Bush should give Pelosi the old FDR treatment...

The current dispute between the President and the new Speaker over whether Nancy Pelosi's impending visit to Syria and photo-op with Bashir Assad, has reminded me of a story recounted by John Meacham in his recent masterpiece in American historical literature Franklin and Winston. Quoting Churchill from his memoirs when looking back on his first visit to the United States as Prime Minister during Christmas of 1941. Churchill was, as he used to brag, half-American, and had several close friends in American political circles, but Roosevelt granted no exceptions to the caveat that Churchill should not under any circumstances attempt to contact, or accept guests from the Republican party.

During his month long stay in Washington, Churchill had a brief health scare when he began suffering from chest pains. The Executive staff, eager to help the President catch up on sleep, whisked the visiting dignitary to the Gulf shores of Florida, where he spent a few day's skinny dipping. Irritated by Roosevelts stubbornness regarding his contact with the GOP, Churchill told his assistant to get his old friend Wendell Willkie, who happened to have been the Republican nominee in the 1940 election, which he ultimately lost to Roosevelt. After several more minutes of effort than Churchill had the patience for, his aid finally returned to inform the P.M. that "he" was on the phone now.

Churchill recalled some years later:

"I said in effect, 'I am so glad to speak to you, I hope we may meet.... Can you join the train at some point and travel with me for a few hours? Where will you be on Saturday next?'"

"A voice came back: 'Why, just where I am now, at my desk.'

"To this I replied, 'I do not understand.'

"Whom do you think you are speaking to?"

"I replied, 'To Mr. Wendell Wilkie, am I not?"

" 'No', was the answer, 'you are speaking to the President."

"I did not hear this well, and asked , Who?"

"You are asking me', came the answer, 'Franklin Roosevelt."

"I said, 'I did not mean to trouble tou at this moment. I was trying to speak to Wendell Willkie, but your telephone exchange seems to have made a mistake.' "

(Meacham, John. Franklin and Winston, 2004, pg. 160.)

Churchill reflected on the incident with clearly mixed emotions later in life, but Meacham paints a definitive picture of a man that lived at the emotional extremes, and bore heavy senses of both guilt and anxiety. It is obvious events subsequent to this uncomfortable situation gave both parties ever reason to believe that it was a matter without consequence. Roosevelt was not a man that shrugged off disloyalty, and though it never becomes clear whether Roosevelt had anticipated the Prime Minister's fib and wanted to let it be known that he ruled everywhere in his vast country.

If the Speaker wishes to do as she wishes when abroad, and is so irresponsible that she is even considering a photo-op with Bashir Assad in Syria. We should really encourage her to go to Tehran and get intimate with that hostage-crazy President of that misguided government. Clearly the Speaker truly doesn't understand anything about anything, other than maybe a cue-card and the Peace Sign. WARNING NANCY PELOSI!! You are headed for your aircraft carrier moment less than a semester into your first session as the most powerful legislator in the world. If you meet publicly with Assad, you will wake up with a terrible headache from all of the hokka smoke and realize that you messed up really bad, because the only message tomorrow's headlines are going to provoke in voters minds of swing voters and is "mission completely hopeless, lets have cake and tea with Assad and find out what he thinks we can do to further marginalize the President."

Bush would be doing you a favor Nancy if he refused to allow your military aircraft to take you to Syria. He is such a wimp that he may do that because it is gentlemanly and polite, and because he has truly genuine regard for the United States government and would never want the Speaker of the House to embarrass herself in such a way, during her finest hour.

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