The cigar guy I get my maduros from had an interesting comment the other day about the NBA. "They don't need to play the whole game. Just put 10 seconds on the clock, let one team inbound the ball, and if they score they win. That's how they all end."
He could have been talking about the ideological battles that take place whenever we have a new Supreme Court nominee. If the president wants an open minded judge, we're going to end up with one that's open minded. If he wants a closed minded one, we're going to end up with one that's closed minded. The degree of each individual candidates open or closed mindedness may vary, but you can bet your bottom dollar that the label on the one who makes it through confirmation will be the one the president was seeking.
But labels, even ones as vague as the two I've purposefully used here, are really just descriptions of where a person's thinking is at this moment in time, especially as they relate to people. My own buddies will bring up stances I've had on certain issues ten, fifteen or twenty years ago that are no longer relevant to my current way of thinking. It is even more interesting to see how much people who are nominated to serve on the Supreme Court can change when they get a job they can't lose.
Does any of this matter to the people who live to fight for something, or against something, so long as they have a fight? Not one damn bit. They are dialing for dollars as we speak, curling the blue hairs of little old ladies in Peoria who can be scared into donating to a cause that will beat back "the baby killers", or getting granola crunchers riled up enough to log onto their donation link to "fight the crazies on the right". The flag waving will commence in earnest by every special interest group in the country once the White House starts floating a few names in the press to see how the public reacts.
And after the all the millions of dollars and millions of man-hours have been spent fighting over this, we will still end up with the kind of candidate the president wanted all along.
If I were President Obama, I'd do what every championship basketball team does these days when it wants to build a squad that will dominate the court for years to come.
I'd get a big man with some inside moves.
Someone who can use finesse as well as brute strength when they need to score. Someone who is a student of defensive and offensive strategies. Someone who has the stamina and habits that will allow them to have a long and productive tenure. Someone who has demonstrated a commitment not only to his professional career, but to his community as well.
And preferably, someone who hasn't spent his whole career sitting on a bench somewhere.