Home     Writers     Op/Ed     Book Reviews     News     Bookstore     Photoshops     Submit     Search     Contact Us     Advertise  
  You are here: 

Sat

28

Jul

2007

The Importance of the Leadership Group for the “Impeach Them Now” Movement
Saturday, 28 July 2007 01:08
by Andrew Bard Schmookler

In my recent piece, “Organize to Push Congress Toward Impeachment,” I named as an immediate goal:

A leadership group should be formed. I propose that the people comprising this leadership group should meet the following main criteria: a) They should be effective and credible spokesmen for the idea that this impeachment is a vital necessity for the nation; b) They should have the knowledge of the American system, and the connections, to be effective in making that system work for the movement; c) They should be regarded as people of integrity by the American people; d) They should make it easier, or at least not harder, for Americans who are politically moderate or conservative to join and support the movement.

Among the people I propose for possible membership in this leadership group are these: Bill Moyers, Bruce Fein, Walter Cronkite, Jimmy Carter, and/or Walter Mondale. I also propose that these legally trained people who have been doing excellent work on these matters be included –either as members of the leadership group or in some other capacity: John Dean, Elizabeth de la Vega, and Glenn Greenwald.

On one or two other sites where that piece appeared, there were comments expressing objections to the idea of such a leadership group. “We don’t need leadership,” was the general idea.

Let me articulate further why I think such leadership is essential.

To maximize the chances of success, a social movement to pressure Congress toward impeachment should be: 1) visible, 2) mobilized and activated, 3)coherence, and 4) clearly about doing what the country needs –and the Constitution demands– and not about mere partisan politics.

VISIBILITY

Half the American people, apparently, are ready for impeachment. There are many little organizations, websites, voices crying out.

But you wouldn’t know it from attending to our national conversation. Impeachment is not the main story, nor even in the top half dozen.

But put, say, Jimmy Carter and Sandra Day O’Connor before the microphones, saying to the country “The president and vice president have been lawless, have been assaulting the Constitution and the rule of law like nothing ever seen in the history of America, and the Congress must impeach them to honor their sacred oath to defend the Constitution,” and that would change.

Impeachment would become the focus of national attention.

ACTIVATION AND MOBILIZATION

Though there are tens of millions of Americans who favor impeachment, only few of them are taking any action to achieve that goal. Even among those who are impassioned about the issue –so I have been told by a hard-working activist– there is often a lack of follow through:

“How is it that the masses can be so outraged,” this activist has written me, “a good number convinced that something needs to be done, yet not be willing to make a 5 minute phone call, write a letter to the editor? …Sometimes I think maybe people just don’t believe it’s going to matter in the end and so don’t bother.

That sense of hopelessness and futility is probably key to the problem– and that probably derives in part from NOT having a sense of being part of something large and dynamic. Consider how many millions took to the streets in 2004, when there was a concrete goal and a national campaign organization to enlist people in doing the various necessary tasks of walking the streets, making the phone calls, etc.

If a group of prominent leaders can succeed in making visible a national movement to express the people’s DEMAND for impeachment, that will give the sense of hope and potential effectiveness that can activate and mobilize the huge constituency for impeachment.

COHERENCE

All those individuals and organizations that favor impeachment are doing their own things. If the force moving toward impeachment is to be effective, it must be able to coordinate all these actors to flex its muscle in a focused way. Without coherence, the movement will be ineffective.

With coherence, the movement might put a million people on the National Mall at the same time and demonstrate –to Congress, to the media, to the rest of the public– that there is a popular groundswell that DEMANDS impeachment.

If an effective blue-ribbon set of leaders and spokespeople emerged and proved its ability to make impeachment Topic # 1, the various scattered groups and individuals would recognize that putting themselves under THAT umbrella would be the route to success, and this would make it possible to coordinate all the actors.

BEYOND MERE PARTISANSHIP

The media and the Republicans are all set to make impeachment out to be a mere power struggle between political factions.

But put a group in front of the microphones –including the likes of Bruce Fein, and Bob Barr, and Sandra Day O’Connor, along with their more liberal counterparts– to declare that this is not about power but about preserving the American system of government, and that interpretation goes out the window.

This, in turn, will make the movement still more powerful by a) undercutting the Republicans’ attempts to dismiss impeachment, b) requiring the media to pay attention to the real issues, and c) showing the American people what’s at stake and making it easier for moderates and conservatives to join the movement.

For all these reasons, the effectiveness of the “DEFEND THE CONSTITUTION! IMPEACH THEM NOW!” movement depends strongly on the creation –at this point– of a leadership group that can command that kind of respect and attention.

Afterword: The idea of “Organize to Push Congress Toward Impeachment” remains, I am happy to report, alive. By “alive” I mean that things are actually developing in a way that is consistent with the possibility of eventual actual success. Things could run out of steam before achieving a full launch, but so far there is sufficient progress to support continued hope.

In particular, there is at least one prominent person –and quite possibly several of the kind needed– on board to serve on this leadership group. If things continue to develop, I will eventually report the specifics. Or maybe I won’t need to, as the report will appear on the network news and the front page of the New York Times!

Stay tuned.
 
More from this author:
The “Prophetic Social Movement”: Then and Now (6551 Hits)
by Andrew Bard Schmookler On Election Night of 2004, as I lay in bed much of the night awake and miserable, I found myself teetering on the...
The Dems’ New Power: Investigative Hearings Done Right (5734 Hits)
by Andrew Bard Schmookler On Election Day, America took a step that history may show to have been absolutely crucial in saving this republic....
Waging Battle, Building Peace: The Paradox Confronting the Democrats (5942 Hits)
by Andrew Bard Schmookler Confronting the Paradox The goal is no less than to defeat the evil that, in recent years,...
The Dems’ First Step on Iraq: The Kind of Hearings We Need (6254 Hits)
by Andrew Bard Schmookler WHERE CHICKENS COME TO ROOST The Democrats need to achieve two things with respect to the mess in Iraq: 1)...
When Failure is Better than Success: What Americans, and the World, Owe to the Disaster in Iraq (8116 Hits)
by Andrew Bard Schmookler There can be no doubt that the failed American invasion of Iraq has been a terrible thing. Because of...
Related Articles:
BREAKING NEWS: Eisenhower Carrier Group Sails for Iran Theater (23628 Hits)
The nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Eisenhower and its accompanying strike force of cruiser, destroyer and attack submarine slipped their moorings...
National Impeachment Movement this Saturday in Philadelphia! (8625 Hits)
by Dave Lindorff, With Democrats in control of Congress again, it's time to start a national campaign for impeachment. Nancy Pelosi may...
Peace Groups Hold “Mandate for Peace” Congressional Call-in Day In Advance of Iraq Study Group Report (8324 Hits)
Thousands call Congress to remind their representatives that voters issued a Mandate for Peace in the mid-term elections and expect Congress to end...
Omissions In the Iraq Study Group Report (6289 Hits)
by Stephen Lendman Noted historian Eric Foner in a December 7 article on OpEd News.com calls George Bush "the worst president in US ...
Where Will Blacks Find Justice? - The Civil Rights Movement is Dead and So is the Democratic Party (7861 Hits)
by Roland Sheppard The first civil and human rights movement by and for Black people started during the Civil War and the period of Black...


Add this page to your favorite Social Bookmarking websites
Trackback(0)
Comments (2)add comment

Jimmy Montague said:

Jimmy Montague
...
Let's see, Schmookler: As of Dec. 17, 2006, 51 percent of Americans favored immediate impeachment. Sixty percent of Pelosi's constituents favored immediate impeachment. You may remember you were then telling us all that we should let the situation ripen for six months when things would look better. Well, it's been more than six months and, last I looked, just 46 percent favor impeaching Bush now and 54 percent favor immediate impeachment of Cheney. I told you then that waiting was a waste of time, and so it has proven to be. It was, in fact, worse than a waste of time because popular support for this Congress has dwindled to something like 18 or 19 percent, whereas, in December, Congress had a much larger mandate for action. You were wrong in December, Schmookler, when you said we should wait. Now you've come out in favor of impeachment and you've picked a dog in this stupid leadership fight. Why are you shouting? I see it this way:

Your Democrats have squandered their momentum. At 25 percent, Bush has better approval ratings than Pelosi's bunch. John Conyers said just the other day that impeachment will go nowhere. You of all people know that he spoke the truth. So what I think you're trying to do here is salvage a few of your Lefty credentials after spending six months in bed with Pelosi and the hacks.

The leadership fight is a scrap over nothing of substance because the moment for leadership has passed. You and Pelosi and the others were successful. Fascism is you.
 
July 28, 2007 | url
Votes: +0

a guest said:

0
leaders
i believe too now that recruiting more conservative, more mainstream types to offer their leadership right now is a great tool. i must add in all fairness that there currently are 'leaders'and some of these people have dropped everything to devote to this - david swanson, john nichols, etc. another who has criss-crossed the country who has a level of integrity and experience that doesn't get mentioned often is elizabeth holtzman, former congresswoman who served on the judiciary committee during the nixon years and a former prosecutor. she has made her case repeatedly for impeachment over the last year or so to many groups including state assemblies. So, yes bring in some more ammo, of a more conservative type, but I tend to think people don't realize or don't credit the work that has been happening and the reason for that i believe is the media. people just don't know about it. we absolutely have to put the pressure on the media to cover this. there are now 15 sponsors of h. res. 333. i have never seen it headlined in any paper when a new one is added, nor on the evening news. never. keep working on that leadership issue, i look forward to the outcome. in the meantime, we need to start taking our message directly to the media outlets. take it out of the back rooms, in front of town hall and to the steps of the NY Times, Washington Post, CNN or whatever your city or local paper is. - a "hard working activist"
 
July 29, 2007 | url
Votes: +0

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

adsense

Top