Today they are in a tiff because Ford had opinions on the Iraq War:
Ford told Woodward not to publish his views until after his death, but apparently said once he died they could be published at any time. It’s easy to understand the first part of the decision — why would Ford, at his age, want to participate in a contentious policy debate? But Ford has been criticized for not telling Woodward to wait until, say, the end of the Bush administration to reveal his views. Either Ford felt strongly enough about the matter that he wanted his opinion in the mix sooner rather than later (but not so soon that he would become embroiled in the debate) or he didn’t think things through very carefully.
JOHN adds: I would group this together with the Jeffrey Hart story Scott discusses below, under the heading “elderly apostates.” I find it interesting that many on the left who viewed Professor Hart’s work over his entire adult life with contempt, now cite him as a sort of sage when he criticizes President Bush. Likewise with Gerald Ford. Out of public life for a quarter-century and aged ninety, his views on the Iraq war are not especially noteworthy, except insofar as they can be used to discredit the present administration. If Ford had endorsed Bush’s Iraq policy in his interview with Bob Woodward, would we ever have heard about it? I doubt it.
Shorter Powerline: Ford’s opinions should be ignored, because, if in some alternate universe, he had favored the war, the liberal media would not have reported it.
Bill Bennett is also in a huff because Ford voicing his opinions was indecent:
Since “decency” seems to be the watchword of the day and the consensus modifier for Jerry Ford (a view with which I generally concur), may I nevertheless be permitted to ask this: just how decent, how courageous, is what Jerry Ford did with Bob Woodward? He slams Bush & Cheney to Woodward in 2004, but asks Woodward not to print the interview until he’s dead. If he felt so strongly about his words having a derogatory affect, how about telling Woodward not to run the interview until after Bush & Cheney are out of office? The effect of what Ford did is to protect himself, ensuring he can’t be asked by others about his critiques, ensuring that there can be no dialogue. The way Ford does it with Woodward, he doesn’t have to defend himself…he simply drops it into Bob Woodward’s tape recorder and let’s the bomb go off when fully out of range, himself. This is not courage, this is not decent.
Bennett then goes on to offer up some more “manly” options (paging the General, himself an 11 on the scale of manly), all of which are absurd. At any rate, the reason Ford did not speak out is because all of the aforementioned blowhards would have savaged him for not keeping his opinions to himself, as former President’s are ‘supposed to do’. I think we can all agree that had Ford come out against the war, these same knuckleheads would have called him Jimmy Carter Ford or the like.
As every day passes, it becomes clearer and clearer that the GOP needs to be destroyed, purged, and rebuilt from the ground up. Praise the lord and pass the ammunition, I say.