Wednesday, November 2, 2011

the baddest US President is from Ohio!

Warren "sex and booze" Harding
I actually knew very little about Warren G Harding, the 29th US President  when I saw that it was his birthday today. So I learned some fun facts about him that I will share with you.

He was born in Blooming Grove OH in 1865 and was President from 1921-1923. Now that the boring stuff kids learn in history text books is is out of the way...

When I say "baddest" I mean the worst. Harding was a bastard.

Most historians rank Harding as one of the worst US Presidents. One historian even said he was "a bumbling fool who stumbled into the presidency".

He spent several weeks in a sanitarium after a nervous breakdown when he was 24.

Harding was a drunk and had all night parties with bootleg liquor at the White House...during Prohibition. Apparently he was a big believer in "do as I say...". Prohibition was for the poor and middle class as far as he was concerned.

Several women claimed extra-marital affairs with him resulting in at least one child. All things he denied. However in the 1960's, about 100 intimate letters between him an one long term lover, Carrie Phillips, were discovered but a court order sealed them until 2014. Someone who has viewed the letters said some were quite erotic. I know I've got my calendar set! UPDATE: The letters were made public on July 29th 2014 and erotic they are. When he says "Wish I could take you to Mnt. Jerry. Wonderful spot" he is talking biology, not geography.

Oddly while at the same time being accused of being a secret member of the Ku Klux Klan (likely false), at a time when white supremacy was at an all time high in the US, he was also accused of being black because of the one drop rule (likely true) in an effort to make people not like him. Remember, this was at a time when being Catholic could get you lynched as well. In fact, the one bright spot I know about Harding is, he urged Congress to pass an anti-lynching law during a speech...in Birmingham AL, so I'm not buying the Klan thing, that actually may have helped him in those days.

His administration was subject to many scandals, most notably the Teapot Dome bribery scandal which sent a member of a Presidential cabinet to prison for the first time in US history. Two other officials enveloped in the scandal committed suicide. Until Watergate this was considered the worst US Presidential scandal.

Harding Tomb in Marion OH
Harding's sudden death in office on August 2nd 1923 was officially listed as a heart attack but no autopsy was performed. There is evidence that he was poisoned by his wife or a political enemy. Seriously. Google it. This development probably saved him from being impeached in the growing Teapot Scandal closing in around him. The one that sent one guy to prison and two others committed suicide. That scandal.

After Harding died, his wife Florence, in an attempt to protect his legacy destroyed most of his papers. Presidents usually like to preserve them for posterity and Presidential libraries and such. She knew he was a bastard and as a result of this, we know very little about his personal life and thoughts while in office or how involved he was in the Teapot Dome scandal.

Despite this legacy he has a very nice and elaborate tomb in Marion Ohio. He was the last US President to have such a grandiose resting place.

Happy Birthday Warren! You make Ohio proud! They sure don't make presidents like you any more!

3 comments:

  1. Ohio: Birthplace of Presidents (some of them good)

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  2. That would make a fine slogan! I will lobby for that on our license plates! Here are some stats to back that up.

    Eight presidents died in office, 4 were from Ohio (if you count Harrison who adopted Ohio as his home state). That's a 50% mortality rate to die in office if you were from Ohio!
    Grant, Taft and Harding were 3 of 8 Ohio native Presidents that usually top the lists of "most corrupt" administrations. That gives Ohio nearly a 40% corruption rate. Go Ohio!

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  3. Ok I might be wrong on Taft, but he did get stuck in that bathtub

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