Mary Bullard: Let’s not do 1920 politics – Monroe Evening News

My favorite reads are mysteries. Sara DiVello’s “Broadway’s Butterfly” is a whodunit that takes place during Warren Harding’s troubled presidency. The author’s meticulous research includes documents, actual police reports, correspondence, interviews and newspaper accounts. Beyond the notorious Tea Pot Dome Scandal, I was unfamiliar with Harding’s background and illicit dealings – so some research was in order. 

In 1920, Warren G. Harding won the White House in a landslide with his pledge for a “return to normalcy.” The Ohioan was a pro-business, conservative Republican. Taxes were reduced, particularly for corporations and wealthy individuals; high protective tariffs were enacted; and immigration was limited.  

Harding filled the cabinet and other powerful offices with his “Ohio Gang” buddies. Throughout term there were scandals involving kickbacks and secret deals which in today’s economy would amount to billions of dollars. Additionally, hush money was paid to conceal at least seven extramarital affairs and an out of wedlock daughter. Harding once told the press, “If I was a woman, I would always be pregnant. I can’t say no.”  

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