History Main / WarrenHarding

27th Jan '14 3:01:06 PM MarkLungo
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[[quoteright:209:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/harding.gif]]
[[caption-width-right:209: "Our most dangerous tendency is to expect too much of government, and at the same time do for it too little."]]

->''"I have no trouble with my enemies. I can take care of my enemies in a fight. But my friends, my goddamned friends, they're the ones who keep me walking the floor at nights!"''
-->--'''Warren G. Harding''', who kept less than scrupulous company.

'''Warren Gamaliel Harding''' was elected as the 29th president (on his birthday!) with the widest popular vote margin in US history. He served from [[TheRoaringTwenties 1921 to 1923]], after WoodrowWilson and before CalvinCoolidge, and was the tenth Republican Party president. These days, he's considered one of the worst failures to hold the office.

Harding also had a tendency to [[{{Malaproper}} mis-speak]]. His speech was nicknamed "Gamalielese" for the likes of this:

->"I would like the government to do all it can to [[WantonCrueltyToTheCommonComma mitigate, then, in understanding, in mutuality of interest, in concern for the common good, our tasks will be solved]]."

Many have argued people only voted for him because he "looked presidential". He emerged from a classic backroom deal at the 1920 Republican Convention (selected mainly because he had stayed out of the Taft/Roosevelt feud that split the party in 1912 and had thus not pissed off anybody) and then ran the first modern campaign.

Notable events in his presidency? Harding campaigned on a platform of "a return to [[PerfectlyCromulentWord normalcy]]", and so led the US back into an isolationist phase from which it wouldn't emerge until the later days of FranklinDRoosevelt. He set up what became the Department for Veterans' Affairs, created the Washington Naval Treaty limiting naval fleet sizes and appointed WilliamHowardTaft as Chief Justice. Harding was especially infamous for how many of his appointees engaged in large-scale corruption.

The aforementioned scandals are what Harding's presidency is most remembered for today. Harding appointed many political friends to positions of power dring his tenure as president. Known as the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ohio_Gang Ohio Gang]], they pretty much carved up the nation's resources from underneath him, setting up a rather large number of scandals down the road, the most infamous of which was the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ohio_Gang Teapot Dome Scandal]]. Until [[RichardNixon Watergate]], Teapot Dome was the most notorious political scandal in US history.

However, the Harding administration also did many things that could be considered positive. For example, the aforementioned Washington Naval Conference, which was hosted by the United States under Harding, was intended to stop another World War, especially as tensions between the US and UK were quite high in the early 1920s - it only failed when Japan later adopted imperial ambitions that couldn't be fettered by the treaty. (Though it is worth mentioning that Harding, inexperienced with foreign affairs, basically let his competent and honest Secretary of State Charles Evans Hughes do whatever and promised to stay out of his way.) He was surprisingly progressive when it came to race relations, and wholeheartedly supported an anti-lynching bill which died in the Senate. He also did not start, or otherwise engage in any major armed conflicts, and helped secure Panama's independence through diplomatic means. The crash of 1920 was solved within the first year of Harding's administration, which then lead to the "roaring 20s". Additionally, he was one of the few presidents in the past century to actually balance the federal budget, while managing to lower taxes--something routinely demanded by American voters but usually considered by realistic economists to be UnwinnableByDesign. Also, he freed several political prisoners, including the outspoken leftist anti-war activist, Eugene V. Debs.

Harding was a heavy drinker, but agreed to stop drinking (at least in public) to provide an example to all the Americans who were happily ignoring Prohibition. (It didn't work.)

According to one account, Harding himself once lamented that he was unfit to hold office.

In July 1923, while traveling through Canada after visiting Alaska, Harding developed food poisoning, then pneumonia, which then brought upon the stroke that killed him in SanFrancisco, California on August 2.

Due to his administration's corruption, Harding is often a front runner on many "worst presidents in American history" lists, although he wasn't corrupt himself, just a bad judge of character in way over his head.

He's also the guy who coined the term "Founding Father." He used it during an address he gave in the Republican National Convention of 1916, and popularized its usage during his inaugural address. The [[AbrahamLincoln Lincoln Memorial]] was commissioned during Harding's presidency, with Honest Abe's son Robert in attendance.


!!Tropes applicable to him are:

* TheAlcoholic: He was a heavy drinker and continued to be one even after the enaction of Prohibition, a policy that he supported in public but ignored behind closed doors.
* BlackWidow: Rumors persist that he was poisoned by his wife for his many affairs.
* CrowningMomentOfAwesome: The first director of the Veteran's Bureau, Charles Forbes, was hand-selected by Harding. During his tenure, Forbes sold off pretty much everything that wasn't nailed down, including much-needed hospital supplies for wounded veterans. Harding ordered him to cut it out, but Forbes ignored him. When he found out, the six-foot-tall President [[NeckLift lifted Forbes by his neck and throttled him]] until help arrived.
* DaEditor: Took control of the ailing ''Marion Daily Star'' in the 1880's. He retained ownership all the way up to the last leg of his Presidency.
* TheGambler: He hosted weekly poker games with Cabinet members and friends, where high stakes games were played and (illegal) alcohol was freely served. On one occasion, Harding wagered a priceless set of historic White House china from the early 19th century and lost.
** An anecdotal account of Harding has him saying, "We drew to a pair of deuces, and filled," regarding his lucky nomination. (That is assuming [[BeamMeUpScotty he actually said it]].) The "deuces" were Gen. Leonard Wood and Hiram Johnson, who ended up canceling each other out due to Republican deadlock.
* GentleGiant: A more unfortunate example than most. Despite his impressive appearance, Harding wasn't particularly sharp and hated hurting people's feelings, both of which made it that much easier for nest-featherers to take advantage of him. [[BewareTheNiceOnes Though if you went too far, as Charles Forbes did, he was a sight to behold.]]
* HorribleJudgeOfCharacter: As the title quote clarifies, Harding's friends were less than noble, which is pretty bad since he appointed several of them to positions of high-power.
* {{Malaproper}}: He was well-known for mispronouncing words, often inventing new ones through his errors, most famously the term "normalcy" to refer to "normality". [[GeorgeWBush He's not the only president famous for doing this, though]].
* MediationBackfire: Attempted to avoid another war with the Washington Naval Conference; not only did it ultimately fail to do that, it ticked off the Italians (which probably helped lead them to turning towards fascism) and actually '''helped''' Japan secure its grip on Asia by ensuring that they would be the main naval power in the East.
* RedOniBlueOni: The Red to CalvinCoolidge's Blue.
* RidiculouslyAverageGuy: For a president, aside from looking like one, he's actually pretty undistinguished, a fact even he admitted.
* SelfDeprecation: Realistic version. He once lamented he was unfit to actually be the President.

!!In fiction
* In the novel ''Carter Beats The Devil'', Harding's death occurs shortly after seeing the titular magician perform, which gets Carter investigated by the Secret Service. [[spoiler:The ending reveals that Carter helped Harding fake his death, and the former president retires to a retreat for Carter's similarly-retired performing animals.]]
* In ''Literature/AmericaTheBook'', a segment written by Creator/StephenColbert states that he was the worst President. Colbert writes that the reasons for this are well-documented, so he just proceeds to insult him.
** On a later episode of ''Series/TheColbertReport'', in response to BarackObama bowing to the King of Saudi Arabia (and GeorgeWBush ''holding his hand as they walked''), Colbert lamented that Presidents didn't use to respect foreign leaders -- as evidenced by a photo of Harding giving the former king a noogie.
** On another episode of ''The Colbert Report'', Colbert, talking about TheOtherWiki, said that the "G." stood, in fact, for "Gangsta". [[WikiVandal And for a while, Wikipedia said so.]]
* In the ''VideoGame/{{Civilization}}'' series, "Warren G. Harding" is the third worst score ranking you can achieve (the second and first being Ethelred the Unready and DanQuayle respectively). And who is listed immediately above Harding? ''[[TheCaligula Nero]]''.
* A small role in ''Series/BoardwalkEmpire.'' His mistress has a fair bit of screentime as well.
* In Creator/GoreVidal's novel ''Hollywood'', it's hinted that Harding is either BornLucky or ObfuscatingStupidity much of the time. Once elected, he reveals himself to much more devious than anybody in Washington had suspected.
----

to:

[[quoteright:209:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/harding.gif]]
[[caption-width-right:209: "Our most dangerous tendency is to expect too much of government, and at the same time do for it too little."]]

->''"I have no trouble with my enemies. I can take care of my enemies in a fight. But my friends, my goddamned friends, they're the ones who keep me walking the floor at nights!"''
-->--'''Warren G. Harding''', who kept less than scrupulous company.

'''Warren Gamaliel Harding''' was elected as the 29th president (on his birthday!) with the widest popular vote margin in US history. He served from [[TheRoaringTwenties 1921 to 1923]], after WoodrowWilson and before CalvinCoolidge, and was the tenth Republican Party president. These days, he's considered one of the worst failures to hold the office.

Harding also had a tendency to [[{{Malaproper}} mis-speak]]. His speech was nicknamed "Gamalielese" for the likes of this:

->"I would like the government to do all it can to [[WantonCrueltyToTheCommonComma mitigate, then, in understanding, in mutuality of interest, in concern for the common good, our tasks will be solved]]."

Many have argued people only voted for him because he "looked presidential". He emerged from a classic backroom deal at the 1920 Republican Convention (selected mainly because he had stayed out of the Taft/Roosevelt feud that split the party in 1912 and had thus not pissed off anybody) and then ran the first modern campaign.

Notable events in his presidency? Harding campaigned on a platform of "a return to [[PerfectlyCromulentWord normalcy]]", and so led the US back into an isolationist phase from which it wouldn't emerge until the later days of FranklinDRoosevelt. He set up what became the Department for Veterans' Affairs, created the Washington Naval Treaty limiting naval fleet sizes and appointed WilliamHowardTaft as Chief Justice. Harding was especially infamous for how many of his appointees engaged in large-scale corruption.

The aforementioned scandals are what Harding's presidency is most remembered for today. Harding appointed many political friends to positions of power dring his tenure as president. Known as the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ohio_Gang Ohio Gang]], they pretty much carved up the nation's resources from underneath him, setting up a rather large number of scandals down the road, the most infamous of which was the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ohio_Gang Teapot Dome Scandal]]. Until [[RichardNixon Watergate]], Teapot Dome was the most notorious political scandal in US history.

However, the Harding administration also did many things that could be considered positive. For example, the aforementioned Washington Naval Conference, which was hosted by the United States under Harding, was intended to stop another World War, especially as tensions between the US and UK were quite high in the early 1920s - it only failed when Japan later adopted imperial ambitions that couldn't be fettered by the treaty. (Though it is worth mentioning that Harding, inexperienced with foreign affairs, basically let his competent and honest Secretary of State Charles Evans Hughes do whatever and promised to stay out of his way.) He was surprisingly progressive when it came to race relations, and wholeheartedly supported an anti-lynching bill which died in the Senate. He also did not start, or otherwise engage in any major armed conflicts, and helped secure Panama's independence through diplomatic means. The crash of 1920 was solved within the first year of Harding's administration, which then lead to the "roaring 20s". Additionally, he was one of the few presidents in the past century to actually balance the federal budget, while managing to lower taxes--something routinely demanded by American voters but usually considered by realistic economists to be UnwinnableByDesign. Also, he freed several political prisoners, including the outspoken leftist anti-war activist, Eugene V. Debs.

Harding was a heavy drinker, but agreed to stop drinking (at least in public) to provide an example to all the Americans who were happily ignoring Prohibition. (It didn't work.)

According to one account, Harding himself once lamented that he was unfit to hold office.

In July 1923, while traveling through Canada after visiting Alaska, Harding developed food poisoning, then pneumonia, which then brought upon the stroke that killed him in SanFrancisco, California on August 2.

Due to his administration's corruption, Harding is often a front runner on many "worst presidents in American history" lists, although he wasn't corrupt himself, just a bad judge of character in way over his head.

He's also the guy who coined the term "Founding Father." He used it during an address he gave in the Republican National Convention of 1916, and popularized its usage during his inaugural address. The [[AbrahamLincoln Lincoln Memorial]] was commissioned during Harding's presidency, with Honest Abe's son Robert in attendance.


!!Tropes applicable to him are:

* TheAlcoholic: He was a heavy drinker and continued to be one even after the enaction of Prohibition, a policy that he supported in public but ignored behind closed doors.
* BlackWidow: Rumors persist that he was poisoned by his wife for his many affairs.
* CrowningMomentOfAwesome: The first director of the Veteran's Bureau, Charles Forbes, was hand-selected by Harding. During his tenure, Forbes sold off pretty much everything that wasn't nailed down, including much-needed hospital supplies for wounded veterans. Harding ordered him to cut it out, but Forbes ignored him. When he found out, the six-foot-tall President [[NeckLift lifted Forbes by his neck and throttled him]] until help arrived.
* DaEditor: Took control of the ailing ''Marion Daily Star'' in the 1880's. He retained ownership all the way up to the last leg of his Presidency.
* TheGambler: He hosted weekly poker games with Cabinet members and friends, where high stakes games were played and (illegal) alcohol was freely served. On one occasion, Harding wagered a priceless set of historic White House china from the early 19th century and lost.
** An anecdotal account of Harding has him saying, "We drew to a pair of deuces, and filled," regarding his lucky nomination. (That is assuming [[BeamMeUpScotty he actually said it]].) The "deuces" were Gen. Leonard Wood and Hiram Johnson, who ended up canceling each other out due to Republican deadlock.
* GentleGiant: A more unfortunate example than most. Despite his impressive appearance, Harding wasn't particularly sharp and hated hurting people's feelings, both of which made it that much easier for nest-featherers to take advantage of him. [[BewareTheNiceOnes Though if you went too far, as Charles Forbes did, he was a sight to behold.]]
* HorribleJudgeOfCharacter: As the title quote clarifies, Harding's friends were less than noble, which is pretty bad since he appointed several of them to positions of high-power.
* {{Malaproper}}: He was well-known for mispronouncing words, often inventing new ones through his errors, most famously the term "normalcy" to refer to "normality". [[GeorgeWBush He's not the only president famous for doing this, though]].
* MediationBackfire: Attempted to avoid another war with the Washington Naval Conference; not only did it ultimately fail to do that, it ticked off the Italians (which probably helped lead them to turning towards fascism) and actually '''helped''' Japan secure its grip on Asia by ensuring that they would be the main naval power in the East.
* RedOniBlueOni: The Red to CalvinCoolidge's Blue.
* RidiculouslyAverageGuy: For a president, aside from looking like one, he's actually pretty undistinguished, a fact even he admitted.
* SelfDeprecation: Realistic version. He once lamented he was unfit to actually be the President.

!!In fiction
* In the novel ''Carter Beats The Devil'', Harding's death occurs shortly after seeing the titular magician perform, which gets Carter investigated by the Secret Service. [[spoiler:The ending reveals that Carter helped Harding fake his death, and the former president retires to a retreat for Carter's similarly-retired performing animals.]]
* In ''Literature/AmericaTheBook'', a segment written by Creator/StephenColbert states that he was the worst President. Colbert writes that the reasons for this are well-documented, so he just proceeds to insult him.
** On a later episode of ''Series/TheColbertReport'', in response to BarackObama bowing to the King of Saudi Arabia (and GeorgeWBush ''holding his hand as they walked''), Colbert lamented that Presidents didn't use to respect foreign leaders -- as evidenced by a photo of Harding giving the former king a noogie.
** On another episode of ''The Colbert Report'', Colbert, talking about TheOtherWiki, said that the "G." stood, in fact, for "Gangsta". [[WikiVandal And for a while, Wikipedia said so.]]
* In the ''VideoGame/{{Civilization}}'' series, "Warren G. Harding" is the third worst score ranking you can achieve (the second and first being Ethelred the Unready and DanQuayle respectively). And who is listed immediately above Harding? ''[[TheCaligula Nero]]''.
* A small role in ''Series/BoardwalkEmpire.'' His mistress has a fair bit of screentime as well.
* In Creator/GoreVidal's novel ''Hollywood'', it's hinted that Harding is either BornLucky or ObfuscatingStupidity much of the time. Once elected, he reveals himself to much more devious than anybody in Washington had suspected.
----
[[redirect:UsefulNotes/WarrenHarding]]
23rd Nov '13 3:42:54 PM MysteriousF
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Warren Gamaliel Harding was elected as the 29th president (on his birthday!) with the widest popular vote margin in US history. He served from [[TheRoaringTwenties 1921 to 1923]], after WoodrowWilson and before CalvinCoolidge, and was the tenth Republican Party president. These days, he's considered one of the worst failures to hold the office.

to:

Warren '''Warren Gamaliel Harding Harding''' was elected as the 29th president (on his birthday!) with the widest popular vote margin in US history. He served from [[TheRoaringTwenties 1921 to 1923]], after WoodrowWilson and before CalvinCoolidge, and was the tenth Republican Party president. These days, he's considered one of the worst failures to hold the office.
1st Nov '13 9:28:34 AM ThisIsATestTai
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Warren Gamaliel Harding was elected as the 29th president (on his birthday!) with the widest popular vote margin in US history. He served from 1921 to 1923, and was the tenth Republican Party president. These days, he's considered one of the worst failures to hold the office.

to:

Warren Gamaliel Harding was elected as the 29th president (on his birthday!) with the widest popular vote margin in US history. He served from [[TheRoaringTwenties 1921 to 1923, 1923]], after WoodrowWilson and before CalvinCoolidge, and was the tenth Republican Party president. These days, he's considered one of the worst failures to hold the office.
12th Oct '13 6:39:11 PM Kalmbach
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However, the Harding administration also did many things that could be considered positive. For example, the aforementioned Washington Naval Conference, which was hosted by the United States under Harding, was intended to stop another World War - it only failed when Japan later adopted imperial ambitions that couldn't be fettered by the treaty. (Though it is worth mentioning that Harding, inexperienced with foreign affairs, basically let Secretary of State Charles Evans Hughes do whatever and promised to stay out of his way.) He was surprisingly progressive when it came to race relations, and wholeheartedly supported an anti-lynching bill which died in the Senate. He also did not start, or otherwise engage in any major armed conflicts, and helped secure Panama's independence through diplomatic means. The crash of 1920 was solved within the first year of Harding's administration, which then lead to the "roaring 20s". Additionally, he was one of the few presidents in the past century to actually balance the federal budget, while managing to lower taxes--something routinely demanded by American voters but usually considered by realistic economists to be UnwinnableByDesign. Also, he freed several political prisoners, including the outspoken leftist anti-war activist, Eugene V. Debs.

to:

However, the Harding administration also did many things that could be considered positive. For example, the aforementioned Washington Naval Conference, which was hosted by the United States under Harding, was intended to stop another World War War, especially as tensions between the US and UK were quite high in the early 1920s - it only failed when Japan later adopted imperial ambitions that couldn't be fettered by the treaty. (Though it is worth mentioning that Harding, inexperienced with foreign affairs, basically let his competent and honest Secretary of State Charles Evans Hughes do whatever and promised to stay out of his way.) He was surprisingly progressive when it came to race relations, and wholeheartedly supported an anti-lynching bill which died in the Senate. He also did not start, or otherwise engage in any major armed conflicts, and helped secure Panama's independence through diplomatic means. The crash of 1920 was solved within the first year of Harding's administration, which then lead to the "roaring 20s". Additionally, he was one of the few presidents in the past century to actually balance the federal budget, while managing to lower taxes--something routinely demanded by American voters but usually considered by realistic economists to be UnwinnableByDesign. Also, he freed several political prisoners, including the outspoken leftist anti-war activist, Eugene V. Debs.



Due to his administration's corruption, Harding is often a front runner on many "worst presidents in American history" lists.

to:

Due to his administration's corruption, Harding is often a front runner on many "worst presidents in American history" lists.
lists, although he wasn't corrupt himself, just a bad judge of character in way over his head.
12th Oct '13 6:32:28 PM Kalmbach
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Many have argued people only voted for him because he "looked presidential". He emerged from a classic backroom deal at the 1920 Republican Convention and then ran the first modern campaign.

to:

Many have argued people only voted for him because he "looked presidential". He emerged from a classic backroom deal at the 1920 Republican Convention (selected mainly because he had stayed out of the Taft/Roosevelt feud that split the party in 1912 and had thus not pissed off anybody) and then ran the first modern campaign.
6th Oct '13 12:13:04 PM MysteriousF
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He's also the guy who coined the term "Founding Father." He used it during an address he gave in the Republican National Convention of 1916, and popularized its usage during his inaugural address. Harding dedicated the [[AbrahamLincoln Lincoln Memorial]] in 1922, with Honest Abe's son Robert in attendance.


to:

He's also the guy who coined the term "Founding Father." He used it during an address he gave in the Republican National Convention of 1916, and popularized its usage during his inaugural address. Harding dedicated the The [[AbrahamLincoln Lincoln Memorial]] in 1922, was commissioned during Harding's presidency, with Honest Abe's son Robert in attendance.

6th Oct '13 12:12:11 PM MysteriousF
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He's also the guy who coined the term "Founding Father." He used it during an address he gave in the Republican National Convention of 1916, and popularized its usage during his inaugural address.


to:

He's also the guy who coined the term "Founding Father." He used it during an address he gave in the Republican National Convention of 1916, and popularized its usage during his inaugural address.

address. Harding dedicated the [[AbrahamLincoln Lincoln Memorial]] in 1922, with Honest Abe's son Robert in attendance.

2nd Aug '13 6:04:33 AM MysteriousF
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However, he also did many things that could be considered positive. For example, the aforementioned Washington Naval Conference, which was hosted by the United States under Harding, was intended to stop another World War (it only failed when Japan later adopted imperial ambitions that couldn't be fettered by the treaty). He was surprisingly progressive when it came to race relations, and wholeheartedly supported an anti-lynching bill which died in the Senate. He also did not start, or otherwise engage in any major armed conflicts, and helped secure Panama's independence through diplomatic means. The crash of 1920 was solved within the first year of Harding's administration, which then lead to the "roaring 20s". Additionally, he was one of the few presidents in the past century to actually balance the federal budget, while managing to lower taxes--something routinely demanded by American voters but usually considered by realistic economists to be UnwinnableByDesign. Also, he freed several political prisoners, including the outspoken leftist anti-war activist, Eugene V. Debs.

to:

However, he the Harding administration also did many things that could be considered positive. For example, the aforementioned Washington Naval Conference, which was hosted by the United States under Harding, was intended to stop another World War (it - it only failed when Japan later adopted imperial ambitions that couldn't be fettered by the treaty). treaty. (Though it is worth mentioning that Harding, inexperienced with foreign affairs, basically let Secretary of State Charles Evans Hughes do whatever and promised to stay out of his way.) He was surprisingly progressive when it came to race relations, and wholeheartedly supported an anti-lynching bill which died in the Senate. He also did not start, or otherwise engage in any major armed conflicts, and helped secure Panama's independence through diplomatic means. The crash of 1920 was solved within the first year of Harding's administration, which then lead to the "roaring 20s". Additionally, he was one of the few presidents in the past century to actually balance the federal budget, while managing to lower taxes--something routinely demanded by American voters but usually considered by realistic economists to be UnwinnableByDesign. Also, he freed several political prisoners, including the outspoken leftist anti-war activist, Eugene V. Debs.
18th Jul '13 4:14:55 PM kgman
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* HorribleJudgeOfCharacter: As the title quote clarifies, Harding's friends were less than noble, which is pretty bad he appointed several of them to positions of high-power.

to:

* HorribleJudgeOfCharacter: As the title quote clarifies, Harding's friends were less than noble, which is pretty bad since he appointed several of them to positions of high-power.
18th Jul '13 4:14:25 PM kgman
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Added DiffLines:

* HorribleJudgeOfCharacter: As the title quote clarifies, Harding's friends were less than noble, which is pretty bad he appointed several of them to positions of high-power.
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