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Gerald Ford proved that a leader’s character can be more important than brains. Right after Richard Nixon proved that brains without character can be dangerous.

The TV coverage I’ve seen rightly emphasized Ford’s role as a healer after Watergate. Lord knows, the nation needed it.

But a fuller picture needs to be drawn:

  • Even I think he did the right thing when he pardoned Nixon. But he did it the wrong way – springing it without warning early on a Sunday morning.

  • Ford was the last of the Rockefeller Republicans. He nearly lost the Republican nomination to Reagan in 1976. That was thanks largely to North Carolina, Tom Ellis and my blogging partner Carter.

  • Ford also was the first target of real TV satire – from Chevy Chase on “Saturday Night Live.” That proud tradition lives on with Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert.

Obviously, I didn’t like Ford’s politics. And it’s hard to forgive him for giving us Cheney and Rumsfeld.

But those were tough times. You had to be there to understand.

After Watergate, it was reassuring seeing the President toast his own English muffins. And we got out of Vietnam.

Thanks, Jerry.

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