Bad Presidents pp 147-162 | Cite as

The Minimalist: Calvin Coolidge

  • Philip Abbott
Part of the The Evolving American Presidency Series book series (EAP)


Harding has been deemed a bad president because his incompetence led to personal and financial scandal. Coolidge shares the same category for doing nothing. There were no scandals in his administration. Coolidge was never seen to be under the influence of either politicos or policy experts. He had a reputation for talking little—and doing little. Two often-repeated narratives, naturally very brief, seem to summarize the president. One is the president’s one-line statement in 1927, “I do not choose to run for president in 1928” and Dorothy Parker’s response to Coolidge’s death, “How can they tell?” If the “Coolidge prosperity” was indeed a mirage as Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR) alleged, the man who was president from 1923 to 1929 seems to be himself an illusion.


Republican Party Minimalist Strategy Financial Scandal Exclusion Clause Kerosene Lamp 
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© Philip Abbott 2013

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  • Philip Abbott

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