It is a basic tenet of politics that you can't have it all. You have to compromise, and half a loaf is better than none. But there is a point beyond which compromise takes on a life of its own. It becomes less about settling for a smaller gain, and more about continuing to feed the egos of those in power. At some point, you will be expected to compromise in exchange for nothing more than the luxury of being able to come back and compromise again tomorrow. Battered wives understand this concept.
At some point you have to ask when is enough, enough?
Judge Alito? Well . . . Salazar gave us hope. On January 19, 2006, Salazar outlined the reasons he would vote against the confirmation of Judge Alito:
* Judge Alito would place too much power in the hands of the President of the United States, at the cost of the protective system of checks and balances built into our Constitution. . . . This [unitary executive] theory . . . would destroy an important system of checks and balances within the Executive Branch.
* Judge Alito would close Nation's courthouses to the weakest and poorest among us. . . .
* Judge Alito would reverse our progress on the laws that promote diversity in our country. Justice O'Connor was the deciding vote in the Grutter case, the 2003 decision that affirmed that diversity is a compelling state interest justifying an admissions process that builds a diverse student body. Justice Alito is very unlikely to agree with Justice O'Connor on this issue, imperiling a decision I believe to be vitally important to the future of our country. Link
Alito is "a judicial activist on the extreme right wing," Salazar said. Link
Excessive Executive Powers - check
Erosion of Civil Rights - check
Salazar's condemnation of Alito could have been written by Armando himself. Yet, when given the opportunity, the proper tools, and a groundswell of support to actually do something to prevent these harms, harms he is certain would result from Alito's confirmation, what does Salazar do?
You may think he merely caved to pressure and whispered "aye" at a most inopportune time. Allow me to correct the record. As Salazar himself states in his press release issued after today's vote,
In anticipation of today's cloture vote on Judge Alito, I asked the `Gang of 14' to come together to ensure the bipartisan resolve of the organization is sustained beyond today's actions. It is imperative that as the Senate provides advice and consent to the President's future judicial nominees, a bipartisan consensus will continue to be sought and the American people's values upheld. Link
WTF? That's a lot less than half a loaf Senator - that's negative yeast. You sold us out to protect your ability to compromise again tomorrow.
When your default position is "how can we compromise?" - eventually someone is going to take advantage of it. Gross advantage even. Eventually, someone is going to bend you over so far, that you won't recognize yourself in the mirror when the rape is finally over. Ken Salazar has hit that point, and if he doesn't yet see it for himself, someone really needs to hand him a mirror.