I may be reading too much into this, but I think Kevin McCathy's use of the conditional mood is significant:
HAUPPAUGE, N.Y. -- House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy landed here from Los Angeles with a bang: He bluntly warned that Republicans will blow the presidency in 2016 if they don't make some radical changes -- and quick.He said "prove we could govern," not "prove we can govern." There's a huge difference, and I think he knows it.
McCarthy, speaking without a working microphone, told a group of Long Island donors that Republicans' gains in the House will amount to little if they can't govern over the next two years.
"I do know this," McCarthy said. "If we don't capture the House stronger, and the Senate, and prove we could govern, there won't be a Republican president in 2016.” ...
Republicans will prove they can govern in the next two years if they work with the White House and congressional Democrats to pass significant legislation. That's what Jake Sherman, who wrote this up for Politico, thinks McCarthy means.
What I think McCarthy means is that Republicans hope to pass a whole lot of showoffy, wedge issue-y legislation that the president will veto -- neutering Dodd-Frank even more, gutting environmental regulations, undermining Obamacare, slashing taxes and non-military spending. Republicans don't want to pass anything Obama will sign. That would require compromise. Republicans don't do compromise. They want to show us what bills a Republican president would sign if given the chance -- that's what McCarthy means when he says Republicans have to show that they "could govern." Meanwhile, they want it to seem as if the gridlock is all Obama's fault.
I'm sure an all-GOP government could govern, if by "govern" you mean that it would do for the country what Brownback Republicans have done for Kansas or McCrory Republicans have done for North Carolina. But the plan is not to try governing now. This is a zero-sum game for Republicans. They don't want to compromise -- they want to win.