The axiom is as old as human striving: The perfect is the enemy of the good. In politics this means that insisting on perfection in a candidate interferes with selecting a satisfactory one.
Which is why the mood of many of the 6,300 people, lots of them college age, who registered at last week's Conservative Political Action Conference here, was unreasonably morose. Sponsored annually by the American Conservative Union, CPAC is the conservative movement's moveable feast. Many at CPAC seemed depressed by the fact, as they see it, that the top three Republican candidates -- John McCain, Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani-- are flawed. Such conservatives should conduct a thought experiment.