Gerald Ford was the best President of the 1970’s. That’s not saying a lot, but he was better than Carter and Nixon. (Nixon I hold as the worst President in history – but that’s a whole other blog post.) He was a decent man and not a religious conservative. Since he was a Republican he was smeared by the MSM (which was the only media back then) as stupid and ineffectual. When an Al Gore says a leopard can’t change its stripes, his gaff is ignored; let a Republican make such a dumb misstatement and it becomes central to his story.
Given Ford’s decisive reaction to the Mayaguez and Carter’s feckless response to the Iran hostage crisis, one has to wonder how history would have been different had Ford beat Carter in 1976. Might we have supported the Shah and stopped the Mullahs from taking power in Iran? Would the hostage crisis have happened? Would Ford have responded more forcefully than Carter to the hostage crisis? Would the Soviet Union have invaded Afghanistan? Would domestic policy have been as bad? Would Ford have created the Departments of Energy and Education? We’ll never know the answers to these questions, but it’s safe to say Ford would have been a better President than Carter. Chevy Chase would have been a better President than Carter.