This is a picture of Warren G. Harding’s pajamas. I took it during a 2006 visit to the National Museum of American History in Washington, DC. Of all things to photograph, why would someone bother to take a picture of pajamas, let alone Warren G. Harding’s pajamas?
I can’t answer for anyone else, but for me it is because I love Warren G. Harding. He’s totally my favorite US President. But not really. Except that he is.
While a part of me dies inside every time I make a reference to the NBC sitcom Friends, there is one scene that comes to mind that can help explain my love of Warren G. Harding. In the scene, Ross is holding a trivia contest to see how well the other friends know each other. Part of the lightning round goes like this:
Q: Rachel claims her favorite move is…
A: Dangerous Liaisons
Q: Her actual favorite move is…
A: Weekend at Bernie’s
Warren G. Harding is my Weekend at Bernie’s.
In the Friends universe, Rachel would like to think (and for others to think) that her real favorite movie is something well-made and well-regarded, but in reality she just wants to lose herself in a goofball comedy where Andrew McCarthy and Jonathan Silverman schlep a dead guy around the Hamptons for a couple days. As for me, I would like to think that my favorite President is one of the greats, one who lead our country with great courage and conviction, one who was at least moderately competent. That President is not Warren G Harding. I would never say that he was the best President. In fact, I can literally think of 42 other Presidents I would name before him (43 if you count Grover Cleveland twice).
And yet, if there’s one President that piques my interest above all others, it’s Warren G. Harding. Maybe it’s because he’s the Presidential equivalent of a late-1980s romp full of wacky corpse-related hijinks. I don’t know. But I could go on about him forever–and often have.