Betty Ford

Seven Living Vice Presidents, Most For Second Time In American History, And Longevity Of Presidents And First Ladies

Here we are near the end of the first year of the Donald Trump Presidency, and we have seven living Vice Presidents of the United States, the second time we have had that number.

The first time was from the inauguration of Bill Clinton on January 20, 1993 to the death of Richard Nixon on April 22, 1994.

At that time, we had seven living Vice Presidents, including Richard Nixon, Spiro Agnew, Gerald Ford, Walter Mondale, George H. W. Bush, Dan Quayle, and the incumbent Vice President, Al Gore.

So while we have six living Presidents for the fourth time, after 1861-1862, 1993-1994, and 2001-2004, now we have seen seven Vice Presidents for the second time, due to the fact that while Ronald Reagan passed away in 2004, his vice President and his successor as President, George H. W. Bush, is about to break the longevity record held by Gerald Ford. Bush passed Reagan’s age on October 11, and will pass Ford on November 25, just two weeks from today.

The earliest Vice President still alive is Walter Mondale, who has lived 37 years beyond his time in office, as has his boss, Jimmy Carter, an all time record for both. Mondale will be 90 years of age on January 5, making for the second Presidential-Vice Presidential team to reach age 90 after Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush.

George H. W. Bush is the only one of the living Vice Presidents to have also served as President, while his Vice President, Dan Quayle, is now 70 years old.

Al Gore served under Bill Clinton, and is now 69 years old.

Dick Cheney served under George W. Bush, and is now 76 years old.

Joe Biden served under Barack Obama, and is now 75 years old as of his birthday on November 20.

And the incumbent Vice President, Mike Pence is now 58 years old.

If all seven living Vice Presidents live beyond April 22, 2018, it will be the longest time we have had seven Vice Presidents alive at the same time, and by that time, Jimmy Carter will have passed Gerald Ford as longest lived (on March 16, 2018), but of course still 111 days behind George H. W. Bush, if both former Presidents are still alive then.

Additionally, we have the amazing statistic that four Presidents in a row have lived beyond the age of 90, and all four of their First Ladies have now reached 90 as well, with Rosalyn Carter having reached it in August, and previously the cases of Betty Ford, Nancy Reagan, and Barbara Bush. Finally, Lady Bird Johnson and Bess Truman also reached the age of 90, although their husbands did not do so, although Harry Truman lived beyond the age of 89.

Jimmy Carter Becomes Fourth President In A Row To Hit Age 93! And New Age Records For First Ladies Too!

President Jimmy Carter turns 93 today, and it is a moment to celebrate!

Carter and his Vice President, Walter Mondale, have survived as a combo longer than any Presidential-Vice Presidential team, an amazing 37 years come next January 20.

Mondale will be 90 in early January, so Carter and Mondale will be the second team where both have reached the age of 90, after Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush.

Longevity has been an amazing situation in so many ways, as now we have four straight Presidents–Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, and George H. W. Bush–who will have reached 93.

Only two other Presidents reached 90 and died at that age–John Adams and Herbert Hoover.

Additionally, however, two other Presidential-Vice Presidential nominee teams reached the age of 90 for both men—George McGovern and Sargent Shriver, who were the Democratic team in 1972; and Gerald Ford and Bob Dole, who were the Republican team in 1976, with Bob Dole still alive at age 94. And Bob Dole also was the Republican Presidential nominee in 1996.

And only in the Presidential Election of 1980 did we have all four on the ballot—President Jimmy Carter and Vice President Walter Mondale–and nominees Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush—live to the age of 90 and beyond and be in the Presidency and Vice Presidency, if Mondale survives until his 90th birthday on January 5, just three months away.

Amazingly, George H. W. Bush will pass Ronald Reagan in longevity of age on October 11, and Bush will be the longest lived President, beyond the age of Gerald Ford, who outlasted Reagan by 45 days, on November 25.

And Carter, who seems in better health than Bush, despite Carter’s having had brain cancer diagnosis more than two years ago, but being in remission, seems likely to outlive Bush, if he can survive Bush by less than four months, a total of 111 days!

Also, with Rosalyn Carter having reached the age of 90 in August, it is now reality that four straight Presidents who reached 93, also saw or are seeing their First Ladies having accomplished reaching the 90s—Rosalyn Carter now 90; Barbara Bush now 92; and Nancy Reagan who lived to 94, second longest lived First Lady, only behind Bess Truman, who was 97; and Betty Ford who reached 93, fourth longest, with Lady Bird Johnson being 94, but a few months less than Nancy Reagan, so third longest lived. So six First Ladies, all since World War II, have managed to reach the 90s, an amazing fact!

Gerald Ford, The Right Person To Succeed Richard Nixon, But Is Mike Pence The Right Person To Succeed Donald Trump? NO!

On this day in 1974, the nation was fortunate that Richard Nixon resigned, and Gerald Ford became President of the United States.

We needed someone like Gerald Ford to heal the nation after the Watergate Scandal, and Ford fit the situation very well.

A respectable member of the House of Representatives for 25 years, House Minority Leader for the last nine of those years, and Vice President by appointment for eight months under the 25th Amendment to the Constitution, we were fortunate that he was next in line for the Presidency, instead of corrupt Vice President Spiro Agnew, who would have been a disaster in the Presidency, dividing the nation even more than Richard Nixon.

Ford was controversial for pardoning Nixon one month into his Presidency, and it helped to cause his defeat, along with the strong right wing conservative challenge of former California Governor Ronald Reagan, but he had the right personality and instincts, and as a moderate conservative, was able to work with both parties, considering that the opposition Democrats controlled both houses.

Ford was an honest, decent man, and his wife Betty was arguably the most accessible and decent modern Republican First Lady, sharing her private turmoil with alcohol and breast cancer with the nation.

Gerald Ford lost a very close race to Jimmy Carter in 1976, so was the fifth Vice President not to be elected President, the first since Chester Alan Arthur in 1884, but he came to be admired and loved as he aged, and he ended up as the longest living President, when he died at age 93 years and 165 days on December 26, 2006, the same day of the year as Harry Truman died in 1972.

The longevity of Ford will be surpassed by George H. W. Bush if he lives to November 25, just three and a half months from now, and Jimmy Carter will pass Ford’s age on March 15, 2018, although if Bush continues to be alive, it will not break the record of longevity.

Now, however, Mike Pence would be the successor if Donald Trump is impeached and removed, or resigns from office, but Mike Pence is no Gerald Ford. Pence is much more extreme right wing conservative, unlike Ford, and is a religious extremist, promoting church and state combination in government, which is against the spirit of the Constitution and Bill of Rights. The policies and programs under Pence, while certainly likely to be somewhat different than Trump, would be dramatically different from those of Gerald Ford.

So one could wish that Gerald Ford could come back from the dead to be available to succeed Donald Trump, but sadly we are going to have to live with a President Pence at some point in the near future.

We can wish him luck, but be prepared to oppose him vigorously in the promotion of his right wing agenda, with less chaos, anarchy, and craziness, but still out of the mainstream of the American people and what they want the policies of our government to be in the future.

What America Is Losing In 13 Days: The Best, Most Elegant, Most Dignified POTUS And FLOTUS In Modern Times!

In just 13 days, America is losing its best, most elegant, most dignified President of the United States and First Lady of the United States in modern times!

This is not to attack the Presidents and First Ladies who came before Barack Obama and Michelle Obama, as many of them had talents and abilities worthy of commendation, and many contributed in a good way to the nation.

But really, the Obamas are the most glorious couple in the White House since the Kennedys (John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Kennedy) in the early 1960s.

There were many times when one had to wonder whether Barack Obama would survive his time in the Presidency, as the number of death threats and plots against the 44th President were the greatest since Abraham Lincoln, and twenty such cases were documented in my chapter on Assassination threats, Chapter 16, of my Assassinations book, which will be out in paperback on March 8, 2017.

The level of hatred and refusal to show respect was greatest under Obama since Lincoln, and many still wish his personal demise, including former NY Republican gubernatorial nominee Carl Palladino, as just one example.

The level of hate and disrespect displayed by Donald Trump is unmatched in the relationship between any two Presidents, and yet Obama has done everything possible to cooperate with the transition, or as Michelle Obama has said, “when they go low, we go high!”

Let us wish the Obamas a long, productive, and healthy retirement, and let us hope that they will be with us in their 90s, as four Presidents (Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush have reached), along with earlier Presidents John Adams and Herbert Hoover; and also five First Ladies (Bess Truman, Lady Bird Johnson, Betty Ford, Nancy Reagan, Barbara Bush), with Rosalynn Carter reaching 90 in August of this year.

Grand Rapids: Donald Trump Is NOT Gerald Ford, And Michigan Will NOT Go To Republican Party, And Hillary Clinton Visit Insures That!

Donald Trump visited Grand Rapids, Michigan a few days ago, in a desperate attempt to win that state’s electoral votes, the state of Gerald Ford, our 38th President.

Hillary Clinton will visit it today, Monday, in her last full day of Presidential campaigning.

There is no debate that Gerald Ford, a decent man, a moderate conservative Republican, a principled President who is too often underrated, would NOT endorse Donald Trump, were he alive, any more than a whole slew of Republicans, alive and dead–including George H. W. Bush, George W. Bush, Colin Powell, Mitt Romney, Lindsey Graham and innumerable others who are living, and such past Republicans as Barry Goldwater, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, along with Ford.

Donald Trump could not walk in the shoes of Gerald Ford, and one can be sure his wife Betty would be leading the denunciation of misogynist, sexist, sexual abuser Donald Trump!

Donald Trump is a total disaster for the Republican Party and its heritage, and one can be sure that Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, and Dwight D. Eisenhower are sobbing right now at what has happened to their party!

The Era Of The Elderly Running For President: Possibility Of Three Candidates Past 70 Competing For White House In 2016!

We may be witnessing an event that has never happened in the history of Presidential elections–three candidates, or even if only two candidates, all over the age of 70!

The only two cases of a President serving in his 70s are Ronald Reagan, who came to office 17 days short of age 70 and left office nearly 78 years old; and Dwight D. Eisenhower, who left office at age 70, three months and six days of age.

We also have had Senator John McCain running at age 72 in 2008, and Senator Bob Dole running at age 73 in 1996.

Now we have the potential for Donald Trump, who would be 70 years seven months and six days old on Inauguration Day; Bernie Sanders, who would be 75 years four months and twelve days old on Inauguration Day; and Michael Bloomberg, who would be 74 years 11 months and six days old on Inauguration Day!

And even if Hillary Clinton were to replace Bernie Sanders, she would be 69 years, nine months and six days old on Inauguration Day, so would reach age 70 after less than three months in office!

With two former Presidents alive at age 91 (Jimmy Carter, George H. W. Bush); four consecutive Presidents having reached age 90 (Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan, additionally); and four former First Ladies since 1963 having reached age 90 (Lady Bird Johnson, Betty Ford, Nancy Reagan, Barbara Bush); and with the average American living much longer and in better health, it should not be surprising that we have Presidential candidates in good health, running at an older age than ever in American history.

But one requirement is that younger Vice Presidential nominees be available as backups in case fate occurs, and the older Presidential winner dies in office!

Since World War II, many of the Vice Presidents have been older than their President, as with Harry Truman and Alben Barkley; John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson; George W. Bush and Dick Cheney; and Barack Obama and Joe Biden.

So now the opposite may likely happen.

40th Anniversary Of Gerald Ford Becoming President: A Blessing For The Nation!

It has been 40 years since Gerald Ford became President, upon the resignation of our most dangerous President, Richard Nixon, due to his impending impeachment and trial in Congress, based on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of justice in the Watergate Scandal.

The 25th Amendment, only ratified and added to the Constitution in 1967, allowed Ford, who had replaced the corrupt Vice President Spiro Agnew, to become our 38th President.

Ford helped to end the great national nightmare of a corrupt President and a corrupt Vice President. He was the right man for the time, well liked and well respected, and not ambitious to be President. All Ford had wanted to do in his 25 year career in the House of Representatives was to become Speaker of the House.

Suddenly thrust into the responsibilities of the Presidency, Ford showed courage and guts in his selection of Nelson Rockefeller as his Vice President; the pardoning of Richard Nixon, which probably helped to defeat him in a close race for the Presidency in 1976 with Jimmy Carter; his handling of the Mayaguez Affair with Cambodia, which save captured hostages; and his brilliant appointment of Associate Justice John Paul Stevens.

Ford knew how to cross the aisle, and make friends of rivals, including President Carter, with the two men becoming fast friends once Carter left office, and with Carter giving the eulogy at Ford’s funeral in 2006.

Ford also gave us one of the greatest First Ladies in American history in Betty Ford, and his moderate conservatism is what one would wish for now from the much further right wing Republican Party of 2014.

It is well worth a visit to Grand Rapids, Michigan, to the Ford Presidential Museum, as this author and blogger did a year ago, which caused him to gain growing respect for the 38th President of the United States, who showed up at the precisely proper time when the Presidency itself was under attack!

First Lady Poll On Presidents Day

A Siena College poll has ranked First Ladies and their historic role as we celebrate Presidents Day.

The highest ranking in order are:

Eleanor Roosevelt
Abigail Adams
Jacqueline Kennedy
Dolley Madison
Michelle Obama
Hillary Clinton
Lady Bird Johnson
Betty Ford
Martha Washington
Rosalynn Carter

Laura Bush, Pat Nixon, Mamie Eisenhower, and Bess Truman were all judged to have played an inadequate role as First Lady, although many First Ladies stayed in the background, and only since the 1960s has the role expanded, with the earlier major exception of Eleanor Roosevelt, who stands way above the rest of the list.

Surprisingly, Mary Todd Lincoln, Lucy Hayes, Frances Cleveland, Edith Roosevelt, Helen Taft, Edith Bolling Galt Wilson, Grace Coolidge, and Barbara Bush were not listed as among the most influential, while one could argue that at least Edith Bolling Galt WIlson and Barbara Bush belonged in the top ten, more so than Martha Washington and Dolley Madison.

Most Influential First Ladies In American History

The role of First Lady, the wife of the President, has evolved over time, and in recent decades, it has been extremely difficult for a First Lady to conduct herself as Jane Pierce or Bess Truman did, which was, basically, to avoid the public spotlight and any major duties.

First Ladies have had their own causes in recent decades, and a few earlier First Ladies had a major impact on their times and their husbands.

So if we were to list 15 First Ladies who had a major role in American history, we would list the following in a chronological list:

Abigail Adams, wife of John Adams
Dolley Madison, wife of James Madison
Mary Todd Lincoln, wife of Abraham :Lincoln
Lucy Webb Hayes, wife of Rutherford B. Hayes
Frances Folsom Cleveland, wife of Grover Cleveland
Edith Bolling Galt Wilson, second wife of Woodrow Wilson
Eleanor Roosevelt, wife of Franklin D. Roosevelt
Jacqueline Kennedy, wife of John F. Kennedy
Lady Bird Johnson, wife of Lyndon B. Johnson
Betty Ford, wife of Gerald Ford
Rosalynn Carter, wife of Jimmy Carter
Nancy Reagan, wife of Ronald Reagan
Barbara Bush, wife of George H. W. Bush
Hillary Clinton, wife of Bill Clinton
Michelle Obama, wife of Barack Obama

If one was asked to list the five most powerful and significant First Ladies in ranked order, a good list would be as follows:

Eleanor Roosevelt
Hillary Clinton
Betty Ford
Lady Bird Johnson
Michelle Obama

This author welcomes discussion of the lists mentioned above!

A Great Moment In American History 39 Years Ago Today As The Rule Of Law Triumphed, And Sanity Returned With Gerald Ford Becoming President!

39 years ago today, President Richard Nixon resigned from office, as the rule of law triumphed, and America returned to sanity with the the inauguration of Gerald Ford as our 38th President.

Nixon might have accomplished a great deal in his five and a half years in the White House, but he represented the greatest threat to our government stability since the Civil War, as he abused power, showed definite signs of mental illness, and had proved on the Watergate tapes that he had obstructed justice and broken the law, and had expressed what we did not know clearly at the time, overt racism and anti semitism!

The Constitution worked, as the Congress and the Supreme Court intervened and saved America from a President out of control, and we were blessed with a man who replaced him, who we now realize was the right person to take the helm at a time when we desperately needed a person of conscience, decency, and principles.

We found that man in Gerald Ford, who never had ambitions to be President, but came along as an acceptable choice under the 25th Amendment, which had only been added to the Constitution six years earlier, in 1967. We were saved from a fate worse than Nixon, the crooked, unqualified, and demagogic Spiro Agnew, who scared the living daylights out of many decent, principled Americans.

Ford came into the Presidency, moved us past the nightmare of Richard Nixon by pardoning him, so that the nation could look to the future, and deal with the many problems it faced at that time in the mid 1970s…He suffered defeat for a full term in 1976 by a small margin, certainly caused by that controversial pardon. But he steadied the ship of state, and gained respect for his handling of a terrorist incident, the Mayaguez Affair with the Khmer Rouge of Cambodia; gave us one of the greatest recent Supreme Court Justices, John Paul Stevens, who served 35 years, longer than any Justice except William O. Douglas; graced us with his wonderful wife, Betty Ford, who set a modern standard for First Ladies to follow, as the most active since Eleanor Roosevelt; and held off the right wing tilt of the Republican Party for four years, by stopping Ronald Reagan’s attempt to turn the party to the Right. He also gave us one of our best and most activist Vice Presidents, Nelson Rockefeller, and bravely survived two assassination attempts within 17 days of each other in September 1975. Ford also showed us how a Republican President could be a responsible, mainstream conservative.

Gerald Ford restored the dignity and status of the Presidency at a time when it desperately needed a boost, and graced our nation for a longer life than any President of the United States.

Having visited the Gerald Ford Museum in Grand Rapids, Michigan, last month brought this author and blogger to a greater understanding and appreciation of the contributions of Gerald and Betty Ford. While he served the shortest term of a President who did not die in office, it was a significant 895 days, and we owe him a debt of gratitude for his service in the Presidency, as well as his 25 years in the House of Representatives.