A Harding administration sans the Ohio Gang?

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by 1940LaSalle, Aug 10, 2018.

  1. 1940LaSalle Member

    Feb 2, 2006
    Southern New Jersey
    I realize it would be tough to separate Warren Harding from shady characters like Harry Daugherty et. al., but for the sake of discussion, let's assume it could be done: say, someone like Charles Evans Hughes manages to convince Harding that those people didn't have the proper credentials for service at the highest levels.

    • Who gets to be Attorney General in place of Harry Daugherty?
    • Does this affect other appointees who were corrupt IOTL (Denby in the Navy Department; Fall in the Interior Department)?
    • Does Herbert Hoover have more influence in a no-Ohio Gang Harding administration?
    • Would Harding reverse some or all of Wilson's segregation moves?
    • What's the role of Charles Dawes in a Harding administration, assuming Harding is able to run for re-election and Coolidge doesn't decide to leave the vice presidency?
    My own take is that Harding would be a throwback not so much to McKinley's day as to Benjamin Harrison's day: a time of a relatively weak / passive president, content to let Congress, especially the Senate, do the heavy lifting. That to me translates to a gangless Harding to be a below-average president, although not the failure he was IOTL--just rather forgettable, apart from the fact that the policies of his Treasury department did nothing to stave off the formation of the Wall Street bubble that burst in 1929 (I can't see that the Ohio Gang had any influence worth the name on Andrew Mellon).

    Perhaps some reversal of segregationist Wilsonian moves, something more or less resembling the Washington Naval Treaty and a push toward repeal of Prohibition (Harding liked his bourbon, no question) would pretty much sum up Harding's legacy. He'd probably be remembered today as Benjamin Harrison redux, although with more personal appeal.
  2. Amadeus Well-Known Member

    Mar 19, 2017
    Aside from Teapot Dome, Harding was a stock conservative Republican: high tariffs, low income taxes, unsuccessful push for civil rights, moderately isolationist. Imagine Coolidge taking two years early; a Harding who lacked his OTL corruption would've governed the same way. Honestly, I don't see how this has much of an impact on US History or politics. Harding still dies of a heart attack in 1923, the 1929 crash still happens, the high tarrifs signed by Harding still help to cause a collapse in global trade during the Great Depression that is later exacerbated by Smoot-Hawley.