When President Obama meets congressional leaders about the debt ceiling, I hope a powerful presence in the room will be the spirit of Henry Clay, who was a great Speaker of the House, the great compromiser in the Congress and a great hero of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).
The GOP leader in the Senate said his great priority is defeating the president, not creating jobs. The GOP Speaker of the House needs a food taster when dining with his majority leader, who has what Shakespeare called the lean and hungry look. The GOP House is dominated by members who are radical rightists by standards of historical Republicanism, while those radical rightists fear GOP primaries from those who are even more radical and more rightist.
I would suggest that at this painful moment in our economic history, it is Harry Reid, the Senate majority leader, who is the greatest grown-up in this sorry affair, because he knows when to fight, how to compromise and why America needs both jobs and deficit reduction.
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