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Greatest Political Failure in US History


vcczar
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Caleb Cushing is the greatest political failure in US history. I don't think any US politician had such potential for greatness and failed to live up to it. In forms of range of abilities, he was an A+. However, he was hampered by being increasingly ideologically out of touch with his state and ideologically out of touch with the country. 

This is an impressive timeline:

  • Enters Harvard at age 13!
  • Graduates Harvard at age 17!
  • Teaches mathematics at Harvard at age 20!
  • Begins practicing law and gets married at age 24
  • Elected a member of the Massachusetts State Legislature at age 25 as a National Republican.
  • Elected a member of the Massachusetts State Senate at age 26. Also, writes a history of Newburyport, MA.
  • Goes back to the MA legislature at age 28. 
  • Spends a few years in Europe starting at age 29
  • Returns to the US and rejoins the MA legislature at 33 as a Whig.
  • Elected to the US House of Representatives at age 34.
  • Resigns from the US House at age 43 when Pres. Tyler nominates Cushing to become Sec of the Treasury. Despite being a fellow Whig, the Whig-controlled Senate rejects Cushing's nomination three times! Cushing had supported Tyler's use of the veto on Whig policies even though Cushing had supported the bills that were vetoed. 
  • Made Ambassador to China by Pres. Tyler at age 43. Cushing formally opens relations with China and secures a favorable trade treaty. This is considered one of the major treaties in US history.
  • Rejoins the MA legislature briefly at age 47 and switches to the Democratic Party in support of Polk's expansionist policies. Cushing would become one of the leading "doughfaces" (Northerners with Southern sympathies). 
  • Made colonel of the 1st MA volunteer regiment during the Mexican War at age 47. He's ultimately promoted to brigadier general. While he enters Mexico City with his regiment, it was after the city had been captured. He never sees the battlefield.
  • Fails in bid as Democratic nominee for Governor of MA at age 48.
  • Briefly returns to MA Legislature at age 51. Declines offer to be MA Attorney General, but accepts election as Mayor of Newburyport. 
  • Made Associate Justice of the MA Supreme Court at age 52. 
  • Appointed by Pres. Pierce to be Attorney General of the US at age 53 and holds this cabinet position for Pierce's entire term. He became a leading supporter of the notorious Dred Scott decision. 
  • Rejoins the MA legislature at age 58.
  • At age 60, presided over the Democratic Convention that nominated Stephen A Douglas, and then also presided over the Southern Democrat Convention that nominated John C. Breckinridge for president. 
  • Despite Southern sympathies, he reluctantly supports the Union during the Civil War at age 61. Just prior to Lincoln taking office, Pres. Buchanan sends Cushing to South Carolina to try and resolve the secession crisis. 
  • Rejoins the MA legislature at age 62 where he becomes a critic of the war effort. 
  • Pres. Johnson makes Cushing, then 66, part of a commission to codify US laws
  • Sent to Bogota, Columbia to negotiate a treaty to build a canal across the isthmus of Panama at age 68. 
  • At age 71, made a member of the counsel by Pres. Grant to negotiate the Alabama Claims.
  • At age 74, made ambassador to Spain by Pres. Grant. Defuses the Virginius Affair.
  • At age 74, while still Amb to Spain, Pres. Grant nominates Cushing to become an Associate Justice of the US Supreme Court. Republicans in the Senate so strongly oppose Cushing on his anti-war record that Grant is forced to withdraw the nomination. 
  • Retires at age 77, when Pres. Hayes takes office. 
  • Dies at age 79. 

Overall, it's just an insane timeline. Had he not been on the wrong side of history (a doughface) and from a Whig/Republican dominated state (Massachusetts), he likely would have been much more successful. Despite this, I think in relation to his talent/potential, Caleb Cushing is the greatest failure in US political history. 

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Wow! Really makes you wonder what other political failures are out there. Even though he had a reprehensible ideology, he did seem very competent, especially in terms of foreign policy, so it would have been interesting to see what he could have done if he ever became Secy of State, instead of being limited to ambassadorships.

Can't wait to make him live up to his potential in AMPU 😛

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3 minutes ago, WVProgressive said:

Wow! Really makes you wonder what other political failures are out there. Even though he had a reprehensible ideology, he did seem very competent, especially in terms of foreign policy, so it would have been interesting to see what he could have done if he ever became Secy of State, instead of being limited to ambassadorships.

Can't wait to make him live up to his potential in AMPU 😛

Yeah, he's got a lot of range in AMPU. 

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