Impeachment and Independence

blogging, Bush Administration

Digby asks a question I’ve been asking — would a failed impeachment hold them accountable?

As much as we all want to see some people impeached, the odds that two-thirds of the Senate would vote to remove Bush and Cheney from office are, well, remote. About 17 Republicans would have to cross the aisle and vote to remove. And I fear that if we go through the impeachment process, and the creatures are not convicted, it would amount to exoneration. It would send a message that whatever articles are brought do not rise to the level of being criminal or a threat to the Constitution.

But I wouldn’t rule it out. If it could be done, it would go a long way toward restoring faith in America. And I would do it even if the vote to convict doesn’t happen until the day before the 2009 inauguration. The rule of law and the integrity of the Constitution must be protected.

I’ve spent the past five years trying to do my little bit to shed light on the Bush Administration. We’ve come a long way. Five years ago, the Bushies were untouchable. The nation was being marched to war, and few dissenting voices were allowed access to mass media. In the 2002 midterms, Republicans would gain eight seats in the House and two seats in the Senate, the latter of which erased the Dems’ slender majority.

Today, the Dems’ slender majority in the Senate has been restored, and the Dems have a slightly larger majority in the House than the GOP enjoyed in 2003.

Today, Kate O’Beirne was ripped apart by Chris Matthews on Hardball.

And you must see David Schuster’s smackdown of Tucker Carlson.

Today on Countdown, Keith Olbermann called on the President and Vice President to resign.

See also today’s Dan Froomkin column, in which Froomkin discusses the appearance of corruption in the Scooter Libby case.

Was there a quid pro quo at work? Was Libby being repaid for falling on his sword and protecting his bosses from further scrutiny? Alternately, was he being repaid for his defense team’s abrupt decision in mid-trial not to drag Cheney into court, where he would have faced cross-examination by Fitzgerald? (See my March 8 column, Did Libby Make a Deal?)

So far, impeachment is mostly being discussed by liberal media — The Nation, The Huffington Post, etc.

But we’ve come a long way. The political landscape has changed. Many things are possible now that were not possible five years ago.

Our nation declared its independence 231 years ago tomorrow. The Founders affirmed that “Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,” and “whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it.” But we are not asking to alter or abolish the form, but to protect the form by removing corrupt and increasingly despotic leaders.

Remember the words of John Paul Jones: “I have not yet begun to fight.” Even better, David Farragut: “Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!”

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  1. moonbat  •  Jul 3, 2007 @11:16 pm

    …I fear that if we go through the impeachment process, and the creatures are not convicted, it would amount to exoneration. It would send a message that whatever articles are brought do not rise to the level of being criminal or a threat to the Constitution.

    If we don’t even attempt impeachment, this is saying it’s OK to rob the store. It’s OK to trash the Constitution. We don’t care. Go right ahead.

    If impeachment is attempted and fails, at least it was attempted. We will know then and there, that our Constitution is worthless, and that it’s all over for this country. Take the fork out, it’s done. It’s important to know this, that the great experiment that was American Democracy is over. Many of us suspect it anyway, let’s get it out in the open.

    I am hopeful however, given the momentum that is building for kicking the bastards out, given the tipping point created by the WaPo series on Cheney, given the need for Republicans to salvage their party for 2008, that enough R’s would come over. Hopeful but not confident.

    btw, Keith rocks. Terrific “Special Comment”. Thanks for the links to some great videos. Have a great holiday. And Happy Birthday to your blog and to Erin. When I’m in a better financial position, I will be sure to toss you some coin.

  2. de Selby  •  Jul 3, 2007 @11:47 pm

    By its chronic inability to stand for anything (e.g. Pelosi’s “impeachment is off the table”), the Democratic Party has largely dealt away its ability to check the criminal outrages of this administration.

    If we’re lucky, they will salvage a Constitutional figleaf by impeaching Abu G, and/or (in a wet dream) Cheney, but restoring order and credibility to our Constitutional system before the next election is now mathematically impossible.

    I’m still working on the equations that describe this sequence.

  3. biggerbox  •  Jul 4, 2007 @12:26 am

    Kate O’Beirne was ripped apart by Chris Matthews on Hardball.

    I thought you must have made a typo. But no. We HAVE come a long way. But miles and miles to go before we sleep, I’m afraid.

    I must say, though, that clips like that one of Shuster leaving Carlson gobsmacked will help buoy our spirits along the way. Poor Tucker isn’t used to talking to people who know the actual facts and aren’t afraid to lay them out in plain, straightforward narrative. Ha!

  4. uncledad  •  Jul 4, 2007 @2:27 am


    “And I fear that if we go through the impeachment process, and the creatures are not convicted, it would amount to exoneration.”

    I agree, but it seems lost on many that “impeachment” does not mean conviction. Just listen to the Right wing, they fail to admit that while Clinton was impeached he was not convicted (the cooling saucer of the senate). The fact is Clinton was exonerated by the senate (in fact found not guilty, unlike Scooter who was indeed found guilty). The Bush crime family has been nothing but corrupt and they will always be. Let’s just hope they don’t get away with it politically, hopefully this (commutation) will stand as the final injustice that we American citizens have to endure. Yeah Right, only 18 more months of this B.S.

    Bush would have issued a pardon except if he did Scooter would not be able to plead the 5th if called into court again. This will play out in the political arena now, and the C-student in chief, Cheney, Rove, et al, now they have at least a chance to slip, lets all watch what they do, and be mindful of their complete corruption. It will only compound.
    “The truth is easy to tell, a lie is hard to remember”. Did I just make that up? Yeah

  5. uncledad  •  Jul 4, 2007 @2:33 am

    I saw this quote on a blog today I thought it quite appropriate:

    “The United States is a nation of laws: badly written and randomly enforced.”
    ~ Frank Zappa

  6. c u n d gulag  •  Jul 4, 2007 @3:07 am

    Do we have a “Constitution.” of law’s, or do we have a document that’s like the traffic law’s?
    GWB just let a friend go free. It’s as simple as that.

    Not enough bad thing’s can happen to Dick and Bush.
    BTW: I alway’s wanted a t-sirt that said, “Dick anad Bush – no wonder we’re F#$*ed!” You kow the rest of the story..

    Impeach? I wasn’t so sur before. But, in the final analysis, “Yeah, we gotta try….”

    I’m tired of being labeled a “Pussy…”

    “F” me? “F” YOU!!!

  7. uncledad  •  Jul 4, 2007 @3:58 am

    excellent radio station, they stream try it.

  8. GDAEman  •  Jul 4, 2007 @6:22 am

    Uncledad: The laws are not randomly enforced. The enforcement, and Constitution for that matter, is tilted toward the US aristocracy that took control from the British aristocracy.

    The impeachment process has started. The people are doing their part, and Congress is investigating.

    More important will be the question of criminal prosecution of George W. Bush for numerous counts, including Crimes Against Peace

    Short of that, Congressman Jerrold Nadler, Chairman of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties, said on June 12, 2007 that there is no question that the warrantless wiretaping engaged in by the Bush Administration is a felony offense and that the President and Attorney General engaged in a criminal conspiracy worse than Watergate. (Source: David Swanson). Nadler call’s for Bush’s prosecution.

    Thanks for the link to Olbermann. Historic.

  9. c u n d gulag  •  Jul 4, 2007 @8:49 am

    This administration leaves us with no shortage of reasons to impeach. We should impeach them for the very act of breathing O2 at this point…

    Hey, Dick, how do YOU survive after the number of heart-attack’s you’ve had? Is it sucking on the blood of Iraqi children? Or is it on transfusion’s from the blood of our soldier’s?

    Enquiring mind’s want to know…

    Oh, that’s right, we can’t find out. “(Sc)Pooter’s” been given clemency.
    Poor Pooter Libby: This creature (I love that term, Maha)represent’s today’s governing style – when one butt-cheek kisses the other… “George, get your tongue out of John Robert’s ass!!! And John, you do the same!!!”

    IMPEACH!!! Or, at least start. Tie these evil, incompetent idiot’s up in knot’s, so they can’t bomb/nuke Iran.

    The alternative is to put these idiot’s in a round room and tell them to sit in the corner… That will confuse them for awhile – hopefully, years..

    It’s our only hope…

  10. Ed  •  Jul 4, 2007 @10:40 am

    Nice post as usual. I feel the intense anger of many of those posting responses. Unfortunately, a lot of people have been angry, and had seen the writing on the wall back in 2000 when SCOTUS handed the election to Bush. With that subversion of law the Bush administration was empowered to trample any inconvenient laws or even the Constitution with impunity. In the current paradigm it’s not treason if the President or his lackey’s do it.
    The hypocrisy of the Libby commutation is more of the same. If we as a nation are allowing torture and engaging in an unjustifiable war how are we to really get upset when the monkey paw is given a pass. Not just partisan liberals but the rare true conservatives should cry foul but compared to the abridged list of crimes and incompetencies that Olberman sites this is a minor blip.
    Impeachment, unlikely and the backlash of an impeachment campaign may derail the returning swing of the pendulum. It will require a lot of effort – organizing, protesting, donating, voting, but we may get our country back. The politicians can only do so much if we don’t take to the streets or at least get involved. The country, law, government is a work in progress and a large part of enforcement is how we value them. In spite of strong political statements from Dems, the tepid public response to this commutation is truly frightening.
    I just watched Sicko, perhaps Moore’s best film to date. I found Bowling for Columbine heavy handed, maybe counter-productive and Farenheit 911 overly polemical, even though I share most of his sentiments. In Sicko his thesis seems to be more than a call for universal healthcare. He seems to be challenging our citizenship and even more so our humanity and need to care about others if we are to survive as a society – something which seems antithetical to the right wing swing of this millenium.

  11. Sachem  •  Jul 4, 2007 @11:48 am

    Gart Hart speaks to posterity at HuffPo. The last paragraph:

    “The Founders made the moral guidepost of intergenerational accountability equal to their immediate interests (“to ourselves and our posterity”) in creating the Union. Our government is not at liberty to disregard the consequences of its actions on our posterity. Indeed, if it takes seriously the full meaning of our Constitution’s preamble, it has no choice but to consider with utmost seriousness its duties, responsibilities, and obligations to those who shall inherit this great nation from us”.

    It’s ironic that “the creature” et al think that posterity will remember them kindly, or even heroically for their actions. As each day passes, the legacy of this spineless deluded congress becomes the damage they won’t stop.

    Impeaching and removing Dick Cheney is the only thing that can be done to stop the disastrous bombing of Iran before it starts. Given that Dick is so obviously guilty of numerous high crimes and misdemeanors, this should be a national priority of immediate concern.

    So it is necessary to sit Libby down in front of any one of several congressional subcommittees, give him immunity and demand he speak. It’s our right to know what has happened. These bastards need to go.

  12. joanr16  •  Jul 4, 2007 @11:53 am

    [T]he cooling saucer of the senate.

    What a wonderful phrase!

    In a true “law and order” society, criminal acts result in criminal prosecutions. For Bush and Cheney, that means impeachment. Of course, prosecutions don’t always result in convictions, but a failure to convict doesn’t negate the crime. Failure to prosecute does.

    As a bonus, impeachment would slow down the further commission of crimes, which occur in this White House almost hourly. Congress might keep the bastards distracted enough to only commit one or two a day until the next inauguration.

  13. merciless  •  Jul 4, 2007 @12:10 pm

    maha, thanks for the links. I hadn’t seen Shuster bitch-slap Tucker, and it was beautiful. The best part was the end, after Shuster finished his rant, and Tucker hesitated for a moment before saying he’d “lost the train of the argument.” HAhahaha!

    As for impeachment, I agree with Digby (of course) that we have to keep in mind that it is not only a “nuclear” option, but also that it would almost surely fail. After all, Senate republicans have been obstructing every piece of legislation the House has passed this session, just because they want to. Mitch McConnell has said as much. Even if Democrats tried to impeach Gonzo, Senate republicans wouldn’t do it, because they don’t want to give Dems the satisfaction. Yes, not only are they childish, they’re also self-destructive at this point. And I believe that a failed impeachment would be spun as exoneration, and Bush would see it as such.

    The argument that we must impeach to prevent Cheney from attacking Iran is also specious; I cannot imagine a circumstance that would make it MORE likely for Cheney to hit the big red button than the prospect of a long, messy impeachment hearing. He’d do it first because he wants to, second to show the Congress that he can, and third to get the impeachment hearings out of the papers and off the teevee. This reasoning alone shows how psychotic the man truly is, but there you are.

    But I’m feeling optimistic this morning, which is odd for me. The tide is turning, Cheney is getting no traction on his Iran folly, and even the usual suspects in the msm are getting called on their nonsense. You’re right about the tide turning.

  14. corinne  •  Jul 4, 2007 @12:19 pm

    And I fear that if we go through the impeachment process, and the creatures are not convicted, it would amount to exoneration.

    I disagree. Anyone who thinks impeachment should be off the table, like this–“I believe if we began impeachment proceedings we will be engulfed in more of the politics that has made Washington dysfunction…We would once again, rather than attending to the people’s business, be engaged in a tit-for-tat, back-and-forth, nonstop circus.”–is a fool. It is a poorly reasoned argument against impeachment and I really wish people would stop using it.

    The Republicans turned impeachment into a “political act” when they used it against Bill Clinton–who still had the support of a majority of Americans. For them, impeachment was a way to beat up on a president they didn’t like. So instead of being a truly useful avenue, the Republicans misused Constitutionally protected powers to push back against a president they couldn’t beat in two elections.

    The power of impeachment lies in the Constitution: It gives Congress the ability to bring checks and balances back to the three branches of government.

    When Democrats say that impeachment is off the table because it’s “too political” they are dead wrong. It is not political payback. It reasserts the rule of law and the integrity of the Constitution. It returns an out of control Executive Branch to its rightful place.

    Bush et al. have committed breaches that surpass the Nixon Administration and impeachment should not be summarily taken off the table.

    Here is a little inspiration if you need it, Maha:

  15. Swami  •  Jul 4, 2007 @1:17 pm

    Nothing ventured nothing gained..Impeach the bastard. An impeachment doesn’t necessarily mean Bush or Cheney have to be removed from office.. It can be as mild as an official big deal, just to assert the people’s right to let Bush know that he’s not getting over on us.
    An added benefit would be that when facts are brought to light in a focused arena, and the eyes of America are on Bush and Cheney’s misdeeds..the republicans who are bound with blind loyalty to support their party and their president will feel pressure to be faithful to America and it’s ideals rather than to stand behind a loser who cannot benefit them any longer…in a sense they would be on trial aslo because the truth would be their prosecutor.

  16. Marshall  •  Jul 4, 2007 @1:50 pm

    Note that impeachment means no pardons for impeachment related acts. Impeach Bush, and Libby and his cohort no longer have a free wall. Even the threat of this might even get some of them to turn State’s evidence.

  17. felicity  •  Jul 4, 2007 @2:30 pm

    Noble, honorable, principled, ethical, valorous don’t exactly come to mind when thinking about Bush, Cheney and their junta of hangers-on and usurpers. I suspect Scooter threatened to sing to the rafters – if granted immunity of course.

    These guys are champion ass-coverers so I seriously doubt impeachment will result in conviction. But it would sure be sweet to see that parade of thinly disguised asses march down the ‘halls of justice.’

    And of course we’ve got to think about tomorrow. Given how adept political operatives are at veneering and varnishing their clients these days, we could easily vote in a Bush clone in ’08. Assuming consequences are deterrents to crimes, if there are none in the Bush case it rather gives his clone a green light, doesn’t it?

  18. ken melvin  •  Jul 4, 2007 @8:18 pm

    The trial is in progress. Every investigation began needs be completed. Everything they’ve done needs to be looked at by congress. Trial by the court of public exposure. Make sure everyone knows.

  19. marijam  •  Jul 5, 2007 @10:27 am

    It doesn’t matter if it fails or not. It is the doing of it that is the constitutional means to show our displeasure with our elected officials. Constitutionally, the president has the right to commute or pardon the sentencing of anyone he chooses. If the American people see this as a tyranical act, rather than a patriotic act, that is, an act performed for the good of all the people, then we have a constitutional method for dealing with this tyranical act – impeachment. If we do not impeach, then we condone all acts and should just shut up. In the end, they will be out of office in due course. What lingers is the corruption they put into place and we will have to deal with that. One thing that really bothers me is our “mercenary” army, including Blackwater associates. Instead of our Marines protecting our diplomats, Blackwater associates are protecting them. When in another country, not a government official, not a member of the military, how can a mercenary be held accountable to the American People?