There may be some wondering why I was, and am, so enthralled with Rand Paul’s speech this morning on the floor of the United States. Here’s why. He made a very clear statement: I will not compromise. The man he held up as what he will never be is Henry Clay, considered the Great Compromiser and the statesman of Kentucky politics. In contrast to Rand Paul is the Republican Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell.
One of McConnell’s political heroes? Henry Clay. McConnell in his own words from 2007:
McConnell’s role models include fellow Kentuckian Henry Clay, a leading senator and statesman back when the United States was still in its infancy. Founder and leader of the Whig Party, Clay was known as the great compromiser because of deals he brokered on the issue of slavery in 1820 and 1850.
One of the first things McConnell did when he moved into his new office suite in the U.S. Capitol was hang up a portrait of Clay. McConnell wrote his senior thesis in college on Clay and the Compromise of 1850, and takes inspiration from the old statesman.
Clay “understood the need for compromise on the things that were truly important for the country,” McConnell said. “I think that remains just as true today as it did in 1820 or 1850.”
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