Monday, November 18, 2013

Flap and Doodle

In reading about the Prohibition Era, I was caught by the wonderful phrasing of H.L. Mencken.   He is describing the oratory powers of President Warren G. Harding:

"a string of wet sponges"
"dogs barking idiotically through endless nights"
'It is rumble and bumble.  It is flap and doodle. It is balder and dash."
"It is so bad that a sort of grandeur creeps into it."

Harding on the campaign trail in 1920.
(Courtesy of Wikipedia.)
Hopefully my writing is better than that!

Harding was president near the beginning of Prohibition; from his inauguration on March 4, 1921until his death on August 2, 1923.   His Justice Department under Attorney General Harry M. Daughtry was legendary for its level of corruption.  They were known for soliciting and accepting bribes to "secure appointments, prison pardons and freedom from prosecution" especially for bootleggers and rum runners.  In deed, Mr. & Mrs. Harding were known for their alcohol fueled after dinner parties.

I could not find a specific Bethlehem connection for Harding. You can read local reports about him in the Altamont Enterprise including a transcript of his nomination acceptance speech.

Or, read more in Edward Behr's Prohibition Thirteen Years that Changed America and, of course, Wikipedia.

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