“Perhaps” Glenn Kessler should attempt some journalism
There is no doubt that McConnell said he wanted to make Obama a one-term president. But he did not say it at the start of Obama’s term; instead, he made his comments at the midpoint, after Obama had enacted many of his preferred policies.
Perhaps, in Obama’s memory, McConnell was always uncooperative. But that does not give him and other Democrats the license to rearrange the chronology to suit the party’s talking points.
At the retreat, McConnell reminded the Republican senators that there were still enough of them to block the Democratic agenda – as long as they all marched in lockstep…Politically, they had nothing to gain from me-too-ism.
McConnell recognized that Obama’s promises of bipartisanship gave his dwindling minority real leverage. Whenever Republicans decided not to cooperate, Obama would be the one breaking his promises…”We thought – correctly, I think – that the only way the American people would know a great debate was going on was if the measures were not bipartisan,” McConnell explain later in one of his periodic outbreaks of candor. “When you hang the ‘bipartisan’ tag on something, the perception is that the differences had been worked out.”
Maybe Obama had rewritten the rules of electoral politics, but the rules of Washington politics still applied. The dream of hope and change was about to enter the world of cloture votes and motions to commit. That was McConnell’s world.
That retreat took place in early January 2009, before Obama took office. At the House retreat around the same time, Pete Sessions delivered this message to his colleagues:
The team’s goal would not be promoting Republican policies, or stopping Democratic policies, or even making Democratic bills less offensive to Republicans. Its goal would be taking the gavel back from Speaker Pelosi.
“That is the entire Conference’s Mission,” Sessions wrote.
Kessler doesn’t bother trying to find out if Mitch McConnell and his Republican colleagues were actually being uncooperative from the start of Obama’s term – perhaps he was, if only in Obama’s memory.
So yes, Kessler is correct about the quote’s timeline. But to suggest that there is some ambiguity about Mitch McConnell’s commitment to cooperation from January 2009 on or to not even bother making a cursory examination is just unspeakably lazy journalism.