Betty Ford

The Gerald Ford Presidency Began Today 49 Years Ago

Gerald Ford succeeded to the Presidency on this day 49 years ago, upon the resignation of Richard Nixon, due to the Watergate Scandal, and the Republican Party leadership pushing him to leave the Presidency.

A half century ago, the Republican Party leadership had principles, unlike today in the time of the Donald Trump crisis, when they have, consistently, backed him even through two impeachments, three indictments, and more to come!

Gerald Ford never expected to be President, and was appointed Vice President, with approval of the opposition controlled Democratic Party, upon the resignation of Vice President Spiro Agnew, who left due to his own corruption, which, thankfully, was discovered, as he would have been a true nightmare, worse than Nixon, had he become President!

Gerald Ford’s ranking has been in the mid 20s among Presidents, with him best remembered for pardoning Nixon, which was criticized at the time; commended a quarter century later; and now has been criticized again as having made it more difficult to remove Donald Trump from the Presidency, when there were opportunities to do so.

And now, Donald Trump is refusing to accept limits on what he can say about his upcoming trials, and is attacking prosecutors, judges, and potential witnesses, and no easy answer what to do about his recklessness.

Gerald Ford is perceived as the most “approachable” Republican President, and his wife, Betty Ford, was delightful as First Lady.

His major impact long term was his appointment of Associate Justice John Paul Stevens, who started out as a “conservative”, and retired 35 years later as the most “liberal” member of the Court, having grown and expanded his views on the Constitution and its meaning!

When Ford passed away in 2006, the nation mourned the death of a President who, despite much turmoil at the time, took us through a difficult time with grace and decency!

Presidential Concession Speeches An Endorsement Of American Democracy!

The story of American democracy over two centuries and more has been graceful concession speeches by the losers of Presidential elections. Despite vehement and emotional feelings on both sides of an election, being a “good sport” and conceding in a proper manner is an American tradition!

The only time there was, in effect, no concession speeches was when South Carolina, and eventually ten other Southern states, eventually refused to accept that Abraham Lincoln had won the Presidency in 1860, and began the civil insurrection known to history as the American Civil War!

Other than that one time, losers of Presidential elections have always been gracious and patriotic in their acceptance of the victory of their rivals, until 2020 when Donald Trump refused to concede and provoked the US Capitol Insurrection of January 6, 2021!

Some elections have been very close, as in 1876, when Rutherford B. Hayes defeated Samuel Tilden, in an election which dragged on to final determination until just before Inauguration Day in 1877, with Tilden accepting his loss.

The same situation occurred in 1884, when the Republican Party lost the Presidency for the first time in a generation to Democrat Grover Cleveland by very small margins, but James G. Blaine accepted defeat graciously.

In 1916, we had the second closest Electoral Vote margin after 1876, until later in the year 2000, with loser Charles Evans Hughes being gracious in defeat to President Woodrow Wilson.

The upset election victory of President Harry Truman over New York Governor Thomas E. Dewey in 1948 was accepted in a proper way by Dewey. And later, Truman had Dewey visit the White House!

Richard Nixon in 1960 had advisers suggest he challenge John F. Kennedy over the close Illinois vote, but Nixon, outgoing Vice President, refused to drag out the matter, and accepted defeat in a gracious manner.

President Gerald Ford was heartbroken in 1976, when he lost to Jimmy Carter, but was very gracious in concession, read by his wife Betty Ford, because the President had developed laryngitis. And the Fords and the Carters became fast friends in later years, a closer friendship than anyone since John Adams and Thomas Jefferson!

Michael Dukakis was way ahead of George H. W. Bush at one point of the 1988 Presidential campaign, but was very appropriate in his concession speech.

President George H.W. Bush was devastated by his loss to Bill Clinton in 1992, as was Bob Dole in 1996, but both were proper in their concessions.

Al Gore fought the good fight in 2000, contesting the result for 36 days, but then conceding, when the Supreme Court intervened, and as outgoing Vice President, rejected any further battle over the Electoral College vote count on January 6, 2001.

Senator John McCain was totally decent and proper in his gracious concession speech, congratulating the nation in 2008, on the election of the first African American President, Barack Obama.

Mitt Romney had the same decency when he lost to Obama in 2012, and Hillary Clinton conceded the morning after the 2016 election to Donald Trump, although totally stunned by the loss.

So there was no excuse, and still there is none today, for any candidate for the Presidency who loses the election to refuse to concede, and instead to cause chaos, disarray, and literal violence, as that provoked by Donald Trump against Joe Biden’s victory in 2020.

So the time has come for Donald Trump to pay the price for the bloodshed and violence he provoked, and to be convicted and sentenced to federal prison.

And his decision to continue to provoke violence and what he calls “retribution” should lead to his incarceration BEFORE trial, as an example to the American people what happens, when anyone, even a former President, chooses to promote undermining of American democracy and the rule of law!

Two Presidential Deaths Commemorated: Harry Truman And Gerald Ford!

It has been a half century (1972) since President Harry Truman passed away.

It has also been 16 years (2006) since President Gerald Ford died.

These two Presidents, one a Democrat, the other a Republican, share the same day of death, 34 years apart.

Ford was elected to the House of Representatives from Grand Rapids, Michigan, in 1948, the year of the miracle victory of President Truman against Thomas E. Dewey and the so called “Do Nothing” 80th Congress, with Truman gaining the nickname “Give Them Hell Harry”!

Both Truman and Ford have seen their stock rise in history, with Truman considered by many at the time of his retirement to be a “failure”, with a very low public opinion rating, but now generally acknowledged as either number 5 or 6 in all scholarly rankings of Presidents.

Gerald Ford remains in the mid 20s in scholarly rankings, but his reputation for his brief Presidency has improved dramatically. There is overall positive approval now of his transition from the corruption of Richard Nixon, and acceptance a quarter century after his pardon of Richard Nixon that he did the right thing to promote moving on beyond Watergate. And for many including this author and blogger, he has become a favored Republican President, more so than any Chief Executive of that party since Dwight D. Eisenhower, and with universal popularity of First Lady Betty Ford!

Elegant, Intelligent First Lady Dr. Jill Biden Restores Stature Of Her Position After Melania Trump

Dr. Jill Biden, the First Lady, has restored the stature of her position after the disaster of Melania Trump.

Dr. Biden is elegant, intelligent, compassionate, dignified, in line with former modern First Ladies of the past 50 years, including Michelle Obama, Laura Bush, Hillary Clinton, Barbara Bush, Nancy Reagan, Rosalynn Carter, and Betty Ford.

Melania Trump was an aberration, who demonstrated how unqualified she was to be First Lady, and will go down in First Lady history as one of the bottom few. She showed a lack of class, or any concern for the responsibilities of the position, and even did harm to the White House Rose Garden in her last year in the position.

Plans are moving forward to restore the Rose Garden to the way it was under Jacqueline Kennedy.

Donald and Melania Trump were a blip in the history of the Presidency, and Melania will disappear into the background when history of the First Ladies is updated and chronicled in the future!

Rating “First Ladies” Since 1933, And Now Dr. Jill Biden!

The position of “First Lady” has become a role of growing significance in the past century since The New Deal years of Franklin D. Roosevelt, with all scholars agreed upon that Eleanor Roosevelt, the longest serving First Lady (1933-1945), was by far the most active and engaged of all First Ladies, and setting a standard for the century since the Great Depression.

We have had 13 First Ladies since Eleanor Roosevelt.

If one were to rank First Ladies in significance after Eleanor Roosevelt, the list, while debatable, would likely be in the following order:

Hillary Clinton
Jacqueline Kennedy
Lady Bird Johnson
Michelle Obama
Betty Ford
Barbara Bush
Rosalynn Carter
Nancy Reagan
Laura Bush
Pat Nixon
Mamie Eisenhower
Bess Truman
Melania Trump

And now, we have Dr. Jill Biden about to become First Lady, and assuredly would be high on the list, based on her past activities as “Second Lady” and her credentials as an educator, and a very supportive wife and mother.

One thing is certain, that the First Lady position, which has been in total collapse under Melania Trump, will be restored with dignity under Dr. Jill Biden, just as Joe Biden will restore the dignity of the Presidency, which has been in total collapse under Donald Trump!

Five Milestones Await Jimmy And Rosalynn Carter, And Carter Vice President Walter Mondale In 2019

The year 2019 will be a year of five milestones for Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter, and for Vice President Walter Mondale, if fate is kind to them.

The 39th President is finishing his 38th year in retirement, and he and Vice President Walter Mondale will add more to their record of survival in retirement in 2019, with Mondale reaching the age of 91 on January 5, 2019.

On March 22, 2019, Jimmy Carter will surpass the age longevity of George H. W. Bush.

On August 18, 2019, First Lady Rosalynn Carter will reach the age of 92, with only Bess Truman, Nancy Reagan, Lady Bird Johnson, Betty Ford and Barbara Bush having longer life spans.

On October 1, 2019, Jimmy Carter will reach age 95.

And on October 17, 2019, the marriage longevity of Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter will surpass the longevity of the marriage of George H. W. Bush and Barbara Bush, at 73 years and 102 days.

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.