Historian David Beito surveys the latest presidential rankings and stands up in defense of the much-maligned Warren G. Harding:
Rated by the historians in the "worst" category, by contrast, is, you guessed it, Warren G. Harding: a president who successfully promoted economic prosperity, cut taxes, balanced the budget, reduced the national debt, released all of his predecessor's political prisoners, supported anti-lynching legislation, and instituted the most substantial naval arms reduction agreement in world history. Go figure.
In addition to all of that, I would add that Harding appointed the great classical liberal George Sutherland to the Supreme Court, where Sutherland did what he could to fight the collectivism of the Progressive and New Deal eras.
In 2004, Reason.com asked a variety of policy wonks, journalists, thinkers, and other public figures to list their favorite president. And for the definitive word on America's perverse relationship with the executive, don't miss Gene Healy's "The Cult of the Presidency."