August 9, 1975 – A Year Before – A Year After – The Gerald Ford Era.
|Download For $1.99: - August 9, 1975 - CBS Radio - The Washington Week In Review - Gordon Skene Sound Collection|
August 9, 1975 – one year into the Presidency of Gerald Ford and the vice-Presidency of Nelson Rockefeller. Memories were still pretty raw over the events from just a year before; the resignation of Richard Nixon and the swearing in of Gerald Ford, the first President not elected to office and the appointment of Nelson Rockefeller as vice-President, also the first vice-President not to be elected to office. All the drama and revelations of Watergate were still clear in the minds of most Americans and this new occupant at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue was met with a goodly amount of skepticism. True, Ford was a well-known and much-admired member of Congress, in office since 1949 and a savvy player on Capitol Hill as House Minority leader from 1965 until his appointment as vice-President in 1973. And his appeal to the American people after his swearing in that the “long national nightmare” was over and that the Constitution worked, tried to assuage those who felt a huge lack of trust in the office of the President. It was a stretch from “the era of the smoking gun” to “the era of Gerald R. Ford”.
In a year, Washington wanted to put the Nixon era behind and to usher in the Ford era, with goals and plans and proposals. His first job was a mandate to restore confidence in the Office of The President, to put the best face on things. Ford was convinced another Watergate could not happen in 1975 – perhaps on Capitol Hill, but the skepticism was prevalent outside the Beltway – this would be a healing process that would take time. But what about the Ford economic policies? The inflation rate had dropped from 12% to 6%. Employment increased by around 1 million, but the unemployment rate still stood at 8%. In the area of Foreign Policy he still relied heavily on Secretary of State Henry Kissinger to call the shots, while getting a firmer grasp on the nuances of diplomacy. The trouble appeared to be within his own party. The Conservative wing of the GOP was at odds with Ford, particularly with his selection of Rockefeller as vice-President. Rockefeller, who started his career as a Roosevelt Democrat, switched parties, siding with the Liberal wing of the GOP.
Beyond all that, Gerald Ford was expected to be a leading contender in the 1976 Presidential Election. But that was a year off.
And that’s how it was going, this August 9, 1975 by way of CBS Radio’s Washington Week in Review.