What a surprise it was to see Cheney giving a eulogy at President Ford’s Lying-in-State. Gone was the menacing Darth Vader glare and tone. Instead, he sounded almost human. But the platitudes of praise bubbling from his lips were weirdly strange since he himself embodied none of them.
None of the genuineness of Ford had rubbed off on Cheney from the days when he worked so closely with that President; instead it seems he is only able to imitate them at times. The V. P. can recognize honesty, integrity, truth telling and love of country but he cannot emulate it.
Listening to Republicans on FOX News and other channels, one could hear the difficulty they had in lauding a man who was everything they were not. It must have hurt them to praise a fellow Republican who was even more of a Democrat/Liberal than those who call themselves that today.
Fortunately for the country, most of the news media were finally up to the challenge of reporting history instead of regurgitating the offal from the Oval Office. Especially appreciated was the insight of historians who placed the term of President Ford in historical prospective instead of just noting that he pardoned Nixon and stumbled sometimes.
However it was what we observed during the ceremonies involved in bringing the late president’s body to the Capital Rotunda that made us compare his values to those of Bush.
Bush was missing – not willing to leave his vacation in Crawford, perhaps? We think there was more to it. He should have been there to welcome the Ford family and tender his personal condolences on behalf of the nation, even if he didn’t attend the ceremony.
We think he just feared to be on the same stage with an honest man and may also have been miffed because it was publicly revealed that Ford strongly disapproved of the Iraq war.
A media that has only recently found its cajones would not fail to make odious comparisons to an attentive national audience, such as: Ford lived his values – he was dedicated to his family and the Constitution while Bush only gives his values lip service.
Bush opted instead for the limited exposure and comparison that a next day eulogy in the Washington Cathedral would afford, with his father and the other former presidents in the congregation.
Another strange absence was Rummy, who reportedly was very close friends with Ford. There were indications that this friendship had cooled since Ford quite obviously was highly critical of his war activities, including Abu Ghraib, resulting in so many loss of lives.
Prevented from coming by the weather? We think not. The former war chief would have no problem getting transportation laid on especially for him by the military units in the area.
And finally, despite the sweet words that slizzered out of Cheney’s mouth, their friendship had lessened for similar reasons. President Ford was never reticent in letting people know what was on his mind.
Then there was the reaction of the Ford children who coolly acknowledged Cheney but we saw no evidence that he was the long time family friend he pretended to be. They also snubbed Bush.
Actions and body language speak louder than words just as forgiveness trumps shock and awe.
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