A Comparison In Passing
Of course, given the tenor of the current administration, I have to say that looking back at the Ford years -- even though I personally didn't care for him as Chief Executive -- seems now like a look back at an era of peaceful, halcyon days. I may not have liked his presidential decisions, but I did not fear his administration, nor did I worry about the strange and terrible direction in which America was headed, as I do now constantly. Ford famously said, "Our long national nightmare is over." Had we all known at the time that a much worse national nightmare -- one in which we are now enmeshed, and which threatens to rip this country asunder; one that makes Watergate look like a pleasant daydream by comparison -- was looming ahead, perhaps we would have appreciated those days a bit more.
By the time Ford took office -- thanks to the timely and well-earned resignation of President Richard Nixon -- James Brown was already a legend. Ford was known as a guy who had perhaps "played a little too much football without his helmet on."
Some other James Brown/Gerald Ford comparisons:
- Godfather of Soul
- "Hardest working man in show business"
- Loud; black; proud
- Got on the good foot
- Played a lot of funk
- Responsible in large part for the career of Mick Jagger (who would be nothing without the dance steps he copied virtually wholesale from JB) and many other imitators
- Felt good
- Had a brand new bag
- Claimed that it was a man's world, but it wouldn't be nothing without a woman or a girl
- Hired my friend Vicki G.'s brother to play trumpet in his band
- Was elected to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
- Wielded a shotgun at an insurance seminar when he thought attendees of the seminar were using his private restroom
- Spent time in prison and in rehab
- Oatmeal Man
- "A Ford, not a Lincoln"
- Relatively soft-spoken; white; could be somewhat self-effacing on occasion, but certainly never lacked a basic sense of self-esteem
- Often tripped or stumbled
- Played a lot of golf
- Responsible in large part for the career of Chevy Chase (who portrayed the then-president to comic effect in the early days of Saturday Night Live) and many other bumbling, stumbling comedians at the time
- Was often bumped and bruised
- Had a bunch of WIN (Whip Inflation Now) buttons made up
- Claimed that Eastern Europe had never been under Soviet domination
- Hired Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and George H.W. Bush to work in his administration
- Served as both Vice President and President, but was never elected to either office
- Survived two rather inept assassination attempts within weeks of each other
- Spent time in the Navy and the House of Representatives
- Beat his wife
- Pardoned Nixon