Gerald Ford: Beneath the Veneer


Say what you want about Bob Woodward (and I’ve said a lot of it), the guy gets people to talk. While Ford talked to me about sports, Woodward talked with him about strategy and what he thought of our nation’s national security helmsmen.
Behind the bland veneer of President Gerald Ford, there was a seemingly solid realist and Machiavellian strategist — with both policy objectives and personnel.
That’s the read I get out of this fascinating Bob Woodward interview with Ford that was embargoed until the former president’s death.

Ford’s comments about Cheney losing it in his current job are particularly compelling:

In the sessions, Ford fondly recalled his close working relationship with key Bush advisers Cheney and Rumsfeld while expressing concern about the policies they pursued in more recent years.
“He was an excellent chief of staff. First class,” Ford said. “But I think Cheney has become much more pugnacious” as vice president. He said he agreed with former secretary of state Colin L. Powell’s assertion that Cheney developed a “fever” about the threat of terrorism and Iraq. “I think that’s probably true.”

Ford was right on target about Cheney’s pugnaciousness.
Make sure you read his quip about Kissinger.
— Steve Clemons


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