Betty Ford celebrates her 90th birthday today, and Wonkette offers up a hearty, nonalcoholic toast in her honor. For the 896 wonderful days of Gerald Ford’s presidency, this sassy dancing divorcee brought outspoken feminism and frank talk to the White House. And the pills, dear God, the pills and booze!
Betty Ford was popping truckloads of pills while Cindy McCain was in diapers. Betty Ford was mixing up bathtubs full of gin and bathing in it when Kitty Dukakis was in first grade getting high on Sharpies. Betty Ford lived hard.
She later wrote in her memoir, “I liked alcohol. It made me feel warm. And I loved pills. They took away my tension and my pain.” There is no other First Lady alive — potential, current, or former — who would ever admit to enjoying anything more dangerous than a Bach quintet.
Other fun facts:
- Mrs. Ford supported the Equal Rights Amendment and abortion rights.
- Her maiden name was Bloomer.
- She performed with Martha Graham’s dance company in Carnegie Hall.
- She told McCall’s magazine that the only thing she’d never been asked was how often she had sex with her husband. “And if they’d asked me that I would have told them, ‘As often as possible.'”
- Without her, there would be no Betty Ford Center, and half the punchlines on late night television would not make sense.
Betty Ford is still hanging in there at the age of 90, and we wish her all the best.