Written by Don Ratzlaff Tuesday, 09 January 2007 18:00The recent death of former President Gerald Ford-and the memorial services and remembrances in the days following-revealed one more unlikely partnership between former political rivals. Among the national leaders offering fond and at times emotional recollections of a close friendship with our 38th president was former President Jimmy Carter, the man who defeated Ford in the 1976 election to become our nation's 39th president.
Their race for the White House was an aggressive, sometimes bitter, battle between two men who didn't seem personally compatible at the time-nor did they want to be. But in the years after leaving office, they grew to mutually respect and even care deeply for each other.
Not too long ago, two other former presidents-again, one who defeated the other in a bid for reelection-forged a sincere friendship for the sake of raising money for the victims of 9-11. Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush set aside an acrimonious past as political rivals for the sake of a greater good.
As a shift in political power takes shape in Washington, D.C., and we hear of the the din of partisan wrangling that surrounds it, we long for a day when elected public servants can lay aside their respective party lines and come together as partners, maybe even friends, to work for a good greater than partisan power-before they leave elected office. -DR