Washington Life Magazine
Washington Life Magazine

The History Boys

There’s something odd about Churchillians, i.e., people who talk about Sir Winston Churchill as if he were their best friend. Most actually never knew him, but they
tell great stories. Such was the case at The Churchill Centre’s evening at The Willard InterContinental Hotel on October 25 when the Award for Statesmanship went to James Baker III and Lee Hamilton, while omnipresent Chris Matthews picked up the Emery Reves Award for Lifetime Achievement in Journalism.
Serious Churchillians could be heard tossing out their favorite quotes: “Success is going from failure to failure without loss of
enthusiasm,” one excited guest said. “A man of simple tastes is quite easily satisfied with the best of everything,” stated another.
Too bad they skipped one of Churchill’s best lines: “I may be drunk, Madame, but in the morning I will be sober and you will still be ugly.” Guess it doesn’t sit well in today’s politically correct world.
This is what Winston Churchill’s grandson, also named Winston Churchill, had to say: “My good friend Chris Matthews likes to say on his Sunday program, ‘Tell me something I don’t know’ so I’m going to tell you something you
may not know. When Churchill was told in 1953 that he won the Nobel Prize his spirits soared but then crashed when he learned that it was the prize for literature and not for peace. He always preferred peace.”
While the evening was about statesmanship, it was Churchill’s granddaughter, Celia Sandys, who offered insight into his personal life by quoting from her book Chasing Churchill, written about his twilight years. Churchillians in the house: Lady Mary Soames, daughter of Sir Winston; Susan Baker,

event co-chairmen Patrick Butler and John Podesta, and LaurenceGeller, president of The Churchill Centre.


The Georgetowner, 54 years; GoverningMagazine, 20 years; Washington Life Magazine, 16 years; The American Spectator, 40 years; and the winner is: Meet the Press, 60 years.

Veteran satirist Mark Russell was on a roll at the MTP anniversary party at the Newseum, as was artist Bill Dunlap. Blame the Shoreham for Russell’s high; he’s now installed in The Mark Russell Lounge. It was like being there: “George H. W. Bush jumped out of a plane the other day, but his son is falling faster,” Mark said. “Giuliani’s campaign is coming out with a calendar ... all 365 days are 9/11.”

“The Pope is coming to Washington and we have two Catholic candidates, Kucinich and Dodd. They already asked the Pope for his blessing, but he said he wouldn’t be doing miracles.”

Bob Dole received the most introductory applause and has been on MTP more than his former colleagues, Senators John Kerry and Ted Kennedy. Slimmed down Weatherman Willard Scott wasn’t tempted by all the Wolfgang Puck food, but everyone else was: John McLaughlin, John and Ann Dickerson, Jay Carney, Tucker Carlson, Ted Koppel and way too many A-listers including Ben Bradlee, George Stephanopoulos, Bob Woodward, Alan Greenspan and Andrea Mitchell, AlNeuharth, George McGovern, Douglas Brinkley and Al Hunt. Dana Perino didn’t have the last word, Russert did.

“This is a party where you can eat and drink. Thank you all for coming to celebrate this national treasure and we’ll see you at the 75th.”
If it’s Sunday, it’s “Meet the Press.”

Readers wishing to get in touch with Janet can
email: columns@washingtonlife.com.



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