Michael Barone has a good post where he mentions how Mencken hated FDR: “Mencken was taken to be a force for social liberalism and toleration in the 1920s. But in the 1930s, he vitriolically opposed Franklin Roosevelt … and the New Deal.”
Barone is right, and it is unusual to see anyone mention Mencken’s anti-FDR phase. He is usually treated as a liberal hero for ridiculing religious people, and his disdain for the Republican presidents of the 1920s and those who voted for them.
But Mencken hated FDR at least as much as he despised Wilson, Harding, Coolidge and Hoover.
He did make one grudging concession to Coolidge:
Counting out Harding as a cipher only, Dr. Coolidge was preceded by one World Saver and followed by two more. What enlightened American, having to choose between any of them and another Coolidge, would hesitate for an instant? There were no thrills while he reigned, but neither were there any headaches. He had no ideas, and he was not a nuisance.
This is actually half wrong. It is accurate to note that Wilson, Hoover and FDR, three presidents who are not usually lumped together, were all “world savers”, and this is not usually a good thing for a president to be. But Coolidge had a well-developed philosophy and acted on it. Like Eisenhower, he did the actual work quietly, while presenting a soothing image to the public. But Mencken was too convinced of his own intellectual superiority over everybody to notice that. That unearned arrogance is what makes Mencken age rather poorly, in my opinion. That said, he can be a clever writer and sometimes astute, and frequently funny. But the self-regard is grating.
Mencken was at his best in his books about the American language. There he mostly restricted himself to observable facts, or reasonable deductions therefrom, and while an amateur, he did a good job with it. His books of memoirs are also good, because they seem to have less spite in them, and his positive qualities shine through.