The Wall Street Journal: Speaking With the Speaker

March 8th, 2012

The Wall Street Journal
March 8, 2012
By Peggy Noonan

John Boehner is sighing. It’s one of those days, or maybe epochs. He’s just spoken to the House GOP conference. Some members are feeling fractious, disheartened. Time for a St. Crispin’s Day speech. What did he tell them? “I told them they have ocular rectitis. That’s when your eyes get confused with your butt, and it develops into [an unnecessarily fecal] outlook on life.”

It’s late Wednesday morning and the speaker of the House is seated in his Capitol office smoking and sipping coffee from a Styrofoam cup. What the conference is feeling is “the normal state of affairs for a majority that’s frustrated by a president who doesn’t want to work with us and a Senate that doesn’t do the bills we send over. And then the frustration builds and they get to nipping at each other. And so it was one of those mornings where you had to kind of re-set the table.”

He told them the historical moment is more promising than it looks: “Instead of looking at what we can do with it, we’re busy gnawing at each other over small differences that we might have.”

He sighs. A really big sigh.

“There’s a much bigger prize here. You can’t get the bigger prize without action. And we need to be united in order to have action.”

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