As always, Mark Steyn is spot-on:
So much of what ails us dates from the Seventies: It was the decade when the Continent fully embraced the social-democratic cosseting that’s enfeebled its citizenry and the mass immigration necessary to keep it affordable, the decade when the petro-dictatorships of the Middle East realized the west would do anything to keep the oil flowing, and the decade which gave us the twin templates through which the media, the academy and the other American elites fit all major events, domestic and foreign – Watergate and Vietnam. Though it was a war he inherited from his three predecessors, it fell to Gerald Ford to preside over the final retreat from Vietnam and to bequeath to history the great emblematic image of American weakness and failure: the scrambling choppers over the US embassy in Saigon. As was plain then and is plainer now, the left saw American defeat as its own great victory. They enjoyed the pain the “long national nightmare” inflicted on national self-confidence, which is one reason they love to revive it at every opportunity. (See Pinch Sulzberger’s pathetic self-regarding commencement address from last year.) Understanding the enduring damage Vietnam and Watergate would do to the body politic, Ford attempted to lance the boils. He failed, but it was an honorable effort by an honorable man. Rest in peace.
Update: Tammy Bruce looks at Ford through a gimlet eye: “yes, I know he died, and I’m sorry for him, and his family. But there will be no Love Letter here”. Read the rest–while I do think Ford was a good man, he was an exceptionally weak president, and as Tammy writes, Ford’s ineffectiveness led directly to Jimmy Carter’s dire four years malaise.