Misery Acquaints

…there is no other shelter hereabout:
misery acquaints a man with strange bedfellows.
I will here shroud till the
dregs of the storm be past.
— Shakespeare

They couldn’t be stranger bedfellows.

They couldn’t be more different — in Temperament and upbringing.

But there they were.  Bound together in tragedy and purpose, at this point in time.

They needed each other, and they wanted each other’s help.

For completely different reasons.

One was a Counselor (INFJ): a behind the scenes man – a political writer, a doer of words — a man of ideas, ideals == an Idealist.

The other was a Promoter (ESTP): an up front man – a politician, a doer of deeds  — a man of action == an Artisan.

Yes, an Artisan: a man of action.

President Johnson coming directly from Dallas, doesn’t enter the White House, he passes by the Oval office, and passes by the cabinet office, where a lone person is, Ted Sorensen, who was crying. Johnson goes through the White House directly to his Vice-President office to start taking on the reins of power.  For now, Lyndon Baines Johnson was the President of the United States of America, and he felt that he had reassure the shocked nation.  He needed to use that Presidential power to accomplish that.

Sorensen was crying…  Ted Sorensen had revered and trusted President John F. Kennedy.  Working for him since 1953,  Sorensen had loved him not for his social friendship or as his brother as Bobby did, but for something more powerful,  he loved him for their common ideals,  you see Ted was the Idealist:

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughful, committed people can change the world.  Indeed it is the only thing that ever has.” — Margaret Mead

Theodore Chaikin “Ted” Sorensen, Counselor Idealist, [A Diplomatic Contender] (May 8, 1928 – October 31, 2010) was an American presidential advisor, lawyer and writer, best known as President John F. Kennedy’s special counsel, adviser and legendary speechwriter. President Kennedy once called him his “intellectual blood bank.” [Wikipedia, revised]

Ted Sorensen was the Special Counselor to the President — Kennedy.  What now?  Kennedy was gone; struck down by an assassin’s bullet.

Sorensen handed Johnson his resignation.

Charlie Rose:  “Was Lyndon good to you?”

Sorensen: “Oh, he was very very good to me, and to my three sons, he took us all down to the Ranch to help with the State of the Union speech.”

Sorensen:  “You should have heard the speech that he gave me when I gave him my resignation.”

Charlie Rose: “What did he say to you?”

Sorensen: “He began by giving me the Johnson treatment… Among other things,”

Sorensen: “He said President Kennedy was in heaven and would want you to do your duty…”

Sorensen: “He said, ‘when you get to know me better, you will know I treat my staff as though they were my own children’.”

Sorensen: “Having observed him mistreating his staff and sometimes treating them like children, humiliating them with rages, minutes after he had given lavish praise and very generous gifts.”

Sorensen: “After he said it, I said, yes, Mr. President, I know.

Sorensen stayed with President Johnson, up to the time, Johnson had pushed through Kennedy’s bills in Congress: the tax cut and the civil rights bill.  Hang on, until mission accomplished.  Suffer the children.

Yes, Sorensen wanted to commit Johnson to passing Kennedy’s agenda: Sorensen’s ideals — his contentions.

“… Contending entails competition. Thus to contend with another’s work one must hold one’s groundhang onto one’s position, stick to one’s intention, tend to one’s business, stay the course, in a word, be tenacious. It is not so much that one is bent on overtaking or outdoing others, as it is having one’s way. Contenders will have their way if at all possible.” Personology, page 77.

Johnson wanted Sorensen, just as Sorensen did for Kennedy before, to write Johnson’s speeches to calm, persuade, inspire, convince the country and Congress to attain key legislation in this country.  Johnson had the power now and he meant to use it.

Promoting is the art of putting forward an enterprise and then of winning others to your side, persuading them have confidence in you and to go along with what you propose. Of all the Artisans, Promoters seem especially able to advertise or publicize their endeavors in this way, and to maneuver others in the direction they want them to go. In a sense, they are able to operate people with much the same skill as Crafters operate instruments, machines, vehicles, and other tools. It might be said that people are instruments in the hands of these Promoters, and that they play them artistically. [Please Understand Me II]

Strange Bedfellows, indeed.



Ask not, what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country. — Ted Sorensen

What in the hell is the presidency for, then? — Lyndon Johnson

3 thoughts on “Misery Acquaints”

    1. Yes, JFK and LBJ were both Artisan Promoters. They were alike fundamentally, but very different at the same time. Kennedy was born into a very privileged situation and was handsome, Johnson had to claw his way to power and was not handsome by any stretch of the imagination. Presidential Temperament contrast the two men. Sorensen knew both men, he knew Kennedy was pragmatic, but thought Kennedy was sincere in his political “idealism” and Kennedy’s parents instilled in the notion of public service and didn’t appear as desperate to wield power, since he had it to some degree most of his life. Johnson, had worked on a road gang at one time to make ends meet — completely different experiences. Sorensen didn’t see much of Jack’s shenanigans in private life, he chose, not to think about that.

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