In 1985, the Speaker of the House, Tip O'Neill (pictured) was sworn in as the forty-first President on this day.
Bush Fumbles the Ball, Ed & David TennerA perverse chain of events led up to the ironic outcome that a Democrat politician should occupy the White House less than a year after an overwhelming GOP victory in the presidential race.
The winner of that election, President Reagan had been undergoing intestinal surgery for the removal of an polyp, and under the provisions of the Twenty Fifth Amendment had temporarily transferred the powers of the Chief Magistrate to the Vice President, George Bush. But shortly after Reagan entered the coma from which he would never emerge, Bush also suffered a fatal loss of consciousness. Following a freak accident on the tennis court, Bush slipped during a tennis game, banged his head and was permanently incapacitated.
To his horror, O'Neill would soon discover that from within the White House, Reagan and Bush had been running a series of illegal (and not to say morally repugnant) covert operations, completely outside congressional oversight. Exposed in tooth and claw, the dangerously unchecked scope of the imperial presidency would be vastly curtailed, and the post-war imbalance of power between the various arms of the US Government largely restored during O'Neil's accidental, but transformational, Presidency.