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Churchill Style: The Art of Being Winston Churchill

Churchill Style, versus Obama Style, versus Romney Style

By Barry Singer


As the clock ticks down,
I find myself wondering:
What about Churchill Style, versus Obama Style, versus Romney Style?

 

My original subtitle for Churchill Style was “Living Well Beyond Your Means.” In the end, I was dissuaded from using it. Some people close to the Churchill family felt this cut a bit too close to the bone.

 How would one subtitle a book on Obama Style?
“Living Up to Your Hopes?”
Living Well and Meaning Well?”

Romney Style would be easier: Sheltering Your Ways By Any Means.”

Winston Churchill hid nothing. His life always was an open ledger. His children had their issues, his wife was often ill, his bank balances fluctuated wildly from book advance to book advance, while he spent his money freely  – on Pol Roger champagne, Cuban cigars, his bespoke tailor bills, on feed for the menagerie of animals he kept at Chartwell, on oil paints and other implements for his many pastimes. Winston Churchill held no offshore bank accounts. He obsessed about his tax bills but never evaded them, until the moment late in life when he was blessed by an accountant who dreamed up a trust that would shelter all the money Churchill’s World War II memoirs earned in perpetuity, tax-free, for his children and their children’s children.

Winston Churchill would have found Mitt Romney’s conflicted relationship to his own wealth laughable. Romney’s reticence about how wealthy he is, and about how much he pays in taxes, is the very antithesis of Churchill style. Romney’s mendacious sense of frugality would have made Winston Churchill shudder.

I think Churchill would have identified with Barack Obama’s work ethic; his voracious appetite for policy details and background papers. He also would have recognized himself in Obamacare. Remember that Churchill, in less than two years as President of the Board of Trade in Liberal Prime Minister H.H. Asquith’s government (1908-1910), carved out laws curbing the abuse of “sweated” (unskilled, immigrant, and child) labor in Great Britain, created labor exchanges for the unemployed, and laid the foundation for Chancellor of the Exchequer David Lloyd George’s landmark bill on unemployment insurance.

“If I had my way I would write the word ‘Insure’ over the door of every cottage,” Churchill decried in a 1909 speech, “…because I am convinced that by sacrifices which are inconceivably small…families can be secured against catastrophes, which otherwise would smash them up forever.”

 

More to come on Obama Style, Romney Style and Churchill Style…

 

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