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.
Michael Grunwald, The New New Deal:
At the [January 2009] 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”…
p. 207: Biden says that during the transition, he was warned not to expect any cooperation on many votes. “I spoke to seven different Republican Senators, who said,
Joe, I’m not going to be able to help you on anything,’ he recalls. His informants said [Senate Minority Leader Mitch] McConnell had demanded unified resistance. “The way it was characterized to me was:For the next two years, we can’t let you succeed in anything. That’s our ticket to coming back,’” Biden says…. Bob Bennett of Utah and Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania both confirmed they had conversations with Biden along these lines.
Why oh why can't we have a better press corps?