Henry Clay and John McCain

In my office hangs an old engraving of Henry Clay. It was no accidental acquisition. About 50 years ago I searched antique shops for it, being a political history freak and aspirant. Clay was the consummate model for a public career. The Senate was Olympus, and he its Zeus.

Clay was not a saint; he had eponymous feet; he was human, partisan, intensely ambitious, and scheming. But none of that undermined his devotion to the good of the country. You could even say he saved the country, twice no less, in 1820 and 1850, masterminding great bold compromises over the most divisive issue in U.S. history, staving off civil war.

“I like people that weren’t captured, okay?” said he who never served. “Captured” suggests insufficient warrior mettle. John McCain was shot down flying combat missions in Vietnam. Taken prisoner and tortured for five years. Offered early release because his father was an admiral, McCain considered it wrong to leave without his comrades.

Suffering aggressive brain cancer, John McCain postponed treatment last week to return to the Senate, to speak against the disgraceful way his Republican colleagues were trying to pass a disgraceful health care bill. It should instead be done, he said, in the open, with hearings and outreach and broad input. And, yes, compromise. And then John McCain cast the decisive 51st vote to kill, once and for all, that noxious bill.

Some saw here a rich payback for Trump’s disgusting insult. And perhaps this was some cosmic justice. But the true reason for John McCain’s vote was that it was the right thing to do.

Up in Senate Heaven, Henry Clay was smiling.

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2 Responses to “Henry Clay and John McCain”

  1. Barry Milstein Says:

    Well done !

    Barry Milstein

    Executive Vice President

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    100 Passaic Avenue

    973-396-1065 Direct

    Fairfield, NJ 07004

    866-537-6388 Fax

    800-362-9876 x1258

    bmilstein@financialnortheastern.com

    [cid:image002.jpg@01D30AC6.6580D260]
    http://www.financialnortheastern.com

  2. Lee Says:

    Let us not forget the Republican Senators Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins! Their actions, bravery, and patriotism on this Health NoCare bill debacle have been apparent for months.

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