Emmett Tyrrell

Both presidents were personable and charming to the fair sex, whose nicely turned ankles fetched their wandering eyes. When not boldly at the helm of the ship of state, both presidents vigorously pursued the masculine pastimes of their day, golf and poker for Harding, golf and jogging for Clinton.

Harding, of course, was less driven than the Boy Governor of Arkansas and obviously more dignified. He had a better tailor. He seemed to age more gracefully and less abruptly in office until he suffered a heart attack while in San Francisco where he died. Then, too, while alive Harding was freer of scandal. History remembers Harding as an amiable bungler whose scandals were revealed only upon his death. Clinton's blunders began early and the shadows of scandal crossed him earlier still. Moreover there were witnesses to his scandals, a lot of them.

Bill, aside from his scandals and pratfalls, presided over a relatively prosperous and peaceful presidency, owing in part to his cooperation with Republicans, particularly Newt Gingrich's House of Representatives. Remember his boast that "the era of Big Government is over"? Surprisingly, today we recall Warren's presidency as prosperous and peaceful, too. Amity Shlaes, in her book, "Coolidge," recalls that he cut taxes, cut federal spending, got the economy going again and ended his predecessor Woodrow Wilson's excessive regulation of the economy. Also he endorsed African-Americans' rights.

So I am vindicated in my comparison of Clinton and Harding, and one other thing. I would welcome either of them back in the White House today to replace Barack Obama, who is not very funny.


Emmett Tyrrell

R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. is founder and editor in chief of The American Spectator and co-author of Madame Hillary: The Dark Road to the White House.
 
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