This news is sad, but it reminds us that there was a time when the Republican party actually had moderates, heck, even progressive women like Betty Ford who were openly declaring that the civil rights of women (supporting passage of the ERA) were not steamrolled by the Religious Right. (CBS News):

Former First Lady Betty Ford was remembered for being unafraid to speak out about social issues, at a time when politicians’ spouses were usually seen but not heard.

Ford, who died Friday at age 93, was not intimidated by the public spotlight, and used her position to passionately promote causes important to her. In the process she helped remove the stigma of speaking out publicly about sensitive issues like alcoholism, addiction and breast cancer.

“When she became First Lady, our country was talking about the burning of bras and equal rights amendments and the need for sexual liberation, and here was a Republican First Lady who seemed quite fine with a lot of that feminist energy of being ginned up largely from the Democratic left,” Brinkley said on “The Early Show on Saturday Morning.”

The statement from the White House:

The White House
Office of the Press Secretary

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 8, 2011
 
Statement from President Obama on the Passing of Elizabeth Anne Ford
 
Throughout her long and active life, Elizabeth Anne Ford distinguished herself through her courage and compassion. As our nation’s First Lady, she was a powerful advocate for women’s health and women’s rights.  After leaving the White House, Mrs. Ford helped reduce the social stigma surrounding addiction and inspired thousands to seek much-needed treatment. While her death is a cause for sadness, we know that organizations such as the Betty Ford Center will honor her legacy by giving countless Americans a new lease on life.
 
Today, we take comfort in the knowledge that Betty and her husband, former President Gerald Ford, are together once more. Michelle and I send our thoughts and prayers to their children, Michael, John, Steven, and Susan.
 
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How did the GOP go from Betty Ford to Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin?  

Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding

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