26 July 2007


I favor impeachment of V.P. Cheney and President Bush, immediately. Obviously, it must be both, as the supposed model of a "unitary" executive, ironically, is actually a dual presidency unprecedented in U.S. History.

I cite Reagan administration Asst. A.G. Bruce Fein's explanation, now given in numerous sources for those interested, as the most cogent statement of the case I've seen. See this, for perhaps the best source (in discussion with The Nation editor John Nichols).

I note that Josh Marshall, of TPM, has now drifted close to endorsing the idea. I want to point out that one of Marshall's arguments contra, i.e., that there are just not going to be 17 Republican senators* to convict no matter what, is completely unpersuasive to me. (*18 really, because Old Joe will never join the Dems).

I agree with Bruce Fein that impeachment is a necessary function envisioned by the founders to be used in precisely the kinds of 'abuse of power' scenarios as we are currently living through. The reason the unlikelihood of conviction should not deter Democrats is that it is largely the very challenge of impeachment, never mind conviction and actual removal from office, that will have a nullifying effect on the extremely dangerous precedent being set. Marhsall says it clearly enough himself:

"I think we are now moving into a situation where the White House , on various fronts, is openly ignoring the constitution, acting as though not just the law but the constitution itself, which is the fundamental law from which all the statutes gain their force and legitimacy, doesn't apply to them.

"If that is allowed to continue, the defiance will congeal into

This, of course, is also why just waiting out the end of the Bush term is not sufficient. Even if a Democrat replaces this administration, the precedent of this devastating and breathtaking abuse of power will have a serious, possibly irreparable, damaging effect on the 'living constitution.' With many Federal courts, and now the Supreme Court, dominated by 'unitary executive' extremist ideologues, the effect will be amplified and our country could be changed for the worse forever. I also disagree with the often-expressed view that the Democrats will alienate newly won independent and moderate Republican voters by focusing on impeachment rather than "the business of government."

First, Democratic leaders must lead. They must demand that the media give them the opportunity to say why they are doing it, purchasing time on television with campaign funds if necessary. The must make the case to the people. Second, I believe that even many so-called moderates now have a profound sense of unease at the rampant abuses of power in this administration. This unease can be influenced by leadership and advocacy to become support for impeachment, and for a "new way forward" in our country (never mind Iraq). Third, and perhaps most tritely, what business of government? Virtually nothing is being done, with the obstructionism of the Republicans in the Senate, other than maintaining the status quo. (For example, the antiquated and damaging policies bundled in the Farm Bill up for renewal currently).

Many so-called conservatives, of course, like this just fine, as the status quo, an unprincipled set of policies favoring wealthy special interests that keep them in office, is exactly what they want to maintain.

It seems to me that impeachment, although surely risky, would galvanize the issues and very possibly shake loose some of the Republican support for the president, when it becomes clear, as I believe it would, that a largish majority of Americans is thoroughly fed up with this administration, and worried about its long term consequences for our nation. Of course, there is risk. But there is also opportunity. Accepting the status quo, in my view, and "waiting it out," will virtually guarantee that the damage already done will continue to reverberate with negative consequences for a long, long time.

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