A Time to Heal: The Autobiography of Gerald R. Ford
(Click for Amazon book review)
Massscorecard.org BOOK REVIEW:
This is Gerald Ford's presidential memoir and autobiography. President Ford is the least appreciated of all our modern presidents -- this book demonstrates that he really was a decent man, placed by no choice of his own into exceedingly challenging circumstances. His re-election campaign, in 1976, had zero chance of succeeding because he was a Republican running in the first post-Watergate election.
Ford didn't do anything hugely memorable during his presidency -- which is why the title is "A Time To Heal", because he viewed his presidency as the period of post-Watergate and post-Vietnam healing. The two seminal events of his presidency revolve around those two issues -- pardoning Nixon and the fall of Saigon. They both ended dark moments in American history -- our first presidential resignation and our first military loss -- and Ford got the country through both.
History should treat Ford better than the dismissal our current generation offers him. This book will someday be the centerpiece of a new understanding of his importance in getting through a period of crisis in American history -- and recognizing his role in doing so at the time of his actions, including a recognition at the time that he would not be respected until some future generation.
-- Jesse Gordon, Massscorecard editor-in-chief, May 2012
| Massscorecard.org excerpts: (click on issues for details)
Budget & Economy|
Gerald Ford: Balance government & individual; cut government growth to 5%.
Gerald Ford: Ford to New York City: Drop Dead.
Gerald Ford: Federal "vision" means big spending.
Gerald Ford: Long-term recovery at the cost of short-term suffering.
Gerald Ford: Moratorium on federal spending, to fight recession.
Gerald Ford: Whip Inflation Now: voluntary participation in WIN campaign.
Gerald Ford: Fight economic crises by projecting a steady hand.
Gerald Ford: Would choose woman V.P. if he could do it over.
Gerald Ford: Endorsed the Equal Rights Amendment.
Gerald Ford: More mandatory sentencing; more focus on victims.
Gerald Ford: Mandatory sentencing for federal drug offenders.
Energy & Oil|
Gerald Ford: No gas tax increase to solve energy crisis.
Gerald Ford: Higher taxes on oil to reduce imports.
Gerald Ford: Vetoed coal-mining reductions: jobs trump environment.
Gerald Ford: Eastern Europeans don't concede Soviet domination.
Gerald Ford: Soviets dominate economy in Poland but not Polish spirit.
Gerald Ford: Disagreed on linking Soviet MFN with Jewish emigration.
Gerald Ford: Note human rights when sending US troops to South Korea.
Gerald Ford: Quiet diplomacy best for issues like Soviet Jewish emigres.
Gerald Ford: Suspended then reinstated grain sales to Soviets.
Gerald Ford: Vetoed US-flagged oil tanker rules as too protectionist.
Gerald Ford: Proponent of free trade, even with Japanese export pressure.
Gerald Ford: Untangle the petty tyranny of massive government regulation.
Gerald Ford: More local initiative; even if not "visionary".
Gerald Ford: Congress is too fragmented & too involved in foreign policy.
Gerald Ford: Ban Saturday Night Specials, but no regulations nor licenses.
Gerald Ford: 1976 themes: limited government; strong defense.
Gerald Ford: Negotiated SALT-II missile limits with USSR.
Gerald Ford: Two years alternative service for Vietnam draft dodgers.
Gerald Ford: Real spending on defense decreased during Vietnam.
Gerald Ford: Warren Commission: no conspiracy on JFK killing.
Gerald Ford: Remove farm acreage limitations, to keep inflation down.
Gerald Ford: Dems prefer to fight unemployment; GOP fight inflation.
Principles & Values|
Jimmy Carter: Lusted in his heart & feels forgiven by God.
Richard Nixon: Nixon's opponents wanted revenge; Ford sought healing.
Gerald Ford: Pardoning Nixon let America's healing begin.
Gerald Ford: Rules for Congress: communication, conciliation, compromise.
Richard Nixon: Resigned on grounds that his Congressional base disappeared.
Gerald Ford: Nixon brought his troubles upon himself.
Gerald Ford: Chosen by Nixon as safe choice for V.P.
Gerald Ford: Economic conservative; social moderate; foreign liberal.
Gerald Ford: Absurd to risk federal money in stock market.
Ronald Reagan: Portion of Social Security funds could be invested.
Gerald Ford: Entitlements make federal role into redistribution of income.
Gerald Ford: Permanent tax cuts accompanies by spending cuts.
Gerald Ford: Raised taxes to fight inflation.
War & Peace|
Gerald Ford: Vietnam evacuation postponed to avoid damage to Vietnamese.
Gerald Ford: Quid pro quo: arms to Israel for peace process flexibility.
Gerald Ford: Supported Vietnam War, to contain Communist aggression.
Gerald Ford: Vietnam War could have been won in the 1960s.
Gerald Ford: Supported arms to Cyprus Turks to promote peace with Greeks.
Gerald Ford: Offered "earned amnesty" to Vietnam draft dodgers.
Richard Nixon: Took hard line against Vietnam draft dodgers.
Gerald Ford: Israel negotiations require flexible toughness, but not USSR.
Welfare & Poverty|
Gerald Ford: Replaced categorical housing grants with block grants.
The above quotations are from A Time to Heal: The Autobiography of Gerald R. Ford.