Blog Credo

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

H.L. Mencken

Monday, February 16, 2015

Vox Is Starting To Piss Me Off

No, Warren Harding was not a "solid president."  He did a few nice things...or rather, some nice things were done while he was president, a few of which he deserves some credit for.  Harding signed some good legislation, but one of the hallmarks of Harding's presidency - as opposed to Wilson's - was the lack of executive energy.  Wilson LED Congress, Harding signed what they sent him.  He deserves very little credit for Congressional reforms, for instance, that created the OMB and GAO.

Harding was a nice man.  He did nice things for individuals.  He pardoned Eugene V. Debs; he exempted individuals from deportation under the draconian immigration laws he signed, but he did not institute broad scale reform that benefited groups, beyond his corrupt cronies.

Harding was mildly more racially progressive than Wilson, but Wilson was a racial retrograde.  And this period was remarkably racist as a whole.  Harding met with Klan leaders in the White House.

Harding's administration was among the most corrupt in history.  Grant's was, too, and both men deserve the scorn they get for this, as it was their friends and their management style that enabled that corruption.

Vox needs to lay of the Slate-Pitch bullshit.

UPDATE: Also, this piece, which lauds Grant, does so from a very narrow perspective.  Grant was an excellent president on race relations, but ultimately achieved very little.  His personal virtues on the issue are real, but his accomplishments were fleeting.  The corruption of his administration was also real.  Grant may not be as bad as he is remembered, and most of our worst presidents served only one term.

But in the competition for worst presidents elected to two terms, Grant is in the conversation, along with Bush.  Heck, we could throw Jefferson in there, too.

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