President Harding: Everything Old is New Again

Interesting piece in the Times today about the President.

Warren G. Harding, the Pride of Marion, Ohio, and one of the worst American presidents. Evidently, he was swoon-worthy in his day. I don’t see it. |Image: Harris & Ewing Collection/Library of Congress.

Well, President Warren G. Harding, our chief executive from 1921 to 1923 and, by all accounts, one of the absolute worst of the lot. Perhaps Pierce, Buchanan, Bush #2 and Fillmore rank worse. Perhaps.

Harding was a known womanizer and there were plenty of rumors circulating at the time that he fathered a child with one of his mistresses and what do you know? Ninety-two years after he died, DNA has proven unequivocally that Harding was the baby daddy.

Ain’t that a pisser?

I love the fact that a century ago this was bedrock scandal of the first order. Today, who the hell cares? Heck, I didn’t care 20 years ago (-ish) when Clinton was being diddled under the desk. Why should I? Why should you?

Look, all men in power — old white guys — they all* have a bit on the side. The President of the United States is any different? Lucy Mercer … Marilyn Monroe … Monica Lewinsky … Even the old “bachelor,” James Buchanan had William Rufus King. Oh, look it up. Old Hickory called the pair “Miss Nancy” and “Aunt Fancy.” King was not only Buchanan’s live-in for a decade, he was Franklin Pierce’s vice president for a bit, but he died in office. AND, his relationship with Buchanan was likely the reason for Buchanan’s Southern sympathies, thereby hindering his ability to broker a peace with the secessionists and stop the Civil War.

Buchanan — another of the worst presidents.

*Yes, all is a strong word. I don’t mean all here; but I do mean most.

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