Tuesday, October 10, 2006
Many of us have heard that statement. The strange death of President Warren G. Harding.
Well the tale comes to us from a certain fellow named Gaston Means. He wrote a book by that title in 1930.
He really didn't write it, he had a ghost writer. Her name was May Dixon Thacker, who one year after the book was released announced it was a total fraud.
In this massive piece of fiction he talks of his days in the White house as a personal investigator for Mrs. Harding. He was not! He never was in the White House...nor did he know Harding or his wife.
Why did he write the book??? There was no one to argue his point. No one really wanted to come to the defense of Harding. After the dirty work of many in his inner circle...Harding was looked at as a complete disaster.
Although Harding was dead by 1923 it was not till 1931 that his tomb was dedicated. No one wanted to be associated with him or his memory.
Now there are some very unfair points here. Harding was not a bad man...But he had no one in his court...Harding had no defenders. His wife died a year after him....and there was really was no one else on his side. There were many books that came out. None perhaps as damning as Nan Britton's book called the "President's daughter". This came out in 1928 and finished off any respectability Harding had before. There is no evidence to say that the story is true either. No DNA tests...nothing. The sad point was that the dead cannot talk back.
John F. Kennedy, could you imagine his life histories if he had no defenders!
Gaston Means used Nan Britton's book as a good timeline model for his. He suggests he was casing Harding and that Harding and he had a near fist fight.
It is full of drama...Just not facts. It completed the work that Nan Britton's book started....
The sad part was that they could all say what they wanted and no one said anything back....They were afraid it might be true....After Tea Pot Dome..Hardings name was mud!
Means was convicted for several things in his life and died in Prison. Nan Britton died in 1995 at the age of 99......forgotten.
In 1932 out came the last of the books on Harding for a while called "The Inside story of the Harding tragedy" by his corrupt Attorney General Harry Daugherty.
His book was to make people understand the problem with Harding...who in Daugherty's eyes was one of the greatest...Or as he said " a modern Abraham Lincoln, who name and fame will grow with time".....
Of course in the book Daugherty comes across as pure as the driven snow.
Let's not mince words...
Daugherty WAS A CROOK! He was one of the problems with Harding!!!!! He used Harding in life and used him heavily in death.
What is true or false I cannot truly say with Nan Britton.
But with Gaston Means he was just a down and out liar of the worst kind.
In his book he says Mrs Harding killed her husband.
Cute story but not a fact.
In fact Harding suffered from severe hypertention, high blood pressure, and an enlarged heart. He had a heart attack.
One of his doctors, Dr. Boone talked about it years later saying it was a massive heart attack.
So if you get the chance read Britton's book. It is not too common, but an interesting read. It reads like a lovesick girl's diary.
The Means book is easier to find and also interesting reading...
The Daugherty book is not too common either and not anywhere as easy to read. As it spends a good deal of the time talking about how good Daugherty was!!!!!!
The sad part of it all...was that Warren G. Harding is not well known today for who he was, but what people said he was.
He was a nice guy, really not Presidental material. Who was taken advantage of by many politicians.
As Harding said himself when he was seen to look so upset...He said "I can handle my enemies all right, but it is my God damned friends that keep me walking the floors at night"...
It was in the end his friends who brought him down. Fall who created the Tea Pot Dome situation...and Daugherty who was not well known for his ethics.
Nan Britton she made a lot of money with her book...Means made money, even Daugherty made a money off of Harding.
So who was Harding? Perhaps he said it best....
"It is a good thing I am a man, otherwise I would be in a family way all the time"
He just couldn't say no to anyone. And everyone knew it.
So when you read all these books..One has to take them for what they are.
They are part of a very odd chapter in our history. one that is still packed with confusion and often lies.
Nan Brittons daughter died in 2005. As far as I have heard no one seems interested in proving once and for all if the stories and rumors are true. I would hope that science comes to Harding defence..No one else has! Now would be the time to prove it or shut up. If the tests prove it was not him...the whole story changes...Neans book is useless as is Britton's.
I know that Harding was not a great President, but I would hardly list him as last next to Grant or Carter. He did a lot of great things, and very much like Clinton he was attacked for many things....But as I said before unlike all of the others mentioned. He had no defenders....