Mitch McConnell made it a personal mission in life to obstruct anything President Barack Obama wanted to do while in office. Obama has always been one to keep things to himself in terms of who has attacked him and what they said, but in an interview that went highly unnoticed at the time, Obama reveals just how poorly Mitch McConnell and his Republican pals in Congress treated him over the years.
Here’s what President Obama had to say in a NY Mag interview:
“By that point it was pretty apparent by his actions that it was already [McConnell’s] No. 1 goal. He validated what I think most of this town knew. When I came into office, my working assumption was that because we were in crisis, and the crisis had begun on the Republicans’ watch, that there would be a window in which they would feel obliged to cooperate on a common effort to dig us out of this massive hole.
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. And I think we realized at that point what proved to be the case in that first year and that second year was a calculation based on what turned out to be pretty smart politics but really bad for the country:
If they cooperated with me, then that would validate our efforts. If they were able to maintain uniform opposition to whatever I proposed, that would send a signal to the public of gridlock, dysfunction, and that would help them win seats in the midterms. It was that second strategy that they pursued with great discipline. It established the dynamic for not just my presidency but for a much sharper party-line approach to managing both the House and the Senate that I think is going to have consequences for years to come.
As a consequence, there were times that I would meet with Mitch McConnell and he would say to me very bluntly, “Look, I’m doing you a favor if I do any deal with you, so it should be entirely on my terms because it hurts me just being seen photographed with you.
Obama went on to say, “During the health-care debate, you know, there was a point in time where, after having had multiple negotiations with [Iowa senator Chuck] Grassley, who was the ranking member alongside my current Chinese ambassador, [Max] Baucus, in exasperation I finally just said to Grassley, “Is there any form of health-care reform that you can support?” and he shrugged and looked a little sheepish and said, “Probably not.””
Mitch McConnell is a obstructionist in Washington who needs to be removed. Doing what’s best for Americans is not even on McConnell’s radar. He only cares about Republicans winning, no matter the cost. Simple as that. I’m glad Obama has called him out on it, finally.