Skip

Rumsfeld to Schlesinger: Drop Dead
October 31, 2012 12:08 PM   Subscribe

Gerald Ford's administration was in trouble. Tension within the party and turf battles in the Cabinet were tearing it apart. Something had to be done to get things back on course in time to fend off Ronald Reagan's primary challenge. And Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld were just the men to do it.
posted by Chrysostom (37 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
"It was the biggest mistake of my political life."

Second biggest, surely.
posted by Egg Shen at 12:14 PM on October 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


Who would have thought we'd still be paying for it 37 years later?
posted by Aquaman at 12:25 PM on October 31, 2012 [8 favorites]


It's just the timing of the original story that makes this a perfect Halloween post. Imagining a world where Rockefeller's prediction held true and Rumsfeld ended up as president is pretty fucking scary.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 12:25 PM on October 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


Dick Cheney is the evil Forrest Gump of American politics.
posted by The Whelk at 12:25 PM on October 31, 2012 [22 favorites]


Rumsfeld and Cheney. Evil. Evil. Evil.
posted by RandlePatrickMcMurphy at 12:27 PM on October 31, 2012 [5 favorites]


Amazing. So much here I never knew. Of course, I was a kid then, but I've read up on things I was vaguely aware of, and it's a fascinating point in U.S. history.
posted by IAmBroom at 12:29 PM on October 31, 2012


Love the pipe-smoking in the Oval Office.
posted by goethean at 12:32 PM on October 31, 2012


Dick Cheney is the evil Forrest Gump of American politics.

Ah, but you repeat yourself.
posted by goethean at 12:34 PM on October 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


Nixon. His corrupting influence is all over this and remains on the Presidency to this day. He changed everything, for the worse, and we're the ones who have to pay the price.
posted by tommasz at 12:39 PM on October 31, 2012 [8 favorites]


Gump didn't shoot his friend in the face and then make him apologize for getting in his way.
posted by Old'n'Busted at 12:43 PM on October 31, 2012 [9 favorites]


I remember the "Ford to NY: DROP DEAD" headline, even though I was just a kid. In fact, I bet I followed politics more closely at 12 than I do now at 50. I was a filthy commie back then, albeit a precocious one, and now I'm just tired from 35 years of these fuckers fucking everything the fuck up.
posted by Devils Rancher at 12:51 PM on October 31, 2012 [8 favorites]


Oh, so that's Squeaky Fromme. I only knew that name from Doonesbury punchlines.
posted by MartinWisse at 12:53 PM on October 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


Christ. I forgot Rocky was Ford's veep.
posted by Thorzdad at 1:17 PM on October 31, 2012


Not to defend Nixon or presidential lying to cover-your-ass, but with the expansion of media and eventually the internet, was it not inevitable that a president would get caught in a bald-face lie?

Actually, I wish the first time this had happened was under Bush 2 so that starting pointless wars would be even more despised and suicidal politically.
posted by hellslinger at 1:39 PM on October 31, 2012


but he remained “acutely aware” that he was the only person in U.S. history to become the chief executive without being elected

How's that again? John Tyler, Millard Fillmore, Andrew Johnson, Chester A. Arthur, Teddy Roosevelt, Calvin Coolidge, Harry Truman and Lyndon Johnson would beg to differ. (Even if you want to read the quote more restrictively, Arthur was never elected President.)
posted by rodii at 1:44 PM on October 31, 2012


All of the above were at least elected as vice president. Ford was appointed VP after Agnew resigned.
posted by modernserf at 1:48 PM on October 31, 2012 [11 favorites]


Ford was never on a presidential ballot in any capacity until he ran for re-election against Carter in '76.
posted by hwestiii at 1:49 PM on October 31, 2012


"...to become the chief executive without being elected" doesn't suggest "elected to the Vice Presidency" to me.
posted by rodii at 1:50 PM on October 31, 2012


beg to differ rodii but Ford was the only president not elected. Arthur was elected to the VEEP.
posted by clavdivs at 1:55 PM on October 31, 2012


oh, a good book is Werths' "31 days"
posted by clavdivs at 1:56 PM on October 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yes, yes, I get it. I had American History too. My point is that this is a pretty poor way of expressing it. (hi clav!)
posted by rodii at 1:56 PM on October 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


And soon, it could be Mitt Romney's turn to fold like lawn furniture, in order to appease the far right... and so the circle of neo-cons goosestep on into the future!
posted by markkraft at 1:57 PM on October 31, 2012


true that. I still think Arthur was robbed but hey.
(good to see you rodii)
posted by clavdivs at 2:03 PM on October 31, 2012


Ford (left jumper), playing basketball in elevator well of light aircraft carrier USS Monterey, 1944.
What I did not know is that he was also the inventor of the futon.
posted by growabrain at 2:11 PM on October 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


Imagining a world where Rockefeller's prediction held true and Rumsfeld ended up as president is pretty fucking scary.

He might have been better than Reagan.
posted by gjc at 3:21 PM on October 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


Ah the good old days, when politics was an honest man's game. [/snark]
posted by runningdogofcapitalism at 3:38 PM on October 31, 2012


That used to be one of my favorite trivia stumpers, "Who was Gerald Ford's vice president?". 95% of people would guess that he didn't have one; the other 5% would softly chant "Attica. Attica".

/And Happy 50th Birthday, Devils Rancher, from another Missile Crisis Baby.
posted by benito.strauss at 4:03 PM on October 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


Missile Crisis Baby.

It's true! My mom always said that shit scared her into labor.
posted by Devils Rancher at 4:25 PM on October 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


but he remained “acutely aware” that he was the only person in U.S. history to become the chief executive without being elected

How's that again? John Tyler, Millard Fillmore, Andrew Johnson, Chester A. Arthur, Teddy Roosevelt, Calvin Coolidge, Harry Truman and Lyndon Johnson would beg to differ. (Even if you want to read the quote more restrictively, Arthur was never elected President.)


And after them, George W. Bush in 2000.
posted by Chuffy at 4:33 PM on October 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


The joke going around at that time was that Ford was the only president ever elected by one vote, and that Rockefeller (who had been another candidate to replace Agnew) was looking for a recount.
posted by fredludd at 6:37 PM on October 31, 2012


Attica, Attica!

I'm with Phil Slackmeyer on this one. The prisoners had some legitimate complaints, but many of their demands (which did originally include "safe passage to a non-imperialist country") were absolutely ludicrous

They eventually demanded (a) complete amnesty for their actions, and (b) the immediate removal of Attica's warden. If these concessions had been granted, they would have only led to more riots and mayhem; inmates at every other correctional facility in the nation would view the prison riot as the most effective means of agitating for change.

Nelson Rockefeller was entirely correct to put a stop to it; if anything, I think he waited too long.
posted by The Confessor at 7:15 PM on October 31, 2012


Wow. That was a chilling prequel. See, Lucas - that's how it's done.
posted by ignignokt at 7:38 PM on October 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


Dick Cheney is the evil Forrest Gump of American politics.

manages to be both Saruman and Wormtongue in my imaginings, with some Yog Sothoth mixed in as well.
posted by philip-random at 8:09 PM on October 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm with Phil Slackmeyer on this one.

I certainly can't argue against you there. I was too young to be aware of it when it actually happened, and for me, actually being aware of Attica (living 3000 miles away from New York) was just a sign of being a precocious filthy commie 12 year old.
posted by benito.strauss at 8:11 PM on October 31, 2012


Hey! I was busy reading Soul On Ice that week, and missed it, myself. Actually, I was raised by politically radical leftists and stuff like Attica was dinner table talk. My step-dad really hoped for an actual armed revolution for a while, there. The Panthers, the Weathermen, the SDS, the SLA, he saw all that as the beginning of something big. He was armed to the teeth, too. I learned to shoot at a young age, from someone who cheered whenever "pigs" got shot. The guns are all long since gone & he's living on disability, & is utterly disillusioned with everything, and hasn't even joined in with my mom in the Occupy/Move On stuff she's currently wrapped up in.

Those were weird times and their reverberations are indeed still being felt. Me, I will dutifully trudge yet again to the polls and try one more time to hold back the tide of ignorance and fear.
posted by Devils Rancher at 8:48 PM on October 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


rodii, it may be less comprehensible to younger audiences, but those who remember these events also remember that practically his first words as President {YT} were an acknowledgement of this fact:
I am acutely aware that you have not elected me as your President by your ballots, and so I ask you to confirm me as your President with your prayers. And I hope that such prayers will also be the first of many.

If you have not chosen me by secret ballot, neither have I gained office by any secret promises. I have not campaigned either for the Presidency or the Vice Presidency. I have not subscribed to any partisan platform. I am indebted to no man, and only to one woman--my dear wife--as I begin this very difficult job.


95% of people would guess that he didn't have one

To be fair, he spent four months without one. But given the relative infancy of the 25th Amendment -- adopted in 1967! -- he was actually the second President to implement it and appoint a Veep.
posted by dhartung at 12:41 AM on November 1, 2012




« Older Why Must I Be A Roman Tribute In Love?   |   They do it because they can. Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post