“The election of this man as President filled him with ‘smoldering dread.’ He believed that the worst said about this man was all too true. He had not only lied but had been caught in that lie, and the great majority of voters didn’t care.”
President Donald Trump? No. It is an excerpt from a new book describing how Henry Clay felt about the election of President Andrew Jackson, 190 years ago. The book by David and Jeanne Heidler is a vivid look back at the life of one of America’s greatest political figures.
Go ahead. Click on the link above (Congressional staff salaries) and type in a few names of people you have known who worked on Capitol Hill since 2000. LegisStorm seems to think they have uncovered the Holy Grail lost since antiquity.
Big deal. Congressional staff salaries and office expenses have been public knowledge ever since the first Congress sat in 1789.
Did you know that 2/3’s of the 14th Congress were voted out of office in 1816? ‘Why?’ you might ask.
Because the 14th Congress voted themselves a hefty pay raise to the lofty sum of $1500 per year. Henry Clay, the Speaker of the House, got the gargantuan (for then) salary of $3000.
Mr. Clay almost was defeated himself in 1816 in which case, the nation may never have come to know just how brilliant he was as a legislator and the ‘Uncompromising Compromiser’ as the authors of the great book, ‘Henry Clay: The Essential American’, Daniel and Jeanne Heidler, chose to characterize him. Read it over these holidays and learn more about how our government matured into the form it is today under his leadership in the early days of the Republic.
Here’s the problem with the reporting of congressional salaries nowadays: There is never any context in any reporting about them to provide the public any idea of what our elected representatives, senators and staff do on a regular day in Congress. Continue reading →