An old saying, "The perfect is the worst enemy of the good enough," comes to mind in the Senate struggle over the nomination of Michael Mukasey to replace Alberto Gonzales as Attorney General.
As the best choice we are likely to get from the Bush thugs who trashed the Justice Department, his confirmation would make more sense than holding it up with a prolonged debate over the legality of torture. That question can be settled by a Congressional vote to ban it.
Sen. Chuck Schumer, in a New York Times Op Ed today, points out, "There is virtually universal agreement, even from those who oppose Judge Mukasey, that he would do a good job in turning the department around."
Schumer adds: "Judge Mukasey’s refusal to state that waterboarding is illegal was unsatisfactory to me and many other members of the Senate Judiciary Committee. But Congress is now considering--and I hope we will soon pass-- a law that would explicitly ban the use of waterboarding and other abusive interrogation techniques. And I am confident that Judge Mukasey would enforce that law."
As compromises go, this is far from the worst in recent memory. At the risk of re-opening old wounds, we might recall the purists who voted for Ralph Nader over Al Gore in 2000 and gave us George Bush and this mess, among so many others.