‘Worst’ U.S. President’s Policies Could Be Answer to Today’s Economic Ills
Warren G. Harding ranks near the bottom of any revisionist’s list of U. S. presidents. These historians have generally discarded the entirety of Harding’s administration, and American memory passes from Wilson’s World War I to Coolidge’s Roaring Twenties. Yet, at the time of his death in 1923, before the scandals and corruption became public, Harding enjoyed a wide popularity. Some of that popularity came from his economic policies—a study in non-intervention that has much to teach us today.
Almost nobody would have predicted that Warren Harding would become the nation’s 29th president. The small-town Ohio newspaper owner turned U.S. senator, known more for an easy affability and charm than political acumen or vision, was the first choice of only a few delegates to the 1920 Republican convention. But, as his handlers quickly realized, Harding offended no one and easily made the list as a second-choice candidate. As the voting blocs for the top candidates deadlocked, the need for just such an inoffensive compromise candidate became obvious. Harding’s longtime friend and campaign manager, Harry Daugherty, advanced his cause. On the 10th ballot the surprised Harding was nominated for the presidency. His campaign pledge of a “Return to Normalcy” and an end to internationalism appealed to a war-weary electorate, giving him a landslide victory.
Unfortunately, with Harding came a group of croniesContinue Reading →
Not all of Harding’s appointments were corrupt, not all his decisions poor. Indeed, his economic legacy has garnered new respect in recent years and provides one key to Harding’s popularity while alive.