ON-Lion Letter

"The last year or so has not been kind to Warren G. Harding, who was the 29th president, from 1921 to 1923," begins an August New York Times op-ed by Ronald Radosh and Allis Radosh, and "Harding’s reputation wasn't doing well to begin with."

Ronald Radosh is an adjunct fellow of the Hudson Institute in Washington, D.C.  His work is supported by Milwaukee's Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation.  Allis Radosh is an independent historian.  They are the authors of a forthcoming biography of Harding.

"But the low regard for Harding today stands in sharp contrast to how the country viewed him when he was president," they continue.  His victory in 1920 "was a rejection of the Democrats and President Woodrow Wilson, who had promised, then failed, to keep America out of World War I.

"By the time Harding was inaugurated, in March 1921, the nation was in the doldrums, experiencing a postwar depression," they write.  "Harding, much like Ronald Reagan in 1980, brought an upbeat message to Americans."

Harding governed transparently, was committed to equal opportunity for all and racially enlightened, and balanced the federal budget, among other things, according to the Radoshes.

"We'll never know what Harding would have achieved if he had finished out his term, or if that would have made a difference with how history has treated him," they conclude.  "But he deserves better than he has received."

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