May 23, 2013

AROUND AND ABOUT: FINEST HOUR 130, SPRING 2006

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Churchill is only fourth on the list of longest-lived Prime Ministers, outlasted by three who lived to at least 92 years of age: James Callahan (just died last year), Harold Macmillan and Sir Alec Douglas-Home. WSC died at 90, just ahead of Gladstone and Heath (both 89).

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In The Coldest Winter: A Stringer in Liberated Europe (Holt, $18) memoirist Paula Fox “zeroes in on a limited number of evocative details and anecdotes….The author of six novels gives us potent snippets in place of a standard plot. On a walk in Hyde Park in London, Fox passes a drunken and weepy Winston Churchill. The mascara he wore for filmed interviews, Fox writes, ‘was puddling under his eyes before it ran down his plump cheeks.'” It seems that Ms. Fox is still writing novels.

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Speaking to military wives, George W. Bush issued an eloquent and urgent defense of his doctrine: the theory that we have to use force to “take the fight to the enemy,” which he more clearly than ever defined as “radical Islam.” The speech wasn’t so much a defense of the war in Iraq as it was an attempt to portray himself in the embattled mold of Ronald Reagan and Winston Churchill, men who endured withering political fire at home for the sake of fighting totalitarianism in the world. The message: come after me, take me down, and you cripple the fight for freedom. It’s audacious—Democrats will call it outrageous—but that’s the argument he essentially is making. And the big-think, crusading speech had another purpose: to inspire the man who made it. The key
audience for that speech, in a way, was the President himself. He was amping up for the fight. —HOWARD FINEMAN, MSNBC.COM, 27OCT05

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“The Myth of Stability.” There were then, as there are now, many who urged preemptive capitulation. In 1933, the Oxford Union resolved “that this House refuses in any circumstances to fight for King and Country.” Hitler must have been encouraged to hear that. With the exception of Churchill, most Europeans were less outraged than intimidated—unwilling to endanger the “stability” that followed the first global war. The result: in less than a decade most of the continent was under Hitler’s jackboot. To outsiders, the Middle East may have appeared stable before Bush came to office. In fact, it has long been a region where people are deprived of basic human rights, and where vast oil wealth is enjoyed by ruling classes while masses endure grinding poverty. —CLIFFORD D. MAY, SCRIPPS-HOWARD NEWS SERVICE, 26 OCT05

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How does he do it? It’s not likely his boyish hairdo, which at times resembles Dennis the Menace more than Tom Cruise. And it’s
probably not his speaking style, which will never be confused with Winston Churchill’s. So what is it? Local political consultant Floyd Ciruli says Denver mayor John Hickenlooper manages to come across as “the non-politician. He isn’t slick,” Ciruli said. Moreover, he “can make fun of himself, do silly things.” Sounds enough like WSC to us!  

 

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