Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Day Off Over a Nice Guy

The large multi-national corporation that pays my bills was closed today in honor of Gerald Ford's funeral. Sort of like getting a small inheritance from a distant relative you forgot you had.

Half the people on my floor at work are too young to remember the guy. I'm old enough to remember the two years when Nixon was the only living president, between LBJ's death in 1972 and Nixon's resignation in 1974. I'm actually old enough to remember JFK being shot, assassinations of famous people seeming like regular occurrences for me between grades K and 8.

The local news stations here have run the expected tributes to Ford. The tributes all cite that Ford lost to Carter in New York in 1976 because of the famous "Ford To City: Drop Dead" headline in the Daily News. That's not why he lost. New York rarely goes Republican anyway. He lost because the country was tired of Republicans. Kinda like now.

After Ford rebuffed New York and told it to get its act together, he did come through. Ford actually liked New York and appointed Nelson Rockefeller as VP. And he may have pardoned Nixon, but he also signed the papers making it possible for John Lennon to stay in this country. And he had a cool wife.

He was the last moderate Republican in the White House, and lost to a Democrat who was too damn moderate. Together, they paved the way for Reagan, for whatever that's worth to you. So goodbye to the Last Nice Guy.

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