Talkin' trash to the garbage around me.

25 March, 2006

Impeachment: the accountability that dare not speak its name

First the good news: the word "impeachment" is featured on Saturday's (March 25, 2006) front-page of the WaPo - "Near Paul Revere Country, Anti-Bush Cries Get Louder:"
Window cleaner Ira Clemons put down his squeegee in the lobby of a city mall and stroked his goatee as he considered the question: Would you support your congressman's call to impeach Bush? His smile grew until it looked like a three-quarters moon.

"Why not? The man's been lying from Jump Street on the war in Iraq," Clemons said. "Bush says there were weapons of mass destruction, but there wasn't. Says we had enough soldiers, but we didn't. Says it's not a civil war -- but it is." He added: "I was really upset about 9/11 -- so don't lie to me."


A Zogby International poll showed that 51 percent of respondents agreed that Bush should be impeached if he lied about Iraq, a far greater percentage than believed President Bill Clinton should be impeached during the Monica S. Lewinsky scandal.
However, only 33 Congresscritters in the House have so far signed on for any sort of investigation that may lead to impeachment. Many Dems seem squeamish about the prospect:
"Impeachment is an outlet for anger and frustration, which I share, but politics ain't therapy," said Rep. Barney Frank, a Massachusetts liberal who declined to sign the Conyers resolution. "Bush would much rather debate impeachment than the disastrous war in Iraq."
I disagree with Rep. Frank. President Bush isn't going to debate anything with anyone. We know the president's plan: Stay. The. Ever-so. Disastrous. Course. And then attempt to smear the opposition with the taint of your own incompetence. The more dangerously aloof and uninformed the president is reavealed to be, however, the less effective arguments of undermining his credibility and leadership seem. There's no appealing to modesty when the emperor has no clothes. People won't buy it anymore - especially if the Dems show some signs of trying to hold people accountable for their lethal incompetence.

Now, will he be impeached? I honestly don't know. But if Dems don't start acting like they take seriously the abbrogations of Constitutional power perpetrated by Bushco - that is, start acting like they have spines - why should I believe that they'll be any more effective in standing up to the massive assault on the New Deal that has been the last six years?

And more importantly, more leadership needs to be shown, in this respect. Feingold's made an admirable start of it, and a few Senators have had his back. Precious little is coming from the House (John Conyers and Louise Slaughter being notable exceptions - Majority Leader Pelosi is a disappointment in this regard...). But really, all anyone has to say is "Talk of censure or impeachment may be a little premature, but there are constitutional questions to be investigated about the president's conduct in office, and he should be held appropriately accountable for any violations of his oath to defend the Constitution of the United States." Make the GOP refuse to investigate him! Make them embrace the President's astonishingly inept performance in governing and brazenly unconstitutional power grabs!

Meanwhile, all is not well in Norman Rockwell country:
Here in Massachusetts and Vermont, though, in the back roads and on the streets of Holyoke and Springfield, the discontent with Bush is palpable. These are states that, per capita, have sent disproportionate numbers of soldiers to Iraq. Many in these middle- and working-class towns are not pleased that so many friends and cousins are coming back wounded or dead.

"He picks and chooses his information and can't admit it's erroneous, and he annoys me," said Colleen Kucinski, walking Aleks, 5, and Gregory, 2, home.

Would she support impeachment? Kucinski wags her head "yes" before the question is finished. "Without a doubt. This is far more serious than Clinton and Monica. This is about life and death. We're fighting a war on his say-so and it was all wrong."
These sentiments aren't just bubbling up in New England...

[updated March 25, 2006 2:20 PM]: Armando weighs in, favoring censure over impeachment and makes some very legitimate points. I suppose my riposte is that criminal acts against the Constitution are criminal acts against the Constitution, and that politics shouldn't play a role in this. He is, of course, right, however, in saying that impeachment is fundamentally a political process. While normally a pragmatist, I guess I'm feeling like going whole-hog with removing the crooks from office.


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