I’ve interviewed Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell perhaps a dozen times. We’ve discussed public policy, state and national politics, and details about his personal life. Yet I was still surprised by the candor, honesty, and revelations he offers in his new memoir, “The Long Game.”
It’s a good book that is in some ways a textbook on how to run a campaign. It’s also a survival manual written by a political insider who has mostly avoided the minefields inside the Washington Beltway for the past 30 years. “The Long Game” also is a poignant love letter to his parents, whose teachings he still calls on for counsel.
You’ve probably observed what a master McConnell is at not answering questions he’s asked by journalists. In the book he explains he only responds to questions that will help move his agenda forward. He consciously chooses not to deviate from his answer no matter how many times he’s asked the question. Former Meet the Press host David Gregory, who is now a political analyst for CNN, says McConnell is the toughest interview to get an answer from in Washington.
The senator is proud of that.
When McConnell does choose to be interviewed outside the U.S. Senate chamber by a gaggle of reporters, you see a rather serious, somber man. Some critics and pundits have labeled him boring. Those who disagree with his policy decisions call him an obstructionist. But if you have a long conversation with him, you discover an introvert (his word) in majority leader’s clothes.
If for no other reason, McConnell’s book is worth adding to your summer reading list for the astonishing reveal of his thoughts about whether to seek reelection in 2014. To learn now that he was concerned that his defeat could cost the Republican Party the majority in the Senate is worth the $28 list price.
Whether you are a Democrat or Republican, you will appreciate that “The Long Game” is a fascinating account of a professional politician who rose from humble beginnings to the top of one of the most complex institutions in the world.
McConnell says in the epilogue, “I love America. And I as look back on my many years in public life, I think the simplest way to describe my philosophy is to say that I have tried in my own small way to preserve those things I find most lovable about my country.”
Watch my full discussion with Sen. McConnell about his memoir on One to One, Sunday at 1 p.m. on KET.