Barack Obama Compares Himself to Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers
Was there a point in those first three years where you started to feel overwhelmed by the job? Where you were just like, “My God, I just had no idea this was going to be this hard!”
I had a pretty good handle. One thing I learned during the campaign was that I’ve got a good temperament. I don’t get too high and I don’t get too low. I’m able to stay focused even when there’s a lot of stuff going on around me.
So you’re like Gregg Popovich. Although he does get mad at sideline reporters.
[laughs] He does. So do I. [laughs] Yeah. Or maybe [Aaron] Rodgers in the pocket, in the sense of you can’t be distracted by what’s around you, you’ve got to be looking downfield. And I think that’s a quality that I have—not getting flustered in what’s around me. So there was never a point, even early on—even in the first six months, where we weren’t sure whether we were going to dip into another Great Depression, we weren’t sure whether the steps we were taking on rescuing the auto industry or stabilizing the financial system were going to work—there weren’t moments where I thought, “Sheesh, feels like we’re in over our head.”
But what I didn’t fully appreciate, and nobody can appreciate until they’re in the position, is how decentralized power is in this system. When you’re in the seat and you’re seeing the housing market collapse and you are seeing unemployment skyrocketing and you have a sense of what the right thing to do is, then you realize, “Okay, not only do I have to persuade my own party, not only do I have to prevent the other party from blocking what the right thing to do is, but now I can anticipate this lawsuit, this lobbying taking place, and this federal agency that technically is independent, so I can’t tell them what to do. I’ve got the Federal Reserve, and I’m hoping that they do the right thing—and by the way, since the economy now is global, I’ve got to make sure that the Europeans, the Asians, the Chinese, everybody is on board.” A lot of the work is not just identifying the right policy but now constantly building these ever shifting coalitions to be able to actually implement and execute and get it done.