Friday, May 19, 2006

Should Bush be impeached?

A serious discussion broke out on Adam Felber's site in the comments to his latest post on his upcoming book. Seems the latest talking point being tossed around by the Republican spokesmodels is this: If the Democrats should happen to regain control of Congress in the November 2006 elections, they will immediately derail the important work being done by Congress in order to pursue impeachment hearings against our divinely anointed President. This is the latest ploy in the "Politics of Fear" campaign. But is it a legitimate concern?

Impeachment, we should all keep in mind, is not removal from office. Andrew Johnson was impeached, and Bill Clinton was impeached, and both served out their full terms. Richard Nixon was not impeached; in the great tradition of cowards everywhere he cut and run by resigning the Presidency before Congress had the chance.

Should Bush be impeached? Should Clinton have been impeached? The "high crimes or misdemeanors" Clinton committed consisted primarily of lying to Congress about whether or not he had sexual relations with an intern. (By the definition of "sexual relations" embraced by the Theocons, the answer is an emphatic "no." For them, a blowjob doesn't count as sexual contact.) His impeachment was a national embarassment, a baring of the face of a partisan Congress that had committed itself whole-heartedly to the undoing of the will of the American people by turning all of its energies to undermining an extremely popular President who was presiding over a nation enjoying an unprecedented era of peace and prosperity.

Should Bush be impeached? On the face of it his crimes appear to be much worse than anything Clinton did, starting with the false oath he took on January 20th, 2001 and again on January 20th, 2005 when he swore to defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic - and then set about undermining the Constitution at every turn. But that first oath was only the beginning of a pattern of lies and corruption not seen since the glorious days of the Reagan administration.

And there's more. Well, there's probably more. The Bush administration is the most secretive in history - recent history, at least - and they're very good at hiding evidence under the pretext of "National Security", shielded from the prying eyes of anyone who might hold them accountable.

Should Bush be impeached? I don't know. It would be up to an Independent Counsel to determine if evidence exists that might result in a Congressional call for impeachment. Only the Office of the Independent Counsel doesn't exist anymore. It expired with Ken Lay and was never reestablished.

There are lots of folks out there who voted for Bush in 2000 and 2004 who now regret their decisions. But what can they do to make it up to the country? Some, I am sure, are planning on flogging themselves on their town squares while wearing sackcloth and ashes and lamenting "I am a fool! I voted for Bush!", but that won't do much good.

What they can do is call for the reestablishment of the Office of the Independent Counsel to at least launch a wide-ranging probe into the allegations that have been made against George W. Bush. Now, that probably won't happen with the current Congress. Actually, not a lot happens with the current Congress. I hear they're planning on having a week of hearings into the crisis of flag-burning, maybe sometime after they conclude their ongoing hearings on steroids in baseball.*

No, what they can do is vote the bastards out in November, and vote in a crop of Democrats who won't roll over and play dead for the President. Should Bush be impeached? It's an open question. But the next time someone suggests that the Democrats will pursue impeachment once they're back in charge, I hope they respond with something like this:

“No one is above the law, not even the President. But when we are in control of Congress we do not intend to ignore the business of America to pursue political vendettas. We have all learned a lesson from the gridlock and pettiness of the Republican-controlled Congress during the Clinton Presidency.”

Should Bush be impeached?

You decide.

*Sorry, it turns out what they were doing this week is finally resolving the long-unresolved issue of what to make sure Janet Jackson's bared nipple never again makes an appearance at the Super Bowl. And debating whether or not to make English the official language of the U.S. Please ignore that smoke, just sit back and enjoy the fiddling.


Gort said...

Should Bush be impeached? The short answer is no. The long answer gets a little more complicated.

The Constitution in Article II Section 4 says The President, Vice President and all civil officers of the United States, shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.

To impeach a President a majority of the House of Representatives must return an indictment and the charges must be tried in the Senate presided over by the Chief Justice. A conviction and removal requires a two thirds vote of the Senate.

No matter what happens in November, two thirds of the Senate will not vote to remove this guy. Not that he doesn’t deserve it, but what will it get you? If Bush is removed Cheney becomes President. Or if he is disqualified it goes the Speaker of the House then the President Pro Tem of the Senate and if they decline we could have Condi Rice as President.

This argument must be settled in an election.

Gort said...

Typo. I meant to say the short answer is yes.

Betz said...

Gort, I like your style.
Harold wants to slap me at times as I am so politically erm "uninformed" I count on you guys to set me straight here...