Moderate? Conservative? With Gerald Ford, Take Your Pick





LYNDON JOHNSON in 1973. Richard Nixon in 1994. Ronald Reagan in 2004.

The last three former presidents to die dominated the world stage. They bent history to their will, for better or worse, and became the subjects of a crowded shelf of biographies. For the writers of memorials and obituaries, they were easy.

Not so Gerald R. Ford, who served only 29 months, never won a national election, and was constricted by an overwhelmingly hostile Congress. He is remembered mainly for the pardon of his predecessor, an act that ultimately doomed his bid for re-election.

Yet the public ritual surrounding the death of a former president demands a period of public rumination, and partisans across the political spectrum have been finding substance to admire in Mr. Ford.


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