DEMS HURT MCCONNELL’S FEELINGS?…. I can appreciate the fact that the Senate operates with a certain degree of cordiality, but surely members realize that when the election season comes, party leaders on both sides want to increase the size of their caucuses.

With that in mind, I have no idea why Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) feelings are hurt.

[D]espite a previously solid working and personal relationship with his Democratic counterpart, McConnell chose to ignore both the election night call and a subsequent follow-up call from Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), whose party had dumped more than $6 million into Kentucky in an ultimately futile push to knock off the Republican leader.

In fact, according to Democrats and Republicans familiar with the situation, while McConnell and Obama spoke on the Thursday following the election, it took McConnell some nine days to ultimately respond to Reid’s overtures.

Republicans warned that Reid should be prepared for a full-court press during his own 2010 re-election bid, and that the sudden deterioration in relations, no matter how short-lived, is a direct result of what they view as an overly aggressive Democratic effort to unseat McConnell.

“The Majority Leader made a tactical error that could potentially cost him his job when he signed off on $6 million of attack ads the last few weeks in Kentucky. McConnell never takes political attacks personally, but he is someone who has never hesitated to repay his opposition for their courtesy,” a senior Republican official said, adding that identifying a high-quality opponent to challenge Reid will be a priority for the party in the coming months.

So, let me get this straight. The relationship between the two parties’ Senate leaders is in “tatters” because the Republican leader thinks the Democratic leader supported an effort to win a competitive Senate race. The Big Bad Harry Reid was mean in trying to help his party gain another seat.

What, did McConnell think his leadership role left him immune? Funny, I don’t remember him encouraging Republicans to scale back their efforts to take down Tom Daschle in 2004.

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.