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Sunday, February 19, 2012

February 19, Presidential Losers: George McClellan

George McClellan, 1864


George McClellan1
 Disaffected with the Civil War, which wasn't turning out to be as much fun as everyone had hoped, Democrats nominated George McClellan as an anti-war alternative, an odd thing since George was former General in Chief of the Union Army.  On the other hand, as generals go, his military record was an ideal one for a peace candidate.  Lincoln once asked politely if could borrow the army for a while since George didn't seem to be using it.  So angered was Congress with George's tardiness in dealing with Confederates camped within spitting distance of DC, they called him to testify and justify his actions, or lack thereof.  George, however, had a doctor's note explaining he was sick and couldn't attend.
George had little chance of winning the election because most of the states that would have voted against Lincoln were in the Confederacy anyway and couldn't vote, and Union soldiers, in a touching display of patriotism and voter fraud, intimidated potential Democrats at the polls, voted in states where they were not registered, and, in extreme cases, rose from the dead to cast their ballots for the Great Emancipator.  The outcome proved George McClellan every bit as effective a presidential candidate as he had been a general.


Result

Abraham Lincoln: 212
George McClellan: 21

1. If I may be permitted to add a footnote to a picture, I have often been struck by the peculiar fashion among military men for posing with one hand stuck in their jackets.  I can only account for it by thinking it saved early portraitists the difficulty of painting fingers.


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