Invoking legendary 19th century Sen. Henry Clay and the abolitionist movement, freshman Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., delivered his first Senate floor speech Wednesday to signal that he and the tea party are willing to compromise with opponents on the federal debt and spending cuts. […]
“Many ask, will the tea party compromise? Can the tea party work with others to find a solution?” Paul said in his brief address. “The answer is, of course. There must be dialogue and ultimately compromise, but compromise must occur on where we cut spending.” […]
Paul said he agonized over compromise questions and turned for guidance to the lessons of fellow Kentuckian Henry Clay, who was nicknamed “The Great Compromiser” during his long political career in the Senate and the House of Representatives during the first half of the 19th century.
In hopes of avoiding a civil war, Clay helped forge compromises in 1820 and 1850 that helped keep slavery alive, he said.
“Is compromise the noble position? Is compromise a sign of enlightenment? Will compromise allow us to avoid the looming debt crisis?” said Paul, who sits at Clay’s desk in the Senate chamber. “Henry Clay’s life is, at best, a mixed message.”
Instead, Paul said, he looks to Cassius Clay, Frederick Douglass and others in the anti-slavery movement as inspirations because “they said slavery is wrong, and they would not compromise.”
“Now, today, we have no issues, no moral issues that have equivalency with the issue of slavery, yet we do face a fiscal nightmare, potentially a debt crisis in our country,” he said Wednesday.
[NB: Cassius Clay was Henry Clay’s cousin, not a 20th-c boxer.]
Barf. Please, Republicans, Tea Partiers, STOP saying that you are morally equivalent to abolitionists, especially those who were enslaved and then gained their freedom and then used the rest of their lives to fight for the freedom of other enslaved peoples. You even know you shouldn’t say it because you say it right there, right after you said that you were like abolitionists. [Also, side note: if the ONE thing you have in common with abolitionists is a refusal to compromise then maybe you need to address your larger goals generally.]
And yet, you can’t seem to stop yourself. Just because you are on the unpopular side of a political battle, that doesn’t make you a saint or a hero or an abolitionist no matter how many times you try to make us believe that.
And also, I can’t forget that you are someone who doesn’t like the Civil Rights Act of 1964. So, in short, I’m actually just going to go with, “shut the fuck up” and leave it at that.
[h/t to PR for this story]