Thursday, July 16, 2015
CNN 70s: "The State if the Union Is Not Good": quoting President Gerald R. Ford
CNN continued “The Seventies: One Nation Under Change” tonight with “The State of the Union Is Not Good”, link here. CNN was able to air the show despite the evolving story with the shootings in Chattanooga (International blog). Specifically, the “not good” in Ford’s speech referred to the economy: inflation and weak employment at the same time, partly because of energy problems. I remember the sense of foreboding on New Year’s Eve at the end of 1973 (before Nixon left).
That quote comes from President Gerald Ford’s “State of the Union” address on January 15, 1975.
I remember watching Ford pardon Nixon from my new apartment in the Cast Iron Building in New York on a Sunday in September, 1974. In fact, I started a new job with NBC in New York on August 12, 1974.
The documentary discussed the gasoline shortage in 1979, after the fall of the Shah of Iran, but the more serious shortage started with the Arab Oil Embargo in the fall of 1974. I remember hearing about Israel’s action on a Saturday in October 1974 after getting to the Ninth Street Center on a Saturday night.
The documentary also didn’t mention the New York City financial crisis and the “Ford to City: Drop Dead” (NY Times account here ).
It did cover the talks that Jimmy Carter brokered between Begin and Sadat at Camp David in early September 1978. But after the fall of the Shah, and then when the Shah was admitted for cancer treatment in the US, the hostages were taken in Iran at the embassy in November 1979 (the pretext of the movie “Argo”, movies blog, Oct. 14, 2012). The hostages would not be released until Reagan took office on January 20, 1981 because Iran didn’t want Carter to get any “credit”.
Carter had been an nuclear engineer in the Navy, and the Three Mile Island incident in March 1979 was also a blow to his energy policy. I remember that day, driving in the open range in Texas (having just moved there) and seeing “meltdown” headlines in papers.