Back in 1974, my father moved the family from one dying mill town in CT, Willimantic, to another, Hudson Falls, in upstate New York. Although we would make two more moves after that, I've always considered Hudson Falls my hometown. It's where I spent my painful teenage years. It's also where I first became aware of politics when Gerald Ford, that's him to the left, replaced Richard Nixon as our 38th president.
The country was literally in shambles. The economy sucked. Cars waiting for gas formed lines 2 or 3 miles long. Many cities, especially in The Rust Belt, were still smoldering from the race riots of '67 and '68. The press and Congress had revealed the tragedy of Watergate. And we had our first unelected president after Nixon became our first president to resign.
Ford, never seeking the honor, literally stumbled into the Oval Office. He did much to move the country forward. Nevertheless, Ford's legacy probably won't ever match those of Reagan or Clinton. His actions, however, have reached well beyond his presidency, including our current adventure in Iraq.
Ford is remembered most for pardoning Nixon. That decision, controversial to say the least, put him at odds with both the people and Congress. A moderate Republican, Ford responded by seeking allies farther to the right. Donald Rumsfeld became Secretary of Defense. Dick Cheney, a Rumsfeld protégé, became Ford's Chief of Staff. George H. W. Bush was appointed Director of Central Intelligence.
As my father would say, 'nuff said.