The following appears on pgs. 199-200 of Bob Woodward’s *The Price of Politics*. I was aware of a growing sense of nausea as I reread it several times. The cast is John Boehner, Republican Speaker of the House and his Chief of Staff Barry Jackson:
In the speaker’s office, respect for the office didn’t extend to the man who occupied it.
Jackson believed that Obama lacked courage, was a poor negotiator, and was completely out of his element in dealing with Congress.
When Boehner returned from some of his first private meetings with Obama, he and Jackson discussed what they saw as the president’s psychological motivations.
In one discussion of entitlement reforms, Boehner reported that Obama said, “John, I make $2 million. You can’t expect me to take a cut in their benefits if I’m not willing to take a cut.”
It’s almost like he’s ashamed that he’s been blessed and he’s made money, they concluded. It’s as if he’s guilty of his success.
“Oh, my God,” they imagined they imagined the president saying, “I’m so embarrassed that I’ve done well, and I need to make sure that I do my self-flagellation.”
For me, this was an illumination of the shriveled souls of Republicans: they ridicule and mock someone, call them weak, for feeling obliged to treat others who are less well off decently, fairly. for not seeking always their own advantage disdainful of the cost to others. Boehner is a Catholic. I was unable to find Jackson’s religious affiliation, if any. It’s clear that the shriveled souls of these men are in need of the entreaties of those of us who pray.