President Ford Assassinated
by Jeff Provine
says: we're very pleased to present a new story from Jeff Provine's
excellent blog This
Day in Alternate History Please note that the opinions expressed in this
post do not necessarily reflect the views of the author(s).
By September 5th 1975,
while shaking hands in Sacramento, California on this day President Gerald
Ford was gunned down by a female assassin with an automatic pistol. She
was later identified as Lynette Fromme, also known as "Squeaky" of the
infamous Manson Family.
Fromme fired four shots, two striking the president and two others hitting
Secret Service Special Agent Larry Buendorf. Buendorf and Ford were rushed
to surgery where Ford would die on the operating table while Buendorf
would survive, though spending the rest of his life paraplegic.
It had been a tough time for America, and the murder of a president was
another blow for the public already reeling from the Watergate scandal
that had destroyed Richard Nixon. Fromme was used as an example of the
destruction of the American soul, causing a resurgence in spirituality and
conservatism. She would be given the maximum sentence of life in federal
prison without parole, though many called for a return to execution.
"Interesting.Ted K. seems different here. Good
twists." - reader's comment
Vice-President Nelson Rockefeller was
sworn in as president that evening. Although there would be strife with
White House Chief of Staff Donald Rumsfeld before his dismissal,
Rockefeller's presidency became one with a spirit of unity, coming
together after disaster. He set course to battle economic issues of the
nation, which he did by eliminating spending in the Federal government and
trimming taxes. "It's time we start treating government like a business,
and in a good way," was the often given quote of Rockefeller, whose family
was noted for their industrial prowess.
"I'm not sure how Ted Kennedy is 'different',
exactly -- his presidency is rather sketchily described. But if things had
gone as depicted here, it would invert a pattern which has prevailed in
our own modern history: since 1952, no Democrat has served a full two
terms and been succeeded by another Democrat, while Republicans managed
that with Reagan and Bush the elder. Indeed, in our history, no Democrat
except Bill Clinton has served a full two terms, period, since FDR, while
Republicans have done it three times, with Eisenhower, Reagan and Bush II.
This scenario is an intersting variation on my
own take on the Ford assassination, underscoring how much room there
is for different timelines to spring from the same POD" - reader's comment
his government spending reform as well as the "pity vote" for the
Republican Party, Rockefeller would be elected in 1976, narrowly defeating
Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter. Rockefeller continued his sculpting of the
executive branch as well as working to secure inexpensive fuel to keep
inflation and, especially, food prices down. Near the end of his term in
1979 when Islamic militants seized the US embassy in Tehran, Rockefeller
struck back with quick covert operations, though many argued that this
would seal the Middle East's distrust of America.
"One thing: we'd probably have national health
care." - author's response
The 1980 election would see Americans
ready to move on from Republican trimming, and Ted Kennedy would be
pronounced the 40th President of the United States after announcing his
candidacy late in 1979. Kennedy worked to restore many of the social
services cut back by Rockefeller as well as keeping an eye on the waning
Soviet Union. He echoed his brother Jack's speech of the potential unity
of Berlin, calling for an end to the wall and people everywhere to be
known as "Berliners".
Kennedy served a comfortable two terms through the 1980s, and his
long-serving vice-president Walter Mondale would follow him from '89 to
'92. With a new economic slump, the American people would turn back to the
Republicans with President Bob Dole of Kansas. They had established
themselves as the "economic" party, and the United States enjoyed a
renewed boom based on technological innovation through the '90s, entering
a new millennium with no national debt.
says in reality, in Agent Buendorf spotted Fromme's gun. He stepped in
front of Ford, grabbed the gun, and wrestled Fromme to the ground, jamming
his hand under the trigger to prevent firing. Fromme noted to the cameras
that she had not fired and later told The Sacramento Bee that she had
removed the chambered bullet that morning, which investigators found at her
home. She was sentenced to life imprisonment and paroled August 14, 2009.
Gerald Ford died December 26, 2006, the longest living US President.
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Jeff Provine, Guest Historian of
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Imagine what would be, if history had occurred a bit
differently. Who says it didn't, somewhere? These fictional news items
explore that possibility. Possibilities such as America becoming a Marxist
superpower, aliens influencing human history in the 18th century and Teddy
Roosevelt winning his 3rd term as president abound in this interesting