Rand Paul: “No Compromise”

By Gregory

Feb 2, 2011 4:53pm

ABC News' Jonathan Karl reports: As a candidate, Rand Paul wasn’t afraid to criticize Republican Senate leader, and fellow Kentuckian, Mitch McConnell.  Now that he’s the Senate, he’s taking on an even more powerful political figure from Kentucky:  the legendary Henry Clay. Henry Clay, of course, was the Great Compromiser, credited for helping to keep the country unified during the first half of the 19th century by brokering both the Missouri Compromise (1820) and the Compromise of 1850.   He was the 2nd longest serving Speaker of the House and is widely considered, along with John C. Calhoun and Daniel Webster, as one of the greatest Senators in history.  Standing at Clay’s old Senate desk, Paul dedicated his first Senate speech Wednesday to explain why Henry Clay is not his role model.  Rand Paul wants to be a True Believer, not a Great Compromiser. “Henry Clay’s life story is, at best, a mixed message,” Paul said. “Henry Clay’s great compromise was over slavery. One could argue that he rose above sectional strife to carve out compromise after compromise trying to ward off civil war.  Or one could argue that his compromises were morally wrong and may have even encouraged war, that his compromises meant the acceptance during his 50 years of public life of not only slavery, but the slave trade itself.” Paul said his role model is not the man who was willing to compromise on the issue of slavery; it is the abolitionists who refused to compromise, especially Henry Clay’s cousin Cassius Clay. “Cassius Clay was an unapologetic abolitionist who called out the slave traders,” Paul said.  “One night in Foxtown, he was ambushed by the proslavery family of Squire Turner. They came at him with cudgels and knives, stabbing him from behind. Tom Turner put a pistol to Cassius Clay’s head and pulled the trigger three times and it misfired three times. Cassius pulled his Bowie knife and rammed it into the belly of the Turner boy, killing him.” “Who are our heroes?” Paul asked rhetorically.  “Are we fascinated and enthralled by the Great Compromiser or his cousin Cassius Clay?”  So, where will Rand Paul take his No Compromise stand? “Today we have no issues that approach moral equivalency with the issue of slavery, ” he said.  “Yet we do face a fiscal nightmare and potentially a debt crisis.” In Senator Paul’s view, the role of Henry Clay in this crisis has been played by President Obama’s bipartisan Debt Commission, which has proposed cutting the deficit with a mix of spending cuts and tax increases. For Senator, there can be no compromise on the issue of taxes; if there is to be a compromise, it must be on the Tea Party’s terms  — no tax increases. “Will the Tea Party compromise? Can the Tea Party work with others to find a solution?  The answer is of course there must be dialogue and compromise but compromise must occur on where we cut spending and by how much,” Paul said.  “Any compromise should be about where we cut federal spending, not where we raise taxes,” he said.  “The compromise must be conservatives acknowledging that we can cut military spending and liberals acknowledging that we can cut domestic spending.” At the close of his maiden Senate speech, Senator Paul returned to Henry Clay and his estranged cousin, Cassius. “As long as I sit at Henry Clay’s desk, I will remember his lifelong desire to forge agreement, but I will also keep close to my heart the principled stand of his cousin, Cassius Clay, who refused to forsake the life of any human simply to find agreement,” he said.

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