Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Rest In Peace, Mr. President

Since I am one of the seemingly millions of Americans who have their own blog, and as reigning Time Magazine Person of the Year, I feel compelled to just offer a few brief, perhaps inadequate (take note of the spelling Ms. Lohan) words about the passing of a great man, Gerald Rudolph Ford Jr., the 38th President of the United States.

In the days ahead, there will be much talk about Jerry Ford, the man, the husband, the father, and the athlete, the veteran of World War II, the Congressman, the Vice President, and the President. By all accounts, he was a man of decency and integrity who had a bit of a rough start in life when his mother had to escape an abusive husband with her infant son but President Ford went on to serve with honor in everything he did and truly realized the American Dream.

It is somewhat ironic that in a life that spanned 93 years, Gerald Ford will be honored publicly in such ways as he will because of the relatively short two and a half years he served as President over thirty years ago. He had quite a career before that and never expected nor sought the Presidency. What he really wanted to be was Speaker of the House, and probably regretted never reaching that milestone. It is somewhat prophetic that he will lie in state in the Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol during the final few days of Republican control of the U.S. House. It was only once he became President, that he decided he wanted to keep that job, but fell just short in the 1976 election, after nearly making up a massive deficit in the polls during the final weeks of the campaign.

President Ford was not a larger than life personality, nor was he someone who will go down in history as one of our “greatest” Presidents, but he was the right man at the right time. The tributes to him may not take on the significance due to the historic achievements reached during the lives of Presidents Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan, the other two Presidents who have passed on in my lifetime, but Gerald R. Ford should always be remembered for taking on the leadership of this nation during one of the darkest times in our history, and keeping our country together, and not allowing America to lose faith with its institutions or with our own decency.

So, job well done Mr. President. America will always be grateful to you for that and hopefully Mrs. Ford and your entire family will find such comfort during this time.

In honor of President Ford, I think it would be appropriate for people around the country to root for the Michigan Wolverines in the Rose Bowl on New Year’s Day so that (along with their recently departed former Coach), the tune of “Hail to the Victors” will play for the man who will also have “Hail to the Chief” played for him as he is laid to rest.

Finally, while President Ford was a leader respected by Americans of all political stripes, he was a loyal Republican to the end.

Just as we in the GOP will always continue to speak of Presidential campaigns and “Winning One for the Gipper,” it might be just as appropriate that as we look ahead towards 2008, we Republicans think of the man whose biggest ambition was to be Speaker, and attempt to regain the majority in Congress under the theme of “Win One for Jerry Ford.”