It was the very first thing I read Thursday morning. It was an article on-line from the Washington Post, and after reading it I was even more nostalgic for the common sense type of Republicans that once were plentiful in America.
After reading the article I again lamented the sad state of the GOP today being dominated by the hard-core culture warriors, having no room anymore for the ‘Gerald Ford’ types. That is a shame. Right-wing conservatives have taken hold of the GOP, and the moderates of yesterday such as Ford and Nelson Rockefeller would no longer be able to climb to political power.
What made me think backwards in time Thursday was the news article about the interview granted Bob Woodward by former President Ford three years ago. At the age of 90 Ford was able to voice his disagreement over the Iraq war and see the shortcomings of Bush’s war policy. Ford had granted the interview on the condition that it not be released until after his death.
Ford found the rationale of seeking weapons of mass destruction a lame argument for starting a war, and stated he would have sought ways to prevent the conflict, notably by extending the time for sanctions to work. Ford said he would have worked hard to find an alternative to war. Bush has never been accused of working hard at any time in college or the White House so……
It should be noted that Ford’s death comes at the same time as a mighty sad statistic took place. The deaths from the war in Iraq is now greater than the number of lives lost in New York and Washington on 9/11. Sadly, the deaths just keep happening as Bush continues to believe that his views about spreading democracy are more justified than the realities that the rest of us are aware of as we follow the news and recall world history. It is also ironic that the democracy Bush hopes to spread in the Middle East runs counter to the democracy he seems so happy to undermine right here in America. The pure folly of the war, and the fact that all these soldiers have died in vain in Iraq, is plain for all to see. All, that is, except George Bush.
Ford also had a problem with the domestic surveillance program, which also sent this blogger up the wall a year ago. Ford said in the interview he was “dumbfounded” when he heard that Bush had allowed this activity to take place in America. I think I might have used stronger language at the time.
As we look back this week and recall the days when President Ford was in the Oval Office, we need to be mindful that in the GOP world today he would never have the chance to rise to power in the House, never would become Vice President, and never would be nominated at a national convention. That is how far the GOP has moved away from the center as it lurched to the right in the past 30 years, and America suffers as a result.
The public policy lessons of the past that were produced by moderate Republicans such as Jerry Ford should not be forgotten or rejected by the hard core conservatives that run the nation today. Those in the GOP who steer our nation into the ditch today should not discount the fact that Ford is recalled with warmth and affection because of both his comforting style and moderate policies.