Peggy Noonan captures the dynamic of the posthumous praise of Gerald Ford pretty well in this passage:
It is not clear who will speak at his funeral, but it is now unfortunately common practice for politicians to see every eulogy as an opportunity. Invited to reflect on biography, they tend to smuggle in as much autobiography as they can, and advance their personal agendas. If Bill Clinton speaks, one suspects he will laud Ford's personal tolerance. The text: This was a man who did not judge others. The subtext: He wouldn't have voted to impeach me! If George W. Bush speaks he will likely laud Ford as an exemplar of the old bipartisanship. In this way he will attempt to confer the bipartisan mantle on himself.
He always put the needs of his country before his own, and did what he thought was right, even when those decisions were unpopular. Only years later would Americans come to fully appreciate the foresight and wisdom of this good man.
Noonan was closer in her prediction for Bill Clinton, who made a remark to Newsweek praising Ford for his "healing decisions" and not being "caught up in the moment":
At the Congressional Gold Medal ceremony, I was able to say something publicly about Ford that needed to be said by a Democratic president: "When you made your healing decisions ... it was easy for us to criticize you, because we were caught up in the moment. You didn't get caught up in the moment, and you were right."