If timing is everything in life, then it is more than everything in politics. Behold the timing, once again, of Gerald Ford. His passing came as President Bush trolls for a new plan in a now old war, and at the eve of power shifting in Congress after twelve divisive years. Ford's legacy is a poignant message for both parties and the president at this very loaded moment. But his death marks something else, a new low for Bush, who chose vacation at Crawford over duty at the Capitol on Saturday night.

This was what we call a gimme, I dare say a freebie. An American president has died, a Republican no less, and the Decider -- in political crisis, to put it generously -- decided not to be the first to pay his respects. Perhaps it was payback for the revelation from Bob Woodward, that Ford opposed the Iraq war. Let us assume Bush is not capable of spite, that he just didn't get it. But before he went to bed, and Saddam Hussein went to the gallows, did Bush watch the elegant, somber ceremony in the Rotunda where he should have stood beside the valiant, grieving Betty Ford instead of Dick Cheney? Or did Bush watch football?

Our 38th president, who longed to be Speaker of the House, was plucked from the path he sought for jobs he didn't want. First it was the vice presidency, and on another dark day the presidency. Bush may not like his job anymore, but unlike Ford he chose it. The son of a president, W. knows all about the big leagues. He should remember that dignity is brought to the office, not bestowed by it.