Take a page from Gerald Ford’s playbook | Don Brunell

It’s D-Day for American voters. With Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump carrying unusually low approval ratings and having a deep antipathy for one another, no matter which one ultimately is elected, the nation will be bitterly polarized.

It’s D-Day for American voters. With Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump carrying unusually low approval ratings and having a deep antipathy for one another, no matter which one ultimately is elected, the nation will be bitterly polarized.

Hopefully, each has a plan to bring us back together after Nov. 8.

America thrives on a peaceful transfer of power. It is one of the important traditions which has been handed down since John Adams succeeded George Washington on March 4, 1797.

For guidance, Clinton and Trump ought to look to Gerald Ford.

First, Ford acknowledged the loss and his concession statement was gracious and reassuring. He urged all Americans to leave the rancorous campaign behind and united with President-elect Carter. He pledged and gave his full support to Carter.

Ford was our first President to assume the office without having run for president or vice president. Late in 1973 when Spiro Agnew resigned as Vice President, Nixon surprised everyone appointing Ford. Then, on August 9, 1974, when Nixon became the first president to resign under the threat of impeachment, Gerald R. Ford took the oath of office as 38th President.

Ford faced some unusually difficult decisions during his 30 months as President.

One month after taking office, Ford granted Nixon a full, free and absolute pardon. It outraged many Americans, but Ford believed it was a necessary first step toward healing a divided nation.

Politically, the pardon was very costly. Ford’s approval rating quickly fell from 70 percent to below 40 percent, but over the years, Ford was vindicated.

In 2001, the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation awarded him with the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award. In presenting the award, Sen. Ted Kennedy, who vociferously opposed to the pardon, stated that history proved Ford made the correct decision for this country.

Internationally, in March 1975, during the final days of the Vietnam War, Ford ordered the airlift of 237,000 Vietnamese refugees to the United States. It was an unpopular decision but he deeply believed that people who supported the United States should be saved.

At home, families and businesses faced interest rates, inflation and unemployment climbing toward double-digits. The economy was dropping quickly. Ford believed America needed to put its finances in order and stem borrowing.

But New York City leaders were looking for a massive federal bailout of the public pension system. Ford believed the rescue would be a fatal trend for our country although he kept the discussions going. Ultimately, Ford agreed to extend federal loans to the city preventing bankruptcy.

The political damage to Ford in New York City was deep and vitriolic. It sparked the infamous New York Daily News headline “Ford to City: Drop Dead.”

If Ford would have acquiesced to the bailout, he likely would have defeated Carter. The state’s 41 electoral votes would have been enough to swing the election. Even though New York City voted heavily for Carter, Ford barely lost the state overall.

Gerald Ford was a devoted and gracious public servant who put his country first. He served in the House of Representatives from 1949 to 1973. He was re-elected twelve times, winning each time with more than 60 percent of the vote.

Ford served most of his legislative career in the minority—eight of which were as minority leader. He could passionately disagree with presidents, Democrats and even fellow Republicans, yet limited his criticism to points in dispute without personalizing differences.

On Inauguration Day, President Carter began his speech: “For myself and for our Nation, I want to thank my predecessor for all he has done to heal our land.”

A grateful people concurred.

 

More in Business

Seattle’s misstep highlights need for new approach

Last week, Seattle’s City Council did an “about face” revoking the onerous… Continue reading

Washington’s expensive culvert court case

Too much money is spent in court where it should go to increasing the salmon population

Lt. Dan needs lots of helping hands

Gary Sinise formed the “Lt. Dan Band” in early 2004 and they began entertaining troops serving at home and abroad. Sinise often raised the money to pay the band and fund its travel.

New Enumclaw wine bar aims for broad audience

Bordeaux Wine Bar is scheduled to be open Wednesdays through Sundays.

Streamlining regulations makes more housing affordable

There were over 21,000 people homeless in Washington State last year.

New approaches needed to fight super wildfires | Don Brunell

Last year, wildfires nationwide consumed 12,550 square miles, an area larger than Maryland.

Skilled trade jobs go unfilled in our robust economy

Known as blue collar jobs, they routinely pay $45,000 to $65,000 a year or more.

Streamlining regulations helps Americans compete

The cost of regulations is a key American competitiveness issue. It is a major reason our companies re-locate to other countries and our manufacturers and farmers have difficulties competing internationally.

Water pressure mounting in West as population spikes

What is happening in California with water allocation disputes is a harbinger of what is to come in our state as well.

Railroads implementing positive track

While the investigation continues into the deadly AMTRAK derailment near Dupont, the clock continues to tick on the implementation of Positive Track Control (PTC). The deadline is Dec. 31, 2018.

Keep the holiday spirit all year long | Don Brunell

During the holidays, our thoughts naturally turn to giving — not just giving gifts, but donating our time and money to charities, disasters and community programs.

Finding balance in occupational licensing

Recently, the Institute for Justice (Institute) determined state licensing barriers for lower-income workers and aspiring entrepreneurs not only hurts people trying to establish themselves in a profession, but annually drives consumer prices up by $203 billion.