About that Churchill example

ABOUT THAT CHURCHILL EXAMPLE…. Apparently, when the House Minority Whip isn’t seeking guidance from Newt Gingrich, he’s reading up on Winston Churchill.

…Rep. Eric Cantor (Va.), the House minority whip who led the fight to deny Obama every GOP vote for the plan, is studying Winston Churchill’s role leading the Tories in the late 1930s, a principled minority that was eventually catapulted into power over the Labor Party.

There’s no direct quote in the paragraph, so it’s not clear who’s misstating history, but Josh Marshall sets the record straight.

In the late 1930s, of course, Great Britain didn’t have a Labour government with a principled Tory minority. It had conservative Tory government with a Labour minority. And Churchill was on the outs with both, although on some fronts he was beginning to make common cause with some Labourites on his key issue, which was foreign policy. When Churchill eventually came to power it was in a national coalition government for the purposes of fighting the war. And when he eventually went to the voters as head of the Tory party toward the end of the war they got crushed by Labour in a landslide.

I say all this as a big Churchill fan. But, I mean, not only is Eric Cantor no Winston Churchill, I’m not even sure he’s read a book about Winston Churchill.

Of course, if Cantor is “studying” the former Prime Minister, he’ll probably realize one of these days that Churchill’s example won’t help Republicans now.

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.