I asked over the weekend if there has ever been an administration with a less impressive cabinet than President Biden’s and posited that Michael Barone might be able to come up with one. It occurred to me to ask him. For background he cites his column on the Harding administration here (September 2, 2015). Mr. Barone writes:
Here’s my take, based in part on a recent visit to the Warren G. Harding Museum and Home in Marion, Ohio. Harding is often rated one of the poorest presidents — quite wrongly in my view, as I have written on other occasions.
He did have cabinet members who were found guilty of criminal misconduct. But he also had Charles Evans Hughes, highly intelligent and experienced, as Secretary of State; Andrew Mellon, the greatest venture capitalist of the era between the 1873 and 1933 depressions, as Secretary of the Treasury, and Charles G. Dawes as the first director of the Harding-created Bureau of the Budget. Hughes negotiated the Washington naval arms limit treaty, Mellon pushed successfully for major tax cuts, Dawes in just one year established in the agency an institutional culture of excellence which has persisted for a century. The result was surging prosperity and a competent government.
How do the accomplishments (in progress at the moment, after 18 months of the administration) of the Biden cabinet compare with those of their counterparts in the Harding administration (which lasted 29 months until Harding’s death in August 1923)?
Anyway, that’s my take this morning.