Thursday, November 02, 2006

I HAVE A DREAM . . .

A lot of ink has been spilled on the issue of George Bush's impeachment, should the Democrats gain control of both houses. I, for one, would readily support it, for reasons I've explained ad nauseum here.

That said, it's clear it ain't gonna happen, for a couple reasons: even if the Dems gain both houses, there's no way they'll get the Senate supermajority needed to convict; and they don't seem to have the political will anyhow.

But . . . if the Democrats capture the House -- as it looks they will -- and gain either a tie or a small majority in the Senate, I wonder if there'll be any call to impeach Dick Cheney, or maybe Donald Rumsfeld. Let me explain.

Bush remains stubborn, explaining that Cheney and Rumsfeld will remain in their positions until 2009. According to the Decider, both Cheney and Rumsfeld "are doing fantastic jobs and I strongly support them." Whatever.

But I'd love to see the new Congress send a sharp message to Bush that he, alone, doesn't run the country, nor does he set policy unilaterally. Even if the effort was unsuccessful, perhaps Rumsfeld would resign to avoid putting his boss under such pressure.

Finally, opening the doors to debate, my reading of the Constitution tells me that any official can be impeached. As Article II, Section 4 reads:
The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.
From that it looks like Rumsfeld qualifies. And as to the "High Crimes and Misdemeanors" line, it's merely advisory. Unlike a legal trial, there are no required elements for conviction-upon-impeachment. And it makes sense, because no loss of liberty is contemplated. As Article I, Section 3, Clause 7 explicitly states:
Judgment in Cases of Impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from Office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States
In other words, this isn't in the realm of criminal law, so the standard notions of fairness in that area don't apply. Conviction-upon-impeachment requires one thing, and one thing only: 2/3 of the Senate voting Yea.

Which is what I'd say if this unlikely event ever came to pass.

16 Comments:

Anonymous waitingforthealiens said...

You can’t imagine how much I would like to see Bush, Cheney and almost all the high level appointees in Defense, State and Justice impeached, but the Dem’s leadership decided early on to take that away from the Repubs as a get-out-the-vote issue.

Hope the Rumsfeld endorsement will cause the moderate right (if there is such a thing) to throw up its hands.

10:11 AM  
Anonymous Mike said...

You can’t imagine how much I would like to see Bush, Cheney and almost all the high level appointees in Defense, State and Justice impeached

No, I can imagine!

10:45 AM  
Anonymous waitingforthealiens said...

This comment has been removed because it linked to malicious content. Learn more.

11:12 AM  
Anonymous Mike said...

Yeah, that about sums it all up.

I didn't really get the subtleties of the Federline joke, but -- today's Courtney Love piece notwithstanding -- I shock myself sometimes at how out of it I am re pop culture.

It's weird when you start to become one of the "out-of-it" oldsters you laughed at when you were younger. Which in my case was about 5 years ago.

11:27 AM  
Blogger Toasty Joe said...

Mike, check out this shocking video of another "botched speech" by a certain '04 presidential candidate:

http://youtube.com/watch?v=LIYVaRGuKEA

Can't wait for the right wing uproar over this one.

5:01 PM  
Anonymous Mike said...

Oh my. Did you get a good look at Rumsfeld's face as Bush mangles the speech?

Excellent.

7:27 AM  
Blogger Causal said...

Do-It-Yourself Impeachment, no joke.
The Citizens' movement.

The day the nation demands impeachment is almost upon us. On Jan 3rd, sacks and sacks of mail will be sent to congress demanding impeachment via the House of Representative's own rules. This legal document is as binding as if a State or if the House itself passed the impeachment resolution (H.R. 635).

There's a little known and rarely used clause of the "Jefferson Manual" in the rules for the House of Representatives which sets forth the various ways in which a president can be impeached. Only the House Judiciary Committee puts together the Articles of Impeachment, but before that happens, someone has to initiate the process.

That's where we come in. In addition to the State-by-State method, one of the ways to get impeachment going is for individual citizens like you and me to submit a memorial. ImpeachforPeace.org, part of the movement to impeach the president, has created a new memorial based on one which was successful in impeaching a federal official in the past. You can find it on their website as a PDF.

STOP WAITING FOR YOUR MEMBERS OF CONGRESS TO ACT FOR YOU.

You can initiate the impeachment process yourself by downloading the memorial, filling in the relevant information in the blanks (your name, state, etc.), and sending it in. Be a part of history.

http://ImpeachForPeace.org/ImpeachNow.html

8:15 AM  
Anonymous Applesaucer said...

"A lot of ink has been spilled on the issue of George Bush's impeachment...I, for one, would readily support it."

Would you have supported Abraham Lincoln's, FDR's or LBJ's impeachement? If not, what makes them significantly different than Bush along the lines of autocratic tendencies, competence, regard for the truth and regard for civil liberties?

To be clear: I think the Bush Administration has been downright lousy -- autocratic, dishonest and reckless. But I think we'd find this to be the case with most administrations operating under one-party-rule.

I suppose, then -- notwithstanding the "case" I made for Republicans over Democrats the other day -- divided government is to be preferred. And, while I won't like to see the 2001-2004 tax cuts rolled back or tax provisions reinstated, I certainly won't be sad to see divided government and conservative media hacks cry in their beer.

But impeachment? I thought it was a big mistake during the Clinton years and would be a big -- but lesser -- mistake here.

If it happens here, you can bet it will happen every second Presidential term under divided government. I suppose if it hobbles government in the interim, it'll have a positive effect in a perverse way, but I'd prefer to see good old fashioned gridlock.

Otherwise, impeachment will become a purely political tool. Then, when we see a case for impeachment upon which both sides of the aisle agree (e.g. Nixon), it'll have become a discredited removal device.

9:32 AM  
Anonymous waitingforthealiens said...

Impeachment has always been a "purely political tool."

9:59 AM  
Blogger Toasty Joe said...

Can you please explain why Lincoln and FDR were lying, incompetent autocrats? Can't wait to hear this one.

10:01 AM  
Anonymous Mike said...

Would you have supported Abraham Lincoln's, FDR's or LBJ's impeachement?

In the case of Lincoln and LBJ, assuming contemporanious views, knowlegde, and historical understanding, I probably would have.

As to FDR, his overreaches notwithstanding, I probably would not have, even though I'll cop to the inconsistency. The 30's were a very screwed up time in the world, with tin-pot (and iron-pot) dictators popping up all over. Admitting that FDR was our dictator, he still recognized elections, and avoided the overtly fascistic tendencies that much of the Western world flirted with (or "closed the deal" with) in those days.

If it happens here, you can bet it will happen every second Presidential term under divided government . . . impeachment will become a purely political tool. Then, when we see a case for impeachment upon which both sides of the aisle agree (e.g. Nixon), it'll have become a discredited removal device.

You make legitimate points, and your fears are real. But -- aside from the necessary admission that impeachment/conviction is, and always has been, nothing but a political tool -- I think there's an equally strong argument that we, as a nation, need to show this would-be dictator, and any in the future, that this shit won't fly.

Then again, maybe this shows why I'm not in politics.

Have you considered Devil's Advocator as an alternative moniker?

10:02 AM  
Anonymous Mike said...

Can you please explain why Lincoln and FDR were lying, incompetent autocrats?

I'll let Applesaucer field the question, but you have to admit that while neither FDR nor Lincoln were incompetent nor especially dishonest (Honest Abe, for crissakes!), they both fit the autocrat label just fine by American standards.

Lincoln was the first President to suspend the Writ of Habeus Corpus, and even though it was justified under the Constitution (rebellion AND invasion), he nonetheless used it to jail dissidents and those who spoke out against the war. Not to mention the 1863 decision to allow rich folks to buy their way out of the draft in what was an unpopular and bloody war.

It's also very easy to see now that he was on the right side of the slavery issue and on the winning side of the Union vs. Agglomeration of States fight (regardless of whether one thinks it's right or wrong). But in 1860, many Notherners, especially mercantilistic New Yorkers, though the war to defend the Union agument was pretty hare-brained.

600,000 dead speak to the cost.

I'm not saying I equate Lincoln with Bush, and I've made it clear where I stand on Bush. But I have to be honest with myself.

10:10 AM  
Anonymous waitingforthealiens said...

Putting aside for a moment the extremely unlikely event of impeachment, is there any chance that if the Democrats retake the House and Senate, they will address the sand spur in my flip-flop and abolish the Electoral College?

I reviewed the census data 2 years ago and as I recall, 23 states have fewer residents than Harris County, TX. I am willing to concede that “geographic minorities” are entitled to have their voices heard and, to some extent, their interests protected. With a minimum of one representative and two senators for each state, the “coasts” cannot completely dominate the agenda. But I am fed up with the super-representation that residents in the rural states enjoy in electing our one national officeholder.

10:37 AM  
Anonymous Mike said...

WFTA-

I'm with you, man. 100%.

But it ain't happening, and we know it.

10:42 AM  
Anonymous Applesaucer said...

"Can you please explain why Lincoln and FDR were lying, incompetent autocrats? Can't wait to hear this one."

Mike's done a good job on Lincoln. I'd add that he mismanaged the bulk of the Civil War -- if he'd fired McLellan sooner he could have saved hundreds of thousands of lives. Bush's incompetence has cost a small fraction of that. I don't want to make light of even those deaths, but those are the facts.

Moreover, respected historian have argued that Lincoln began plotting for the civil war and ensuring its outbreak even before he took office -- instructing Republican congressmen to shoot down possible compromises, intentionally creating a volatile situation at Fort Sumpter [sic?], etc. No doubt the Civil War served at least one obviously noble purpose -- but that doesn't change Lincoln's classification as a "War Monger."

FDR -- Well, all I'll ask you is how you feel about Japanese Internment, Court Packing, 50% dollar devaluation combined with gold ownership prohibitions (in effect,he devalued American citizens' net wealth by 50% and didn't even allow them to seek the historical store of wealth that gold represented).

With respect to WWII -- again, lots of worthy causes served by winning that war, but again FDR was feeding the allies secretly and in defiance of then-existing US policies. And, again, the early years of that war went horribly, costing many lives. Even the later successes were achieved through horrific tactics and attrition. Just read a little bit about Curtis Le May (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Curtis_LeMay) and you'd have to agree that US WWII tactics make current tactics seem humane by comparison.

Just read about the Battle of the Bulge and the cost of American lives and ask yourself how you would react to that if it happened in Iraq (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_the_bulge)

As I see it, you agree with abolishing slavery, preserving the union, the New Deal, defeating the Nazis, etc. -- all well and good. But you have to ask yourself whether this makes you gloss over the methods, or whether, knowing the methods, you accept them as "necessary evils."

Applesaucer

11:30 AM  
Anonymous waitingforthealiens said...

It is refreshing to read a quality discussion free of personal invective. Perhaps someone should call me “Fucktard” before I develop an infatuation.

Enjoy your weekends. The weather in Houston is as good as it gets and two tee times are reserved.

12:10 PM  

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