"In this case, 'consensus' would mean compromise," said an e-mail message
distributed Tuesday by Jay Sekulow, chief counsel for the American Center for Law and Justice and one of four conservative leaders who met with Mr. Card to discuss support for the president's eventual nominee. Mr. Sekulow encouraged recipients to sign an Internet petition against a consensus candidate. [Italics added]
Now, I know I don't conceal my personal political preferences. Ideally, I'd love a Supreme Court judge as liberal as John Paul Stevens, but I'm not stupid. That's never going to be a possibility. And that wouldn't be a possibility if the political climate were as polarized, only with Democrats in power. A compromise would still need to be reached.
Since when is finding a "consensus" candidate a bad thing? Sure, both sides lose a little bit, but both sides gain a little bit too. It's how American politics has worked for generations. There have been elements of extremism in every administration, but the overall historical path of our country has always been through the middle.
The no-compromises attitude that has pervaded our country during its present bout of polarization has been the most unhealthy, ridiculous, and just plain sad display of failing democracy. Democracy is not winner-take-all, though that's what Sekulow and his supporters believe. Democracy is working with your political enemy in the name of moving the country forward. This means making concessions, listening, and working with others in good faith.
I applaud President Bush and his administration for listening to senators within their own party and in the Democratic party in regard to the Supreme Court vacancy. Democrats represent just a hair less than half of the American population, and we deserve a say in who is nominated to the Supreme Court. Do we deserve to tell the president who the nominee should be? No. It's his decision and he won the right to make it in a national election. But it is only fair and realistic to be willing to nominate someone that both parties can be happy and uncomfortable with at the same time. Am I hopeful that the outcome of this will be the president and his advisers sitting in the Senate chambers singing kumbaya around a campfire and picking s'mores out of their teeth? No. I'm afraid he's going through the motions and feigning interest in what Democratic senators have to say, and then will turn around and pick a candidate to rouse his radical religious base. Maybe he'll prove me wrong, but we've all certainly seen the trick far too many times now.