Sen. Mitch McConnell’s comment that Democratic senators should “grow up” and consider the president-elect’s cabinet nominees is an instructive example of the senator’s exceptionally selective concept of what constitutes proper senatorial behavior.
In a letter to then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, dated Feb. 12, 2009, McConnell stated that “... prior to considering any time agreements on the floor on any nominee the following standards will be met.”
The list of standards included a completed FBI background check, the Office of Government Ethics letter and financial disclosures and tax return information, along with a number of other requirements. These were the minimum information McConnell was willing to accept before granting hearings to Obama nominees.
In the same letter, he also commented “... we reaffirm our commitment to conduct the appropriate reviews of these nominations consistent with the longstanding and best practices of committees, regardless of which political party is in the majority.”
If one expected honesty and consistency from McConnell, one might wonder what had changed between 2009 and now. Two significant differences are that in 2016, the president-elect lost the popular vote by 2.9 million votes, and that in 2008 the president-elect was a black man.