Zippidy Doo Da

I'm not stupid, I'm from Texas!

Monday, October 16, 2006

Worst President Ever?

I sometimes refer to the GOP as the “Party of Harding” out of disgust from hearing them call themselves the “Party of Lincoln.” If they were to field candidates like Abe Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt today, I would vote for them. Hell, the republicans only made Roosevelt Vice-President to get him out of New York. They thought they’d buried him there, but then McKinley got shot in Buffalo.
Anyways, Warren G. Harding has grown in the view of some revisionists, (don’t they all?) see if maybe he looks good beside the current suit-in-chief.
Harding was an undistinguished Ohio politician, willing to let machine bosses set policy. His father told him “it’s a lucky thing that you weren’t born a girl because you can’t say no.” During his term in the Senate, he missed two thirds of his roll call votes. An Ohio supporter backed him for higher office because “he looked like a president.” A dark horse nominee, his campaign slogan “A Return to Normalcy” expressed the machine’s wish that he undo the radical measures from the Roosevelt administrations, like anti-trust legislation, the civil service, and the Food and Drug Administration. In office he was known to play golf and poker twice a week, and to be a fan of baseball, boxing, and burlesque. His administration brought us the Teapot Dome scandal, in which his appointees sold off Navy reserves to what later became the Sinclair Oil Co. Harding complained that his enemies were no trouble, “but my friends are killing me.”
Harding was known as a murderer of the English language. Democrat William Gibbs McAdoo called his speeches “an army of pompous phrases moving across the landscape in search of an idea.” H.L.Mencken called his choice of words “Gamalielese,” after Harding’s middle name, likening it to “stale bean soup, of college yells, of dogs barking idiotically through endless nights.”
In the summer of 1923, he took a trip out west, discussing with his friend Herbert Hoover how to deal with the scandals brewing in his administration. Before he could face the music, he died of a heart attack that August in San Francisco. There was speculation at the time that he committed suicide, (two of his appointees had already killed themselves over bribery scandals) or been poisoned by his wife. (He was said to have had affairs)I would say that the best thing he did as president was to pardon socialist leader Eugene V. Debs, who was convicted of violating the Espionage Act of 1917 for encouraging young men to resist the draft in World War I. At his trial, Debs spoke his most famous lines: “While there is a lower class, I am in it. While there is a criminal element, I am of it. While there is a soul in prison, I am not free.” While we’re rating presidents, we ought to think about Debs. He ran for president five times, the fifth time from a Federal prison, when he got 1 million votes. If he’d ever been elected, he’d be on Mount Rushmore today.

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