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Maestro
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So, I'm a bit of a hypocrite
May 15th, 2018 at 5:23pm
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Ok, so a while back I complained about how most modern politicians don't actually write their own books, but pretend that they do. People who spend hundreds of days a year on the road giving speeches, making TV appearances, etc. are not sitting at a keyboard writing a 400+ page book. They are talking to an actual writer who then turns their conversations into a readable book.

Having said all of that, I saw Gerald Ford's "A Time to Heal" at our library this week and I picked it up. And, I have to admit, it's fascinating.

I doubt many people used "fascinating" to describe Gerald Ford before 1974, but this book really is. I've read another book about Ford called "Write it When I'm Gone" which is equally fascinating.

Contrary to what many historians might think, I think Ford might be one of, if the the most interesting man to sit in the White House. The way he got there, the decisions he made, what he had to deal with. I'm too young to have lived through much of it (I was an infant during the last part of his administration), but I find the whole situation really interesting.
  



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Re: So, I'm a bit of a hypocrite
Reply #1 - May 15th, 2018 at 5:45pm
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I was in my 20's during Ford's brief term. I remember someone opining at one point that all the jokes about him being uncoordinated were a bit unfair. As a former athlete, he was apparently rather well-coordinated.

His speaking style however was rather wooden and uninspiring, which was fair game.

And, although he insisted there was no prior agreement or understanding, he's maintained that pardoning Nixon was simply the right thing to do for the man and the nation. I've never fully accepted that.

I believe more than anything that pardon handed the election to Jimmy Carter, who was as far removed from a Nixon as could be.
  

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Re: So, I'm a bit of a hypocrite
Reply #2 - May 15th, 2018 at 6:24pm
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So was that book ghostwritten, Maestro?

I don't think Ford even served a full term, right? For that reason, I often forget him. I was 1 year old when Carter was elected.
  


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Re: So, I'm a bit of a hypocrite
Reply #3 - May 15th, 2018 at 6:30pm
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Jasmine wrote on May 15th, 2018 at 6:24pm:
So was that book ghostwritten, Maestro?


I have no proof. I suspect it, though. Writing well is hard work and takes tons of time.

Nixon though, that's a different story. He might have written his. By all accounts, he had tons of time after leaving office and wasn't really known for collaborating. It's also a little difficult to imagine him letting someone else write his story.

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I don't think Ford even served a full term, right? For that reason, I often forget him. I was 1 year old when Carter was elected.


He finished Nixon's second term. Nixon's first VP resigned for financial malfeasance (unrelated to Watergate). Nixon nominated Ford (the House minority leader at the time) to replace him and Ford was confirmed by the Congress under the rules of the 25th Amendment in 1974. Before that, vacant Vice Presidencies were just left empty until the next election.

When Nixon resigned, Ford became President, making him the only President to never be elected to either the Presidency or the Vice-Presidency. Carter then beat Ford in the 1976 election.
  



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Re: So, I'm a bit of a hypocrite
Reply #4 - May 15th, 2018 at 6:39pm
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Maestro wrote on May 15th, 2018 at 6:30pm:
I have no proof. I suspect it, though. Writing well is hard work and takes tons of time.

Nixon though, that's a different story. He might have written his. By all accounts, he had tons of time after leaving office and wasn't really known for collaborating. It's also a little difficult to imagine him letting someone else write his story.

I think ghostwritten books are usually better because the quality of writing is professional level. It's still the subject's stories and voice and recollections, and I'm sure the subject has final say on whatever's written.

It's cool that you have a passion for political history. Smiley
  


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Re: So, I'm a bit of a hypocrite
Reply #5 - May 15th, 2018 at 6:42pm
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Jasmine wrote on May 15th, 2018 at 6:39pm:
I think ghostwritten books are usually better because the quality of writing is professional level. It's still the subject's stories and voice and recollections, and I'm sure the subject has final say on whatever's written.


I don't mind the concept, I just think politicians ought to be big enough to say "With so-and-so" under their giant name on the cover.

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It's cool that you have a passion for political history. Smiley


Man, there's little that's more exciting than how people divvy up power among themselves. It's captivating stuff.
  



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Re: So, I'm a bit of a hypocrite
Reply #6 - May 15th, 2018 at 6:47pm
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Maestro wrote on May 15th, 2018 at 6:42pm:
I don't mind the concept, I just think politicians ought to be big enough to say "With so-and-so" under their giant name on the cover.

I thought they did. They definitely should. It's only right.


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Man, there's little that's more exciting than how people divvy up power among themselves. It's captivating stuff.

It's not an autobiography or a memoir, but I highly recommend "Days of Fire" by Peter Baker of the NY Times. It is an excellent account of the Bush/Cheney White House years. It really goes behind the scenes and brilliantly captures key moments of their administration. The part about Sept. 11 alone makes it captivating reading. It is also very objective and balanced.
  


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Re: So, I'm a bit of a hypocrite
Reply #7 - May 15th, 2018 at 6:57pm
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Ulysses wrote on May 15th, 2018 at 5:45pm:
I was in my 20's during Ford's brief term. I remember someone opining at one point that all the jokes about him being uncoordinated were a bit unfair. As a former athlete, he was apparently rather well-coordinated.


Ha! I thought you were younger than I. That's neither an insult nor a compliment. I'm just admitting an error. You're right about the unfair portrayal. He falls on camera a couple of times and is labelled a klutz when he is clearly more physically coordinated than the average person.

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His speaking style however was rather wooden and uninspiring, which was fair game.


That is a fair point, though I think Ford and Carter were both probably right on the turning point of when gobs of Presidential charisma went from being an asset to a necessity. Politics tends to trail behind technology by a generation or so. While we have had Presidents before that with tons of charisma (FDR) we had plenty who seemed to have very little. I would argue that it wasn't until the late 70's that being charismatic on camera really mattered. Yeah, I know, JFK, but he's the exception that proves the rule.

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And, although he insisted there was no prior agreement or understanding, he's maintained that pardoning Nixon was simply the right thing to do for the man and the nation. I've never fully accepted that.


I understand that. There's a part of me that bristles under the idea that we should pardon people before the trial is over and I also appreciate the idea that nobody is above the law. But, the Founders debated some of that when they gave the pardoning power to the POTUS and using the pardon to heal social wounds was something they considered, though they were speaking more in terms of rebellions.

Still, I think Ford was right. I don't think there was a deal (I could do another thread on that). He basically sacrificed his political career for that move and I think it was the right course of action.

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I believe more than anything that pardon handed the election to Jimmy Carter, who was as far removed from a Nixon as could be.


I mostly agree.
  



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Maestro
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Re: So, I'm a bit of a hypocrite
Reply #8 - May 15th, 2018 at 7:00pm
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Jasmine wrote on May 15th, 2018 at 6:47pm:
I thought they did. They definitely should. It's only right.


It's not an autobiography or a memoir, but I highly recommend "Days of Fire" by Peter Baker of the NY Times. It is an excellent account of the Bush/Cheney White House years. It really goes behind the scenes and brilliantly captures key moments of their administration. The part about Sept. 11 alone makes it captivating reading. It is also very objective and balanced.


I'll take a look at it. I like reading about Bush's term as well. 9/11 was our generation's Watergate/Pear Harbor/etc.
  



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