President That Was Never Elected

Smile!  It is time for the Professor’s Classroom.

I have started a short series on some of our presidents and the story around their rise to the job of president.

Most Americans know that we go to the polls every 4 years to vote for the person we would like to see as the president, the leader of the “Free World”…..but has there ever been a leader that was never elected by the people to serve in that position?

(I will pause here so that the younger members of my reading audience can trot off to the Google button)

That is correct President Gerald Ford was NEVER elected to that position…..he was VP when Nixon had to go on the lam and he rose to the highest office in the land…..

America’s 38th president, Gerald Ford (1913-2006) took office on August 9, 1974, following the resignation of President Richard Nixon (1913-1994), who left the White House in disgrace over the Watergate scandal. Ford became the first unelected president in the nation’s history. A longtime Republican congressman from Michigan, Ford had been appointed vice president less than a year earlier by President Nixon. He is credited with helping to restore public confidence in government after the disillusionment of the Watergate era.

In the past Repubs have been hard on Ford’s successor, Jimmy Carter….they have called him weak and ineffective….a position that as a foreign policy wonk do not agree with….but all that aside Repub Gerald Ford was soft on the dictators of this world in his day…..

One expects a certain amount of piety and hypocrisy when retired statesmen give up the ghost, but this doesn’t excuse the astonishing number of omissions and misstatements that have characterized the sickly national farewell to Gerald Ford. One could graze for hours on the great slopes of the massive obituaries and never guess that during his mercifully brief occupation of the White House, this president had:

  1. Disgraced the United States in Iraq and inaugurated a long period of calamitous misjudgment of that country.
  2. Colluded with the Indonesian dictatorship in a gross violation of international law that led to a near-genocide in East Timor.
  3. Delivered a resounding snub to Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn at the time when the Soviet dissident movement was in the greatest need of solidarity.


Keep his name in mind when you play Trivial Pursuit or some Bar Game…it should be good for a few points…..

Class Dismissed!


8 thoughts on “President That Was Never Elected

  1. To be a little more accurate… Spiro Agnew was Nixon’s running mate. He got into legal trouble when he was accused when Governor of Maryland if corruption and bribery. He resigned from office and Nixon nominated Gerald Ford, who ended up his new VP. This sets up the entire situation of his being the only President never having be voted into office… he was appointed VP, then took over when Nixon resigned. Unique situation for sure… and for as benign as people think his Presidency was… we could sure use him now instead of the guy in there now.

      1. After experiencing “this guy” I would accept some Agnew-with-corruption in exchange for at least a perception of presidential decorum.

  2. To me, Ford was a moderate Republican who didn’t have time in office to bring about the reforms that he championed or envisioned. Yes, he could have dropped the hammer on Nixon–and he would have been justified–but it would have ripped another fissure in an already divided country. Ford wanted to moderate and allow wounds to heal. I appreciate his support of the ERA.
    That said, he had hardcore minions Rumsfeld, Cheney and Bush doing his administrations nefarious,CIA dirty work. Choosing the best of two evils is tricky business with lasting ramifications no matter what side you team with. Such was and is our entanglements in Indonesia.

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