Thoughts on Gerald R. Ford (1913-2006)

As someone who lives near former President Gerald R. Ford's longtime hometown of Grand Rapids, I was saddened to learn of the passing of our 38th President.

Five months and twelve days after his 93rd birthday (he was the oldest President in US history), Ford passed away peacefully at 6:45 PM Pacific Time (9:45 PM Eastern Time) Tuesday at his home in California, with his wife Betty and family by his side.

He is the only Eagle Scout to become President thus far. After graduating first from the University of Michigan (where he was an amazing football player, though he turned down offers to play for the Packers and the Lions) and then from Yale Law School, he served his country in World War II. He was then elected to represent Grand Rapids in Congress in 1948, becoming House Republican Leader in 1965. In 1973, he became Vice President after Spiro Agnew resigned. Just months later, President Richard Nixon resigned due to the Watergate scandal, propelling then-VP Ford into the Presidency.

It was Ford's job to heal the nation after the horrible effects of the Watergate scandal. With his light-heartedness and relaxed personality, he largely succeeded - even if he did anger many people by pardoning Nixon.

Even though I'm a Democrat, I will miss Ford. Ford was a very decent Republican who took office when the nation yearned for his leadership after the resignation of Richard Nixon. His brand of honesty and humility is rare in politics today.

It will be interesting to see how the Grand Rapids area will react to the death of perhaps the greatest West Michigander to have ever lived. His presidential museum downtown - which I pass every weekend on my way to church - is closed except for a vestibule, which includes books where people may leave their condolences. There is also a makeshift memorial by the fountain in front of the museum. He will be laid to rest next Wednesday at the museum.

Rest in peace, Mr. President.


A first look at Election 2008

For the first time since 1952, neither the incumbent President nor the incumbent VP will be a nominee for the White House. After Dick Cheney announced early in his Vice Presidency that he wouldn't run for President, many analysts have predicted that the 2008 White House race was as open as it has been in a while. In other words, it is hard to tell who could be the 44th President (as opposed to 2000, when Gore and Bush were the favorited to become their parties' nominees).

So who's running? Who's not? Who's on the fence? (Asterisk denotes those who have run for president in the past; two asterisks mean they have run for President twice)

Who's in?

The following candidates have announced their candidacies for President or have filed to form what is called an exploratory committee: (Asterisk denotes those who have run for president in the past)

Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE)*
Fmr. Sen. John Edwards (D-NC)*
Fmr. Sen. Mike Gravel (D-AK)
Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH)*
Gov. Bill Richardson (D-NM)
Outgoing Gov. Tom Vilsack (D-IA)
Fmr. Gov. Jim Gilmore (R-VA)
Fmr. Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R-NY)
Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS)
Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA)
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ)*
Outgoing Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA)
Fmr. HHS Sec. Tommy Thompson (R-WI)

Who's Out?

The following people have said they will not run for President in 2008.

Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN)
Fmr. Sen. Tom Daschle (D-SD)
Fmr. Gov. Howard Dean (D-VT)*
Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI)
Fmr. VP. Al Gore (D-TN)**
Fmr. Gov. Mark Warner (D-VA)
Gov. Haley Barbour (R-MS)
Outgoing Gov. Jeb Bush (R-FL)
Outgoing Sen. Bill Frist (R-TN)
Sec. of State Condoleezza Rice (R-CA)
Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-MN)
Gov. Mark Sanford (R-SC)

Who's on the fence? (And I don't mean the miles-long fence along the Mexican Border)

The following people may or may not run in 2008.

Gen. Wesley Clark (Ret.), US Army (D-AR)* - Prediction: Will run.
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) - Prediction: Will not run. (You heard it here first.)
Sen. John Kerry (D-MA)* - Prediction: Will run.
Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) - Prediction: Will not run.
Fmr. Rep. Newt Gingrich (R-GA) - Prediction: Will run.
Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE) - Prediction: Will run.


The Upgrade: Version 2.0

I've upgraded my account to the new version of Blogger, which requires a Google account. It allows me to add labls for my posts, such as the one below.

I have also decided to consider changing the name of this blog. "Scott Does Politics" was hastily chosen a few months ago, and I want a new name.

A few ideas:

Scott Semper Tyrannis - a takeoff on sic semper tyrannis, Latin for "Thus always to tyrants"

Post Scott Ergo Propter Scott - Post hoc ergo propter hoc is Latin for "After this, because of this"

Great Scott Talks Great Lakes

Urban Areas - part of my last name ;-)

The Political Polak - A 'polak' is a man of Polish descent. I'm also part German.

The Fired-up Chip - "Fire up Chips!" is a common cheer at CMU sporting events.

Other suggestions???


Levin (D-Awesome) to run for re-election

It's been a hectic few weeks, but now that I finally have a chance to post, here's some good news to make the wait worth it.

WASHINGTON - Democratic Sen. Carl Levin, the incoming chairman of the Armed Services Committee, said Monday he will seek re-election in 2008.

The 72-year-old Michigan lawmaker was widely expected to seek a sixth term and will enter the race a heavy favorite. With Democrats winning control of the Senate, Levin will take the helm of the Armed Services panel, giving him a major role in shaping Iraq policy.

The Detroit lawmaker has called for troop withdrawals from Iraq beginning within four to six months. He has criticized the Bush administration for making the war open-ended, saying the White House has provided the Iraqis with a blank check with the presence of U.S. troops.

Levin said he hopes to win another term, citing his work on Armed Services and on issues crucial to Michigan's automotive and manufacturing industries.

Carl is most likely a shoe-in. He won 61% of the vote in a Republican year (2002), and he was named one of America's 10 Best Senators by TIME Magazine.