Does it seem like President Obama and the new Congress are off to a bumpy start? No worries. Kentucky is sending help, in the spirit of compromise and bourbon.
Taking Obama up on his offer of a "bourbon summit," the Henry Clay Center for Statesmanship and the Kentucky Distillers' Association are sending a barrel of Kentucky's finest to Washington, just as Kentucky's most famous senator used to bring with him in the 1800s.
On Feb. 2, distillers will gather at Ashland, the historic Henry Clay estate in Lexington, to fill a collaborative "Bourbon Barrel of Compromise" with whiskey, said the official announcement.
The barrel then will travel to the Willard Hotel, where Clay allegedly introduced the classic bourbon mint julep (and where the term "lobbyist" was coined), where it will be greeted by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., the next evening.
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McConnell — and presumably the barrel — will join guests, including fellow members of Congress, at a reception and bourbon tasting, according to a news release.
The idea for the bourbon summit was born the day after the November election that gave McConnell the Republican majority in the Senate.
"Actually, I would enjoy having some Kentucky bourbon with Mitch McConnell," Obama said at a press conference.
Now the Kentucky bourbon people have gotten together with the Great Compromiser's people to see what they can do to make that happen.
"Re-enactment of Henry Clay's delivery of a barrel of Kentucky bourbon to Washington, and its reception by the Majority Leader, are meant to remind America's youth and today's leaders of the value of dialogue, negotiation and compromise to the effective functioning of government at every level," Robert Clay, co-chairman of the Clay Center and a distant cousin of the statesman, said in a news release.
"Clay's reliance on these tools and principles was key to the development of our republic 200 years ago, and is just as crucial to successfully meeting the challenges of today. The Henry Clay Center hopes to have a regular presence in Washington to remind leaders of the value of Clay's ideals of compromise and reconciliation."
No word on whether Obama will attend the tasting.
But the distillers stand ready to help.
"We hope this becomes a regular reminder that we all have a strong interest in effective government, and the heart of our democracy lies in the spirit of unity and compromise," said Eric Gregory, KDA president.