A friend writes asking for the audio of Churchill’s second of three speeches to Congress, and poses a question: “Roosevelt attended neither the 1941 nor 1943 speeches. Why not?”
Click here for clear audio of the 50-minute speech.
Presidents never attend speeches to Congress by foreign heads of state or government. Part of this is certainly courtesy, so as not to steal focus from the guest. In a deeper sense, it is an assertion of the separation of powers between Congress and the Executive. A similar tradition in Britain is when the House of Commons slams the door on Black Rod, when he summons Members to the House of Lords to hear the Queen’s Speech.…
A colleague asks: “Why was Winston Churchill able to get away with calling Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald the “Boneless Wonder,” whereas a Labour MP was sent home by the Speaker last week for calling Prime Minister David Cameron “Dodgy Dave”?
Good question! Ah for the likes of Question Time in the U.S. Congress, where President Trump or Madam President Clinton gets to be grilled with all the famous gusto of the House of Commons.
Dodgy: 11 April 2016 Mr. Skinner fires all barrels at Mr. Cameron.
Eighty-four-year-old Dennis Skinner (Lab., Bolsover) was ejected from the House of Commons by the Speaker, John Bercow, for refusing to withdraw, and in fact repeating, the term “Dodgy Dave” with respect to David Cameron.…
Syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer cited an amusing encounter between Churchill and socialist Prime Minister Clement Attlee in the Members’ urinal at the House of Commons, circa 1951. Attlee is standing over the trough as Churchill enters on the same mission. Observing Attlee, Churchill shuffles as far away as possible.
Attlee: “Feeling standoffish today, are we, Winston?”
WSC: “That’s right. Every time you see something big you want to nationalise it.”
I labeled this an unattributed quip in the “Red Herrings” appendix to my quotations book, Churchill by Himself. I am happy to say that I was wrong, thanks to the help of columnist Christian Schneider, who also recently published the quote in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.