Until Dubya happened along, Calvin Coolidge was the most ridiculed American president, torpedoed by the famous exchange between Bob Benchley and Dorothy Parker:
Benchley: Calvin Coolidge is dead.
Parker: How can they tell?
(Actually, there is an interesting story about this. Benchley replied “He had an erection”, but this was deemed too scandalous for public repetition, and so was airbrushed from the record. But it rankled with Benchley’s widow to her deathbed that Parker and not her husband had received the credit for the punchline.)
But I digress… One of the reasons Coolidge was ridiculed by posterity was his apparent indolence and inactivity during the furious speculative boom which led to the Wall Street Crash after he left office. But a recent psychiatric biography by Robert E. Gilbert — The Tormented President: Calvin Coolidge, Death, and Clinical Depression shows that there was a good reason for this lassitude. Basically Coolidge ceased to function as President after the tragic death of his sixteen-year-old son, Calvin Jr. There’s a nice review by Jack Beatty in The Atlantic.