Gerald R. Ford…


Originally published in the Grand Rapids Business Journal, January 8, 2007

It’s so nice when things line up. You know, when stuff happens the way you would like it to happen even though the truth is that you had absolutely no influence over it happening the way it happened. Know what I mean? No?

All right then, I’ll put it to you this way: Out of any modern American president (and by modern, I mean one who was in office during my life), who would you pick to represent you? Who would you pick as the type of person you would like to be? The type of person you would like your neighbors to be? The type of person who other would say, “There goes a terrific example of what is all about.”?

Who said Nixon? Who said Nixon and wasn’t trying to be funny? Nobody, that’s who. The obvious answer here is Ford, Gerald R. Ford. Okay, sure, there are some isolated reasons to pick somebody else: If Jimmy Carter were your neighbor, he might come over and help you build a deck. That’d be nice. And if you were George W Bush, you’d never have to be bothered with understanding facts ever again. (Of course, if you were Bill Clinton you’d get to understand facts perfectly well, but then convince everybody else that they don’t.)

But on the whole, you’ve got to go with Ford. Decent, bright, honest, athletic, practical, self-depreciating, hard-working, curious, a good husband, a good parent, a good friend. So when the world came to Grand Rapids earlier this month, it was either our good fortune or a blessing (or both) that we got to celebrate his life as one of ours. It was a point of pride to let everybody know he was from West Michigan. One of the good guys was on our team. It’s so nice when things line up.

As for the comic, it’s just my favorite Ford quote. Ford had a particular appreciation for editorial cartoons. Go visit the Ford Museum; you’ll see them all over the exhibits. How can you not love a guy like that?


  1. Hoz said,

    January 16, 2007 @ 6:16 pm

    For neighbors I’d like Ford on one side and Carter on the other. But I wouldn’t mind having Bill over occasionally to hang out for a barbeque.

  2. John said,

    January 17, 2007 @ 9:50 am

    Yeah, Clinton would be cool. You wouldn’t want to invite Kennedy, though, because then all the Kennedys would show up and the party would get way out of control.

  3. John said,

    January 17, 2007 @ 12:17 pm

    If you have any question of whether President Ford was a good sport, you have to read this:

  4. Hoz said,

    January 23, 2007 @ 5:43 pm

    Very cool. He was a good man.

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