At the end of the film “Saving Private Ryan,” Tom Hanks’ character, Capt. Miller, lies mortally wounded with many of his platoon already dead, having sacrificed themselves for “a cause greater than themselves.” In his last breath, Miller tells the young soldier, for whom so many have given their lives, including his own, “Earn this.”
There’s a lesson in that challenge that Democrats seem to have forgotten as they clamor for “joint power” in selecting the next Supreme Court justice. In all of their chest-beating calls for “moderation” and “consensus” and “cooperation,” Democrats, led by Sens. Edward Kennedy (Mass.) and Charles Schumer (N.Y.), are conveniently ignoring the one stumbling block to their desire for presidential power sharing — those pesky democratic elections when a president and his party earn the right to govern through majority rule and, in so doing, to also choose the nation’s judicial nominees.
In its Monday editorial, even The Washington Post acknowledged, “Liberals and Democrats, having lost the election, cannot reasonably ask Mr. Bush to nominate a justice to suit their tastes.”
The Post went on to say, however, “But that doesn’t mean a full-fledged war is inevitable.”
The weakness in the Post’s assertion is that it assumes Democrats actually accept the outcome of democratic elections if they find themselves on the losing end. In denial after the 2000 election, they carped their way to a second defeat in 2002 and repeated their mistakes in 2004 with a negative attack strategy devoid of ideas.
Since November, not much has changed. We have heard Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) call President Bush a “liar” and a “loser,” but we have seen no serious plan from his party to cure the nation’s energy ills. This week, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) compared Bush to Mad magazine’s ditzy cover boy, Alfred E. Newman, but we have heard no Social Security reform plan from her or her fellow Democrats.
We’ve seen a parade of critics from Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) attack the president almost daily on nearly every conceivable issue, while failing, at the same time, to offer real solutions to the nation’s challenges. Democrats don’t have the constitutional right to choose Sandra Day O’Connor’s replacement because they haven’t earned it.
To its credit, the Bush administration has wisely begun a consultative process with both Republican and Democratic leaders about the impending nomination in an effort to help encourage a “dignified process” as the president suggested. Still, in the end, like every president before him, it is Bush’s right and responsibility to make the final selection.