When we heard the news that Betty Ford (the accidental First Lady married to the accidental 38th President of the United States) had died, we immediately thought of how George Carlin spoke of her in his last stand up special, It’s Bad for Ya! In the above segment, Carlin brings up Mrs. Ford in a rant about how First Ladies “come along for the ride” and are “condescended to” in the White House. Of course, when Carlin remember’s Ford’s particular “assignment” as First Lady, he brings up what she’s most known for in pop culture: being the founder of the Betty Ford Clinic. The drug and alcohol rehab center, frequented by numerous celebrities, is located in Rancho Mirage, California, where Ford lived the last years of her life.
Elizabeth Anne Bloomer, born during the last year of World War I, was 93 when she died. The last First Lady to die was Lady Bird Johnson in 2007. Now, in addition to Michelle Obama, there are four five living First Ladies: Rosalynn Carter, Nancy Reagan, Barbara Bush, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, and Laura Bush.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on July 8, 2011