When the Center Held: The Rescue of the American Presidency

Ah! That would be great!

In that case, it is great! But I have one more follow up question: if we pass any laws or legislations then how our stats will impact our decisions? If we have a well balanced stats then can we take good decisions in all the sectors?

Will you explicitly mention what our decisions have resulted?

Your stats will impact the effort to pass the law not the legislation itself so if you have bad debt for example you may start at a disadvantage in negotiating the passage of universal healthcare. Ultimately though the President can’t write legislation himself only support the effort in congress. Yeah if the Nation’s stats are well balanced enough early on then you will be able to make good decisions in every sector. No reason not to reward players who put together their early administration well after all.

Yes every law passed will have a short write up explaining it’s effect upon passage and then I plan to write a follow-up in the epilogue explaining the long term effects, hopefully.

That will definitely be great!

Also, can you give a brief info about the game in your first post with the link? Because, sometimes I’m getting lost what my MC is doing in the game, like if I’m the president then why will I grant pardon to Nixon If I actually don’t want to pardon Nixon?

Further, I think instead of dealing with Nixon case in third chp, I think you should introduce what decisions we can take regarding the problems grasping the nation and then in 4th Chp deal with Nixon case which is currently chp 3. Also, you can mention what our decisions in chp 3 relating to the problems grasping the nation has resulted. I guess that will be better.

Yeah I was hoping to edit the original post to hold updates but apparently something is wrong with discourse and it doesn’t work in the hosted games section. There’s a workaround and I messaged a moderator to get it implemented.

Yeah there is definitely something wrong with the perspective and I keep changing it unintentionally to have you as Ford then as a third person then as one of his staffers and I probably won’t really get around to fixing it until I’m done partly because everything keeps changing and new stuff keeps getting added. I think at this point I’m leaning towards you being a faceless chief of staff an influential position person in any administration who pretty much advises the president on every topic they deal with but that’ll be a while yet before it’s fixed because at this point I want to keep making forward progress so I don’t lose momentum and quit.

As for changing the order of event’s in this case that’s difficult to do because I do want to hew closely to the order that historical event’s happened in. I’m happy to allow for a bit more in terms of ahistorical decisions or outcomes but I want the base order of event’s and problems to remain historically accurate at least, which is also why you can’t really not pardon Nixon either it historically happened and while you can more successfully persuade people it was the right thing to do you won’t be able to change that he was pardoned. Also narratively if Ford goes all in on prosecuting Nixon it does mean the Democrats might not sweep the mid terms like they did and that would sort of mess up the opportunity to rebuild the Republicans as more in line with the players vision. Also it would remove some of the challenge from the Congressional sessions if the Republicans retained more control in congress.

1 Like

An update to any who may be following this. I’ve updated the demo with chapter 4 and it seems to be bug free according to quicktest and randomtest. The difficulty is a bit off as it’s a bit easy to pass laws at this point and the effects aren’t perfectly tuned either but I’ll work on rebalancing that later. The grammar may also be a bit rougher at points and some of the more moderate laws may be a bit underwritten because I didn’t always have a lot to write about them. I also reduced the number of laws I was going to put in because it was a pretty serious serious challenge to even write the 18 in their as opposed to the 36 I was planning to do and I didn’t want to quit making the game so sorry about that. Aside from all that though let me know what you think and thanks for playing!

Edit: Whoops messed up and didn’t implement the Congress clock right should be working now.


I love the idea of this story. I love politics and the spirit you’re bringing into it is really enjoyable. Keep up the great work!

I’d suggest that before the decisions to try and align your party more towards a liberal, moderate or conservative stance, you’re briefly explained on what do these mean in the republican party, and what they stand for.

Thanks! glad your enjoying it. Good idea on the explanation of the republican factions, I guess I had kind of assumed people would know what they were which in retrospect is rather silly.

I imagine this is along Anderson’s line, meaning it is mostly fiscally conservative but socially quite liberal.
It is, imho, potentially the most interesting turn for the Republicans to take and is likely to lead to a different realignment where the Republicans are likely to end up socially liberal and fiscally conservative versus a more socially conservative but economically liberal Democratic Party. In essence making Nixon’s southern strategy a short lived experiment rather than the new Republican normal.

Though note that not even Anderson was as downright anti economic regulation as Reagan, so that is imho more positive and a more regulated fiscal environment may butterfly the great recession of 2008 the dot com crash is less likely to be butterflied, if you ask me, because of how new and unfamiliar that territory was to legislators back then.

And, of course, a Ford Administration with Anderson is pretty much one that goes the opposite direction from OTL with regards to pardoning Nixon, which also means poor President Ford may not believe he’ll go to hell in that timeline.

Realigning along Baker lines could be interesting too comment more on that when I have more time.


Correct kind of, I tend to think of the ultimate example of a Liberal Republican as being more Eisenhower or Dewey than Anderson. Basically someone fine or even in support of New Deal/Fair Deal/Great Society programs as long as they could keep the budget balanced at the end of the day and in support of high taxes on the rich or wealthy if that’s what it took to get the budget their.

I tend to think if Ford or one of his successors had successfully reinforced the New Deal consensus that FDR left the country its much more likely that the parties would have continued to both remain relatively either mixed or even centrist with only a few differentiating factors between them. Not that it’s not impossible that the Reagan revolution wouldn’t have happened anyways but it might have happened later along social lines, and more competent leadership would have preserved the status quo a bit better and led to less voodoo economics.

Ford seemed to have an odd inability to really read the room in terms of the American public at certain points and to be too damn nice all at the same time. He seemed to think at the same time that the Watergate scandal was harming his ability to do his job as president(which it probably was) and similarly that their was some great public sympathy for Nixon after his resignation(which their probably really wasn’t). I can’t help but think that even with Anderson it’s not unlikely that he wouldn’t have issued the pardon to forgive Nixon of his crimes under the belief that it was the right thing to do and would help put the issue behind the country.

1 Like

The old campaign trail game seems to indicate this would be Anderson’s make or break “red line” issue, so if he still did he could have a vociferous VP resignation on his hands and that would certainly harm him in the polls.
It could still happen, sure, although I still think it would be least likely with Anderson out of all the possible picks but it would be another scandal on top of the pardon scandal that may as well hand the presidency to Carter on silver platter with bows wrapped around it and champagne on top.
It may also depend on who is the attorney general and chief of staff, if one of those is from the Anderson “anti corruption” clique that would further diminish the chances of the pardon happening, imho.

The “centrist” don’t rock the boat option (well anybody other than Dole will piss off Reagan and his clique to a certain extent) of the VP’s seems to be Baker.


All true but I wouldn’t 100% trust everything the game says as it still implies that Anderson would be willing to serve on a ticket with a Ford who had pardoned Nixon. I think the other issue is that having a VP resignation or removing Nixon’s pardon would butterfly things too much and after writing the congress section of the demo I don’t know if I have the will to get that done.

I think I’m settling more and more on having the player act as a faceless chief of staff as it seems to be one of the only positions that would have the amount of influence in both domestic and foreign policy necessary for the game to make sense.

It’s ironic because despite Dole’s reputation as a conservative both in that game and real life, in congress he was actually one of the more moderate members of the Republican party before he blazed the trail John McCain would follow and throw away everything he believed in to try and get into the Presidency.

1 Like

When I selected Bob Dole as my VP, the debug message for increasing my conservative Republican stance showed up in the text.

1 Like

Looks like I missed a * for the variable set their, Thanks for letting me know.


Selected the debt reduction path for one of my Congress bills, another debug message showed up when presented with the choice to cut military funding.

Also, another debug message showed up when I pursued to raise taxes on the wealthy; Specifically the choice stating the debt so bad we don’t need to worry about explaining ourselves.


Fixed and fixed and I’ve checked the rest of the those and they should all be coded right now.

1 Like

I’ve decided to just go ahead and push a small update with the fixes and the explanation of party politics and some other small changes since enough seem to have accumulated to justify it. The next section isn’t finished yet though so if you’ve already played through it you won’t see too much new.


I was checking out the game code, and found some possible improvements. As I’m not able to send images to this forum, I’ll be as detailed as possible in my post.

During stage 1 of the negotiations for the liberal solution to the debt bill, the 3rd option "The debt is so bad that we don’t need to worry about explaining ourselves to the average American let’s just tell people this is necessary to prevent a sovereign debt crisis.", which is unlocked by having a terrible debt, doesn’t improve the negotiation progress variable. Not sure if WAD, I think not.

If choosing the 1st option: "The Ford administration will reach out to the contacts it made in local government in it’s efforts to clean up crime and corruption after the Watergate hearings to see if they can help." during the 2nd stage of negotations for the moderate healtchare bill, the text “*set neg_progress +2” appears on screen.

The 3rd option during stage 1 of the negotiations for the conservative economic bill: "The economy is not doing well and we just not to hammer on that if we want to convince people to get these tax cuts passed.", the option unlocked by having a bad economy, doesn’t improve the negotiation variable. I think it’s not WAD.

The 3rd option during stage 1 of the negotiations for the moderate debt bill: "The Cold War has mostly thawed and the simple fact of the matter is that we can cut down on our massive military expenditures somewhat to help balance the budget without risking national security too much at this point.", the option unlocked by having a high security score doesn’t improve the negotiation variable. Not WAD, I suppose.

That’s all I’ve found for now. Hope it helps!


Scared me for a second there I thought I was about to get called out on poor coding. Yeah those are all just mistakes I’ll get them looked at and corrected. Thanks!

1 Like

Just a quick update to anyone following along, the new chapter is done and actually doesn’t seem to be a complete mess from a coding or grammar perspective so let me know what you think.