“But He’s Our Son of a Bitch”

“BUT HE’S OUR SON OF A BITCH”….I’d never thought about this before, but inspired by an offhand comment here I went looking for the origin of the famous “son of a bitch” quote. Here are three contenders:

  • Reference.com: It was Roosevelt who made the often-quoted remark about the dictator of Nicaragua, Anastasio Somoza: “Somoza may be a son of a bitch, but he’s our son of a bitch.”

  • Dick Morris: FDR?s memorable characterization of Spain?s brutal dictator Francisco Franco: ?Sure he?s a son of a bitch, but he?s our son of a bitch.?

  • Michael Wood: Rafael Le?nidas Trujillo, long-term dictator of the Dominican Republic….The Americans supported him because, as Cordell Hull said, in a phrase since used countless times of other unappealing figures, ‘he was a son of a bitch, but he was our son of a bitch.’

Bottom line: we don’t know who said it, who it was said of, or where it came from. Or whether anyone ever said it at all. Apparently the best we can do is this guy, who tracked it back to a 1966 biography of Trujillo written by Robert Crassweller. However, when he contacted the author, Crassweller told him that although the quote had “acquired a great deal of generality,” he didn’t have any way of tracking it down.

Yet another famous quote that seems to have appeared out of nowhere. How many more are there?