Ford, Betty and Gerald (January 1, 2007)

Betty Ford is a classic and a contemporary woman, mother and wife.  She talked to her kids about pre-marital sex and marijuana rather than lecturing them.  She observed publicly that abortion is a private not a public decision.  Her efforts on behalf of breast cancer detection and treatment warrant a Nobel Prize in Medicine or Peace.  She confronted her demons and helped others detect and treat theirs.  She wore her beliefs on her sleeve not up her sleeve.  She wore an “ERA” (Equal Rights Amendment) button while her husband wore a “WIN” (Whip Inflation Now) button.  He confronted his demons – stagnation and inflation – with mixed success.  He did not lose the foreign policy demon of his day.  Although not elected, he elected not to exacerbate the many foreign policy mistakes of others in Vietnam.  The (Nixon) Pardon is still problematic; there was a sotto voce understanding which is not surprising among politicians.  The “Profile In Courage” award was appropriate because the decision to pardon, right or wrong, was courageous under the circumstances.  Not a saint and not a Lincoln, Ford is an endangered specie, a Midwestern Republican who preached and practiced personal integrity, fiscal responsibility, individual liberty, and a nuanced military polity.

Bumper sticker of the week:

Well-behaved women rarely make history

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