What’s wrong with Normalcy?

A few days ago (March 4, to be precise) marked the 90th anniversary of the inauguration of Warren G. Harding, predecessor of Calvin Coolidge, and one chief executive who has been much maligned.

Harding and Coolidge (image from the Digital Collection of the Library of Congress)

In an article over at National Review Online, Ryan Cole and Amity Shlaes stress the importance of presidents Harding and Coolidge in restoring the nation to an even keel, removing “regime uncertainty” and making the economic advances of the 1920s possible. For reasons beyond me, this kind of stewardship gets low marks from historians, journalists and armchair analysts. Today, presidents usually are a major source of regime uncertainty, coming into office as they do with the intention of leaving a mark on history in the form of new programs, sweeping changes, and, if they’re lucky, a war or two.

1 thought on “What’s wrong with Normalcy?

  1. There is nothing wrong with “normalcy” – It is worth noting that Coolidge never uttered a disparaging word about President Harding. The CC autobiography contains considerable praise for President Harding and his accomplishments.
    The NR article says of Harding: “His choice of Calvin Coolidge as his running mate underscored his commitment to that concept.” (The concept of “normalcy”.)
    Of course, we know that it was a run-away convention that chose Calvin Coolidge. He was not Harding’s choice and never the choice of party big-wigs. In fact, Henry Cabot Lodge, Massachusetts’ Senior Senator said of Coolidge: “No man who lives in a two-family house is going to be president of the United States. Massachusetts is not for him.” It is generally believed the Grand Old Party planned to dump Cal in Harding’s campaign for re:election in 1924.

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