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Tea Party Hero Rand Paul Favors Compromise But on His Terms

3 years ago
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Freshman Sen. Rand Paul, an advocate for the conservative tea party movement, waxed eloquent in his maiden Senate speech about the perilous nature of compromise, the national debt and the historic argument over slavery.

Though he said there was no "moral equivalency," Paul compared the current debt debate to the 19th century slavery dispute between free states and slaves states.

Paul (R-Ky.) has been assigned the Senate desk of Sen. Henry Clay, who also represented Kentucky and was known as the "Great Compromiser," in part for his efforts to settle the nation's differences over slavery before the Civil War.

Paul has mixed feelings about Clay -- and also the art of compromise.

During his Senate orientation, Paul said a colleague asked him, "'Will you be a great compromiser?'" Paul said Wednesday that he had pondered the question long and hard. "Is compromise the noble position? Is compromise a sign of enlightenment?"

Clay, a slave owner, made compromises on the issue that were meant to avert war, but were "morally wrong and may have even encouraged war," Paul said. His estranged cousin, Cassius Clay, on the other hand, was an "unapologetic" abolitionist who broke with his more famous relative over the issue and "refused to compromise" on slavery.

"Who are our heroes?" Paul mused. "Are we fascinated and enthralled by the Great Compromiser or his cousin Cassius Clay?"

As he legislates, Paul said he would keep in mind Henry Clay's "lifelong desire to forge agreement," but also the stand taken by his cousin "who refused to forsake the life of any human simply to find agreement."

Having given fellow senators a history lesson, Paul turned to the modern-day business of trillion dollar plus budget deficits -- a prime target of the grassroots, anti-big government tea party movement. "Will the tea party compromise? Can the tea party work with others to find a solution?" The answer, Paul said, is that any deficit reduction "compromise" must be over where to cut spending and by how much -- "not where we raise taxes."

Any compromise on the deficit, he added, must include conservatives "acknowledging we can cut military spending and liberals acknowledging we can cut domestic spending." At a first-termer, Paul is not a leader in the Senate, but he will be watched as a barometer of the tea party's influence.

Paul, a libertarian who was named after the novelist Ayn Rand, is the son of Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) who ran for president in 2008. During his Senate campaign, Rand Paul came under fire when he seemed to fudge when asked in interviews how he would have voted on the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964. Paul said he was troubled by laws that impinge on the rights of private ownership.

Watch the Senate speech, courtesy of YouTube.




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8 Comments

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fpfp040408

January 2011 - 187,000 jobs added. Just last night the Nightly Business Report said that the Dow is soaring because our manufacturing sector is at a six year high. They also report weekly where the jobs are being created -It is time to acknowledge that President Obama and his administration and legislation is indeed working. GOD BLESS PRESIDENT OBAMA

February 03 2011 at 11:35 AM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
winston4julia

For the Nth time, Rand's name is Randall and he wasn't named after Ayn Rand!

February 02 2011 at 5:38 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
akissmybass45

this guy scares me , hes toxic and hes a doctoc o please ,hes as sick as joe miller

February 02 2011 at 5:15 PM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply
exnyorker

Right Wing representatives and Tea Partiers forget that they were NOT elected unanimously by their constituents. They ignore the fact that Tea Partiers are NOT the majority of the nation. However, they want to deny the voices and wishes of other American citizens. Right Wingers and Tea Partiers "compromise" as long as you do EXACTLY as they wish.

February 02 2011 at 4:43 PM Report abuse +6 rate up rate down Reply
gpfs

It's to early on Senator Paul, let's see what he really does.

February 02 2011 at 4:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
watson185

Slavery anologies have become very popular with the right wing, since the President has taken office. Then they yell about the "Race Card" when someone calls them on it. What gives?

February 02 2011 at 3:47 PM Report abuse +7 rate up rate down Reply
wordtypist

God forbid we should ever think about eliminating tax breaks or, maybe raising fuel taxes.

February 02 2011 at 3:20 PM Report abuse +6 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to wordtypist's comment
gpfs

Cut $500B from the spending side and I will support income tax increases.

February 02 2011 at 4:12 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply

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