Henry Clay was “The Great Compromiser.” As a statesman for the Union, his skills of negotiation and compromise proved invaluable in helping to hold the country together for the first half of the 19th century. His compromises quelled regionalism and balanced states rights and national interests. As a result, the Civil War was averted until it could not be avoided and the nation could survive it.
Today, Rand Paul sits in Henry Clay’s office, something Rand Paul, not insignificantly, mentioned while conducting his recent and epic filibuster seen ‘round the world. Clearly a shot across the bow of certain Republicans and policy, and most certainly a presage of things to come.
While Rand’s filibuster was portrayed by liberals and Democrats as grandstanding, it was really a shrewd and purposeful message to the President that even Presidential power has limits, limits of which Barack Obama was forced to put in writing, under Rand’s duress, in front of the whole world. The White House could not have been happy about that melodramatic encounter.
It’s no surprise Rand would welcome associations to Henry Clay:
Abraham Lincoln once said of Clay that he was “my beau ideal of a statesman” and adopted much of his political ideology himself.
Rand’s future is still uncertain as recent run-in’s with an arrogant John McCain as well as Lindsey Graham show that even a “Great Compromiser” can quickly find themselves deep in the fray. So far, though, Henry Clay’s old office seems to be working out pretty well for our young protagonist from Kentucky.