Wednesday, September 6, 2023

the last book I ever read (Gerald R. Ford: The American Presidents Series: The 38th President, 1974-1977, excerpt two)

from Gerald R. Ford: The American Presidents Series: The 38th President, 1974-1977 by Douglas Brinkley:

Several of Ford’s fellow congressmen during his early years in the House openly coveted the White House. One of them, Massachusetts Democrat John F. Kennedy, occupied the suite across the corridor from Ford’s in the House Office Building. “The net result was, Jack Kennedy and I became good friends because we walked back and forth from our offices to the House chamber when the House bell rang,” Ford recalled decades later. “Our staffs became very close. We were pals. I was not familiar with his health problems, but I had many suspicions about his philandering. That was none of my business.” Another ambitious colleague made a point of introducing himself right after Ford had taken his first oath of office. “I’m Dick Nixon, from California,” he began with extended hand. “I heard about your big win in Michigan, and I wanted to say hello and welcome you to the House.” The two young Republican navy vets soon became friends, and—more significant—political allies. They would stay close for life. “Incidentally, if I had been a sportswriter during the time you played center for Michigan,” Nixon wrote Ford in 1994, just months before his death, “you would have been on my All-American football team.”

Years later, when discussing his early congressional career, Ford recalled two indelible visual memories: sitting in the House chamber hearing General Douglas MacArthur deliver his “Old Soldiers Never Die” valedictory and watching Richard Nixon zealously investigate Alger Hiss for treason on the House Un-American Activities Committee. “Both moments stayed with me in a very real sense for very real reason,” Ford recalled. “General MacArthur, after all, had led our efforts in the Pacific where I served during World War II. And Dick Nixon was my close friend and there he was creating a national ruckus by prosecuting Hiss. In MacArthur’s case I was impressed by the power of oratory. In Dick’s case it was more the power of dogged diligence.”

No comments:

Post a Comment