WP's Milbank: At Ford Services 'VIP Roll Call Has Many No-Shows'
In today's Washington Post, Dana Milbank tells of the dearth of dignitaries attending the late President Ford's rites at the Capitol on Saturday.
He writes: "Everything was in place for Gerald R. Ford's state funeral last night -- everything, that is, but the statesmen."
The third paragraph continues:
"President Bush sent his regrets; he was cutting cedar and riding his bike on his ranch in Texas. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and his deputy, Richard Durbin, couldn't make it, either; they were on a trip to visit Incan ruins. Incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi took a pass, too -- as did nearly 500 of the 535 members of Congress."
Reading this, one might conclude that while the lack of interest in paying respects to the late President is bipartisan, the failure of the current President, a man of the same political party as Mr. Ford, is particularly egregious. How dare Mr. Bush opt to cut cedar and ride his bike rather than participate in a state funeral for another Chief Executive?
You have to stick with Milbank's article quite a while, but if you do you learn that Mr. Bush "will pay his respects when he comes back to Washington, then go to the other service on Tuesday."
That information doesn't appear until the 17th paragraph.
On Monday, the President will pay his respects to Mr. Ford at the Capitol. The following day, he will speak at President Ford's funeral service at Washington's National Cathedral.
When one considers the logistics of the Ford arrangements - first on Friday at Palm Desert, California, then to Washington and finally to Grand Rapids, Michigan on Tuesday for a private internment on Wednesday - it doesn't seem to me that President Bush can fairly be taken to task for paying insufficient attention to his predecessor's passing.
Then again, it is the Washington Post about which we're speaking.