on NPR that said that "klutzy" image wasn't too fair, as Ford was captain (I think?) of his college football team, and could have played pro---one of the most athletic men ever to be in the White House.
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Old 01-18-07, 05:06 PM
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yea, he was captain at university of michigan. go blue. very athletic guy.
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Old 01-18-07, 06:16 PM
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Well, like I said - I don't know much about his presidency. Perhaps he wasn't a great president. But A) he still seemed like a decent human being, and B) it doesn't diminish the legitimacy of his criticism. You don't have to be great singer in order to know who was good and who sucked in the American Idol auditions. After all, Ford didn't choose to be president. He got there by default.
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Old 01-24-07, 09:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Snorker
I'd rank Ford as being one of the presidents who most undermined democracy. Pardoning a president of clearly illegal activity did more harm than Nixon and every subsequent criminal/president ever did. He gave a blank check to all further administrations. I don't see him in much of a position to judge other presidents basically.
I don't know that there was a "right" answer. Nixon was run out of office in any event—he certainly didn't have a blank check, and neither do presidents today.
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Old 01-24-07, 10:45 PM
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Nixon was run out of office in any event—he certainly didn't have a blank check, and neither do presidents today.
I suppose that's debatable then...

I would say that anyone that uses the massive amount of power entrusted to them to their own ends (for the limited time they have that power), and then is able to live out their life without facing any fair repercussions was let off the hook. As far as this relating to current and future presidents, I come from the point of view that, like courts, government in general respects and is influenced a great deal by precedent.

In any case, that's about the only thing I really have against G Ford; although that's a pretty big blunder imo.

Don't mean to sidetrack too much but as it's a big part of Fords term; frankly I don't see an argument for Nixons pardon being a "good" thing. If anyone would like to at least present that side of the argument I'd be all for listening.
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Old 01-25-07, 07:52 AM
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All hail Ford, America's most succesful male model.
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Old 01-25-07, 09:00 AM
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cold war was won by the beatles, led zepplin, pink floyd and gorbachev who allowed some freedoms and this caused the soviet union to collapse from within
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Old 01-25-07, 09:08 AM
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Sure it did.
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Old 01-25-07, 01:49 PM
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Disparaging Henry Kissinger is bad? Oh well...
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Old 01-25-07, 02:09 PM
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Originally Posted by classicman2
Sure it did.
so the soviet union survived WW2 and people lived in poor conditions for many years afterwards but a military buildup in the 1980's killed it?
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