The silence in the room was in marked contrast to the steadily
rising noise at the Joe Louis Arena. There, word was spreading
that Reagan was going to choose Gerald Ford, the former
president and his bitter adversary in the 1976 primaries, to be
his running mate.
As Reagan’s foreign policy adviser, I didn’t have much business
getting involved in the selection of a vice president. But as
someone who signed on with Reagan because I admired his
principled criticism of the foreign policy of the Nixon, Ford,
and Carter administrations, I couldn’t help venturing to the
suite to see what was going on. And so, at 5:30 in the evening,
before I was to head over to the convention, I walked up the
single flight of stairs that separated Reagan’s floor from mine.
It didn’t take long for my suspicions to be confirmed. As I
stepped into the hallway, there, coming out of Reagan’s rooms
and flanked by his Secret Service detail, was a tanned and fit
Once the former president and I had exchanged pleasantries, I
made my way past security to Reagan’s suite. Alone among those
gathered on the couch, the nominee looked up and greeted me. I
asked if he needed anything before I left for the arena. “Oh,
no,” he replied, “but thanks.”
As I turned to leave, he asked, “What do you think of the Ford
“What deal?” I responded, genuinely surprised that the two
parties were already working out details. In addition to the
vice-presidential slot, Reagan said, “Ford wants Kissinger as
secretary of state and Greenspan at treasury.” My instant
response was, “That is the craziest deal I have ever heard of.”
And it was.
This election year, both major presidential candidates conducted
highly structured searches for their running mates. Though it
was only 20 years ago, the process in 1980 could not have been
more different from the one today. It is hard to imagine an
unexpected vice-presidential pick at the last minute, like John
Kennedy’s selection of Lyndon Johnson in 1960, Richard Nixon’s
choice of Spiro Agnew in 1968, or even George Bush Sr.’s
elevation of Dan Quayle in 1988 - all of which caught the
candidates’ advisers by surprise.
But it was Ronald Reagan’s nomination of Governor Bush’s father
that bears special telling. Reagan’s selection of Bush in
Detroit represented a turnabout within six hours; it came only
when the negotiations with Ford, having taken on a life of their
own, appeared to have reached an impasse. Had the talks
succeeded and had Ford been selected, the Reagan campaign,
crippled by infighting, might well have lost to the
Carter-Mondale ticket in the fall. Had Reagan and Ford managed
to win the election, it’s very likely that their administration
would have been hobbled by an unworkable power-sharing
arrangement. It’s also possible that the Republicans might have
a different candidate today.
There are many plausible versions of how and why Reagan chose
George Bush as his running mate, but most are wide of the mark.
One conventional view is that Reagan, about to be nominated,
recognized that he "needed a moderate" like Bush to balance the
ticket; another version has it that Reagan, supposedly
unschooled in foreign affairs, saw the wisdom of naming someone
with extensive experience in the field to offset his own
shortcomings. Yet another explanation holds that Reagan, a
Californian, needed “geographic balance” and got that in Bush,
with his Connecticut and Texas lineage.
These explanations are wrong. George Bush was picked at the very
last moment and largely by a combination of chance and some
behind-the-scenes maneuvering. Many Reagan advisers have claimed
a deal was never close. The postconvention media commentary has
largely reflected this view. In fact, Meese and Deaver have gone
so far as to declare that Bush was their first choice all along.
I take exception to their account. I saw a very different story
unfold and saw it from a privileged vantage point. From the
moment I walked into that suite until the moment Bush was
finally selected, I was the only person to remain in Reagan’s
presence throughout the adventure. With detailed notes to back
up my memory, this is what I saw at the dawn of the Reagan
revolution on that long night in Detroit.
(12) Harold Jackson, The Guardian (28th December, 2006)
There has been endless speculation whether this pardon was part
of a deal to persuade Nixon to abandon his rearguard fight
against impeachment. Certainly there were well-attested, if
tangential, discussions on the subject between Vice-President
Ford and the White House chief of staff, Alexander Haig. But the
consensus is that, even as his tenure crumbled, Nixon remained
confident that his longstanding influence over Ford would stop
him facing trial.
Ford had, in fact, not been Nixon's first choice as
vice-president when Spiro Agnew was forced out of office in 1973
for corruption. The president wanted one of his closest
political allies, former governor of Texas John Connolly, to
take over, but he was warned of insuperable opposition in
Congress where, under the unusual terms of the recently adopted
25th amendment, any nominee required confirmation by a majority
in both houses.
So, after a review of a wide variety of candidates ranging from
Governor Nelson Rockefeller of New York on the Republican left
to Senator Barry Goldwater on the party's right, Nixon settled
for the minority leader in the House of Representatives.
He did so to ensure an easy confirmation - which he got. But,
according to the former White House chief of staff HR Haldeman,
Nixon also calculated that a House familiar with Ford's
inadequacies would never risk presidential impeachment, since
that would put Ford into the Oval Office. Henry Kissinger
acknowledged in his memoirs that he made a similar judgment at
Nixon and Ford had been politically associated since both were
young congressmen in 1948. Alexander Butterfield - Haldeman's
White House deputy who revealed to a startled Senate committee
Nixon's habit of taping his conversations reminisced in 1983
that the president had always had the minority leader totally
under his thumb. "He was a tool of the Nixon administration,
like a puppy dog. They used him when they had to - wind him up
and he'd go 'arf 'arf."
(13) Jon Wiener, The Nation (27th December, 2006)
Gerald Ford is gone, but he lives on in two of his key
appointees: Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney. Their impact on
America today is greater than Ford's, who died Tuesday at 93.
Ford appointed Rumsfeld his chief of staff when he took office
after Nixon's resignation in 1974. The next year, when he made
the 42-year-old Rumsfeld the youngest secretary of defense in
the nation's history, he named 34-year-old Dick Cheney his chief
of staff, also the youngest ever.
Those two Ford appointees worked together ever since. The Bush
White House assertion of unchecked presidential power stems from
the lessons they drew from their experience of working for the
weakest president in recent American history. "For Dick and
Don," Harold Meyerson wrote in The American Prospect last July,
"the frustrations of the Ford years have been compensated for by
the abuses of the Bush years."
Ford also named a new head of the CIA - a former Texas
congressman named George H. W. Bush. Thus you could also credit
also Ford with launching the Bush dynasty.
It was during Ford's presidency that the last Americans left
Vietnam - that photo of them struggling to get into that chopper
on the roof of the Saigon embassy remains our most powerful
image of American defeat, and it shadows our current debate
about how to get out of Iraq.
Ford did leave one positive legacy, as Meyerson reminds us: his
supreme court appointee, John Paul Stevens. Few remember it
today, but when the Court majority appointed Bush president in
December, 2000, Stevens wrote a blistering dissent, damning the
other Republican appointees for their blatant partisanship. And
this year Stevens wrote the majority opinion in Hamdan v.
Rumsfeld declaring that the military tribunals at Guantanamo
violated the Geneva Convention.
But we wouldn't need Stevens if we didn't have Rumsfeld, Cheney
and Bush - that's the legacy of Gerald Ford. "
" Allen Dulles, the son of a Presbyterian minister, and the
brother of John Foster Dulles, was born in Washington in 1893.
His grandfather was John Watson Foster, Secretary of State under
President Benjamin Harrison. His uncle, Robert Lansing, was
Secretary of State in the Cabinet of President Woodrow Wilson.
After attending Princeton University he joined the diplomatic
service and served in Vienna, Berne, Paris, Berlin and Instanbul.
In 1922 he was appointed as chief of Division of Near Eastern
During the Second World War Dulles served in Europe with the
Office of Strategic Services (OSS) under William Donovan. The
organization that was given the responsible for espionage and
for helping the resistance movement in Europe. Dulles was
stationed in Switzerland and was able to use his base in this
neutral country to obtain important information on Nazi Germany
and the Gestapo.
As soon as the Second World War ended President Harry S. Truman
ordered the OSS to be closed down. However, it provided a model
for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) established in
September 1947. Dulles joined the CIA and became director of the
organization in 1953.
Under his leadership the CIA had success in assisting right wing
coups in Guatemala and Iran. His attempts to oust against Fidel
Castro ended in failure and was forced to resign after the Bay
of Pigs disaster.
Dulles published The Craft of Intelligence (1963). After the
death of John F. Kennedy Dulles served on the Warren Commission
that investigated the assassination. Allen Dulles died of cancer
in 1969. "
" After the death of John F. Kennedy, his deputy, Lyndon B.
Johnson, was appointed president. He immediately set up a
commission to "ascertain, evaluate and report upon the facts
relating to the assassination of the late President John F.
Kennedy." The seven man commission was headed by Chief Justice
Earl Warren and included Gerald Ford, Allen W. Dulles, John J.
McCloy, Richard B. Russell, John S. Cooper and Thomas H. Boggs.
Lyndon B. Johnson also commissioned a report on the
assassination from J. Edgar Hoover. Two weeks later the Federal
Bureau of Investigation produced a 500 page report claiming that
Lee Harvey Oswald was the sole assassin and that there was no
evidence of a conspiracy. The report was then passed to the
Warren Commission. Rather than conduct its own independent
investigation, the commission relied almost entirely on the FBI