Former President cites America ’ s ‘ challenges

  • Republican David M arston
  • Published 2013


Form er P resident Gerald R. Ford addressed two groups last night on cam pus, speaking to a crowd of over 3,000 in the A thletic and Convocation C enter, and later fielding questions from about 200 students in the Stanford Hall Chapel. Ford opened his talk a t the ACC with a b rief s ta tem ent on the challinges facing Am erica, then opened the floor to questions from the audience. The form er president cited the economy, the energy situation and Am erica’s military capability as the three major challenges for the 1980’s. He said “ we m ust solve the problem s of all three sim ultaneously” if the country is to m aintain its s ta tus as leader of the free world. Expressing optimism at the governm ent’s ability to deal with those issues, he nonetheless cited a few problem s with the current operation of the governm ent. Pointing to the recurring conflict betw een the legislative and executive branches, Ford said “ W hat w e’re seeing today is that th ere ’s not the cooperation th a t’s going to be essential if w e’re going to solve the problem s facing us today .” He referred to the constitutional provision of balance among the three branches of governm ent and said he does not w ant to see the pendulum swing in favor of any one of the branches. “ I don’t w ant to see an im perial presidency, but I don’t want to see an im periled presidency either. ’’ A second problem in governm ent is the “ erosion” of the two-party system , Ford said. He noted that lack of party unity was a “ significant factor in the inability of Congress to pass a com prehensive energy p rog ram .” “ W e don’t have lo go back to the smoke filled room ,” Ford said, “ but somehow w e’ve got to strengthen the two-party system .” He called upon students to help alleviate a third problem facing the governm ent. Ford sta ted that record lows of voter participation were recorded for the 1976 presidential election and for the 1978 Congressional election. Noting tha t the “ poorest percentage of voter participation” is am ong the 18-24 year-old group, he said the turnouts were “ a big d isappoin tm ent” to those that worked for a constitutional am endm ent allowing 18 year-olds to vote. “ Get with it and get into it especially now that you have a major political cam paign coming up in 1980,” he said. In response to a question about the low popularity of Congress and the contrasting high m arks m ost individuals give their individual represen tative, Ford said “ They like their own C ongressm an and they w ant to get rid of everyone else’s .” He said the voters should follow the voting record of their Congressm an so that the representative may be accountable to his constituents. In response to o ther questions, the form er President: --voiced approval of nuclear pow er as an energy source. To m eet the nation’s energy needs, Ford advocated deregulation of oil and

Cite this paper

@inproceedings{arston2013FormerPC, title={Former President cites America ’ s ‘ challenges}, author={Republican David M arston}, year={2013} }