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Thu

03

May

2007

Why Congress Should Get the Spike-Strips Out ... Now
Thursday, 03 May 2007 15:55
by Stephen P. Pizzo

Events undergo a kind of gestation process. What they appear to be the day they occur is almost never what they grow up over time to become.

What got me thinking about that is impeachment.

A few months ago, when a few voices on the far left first uttered the “I” word in relation to Dick Cheney and George Bush, I was turned off by the idea. Then I started to wonder why I felt that way. After all, if any two public officials in American history ever earned a thorough impeaching it's those two. Yet the idea of actually kicking that process into action produced a sinking, sickish feeling deep within.

Why?

Then it dawned on me — Republicans had “removed” impeachment from the arsenal that made Congress a co-equal branch of government. They didn't do that on purpose, but by accident — a fortunate accident for them, as we now see.

As I said above, events often mature into something else, and that's precisely what happened to the publics feeling about the impeachment process. When mad-dog Republicans misused impeachment during their anti-Clinton feeding frenzy, the public — the sane majority anyway — was turned off by it. They saw it more for what is was — a legislative coup attempt by Republicans against a Democratic president, rather than the legitimate use of Congressional power.

It was also viewed as a monumental waste of time, taxpayer money and critically needed legislative bandwidth.

Over time that impression gestated into a deep national ambivalence, bordering on disgust, with the impeachment process. It's now almost a knee-jerk response when someone demands impeachment. You can almost hear a national moan:

“Oh no. Please, no. Don't take us down that road again! Please.”

So there you have it. With their unjust, frivolous, mean spirited, wolf-pack-like pursuit of Bill Clinton the GOP inadvertently inoculated its own top officials from the threat of impeachment today, even when so richly deserved.

While I now understand that, the idea of impeaching George W. Bush and Dick Cheney still didn't feel good, but it did seem thinkable. I still don't have a good feeling about impeachment. Not because I remain “traumatized” by the Clinton impeachment fiasco, but because that's how I think we should always feel about impeaching a sitting President or VP. Impeachment is the ultimate punishment, the constitutional equivalent of a firing squad. Therefore it should be approached accordingly — only when clearly justified, only as the last resort, and only with a sense of judicial solemnity, not partisan glee.

That's where I am now.

What happened to Bill Clinton had nothing to do with the legitimate use of congress' power to impeach. Lying about sex — even under oath — is no reason to unseat the President of a local SPCA, much less the President of the United States. That sorry event reflects, not a flaw in the power to impeach, but a flaw in humans who chose to soil and abuse that power. We must not now compound that mistake by letting it forever place impeachment emotionally and/or politically off limits. To do so would gut the already seriously eroded constitutional separation of powers.

Unlike Bill Clinton's stupid, immature, self-indulgent transgressions, Bush and Cheney have actually committed “high crimes and misdemeanors,” — and plenty of each. If a court-like impeachment hearing ever began the process of stripping away the Orwellianisms from the Bush/Cheney list of activities over the last six years impeachment would be — if you'll excuse the expression — a slam dunk.

  • What really is what the administration likes to call, “enhanced interrogation techniques?” It's torture.
  • What really is wiretapping without a warrant? It's a crime.
  • What are “Presidential signing statements,” that nix laws passed by congress and signed into law by the President? They are a violations of the US Constitution which the President swore to uphold.
  • What are false statements made to mislead congress into approving war? They are lies — lies to congress — a high crime if ever there was one.
  • What is “preemptive war?” A war against another sovereign nation that had not directly threatened the US? It's an international crime — just as President George H. Bush declared when Saddam invaded and occupied Kuwait.
  • What is it when five million White House documents (emails) “disappear” just as the administration faces it's first real congressional oversight hearings ever? It's called “contempt of Congress,” and when those missing documents involve an ongoing criminal probe it's called “obstruction of justice,” a felony.
Oh, I know, there's more — plenty more. Just pick the top one or two, start impeachment hearings where everyone involved is put under oath, and George and Dick are goners.

But the question remains, should we? Would impeaching Bush and Cheney be more disruptive than curative? After all, we have only two more years to endure them. So, should we? Should we impeach?

Up until this week I would have said that it was more trouble than it was worth. But, unless the administration begins treating congress with the constitution respect and deference the law requires, especially regarding the war in Iraq, I say yes, impeach.

And so far it does not appear either Bush or Cheney are about to stop acting like they are overseeing a monarchy. Yesterday when the president vetoed the war supplemental with conditions and time lines attached by congress, he said something that indicates he still does not get it.

“I am, of course,” Bush said, “always interested in the ideas offered by congress...but...”

Ah, earth to George — those are not just “ideas.”

What if Congress had said it. “Of course, we are always interested in any ideas the President has to offer...but..”

Or, what if Congress declared, “We are always interested in any ideas the US Supreme Court has... but...”

Then this morning I read that the White House is backing away from it's agreement to get court approval for warrantless wiretaps. Instead, Bush claims, he as President has the power to approve wiretaps on his own.

I see.

Responsible, cool-headed, soft-talking, clear-thinking Democrats and Republicans in the House and Senate should get out their impeachment primers, dust off the swearing-in Bible and oil the rusted wheels of Congressional justice. Because I am starting to think we're going to be forced to impeach these two guys.

Because, by all indicators, these two Dukes of Hazard have clearly decided that, rather than change their ways, they are going to try to beat Smoky to the border. They are putting their lawless heels to the metal.

So it's time for Congress to get the spike-strips of impeachment out — first as a warning.

If that doesn't work, then use them. Use them before these two men do any more damage. Use them also as a clear warning to the next administration. be it Democratic or Republican, that if you break the law, regardless of intentions, you will be held to account.
 
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Comments (5)add comment

a guest said:

0
Let's successfully censure the bastards & go from there...
There is just cause for censure votes on various basis. It takes two thirds and momentum for impeachment to succeed. Start with a gimme...
 
May 03, 2007
Votes: +0

a guest said:

0
Let's get a successful censure vote & go from there...
A successful censure vote or votes would be the first step(s) in achieving the momentum and two thirds majority that any impeachment undertaking would require. Why spill all your candy in the lobby? The publc needs to be educated and involved. By the time impeachment hearings begin, it better be a slam dunk. Abu Graib, Gitmo, WMD, Plame, warrantless taps, Justice Dept., Stae Dept., on & on. Choose something that has bipartisan objection, get a censure vote, and go from there.
 
May 03, 2007
Votes: +0

a guest said:

0
...
This dishonest, deceitful duo have already done so much damage its unbelievable they are still at the seat of government. They have set the very lowest standards of public service in almost everything they touch. Easy no-bid defense contracts, deceptive arguments about the war and medicaid prescription drugs for example.

They view deception and secrecy as a necessary part of presidential operations in order to get things done. No one yet grasps the outrage of all the soldiers who died unecessarily due to inept, umpulsive war implementation.

Then there is the outrage of all the billions in debt this nation now holds for a military adventure in IRAQ promoted dishonestly by Cheney. These 2 characters appear to have no conscience. Sure Bush smiles and is friendly and everyone says they enjoy meeting him. But his actions and negligent handling of the highest office are horrendous. He appears to have let Cheney have a free reign in everything... resulting in corrupt, illegal practices including wire taps and torture.

Our nation is at a turning point. If US citizens and their representatives are too lazy or weak spirited to throw these 2 out on their bums, we will set this nation on a downhill path of lower government standards, more political corruption, more illegal/dishonest military adventures, and overall government fiasco.

Republicans must push for impeachment also because these two "leaders" are indifferent to the republicans in congress and the traditional conservative values.

Yank these dishonest, secretive, negligent characters from their Whitehouse chairs as soon as possible to save the world from low-minded human governance.
 
May 03, 2007
Votes: +0

a guest said:

0
Brilliant
A brilliant case for the necessity of impeachment. I appreciated the break down of the initial reaction against it--felt by nearly everyone I speak too--and then the later understanding of impeachments key and grave role.

Impeachment was written with these exact type of men in mind--George Bush and Dick Cheney.

 
May 04, 2007
Votes: +0

Nathanael Nerode said:

0
An accurate assessment of the need for impeachment.
I think you've got it.

This is why impeachment is necessary. They just won't *stop* breaking the law -- they have declared that they're gonna keep on doing it.

There will soon be no other choice but impeachment.
 
May 07, 2007
Votes: +0

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