Gerald Ford for the most part kept his mouth shut during the terms of subsequent presidents. Though he was quiet he was always willing to give his own party advice about finding common ground with cooperative bi-partisanship. In the last 10 years Gerald Ford continued to warn the GOP of embracing the religious right and often scolded the GOP about those that mention God freely in the political arena. I always found his claim to be empty of conviction because I remember him as a president and I pay attention to what people say. Here is Ford's speech that he gave as he pardoned Richard Nixon:
Ladies and gentlemen:
I have come to a decision which I felt I should tell you and all of my fellow American citizens, as soon as I was certain in my own mind and in my own conscience that it is the right thing to do.
I have learned already in this office that the difficult decisions always come to this desk. I must admit that many of them do not look at all the same as the hypothetical questions that I have answered freely and perhaps too fast on previous occasions.
My customary policy is to try and get all the facts and to consider the opinions of my countrymen and to take counsel with my most valued friends. But these seldom agree, and in the end, the decision is mine. To procrastinate, to agonize, and to wait for a more favorable turn of events that may never come or more compelling external pressures that may as well be wrong as right, is itself a decision of sorts and a weak and potentially dangerous course for a President to follow.
I have promised to uphold the Constitution, to do what is right as God gives me to see the right, and to do the very best that I can for America.
I have asked your help and your prayers, not only when I became President but many times since. The Constitution is the supreme law of our land and it governs our actions as citizens. Only the laws of God, which govern our consciences, are superior to it.
As we are a nation under God, so I am sworn to uphold our laws with the help of God. And I have sought such guidance and searched my own conscience with special diligence to determine the right thing for me to do with respect to my predecessor in this place, Richard Nixon, and his loyal wife and family.
This is Gerald Ford mentioning God more times in one speech than most presidents do at their annual prayer breakfast. Also, keep in mind that the role of this speech was to convinced Democrats (especially those in the South) that he was doing the right thing. My how times have changed.
The one thing I'll always admire about Gerald Ford was that it was through his experience that I saw how media changed things. Even as a young boy I knew that the media portrayed him as a bumbling, clumsy man. The reality was that he was a man of great conviction who came out of extreme poverty. He had an alcoholic father that impacted his life so much that he and his wife have treated those bound by addiction. He was perhaps the greatest athlete to ever become president. I watched the 1978 Rose Bowl where my beloved Washington Huskies were playing Michigan. Gerald Ford was in the stands rooting for Michigan. My dad told me he was a football player for Michigan on their 1932 National Championship team and in 1934 was their most valuable player.
To the media Gerald Ford was a bumbling fool who stumbled into the White House and with the stroke of a pen denied them the red meat they desired so much. Ford prevented them from watching over an opportunity to see Nixon torn apart in a trial. (same media that has largely ignored Saddam's trial but I digress) It was for this reason really that the country did end up turning to a true bumbling fool of a peanut farmer from Georgia.
By the way, Ford won in a landslide in my 2nd grade class. Carter only got one vote and I even argued that the vote shouldn't have counted because it was from a kid in another class. If you have any seven year olds at home and they act like this...beware this is how they become libertarians.
May God Bless Gerald Ford and his famly.