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What I can say unequivocally is that there has never been a time in which I did not say, ‘Look, you tell me how you want to do this.
Give me a sense of how you want to approach it.’ I think if you talk to somebody like a John Boehner, he’ll acknowledge that I’m pretty good at maintaining both my calm and my good humor in these meetings.
History depends on who gets to tell the story, of course, and while we took care in our choice of storytellers, the perspectives here are by no means complete (or unskewed).
It’s convenient for them to present those personal interactions as the basis for why things don’t happen, but the problem hasn’t been personal interactions.
Probably the best signifier of that was when Chicago had the bid for the 2016 Olympics and a committee had flown to Copenhagen to make their presentation.
On the flight back, we already know that we haven’t gotten it, and when I land it turns out that there was big cheering by Rush Limbaugh and various Republican factions that America had lost. But at that point, Limbaugh had been much clearer about wanting to see me fail, and he had, I think, communicated that very clearly to his listeners.
On the drive up to Capitol Hill to meet with the House Republican Caucus, John Boehner released a press statement saying that they were opposed to the stimulus.
At that point we didn’t even actually have a stimulus bill drawn up, and we hadn’t meant to talk about it.
(That is, how will millennials remember the era in which they were so casually mocked, even as they remade the world with social media and an easy openness about gender?