Reagan and Ford Considered a Co-Presidency in 1980

Hulton Archive, Getty Images
Hulton Archive, Getty Images

Most people thought the 1980 Republican National Convention would be a bit of a snoozer. Presumptive presidential nominee Ronald Reagan had nearly pulled off the improbable feat of snatching the 1976 nomination from the incumbent, Gerald Ford, four years earlier, and he had ripped through the competition throughout the primaries this time around. How did the convention end up becoming one of the most interesting places in the space-time continuum, then? There was still one bit of lingering suspense when the GOP headed to Detroit for the convention: who would be Reagan's running mate?

Reagan's camp had an offbeat choice to fill out the ticket: former President Ford.

By having Ford run for the vice-presidency, the Republicans could trot out a "dream ticket" against Jimmy Carter. Ford's midwestern roots would provide some geographic balance for a Californian like Reagan, and Ford obviously had tons of Washington experience, something Reagan lacked.

The plan quickly hit a snag, though. Ford was apparently amenable to the idea of jumping back into the political ring, but he wasn't going to just roll over and be Reagan's second-in-command. Ford allegedly agreed to run, but only if he would be given such vastly expanded power as vice president that he and Reagan would form a team of de facto "co-presidents."

The idea didn't sit well with Reagan's advisers, but Ford had a pretty strong team to make his case. Ford's representatives in these negotiations included Henry Kissinger, Alan Greenspan, and Dick Cheney, who had been Ford's White House Chief of Staff. Ford's team allegedly wanted a heavy say on foreign policy matters; rumors later emerged that Kissinger would have become Secretary of State in the co-presidents' cabinets. As one might imagine, Reagan and his team weren't too keen on giving up their foreign policy powers. (The same problems supposedly derailed talks of a deal for John McCain to run as John Kerry's vice-presidential candidate in 2004.)

On the Wednesday afternoon of the convention, Ford sat down for an interview with Walter Cronkite, and by the end of the recording, the whole nation had received signs that the "dream ticket" might be coming together. Excitement built throughout the convention's halls, and the deal seemed imminent.

According to both Reagan and Ford's camps, though, by the time the country got the news, the idea was already all but dead. Reagan had realized that getting Ford on the ticket probably wasn't worth giving up so much autonomy, and Ford had concluded that such an arrangement probably wouldn't work anyway.

In the end, of course, the Reagan camp chose George H.W. Bush to fill out the ticket. The choice was a sensible one, particularly since Bush had run a (distant) second to Reagan in the primaries. Like Ford, Bush would help give the ticket geographic balance and provide valuable experience in the federal government. Unlike Ford, he wouldn't want to become a co-president. Still, for a few hours in 1980, it looked like we might have ended up with a team of presidents, which has to be one of the most fascinating "What if?" scenarios in American political history.

Peppa Pig Used Sexist Language in a 2009 Episode, According to the London Fire Brigade

Entertainment One
Entertainment One

Peppa Pig is wildly popular in the UK and around the world, but not all the attention the British show has received has been positive. Episodes have been banned for teaching kids not to be afraid of spiders in Australia and promoting so-called "gangster attitudes" in China. Now, the London Fire Brigade is accusing the cartoon of being sexist, People reports.

The Peppa Pig episode that ignited the controversy—"The Fire Engine," which first aired in May 2009—features Peppa's mom joining the local fire station. In the clip below, she's shown dressed as a firefighter, but the London Fire Brigade didn't see this as a win for female representation. Because she's referred to as a "fireman"—and because the gender-specific term is used throughout the episode—the department wrote on Twitter that Peppa Pig could discourage young girls from wanting to become firefighters.

"We've not been firemen for 30 years," the London Fire Brigade tweeted. "You have a huge influence on kids & using out of date stereotypical gender specific wording prevents young girls from becoming firefighters."

But not everyone on Twitter agreed. Because the episode features an all-woman fire department, some users said Peppa Pig successfully combats gender stereotypes, even if it fails to use gender-neutral language.

Not all Peppa Pig controversies have gotten this heated. Early this year, news spread about something called the Peppa Effect, which happens when kids develop slight British accents after watching hours of the show. But instead of writing hate mail to the creators, many parents were delighted by the phenomenon.

[h/t People]

A Nubian Goat Named Lincoln Was Just Sworn in as the Mayor of Fair Haven, Vermont

iStock.com/Evgeniia Khmelnitskaia
iStock.com/Evgeniia Khmelnitskaia

Lincoln the goat may not be housebroken, but she had no problem winning the race for mayor of Fair Haven, Vermont. The new mayor was officially sworn in on Tuesday, March 12, and before signing the oath of office with her hoof print, she marked the occasion by defecating on the town hall floor, the Boston Globe reports.

Prior to getting into politics, Lincoln the droopy-eared Nubian goat lived a simple life. A local family looking for a way to maintain the unruly vegetation on their property had purchased her two years ago when she was 1 year old. At age 3, Lincoln transitioned from munching grass full-time to running for public office.

Though Lincoln's win is impressive, her election didn't involve beating any human candidates. Town Manager Joseph Gunter came up with the idea to hold an election for honorary pet mayor of Fair Haven as way to raise money for a new playground. For a $5 fee, local kids were allowed to nominate the pet of their choice to be town mayor. Lincoln bested more than a dozen candidates, including a gerbil named Crystal and a pacifier-sucking dog named Stella, for the position.

The stunt didn't raise much money—the town came away with just $100 for the playground—but it did earn Fair Haven international attention. In order to go down in history as world's longest-serving animal mayor, Lincoln has to stick around for a while; Stubbs the cat was mayor of Talkeetna, Alaska for 20 years.

[h/t Boston Globe]

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