Tag: Gerald Ford

Why the Republican Presidential "Turn" is a Myth

[Cross-posted at ProgressiveHistorians, Daily Kos, MyDD, and My Left Wing.]

For some time, there has been a meme in political discourse indicating that Republicans choose their Presidential candidates based on some notion of whose "turn" it is to win the nomination.  I have found evidence of this meme from both the right (William F. Buckley) and the left (a MyDD commenter).  Given the pervasiveness of this meme, I decided to test the historical evidence behind it by examining Republican presidential nominations from 1960 -- a full twelve years before the first election in which primaries played a deciding role in the delegate count -- through 2004.

According to most versions of this theory, there are three ways that one establishes one's "turn" in line: 1) by being a sitting or former Vice President; 2) by running in a previous year, losing but doing better than expected; or 3) by attaining some sort of formal institutional leadership, i.e., serving as Senate Minority Leader or Speaker of the House.  I aim to show that criterion #1 is both natural and common to both parties, and that criteria #2 and #3 are simply not the hard-and-fast rules they have been made out to be.  In fact, in the past twelve election cycles, there has been only one instance where a Republican presidential primary was decided by anything close to the concept of "turn," and even in that instance the outcome was far from certain until well down the stretch.  Essentially, the Republican presidential "turn" is a myth with no predictive value for the 2008 GOP primary.

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Chevy Chase Writes About Gerald Ford

Comedian Chevy Chase has an oped in Saturday's New York Times about his making fun of Gerald Ford on SNL and how he got to know the former President and Mrs. Ford. It ends with a very funny comment by Mr. Ford. I won't spoil it, go read.

Nicely done, Chevy.

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Gerald Ford , The "Accidental President" Dies

Former President Gerald Ford has died at age 93.

He was our country's longest-living President.

Ford was an accidental president, Nixon’s hand-picked successor, a man of much political experience who had never run on a national ticket. He was as open and straight-forward as Nixon was tightly controlled and conspiratorial.

He took office minutes after Nixon flew off into exile and declared “our long national nightmare is over.” But he revived the debate a month later by granting Nixon a pardon for all crimes he committed as president. That single act, it was widely believed, cost Ford election to a term of his own in 1976, but it won praise in later years as a courageous act that allowed the nation to move on.

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