GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - His deliberate manner of speaking, some highly publicized mishaps and a recurring Chevy Chase bit in the early days of "Saturday Night Live" helped advance the notion that Gerald R. Ford was a bit of a klutz. In fact, Ford was one of the nation's fittest and most athletic presidents…
Journalists also reported when Ford tumbled while skiing, when he slipped and fell on some metal steps while getting off Air Force One in the rain in Austria and when he bumped his head on an airplane doorway…
In Ford's memoir, "A Time to Heal: The Autobiography of Gerald R. Ford," he bitterly recounted how a brief stumble recorded by a television camera turned into a national story.
"There was no doubt in my mind that I was the most athletic president to occupy the White House in years ... (but) from that moment on, every time I stumbled or bumped my head or fell in the snow, reporters zeroed in on that to the exclusion of almost everything else. ... (This) helped create the public perception of me as a stumbler. And that wasn't funny."
Well, it was pretty funny.
But, no, Ford was not a stumbler. He was not a clutz.
He was drunk.
Aside from the "long national nightmare" thing, the most memorable thing Ford ever said was:
The three-martini lunch is the epitome of American efficiency. Where else can you get an earful, a bellyful and a snootful at the same time?
And he said it during a Presidential election. That he was a candidate in.
The guy wasn't clumsy. He was bombed. In the early afternoon. In the White House.
KING: So [Betty] was drinking in the White House, and you had enabled that. You didn't -- weren't aware of a problem?
FORD: But we were not what I would call drinkers. Her problem was a combination of prescribed medication by doctors in the White House and elsewhere, plus a few martinis or a bourbon and water during the afternoon or evening.
No, he and Betty were not what he would call "drinkers". He would have an efficient three martini lunch and Betty might have a "few" martinis in during the afternoon, but they were not what he, the President of the United States, would call "drinkers".
I mean, just because both he and his wife would throw down eighteen or twenty four ounces of gin in the afternoon is no reason to call them "drinkers"! Just because Jerry considered sucking down the equivalent of a case of beer over lunch "efficient", just because the guy fell off of chairs, podiums, and airplanes is no reason to call him a "drinker"!
I've got nothing against the guy, aside from him being a lifelong bag man for defense contractors who rewarded him with seats on about a thousand different boards in exchange for selling out his constituents, or for undermining our democracy by selling the Presidential pardon in exchange for the Presidency and lying to Congress about it, or for, with his stupid Whip Inflation Now buttons, trying to convince The People that public relations was actually policy.
Also, I kind of didn't like him for establishing the precedent of pardoning government criminals before they were even indicted or tried so that:
a) the American People never even know the truth about Their government; and
b) criminals, who should be in prison, are, instead, every four or eight years are right back in their old jobs.
If Lou Reed is the godfather of punk, Gerald Ford is the godfather of the Bush administration.
But the guy died today. And so nobody should say anything bad about him. Because it's a tragedy. He only lived to be ninety three. And he was fabulously wealthy. Without having ever done anything for the benefit of anyone other than Gerald Ford or people like him, who work so little that they can drink eighteen ounces of gin in the early afternoon.
The liberal media, the guard-dogs of your democracy, can't say enough nice things about the guy--he wasn't clumsy! He healed the nation! Americans approved much more of his presidency than his approval ratings might suggest! He was probably the Greatest President who was never elected, even if he was the only one.
And we should all lament his passing so young.
Me? My soul must have died with him. Because honestly? I just can't feel bad for making fun of the guy.
I'm not glad he's dead. I don't wish he died younger. I hope his death was painless and as pleasant as it could be.
But the guy was kind of a jerk.
His drinking was well known among the "liberal" Washington press corps while he was a Congressman and while he was in the White House, and they're still pretending he just slipped a couple of times and Chevy Chase confused us all into thinking Ford was clumsy.
When he really was an exceptional athlete with cat like reflexes.
And bombed by two thirty in the afternoon every day of the week.
It's nothing against Gerald Ford--except for all that other stuff I have against Gerald Ford--it's that creepy feeling that the American People are either being treated like little children who are too young to hear the true facts of life or that our "liberal" media, which went to extraordinary lengths to delve into Clinton's personal life but seems to go out of its way to respect the personal lives of Republican Presidents, might not actually be "liberal".