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William Hamilton: The Case of the Banished Bust

William Hamilton / Central View
Grand County, CO Colorado

Making a steeple out of his fingers as Sherlock Holmes did so often when listening to the recital of a case, the famous sleuth said, “Tell me, my dear Dr. Watson, what are the available facts?”

“Up until the time that President Obama began work in the Oval Office in January 2009, the famous bust of former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill was a prominent artifact in the Oval Office.”

“Dr. Watson, you are using the past tense with regard to this famous bust of someone who is regarded by many as Great Britain’s greatest statesman. Surely, the bust is not lost, strayed, or stolen.”

“I am happy to tell you the famous bust currently resides in the residence of the British Ambassador to the United States.”

“Then how, pray tell, did this famous bust move from the Oval Office to the residence of the British Ambassador?”

“On the orders of President Obama. One of his aides must have packed up the bust and taken it over or had it taken over to the British Embassy at 3100 Massachusetts Avenue, Northwest where, by the way, is a large statute of Sir Winston Churchill. One of the statue’s feet is inside the embassy grounds, the other rests within the District of Columbia. This was not the error of some surveyor. The statue was placed that way to symbolize that Churchill’s mother was American, that his father was British, and that Sir Winston Churchill was made an honorary citizen of the United States.

“Well, Watson, if the bust of Sir Winston is not lost, strayed, or stolen, what’s all this fuss about?”

“Inexplicably, President Obama’s communication director, a Mr. Dan Pfeiffer, took issue with a columnist for The Washington Post who reminded his readers that President Obama banished the bust of Sir Winston from the Oval Office. In effect, Mr. Pfeiffer called the columnist a liar.”

“With the facts so well-known, why would Mr. Pfeiffer do that? This seems like pulling a scab off an old wound right when Great Britain is in the limelight of the London Olympics.”

“It turns out that former President Lyndon Johnson was a great admirer of Sir Winston Churchill. So, the British government gave President Johnson a copy of the famous bust and it was put in an upstairs room of the White House. Apparently, Mr. Pfeiffer found the copy of the bust and decided to make the claim that President Obama never banished the bust of Sir Winston from the Oval Office. Almost immediately, the British Ambassador issued a statement that the original bust that had once graced the Oval Office is firmly ensconced inside his residence.

“Did Mr. Pfeiffer apologize to the columnist for disputing his veracity?”

“Yes, but only after being pilloried in the American press and, as you know, our Fleet Street press picked up the story of the banished bust, thus renewing the unpleasantness of January 2009. The columnist graciously accepted Mr. Pfeiffer’s apology.”

“Well then, my dear Watson, it seems that all’s well that ends well.”

“By Jove, Holmes, that has a certain ring to it. Maybe you should also be a playwright,” concluded Watson.

Nationally syndicated columnist, William Hamilton, was educated at the University of Oklahoma, the George Washington University, the U.S Naval War College, the University of Nebraska, and Harvard University.


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