Posted Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011, at 10:29 AM
UPDATE: Here's the video.
The junior senator from Kentucky just gave his maiden speech on the Senate floor. It was, unusually for this sort of thing, memorable. Paul remarked that he had been assigned the desk once used by Sen. Henry Clay, Whig-KY, the great compromiser. Was it a mistake, Paul asked, to "lionize" Clay, since his compromises had prolonged the lifespan of slavery? Why not lionize the abolitionists like Clay's cousin, the abolitionist Cassius Clay?
"The activists who didn't compromise -- William Lloyd Garrison, Wendell Phillips, Cassius Clay -- are heroes because they didn't compromise," said Paul.
Paul delivered a caveat -- nothing in our current politics could compare, morally, to the debate over slavery. But wasn't it odd that our current political debate called for people like him to compromise? "Should we compromise by raising taxes as the deficit commission proposes?" he asked. No: We have a "spending problem," not a revenue problem.
But the speech folded back on itself. Paul didn't follow the abolitionist comparison to its conclusion. He suggested that everyone needed to compromise.
"Can the Tea Party work with others to find a solution?" he asked. "The compromise must come in where we cut spending. The compromise that we as conservatives must acknowledge is that we can cut some money from the military. The compromise that Democrats must acknowledge is that they can cut domestic spending."