Politics can be a dirty business and often to get what you want you have to ask for something else...or more properly stated - to get what you want you need to threaten what your opponent does not want.
Abraham Lincoln - Few today recollect Hannibal Hamlin aside from certain scholars of Abraham Lincoln, yet this curious figure holds a significant place as first Vice President to our Sixteenth President.
Now memorialized for Freeing The Slaves, in truth Lincoln was at best moderate on the matter. Throughout his career Abraham claimed his motivating factor was preservation of the Union by any means necessary - with or without Slavery.
By contrast, the most fervent desire of Hamlin was the institution not be expanded, which evolved into a passion for emancipation. Old Hannibal was not quite at the level of John Brown...but he was definitely traveling the road toward Harper's Ferry.
So if you were an ambitious Nineteenth Century politician in a country smoldering over the incendiary issue but with no particular yearning to be outflanked on the matter, what to do?
Choose a Running Mate more extreme in order you appear mild by comparison. Indeed, during the war Hannibal passively encouraged Abolitionist Senators and by the end favored Radical Reconstruction.
It was an opportunity ultimately denied Hamlin - replaced on the Presidential ticket before re-election of Lincoln, the feeling being he had outlasted his usefulness and the Republican Party needed to "nationalize" itself by choosing Southerner Andrew Johnson for that role.
Another piquant tidbit of Presidential appointment-making would come a century afterward.
John Kennedy - Having achieved the Executive Office despite his youthful age, and much to the chagrin of the Washington Establishment, John Kennedy was in a quandary to find an Attorney General. He duly consulted all the best advisors before eventually asking his father who should be given the spot.
The reply from his old man was - your brother Robert.
While one should never discount the extraordinary nepotism of the Kennedy Clan, at the same time (otherwise despicable) Old Joe made a good point. His reasoning being John, though previously a Congressman and Senator, was still relatively new to Washington and needed someone he could trust to tell him what was really going on when he was not in the room where policies were carried out.
Likewise, Robert could act as the Enforcer of Presidential decision-making which would allow John as Conciliator-in-Chief to smooth any ruffled feathers.
It is important to note while Attorney General is considered the top legal position in the nation, Robert had scant experience as a lawyer. In fact, he had no experience in any state or federal court at all.
What does this tell us about the inner-workings of political office and selections?
Thus, regarding the current Supreme Court nomination Trump should primarily look for Integrity and secondarily ignore political Familiarity.
Here are some suggestions starkly in contrast to the modern mania for Diversity and Inclusivity...
In support of the above thesis is the manner of man this country needs - Howard Roark.
He was the protagonist of a novel in which an architect refuses to compromise his ideals or ability for the sake of a debased humanity. It is the sort of man who made America and of which we are in depressingly inadequate supply.
Such men do exist - they may be banned from the internet, they may be shunned from polite conversation, they may be the heretics of the Great Unanimity - yet they do exist.
Since Trump is a putative Conservative his platform ought to be Conservation of the historic nation.
As that as his basis the President ought to propose the following in ascending order of immoderation:
In other words, Trump should begin with a strict though mainstream social and political conservative and if that person be rejected by the Senate the President should nominate ever more zealous candidates until he reverts back to another strict but mainstream individual.
Make it clear to the Politicians this is his Grand Compromise - an acceptably principled man or a drastically principled man, but no others.
Given our historical examples, there is precedent. Lincoln chose as Running Mate a man considered radical by most of the country at the time. Kennedy chose as Attorney General a man with fundamentally no practice for highest legal office in the land.
Trump has the power to do the same thing - the right thing.
In the classic film Mr. Smith Goes to Washington a political flunky in the form of a Midwestern Governor has the unexpected duty to nominate an interim Senator from his state.
Normally this would be a simple matter, except in the circumstance pressure is placed on the Governor by two opposing factions which control his fortunes. He realizes his own power hangs in the balance as alienating either group will cause the end of his career. Meanwhile, his young sons idealistically encourage their father to choose a decent and hard-working political neophyte leading their social club.
The determination is left to chance when the Governor flips a coin and it lands on a newspaper, shockingly coming up even - right over a headline on that very idol of the boys.
Needless to say, the novice who is both moral and honest is picked...with predictable results when he encounters the sharp dealing and gross corruption of official Washington.
While the rest of the plot is not germane to our purposes there is no reason this has to be mere fantasy.
If Trump had any integrity at all he could very well nominate some small-town, forthright, unblemished lawyer without any prior connection to the swamp that is the Imperial City.
There is no requirement in the Constitution Supreme Court nominees must be demented, academic, multi-millionaire decadents lacking practical interaction with actual Americans.
Find a male who has worked with middle-class families trying to find health insurance for their child born with diabetes, get a fellow who has been fighting to have disability paid to blue-collar workers, locate a guy who toils out of his low-rent office in a strip-mall because he is still paying off his own student debts at the same time he is battling to obtain a second-chance for some bankrupt merchant.
There is no reason this country needs one more elite, effete, effeminate attorney on the Supreme Court who loves humanity...except in person.
While not strictly accurate Roman Caligula appointed his horse Incitatus to the Senate it is nonetheless correct in spirit - the leader intended to do it but was deterred.
Even so, the Caligula Option should be the course of action in the event the Politicians refuse to affirm an incorruptible man or Trump is unable to find a single honorable man in the entire country.
Should neither of these immaculate models be evident in all of America then the most sullied example must instead be chosen to decide the legalities of these United States.
In that disgusting circumstance, when no worthwhile man can be found or confirmed, the President ought to demonstrate for the citizens exactly how debauched their Political Class has become.
There are thousands, probably tens of thousands, of attorneys who have been censured for drug-dealing...spousal abuse...misappropriation of funds...criminal acts not technically prosecuted so they could keep their license to solicit ill-gotten gains.
The President should find one of them - the worst of the worst.
Choose a lawyer who defends repeat child molesters, who argues in favor of hedge funds breaking pensions for elderly retirees and (legally, always legally) steals their life-savings, someone who successfully exonerates rapists, one who gets acquittals for race murderers called a "bad name."
There is no shortage of shysters in America from which to select.
The United States is nearing the cross-roads it has been approaching for the past fifty years or more.
Time and again the nation has chosen to reject the capable in favor of the diseased, disabled and degenerate. The result has been a crippled excuse for a country which has been riding former achievements for the better part of two generations.
It is required for Trump to name a noble representative to the Supreme Court - and if he does not, choosing instead to pander and wallow in the filth of good intentions and poor outcomes - then the homeland has little hope of enduring unto the next century.
Indeed, it is increasingly ridiculous to make a plausible case that it should.