The following is an excerpt from Mitch McConnell's just-published memoir, "The Long Game."
Over the three decades I have been a U.S. senator, I've been the subject of many profiles. I usually play the villain, according to the standard good guy/bad guy accounts favored by most Washington reporters. The more positive ones tend to focus on my ability to broker deals with supposed adversaries, keep my head when others don't, and win elections I'm not supposed to. Until now, though, no one has ever tried to write the story as I see it, which is really my doing. I only talk to the press if it's to my advantage, and I always discourage my staff from revealing details of my meetings with presidents and other public figures. It's rare that I attend the kind of social events where people tend to engage in the gossip and intrigue for which Washington is famous. I've only been to Nantucket a few times, and I didn't like it. My idea of a good time is a quiet evening at home with my wife, Elaine Chao, or—although I may hardly strike people as the tailgating type—gathered with friends in the parking lot of the University of Louisville's Papa John's stadium, before a Cardinals football game, a tradition I've enjoyed for decades.
Beyond that, the place I feel most at ease is the Senate, an institution that rewards patience and confounds those who lack it. Every serious student of the institution, from Tocqueville to my late colleague Robert Byrd, has viewed the Senate as uniquely important to America's stability and flourishing. In their view, as well as in mine, it has made all the difference. Why? Because during the most contentious and important battles throughout our nation's history-from the fierce early fights over the shape and scope of the federal government, to those that preceded and followed a nation-rending Civil War, to those surrounding the great wars of the twentieth century, or a decades-long Cold War, or the war on terror-the Senate is the tool that has enabled us to find our footing almost every time.