Monday 25 January 2021
President Obama was often told he should spend more time with Congress and have a drink with Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell. “Why don’t YOU get a drink with Mitch McConnell” was his joking response. The lack of a personal relationship between the two leaders made it difficult for Obama to break through the Congressional gridlock and get things done in his second term.
Now President Biden faces the same dilemma. While McConnell is no longer the majority leader in the Senate, Republican co-operation in the Senate will be needed for Biden to get some of his biggest agenda items passed.
There is a faint reason for hope. The former Senator and the former Senate Leader, born just nine months apart, spent 24 years in the Senate together and have a 36 year personal relationship. Within their parties, they are both known as ideological flexible and over their careers have moved as their parties have changed around them.
This article looks at the two men and their relationship and wonders whether they will be able to work together. With many Republican senators already positioning themselves to oppose everything Biden wants to do, there is a lot riding on the personal relationship Biden is able to maintain with Senators from across the aisle. Maybe, Biden will have to do something Obama never did, and finally get that drink with Mitch McConnell.