In The Ambition and the Power (p. 486) John Barry reports how House Speaker Jim Wright (D., Texas) reacted to President Reagan’s speech at the Berlin Wall:
Wright’s face hardened. Reagan’s declaration had destroyed any chance of the wall coming down, since Gorbachev could not appear to bow to him. Wright fumed, “It just makes me have utter contempt for Reagan. He spoiled the chance for a dramatic breakthrough in relations between our two countries It bespeaks his pettiness and self-centeredness. He just couldn’t bear Gorbachev doing it of his own volition.”
— John J. Pitney Jr. is the Roy P. Crocker professor of government at Claremont McKenna College. With James Ceaser and Andrew Busch, he is co-author of Epic Journey: The 2008 Elections and American Politics.