Debunking reasons not to impeach
Jack Lessenberry, political columnist for Metro Times, an “alternative” weekly newspaper in Detroit, had a chance to talk to John Conyers over a drink about impeachment of Smirky and Snarly. Conyers, a representative from Detroit, is now the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and knows the most about Bush's crimes. If Conyers wants impeachment, it will happen. If he doesn't, there is no way around him. After the break I have what Lessenberry reports as the reasons why Conyers does not want to go through with impeachment — along with why I think Conyers is wrong.
The link: http://www.metrotimes.com/editorial/story.asp?id=12082
* The votes to impeach (need 218) and convict (67) simply aren't there. If we try and fail Bush and Cheney are vindicated and get an outpouring of sympathy. Democrats are discredited. A Bush clone gets elected.
I agree that failure has dire consequences, which means Conyers has to do his homework. A thoughtful and complete documentation of Bush's crimes coupled with a strong statement about what those crimes have done to the Constitution presented to the American people will convince a lot more congressmen to agree to impeachment and conviction. There are drawbacks: Democrats haven't been very good at articulating much of anything lately. The Mainstream Media seems to be solidly in the GOP camp and waters down or ignores stories that appear to damage the GOP cause.
* Impeachment would take over a year. There isn't enough time.
* While impeachment proceedings are in progress nothing else in Washington would get done, ending the war being only one of several vital issues. Nobody would pay any attention to the candidates for president and the vital issues they are trying to raise.
With Bush's sudden fondness for the veto it seems nothing is getting done anyway. There certainly has been no progress on getting out of Iraq and saber rattling continues with Iran. One of the vital issues not getting raised by presidential candidates is what kind of government we want. I don't want what we have. With the way Bush is continually able to steamroll Democrats to get what he wants I'm not convinced a Democratic president is what I want either. What kind of government we want is an issue more important than what the candidates are saying. Impeachment proceedings will at least make that discussion happen.
In addition, impeachment proceedings will force a discussion of what kind of society we want. Right now it appears we have a society that delights in trashing laws for personal power. In spite of Bush's standing among Value Voters, he is the most amoral president we've had. I don't want a society that cherishes amorality.
* Impeaching just Cheney wouldn't work because Bush would appoint someone like Giuliani and give him a boost in his chances for president.
Holding the office of Vice President is historically a bad way to get to be president. Only Bush Senior has managed it since 1965. Allowing Giuliani to go from VP to president will given the nation a true idea of what is policies are (he seems to be talking out of both sides of his mouth right now). Discrediting Bush and Cheney is a way to discredit the entire GOP field and can be done by tarring them all with the same brush. Claiming we must elect a Democrat implies the policies that allowed Bush to abuse the Constitution are GOP Party policies. Giving these policies full airing allows the Democrats to run against them, not just against Bush and not just against individual candidates.
* To protect the Constitution it is most important to elect a Democrat.
Karl Rove famously claimed that he was making government agencies more partisan so that there would be a GOP government in perpetuity. That sovereignty might last all of 8 years. Does Conyers think there will never be another GOP president? Is he trying to make the same claim that Rove did? Won't we go through all this again when we get another GOP president? At some point, we will.
In addition, I've heard only Hillary make any kind of noise that she would refuse some of the powers that Bush has accumulated (and that through a British website). Conyers is assuming a lot by thinking that Democratic presidents would simply not use all presidential powers at their disposal. After the Bush abuses we need a national forum to say what is appropriate for a president and what is not. Impeachment proceedings are that forum.
Back to the issue of not enough time and not enough votes. It doesn't have to be all or nothing. Conyers can begin by laying out the grounds for impeachment and then work to explain his case to America. If the public mood shifts and a behind-the-scenes tally of votes shows there is enough he can proceed with actual articles of impeachment.
Of course, the GOP is going to call that playing politics. But I'm tired of Democrats who haven't figured out how to counter that charge.