Saturday, December 13, 2008


Harding … was an abnormal?

You don't think a normal person would choose a job that impossible?

Dr. Will Zuckerman had to find some way to pass the time while cooped up in a 'Sanctuary' submarine during a search of the Bermuda Triangle in the episode "Requiem". So he pestered his boss, Dr. Helen Magnus, for the scoop on all the famous people she knew over her unnaturally extended long life. Magnus knew HG Wells, Jules Verne, both Presidents Roosevelts (But Teddy was the fun one!), Louis Pasteur was her godfather; and she claimed that President Warren G. Harding had been an abnormal. In fact, she claimed that Harding lost his life while in office because he was trying too hard to hold onto his human form.

Here's the basic 4-1-1 on Warren Gamaliel Harding, courtesy of Wikipedia:

Warren Gamaliel Harding (November 2, 1865 – August 2, 1923) was the twenty-ninth President of the United States, serving from 1921 until his death from a heart attack, aged 57, in 1923. A Republican from Ohio, Harding was an influential newspaper publisher. He served in the Ohio Senate (1899–1903) and later as Lieutenant Governor of Ohio (1903–1905) and as a U.S. Senator (1915–1921).

His political leanings were conservative, which enabled him to become the compromise choice at the 1920 Republican National Convention. During his presidential campaign, held in the aftermath of World War I, he promised a return to "normalcy"; and, in the 1920 election, he defeated his Democratic opponent, fellow Ohioan James M. Cox, in the largest presidential popular vote landslide in American history since the popular vote tally began to be recorded in 1824: 60.36% to 34.19%.

Harding headed a cabinet of notable men such as Charles Evans Hughes, Andrew Mellon, Herbert Hoover and Secretary of the Interior Albert B. Fall, who was jailed for his involvement in the Teapot Dome scandal. In foreign affairs, Harding signed peace treaties that built on the Treaty of Versailles (which formally ended World War I). He also led the way to world Naval disarmament at the Washington Naval Conference of 1921–22. Harding has been consistently ranked by scholars as one of the worst U.S. Presidents.

Harding was, to me, at least, one of the creepiest looking Presidents. But that's not what would have sold me on him being alien. It's that middle name of Gamaliel!

Of all the Presidents to pick as a possible abnormal on 'Sanctuary' (at least within the personal timeline for Dr. Magnus), Harding is probably the best choice. That's because his termination two years into his term of office was so mysterious.....

In June 1923, Harding set out on a cross-country "Voyage of Understanding," planning to meet ordinary people and explain his policies. During this trip, he became the first president to visit Alaska. Rumors of corruption in his administration were beginning to circulate in Washington by this time, and Harding was profoundly shocked by a long message he received while in Alaska, apparently detailing illegal activities previously unknown to him.

At the end of July, while traveling south from Alaska through British Columbia, he developed what was thought to be a severe case of food poisoning. He gave the final speech of his life to a large crowd at the University of Washington Stadium (now Husky Stadium) at the University of Washington campus in Seattle, Washington. A scheduled speech in Portland, Oregon, was canceled.

The President's train proceeded south to San Francisco. Arriving at the Palace Hotel, he developed pneumonia. Harding died of either a heart attack or a stroke at 7:35 p.m. on August 2, 1923. The formal announcement, printed in the New York Times of that day, stated that "A stroke of apoplexy was the cause of death." He had been ill exactly one week.

Naval physicians surmised that he had suffered a heart attack; however, this diagnosis was not made by Dr. Charles E. Sawyer, the Surgeon General, who was traveling with the presidential party. Mrs. Harding refused permission for an autopsy, which soon led to speculation that the President had been the victim of a plot, possibly carried out by his wife. Gaston B. Means, an amateur historian and gadfly, noted in his book "The Strange Death of President Harding" (1930) that the circumstances surrounding his death lent themselves to some suspecting he had been poisoned.

Several individuals attached to him, personally, and politically, would have welcomed Harding's death, as they would have been disgraced in association by Means' assertion of Harding's "imminent impeachment". Although Means was later discredited for publicly accusing Mrs. Harding of the murder, enough doubts surround the President's death to keep reputable scholars open to the possibility of murder.

How many of them are open to the possibility that he was an abnormal?

Warren G. Harding hasn't been over-exposed in Toobworld, not like Kennedy, Lincoln, Nixon, or even W. Aside from Ben Bradlee giving him voice in a documentary, his only portrayal on television has been by George Kennedy in the mini-series 'Backstairs At The White House'. So this sci-fi twist on his televersion can easily be incorporated into the Television Universe.

Toby O'B

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