The “Failure” of Warren G. Harding

A good friend of mine, a high school teacher, posted the following on my Facebook wall last week:

Just so you know we are talking about Warren G Harding in history class today…and what a failure he was as a president.

While the comment was a friendly jab because of the shared last name, he did back up his quote by mentioning “the Ohio Gang, Teapot Dome Scandal, Prohibition Violations in the White House, [and] sex scandals.”

All kidding aside, it makes for an interesting topic on what constitutes a “successful” presidency and a “failed” presidency. Consider these points:

-Sex scandals and politicians go together like politicians and lying. It’s one reason why I have very little regard for the political class, regardless of the office they hold. But did President Harding lie under oath about his promiscuity in order to prevent an American citizen from receiving an honest day in court? And if Harding’s affairs are an albatross upon his presidency, shouldn’t similar dalliances do the same to FDR and JFK?

-The Ohio Gang (and the Teapot Dome Scandal it was responsible for) is symptomatic of the cronyism that has long afflicted government, and still does today. The Harding administration deserves condemnation. But is there any reason the Harding administration’s cronyism tars his presidency as the worst in history, but the cronyism exhibited by the administration of FDR receives little condemnation by historians? Will President Obama’s blatant cronyism receive condemnation when judged by history?

-The Harding administration implemented policies that ended a Woodrow Wilson-engineered depression in 18 months. FDR implemented policies that extended the Great Depression by 7 years.

-The Harding administration kept us out of war. Harding’s predecessor, Nobel Peace Prize winner Woodrow Wilson, threw us into a bloody pointless war with no compelling national interest at stake. The cost: 117,000 Americans lives lost and 204,000 wounded.

The Harding administration showed much more respect for civil liberties than you’d expect from a Republican, by freeing Wilson’s political prisoners. Besides Wilson’s gross violations, FDR interned Japanese-Americans, and Nobel Peace Prize winner Obama signed off on indefinite detention of Americans without due process when his administration labels said Americans guilty and also signs off on the execution of American citizens without judicial review.

So peace, prosperity, and some respect for the rights of your countrymen earn disdain, but war, slumping economies, and a contempt for liberty earn accolades?

I’ll take the failure.

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One Response to “The “Failure” of Warren G. Harding”

  1. Daylight Saving Scam | The Blog For Truth, Justice, & The Josh Way Says:

    […] Another reason to appreciate the underrated President Harding. […]

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