sunshine patriot


Senior Member
France, French

Here Clinton is "dressing down" the leaders of the Democratic Leadership Council, who lost elections (and all they do is "suck lemons", as he says). Then he calls them ingrates and "sunshine patriots".
I read that "sunshine" could mean : that radiates warmth, cheer, or happiness. But I'm not convince this is the right meaning in this case (unless it implies that they are dumbly happy and not serious enough)...

Thanks if you can help me out!
  • cuchuflete

    Senior Member
    Please provide the source text you refer to.

    I am guessing that the term is equivalent to "fair weather friends".

    Cambridge International Dictionary of Idioms:

    a fair-weather friend

    someone who is only your friend when you are happy and successful
    I had a lot of money and I knew a lot of people, but most of them turned out to be fair-weather friends.

    A sunshine patriot would be one who is patriot when things are pleasant and comfortable, but not in the face of difficulties.
    Clinton is quoting a very famous ane extremely well-known line written by Thomas Paine in his first pamphlet called "The Crisis", from December of 1776:
    THESE are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.

    Paine was referring to a time during the American Revolution when the Continental Army was in a bad situation, with the time of service of many soldiers who had enlisted during the summer due to expire on December 31. Paine was attempting to keep the soldiers who had enlisted from going home at that time.
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