Last night, Rudy Giuliani gave a tremendous and effective speech that underscored the necessity of electing John McCain while aiming some well-placed barbs at his opponent. One of the barbs that liberals will surely respond to was the claim that Obama is the least prepared candidate in a hundred years.
We know what the former mayor meant, but liberals will seize upon the fact that one hundred years ago the GOP nominated and elected William Howard Taft. Taft actually was one of the most experienced men ever nominated to the presidency. He served as the personal troubleshooter of President Theodore Roosevelt, succeeding in such tasks as bringing peace, happiness, and prosperity to the Philippines. Unfortunately Taft's big heart was not into the job. He never wanted to be president and suffered from the taunts aimed at his ever expanding waistline. Although he enjoyed some successes, he suffered the worst loss of any GOP incumbent seeking reelection.
Giuliani likely referred to a less heralded Republican president, Warren G. Harding. We learned our lesson after Harding. This man was likable, attractive, and a good speaker. He garnered votes by vague promises of "normalcy" after World War I. However, Harding came from the Ohio political machine. He spent a short and unremarkable amount of time in the US Senate. After election, his friends took advantage of his congeniality and engineered massive scandals. Meanwhile he played a lot of golf, attended many parties, and befriended a lot of young women around the country. Luckily for Harding, he died before his friends could embarrass him too much.
The GOP figured out after 1920 that inexperienced senators with impressive speaking abilities do not make good presidents.