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Censure and Impeachment
Censure and Impeachment
By David Swanson, censurebush.org
Censure is not the enemy of impeachment, any more than impeaching Bush prevents impeaching Cheney. We have a tendency to jump five steps ahead of ourselves in order to find imaginary problems.
Let me explain.
Congressman John Conyers has introduced a bill to censure Bush, another to censure Cheney, and a third to create a select committee to investigate and make recommendations on grounds for possible impeachment. The reaction I'm hearing seems to be three-quarters enthusiasm and one-quarter concern that censuring Bush and Cheney will hurt the chances of impeaching them.
I don't think that concern is well placed. The purpose of each of these three bills at this point is to raise the issue, keep the Bush Administration's lies and crimes in the news, and allow the Democrats to show some spine by signing on.
Many Democrats have long whispered that they would impeach Bush if they had the majority. Activists have long pleaded with them that only by showing people what they stand for can the Democrats hope to win a majority. Now there is something new and important to stand for. By signing onto one or more of these bills (and really there's no excuse not to sign onto all three), Democrats can declare themselves an opposition party ready to work against the rightward, criminal drift of the nation. And exceptional Republicans can jump ship too, if they have the nerve.
If we succeed in censuring Bush and/or Cheney, impeachment is next. The one does not cancel the other. The public will not allow it to. Public support for impeachment is much higher than it ever was for impeaching Clinton, and so is support for removing Bush and Cheney from office. (http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/polling) Censure will not satisfy those demands. It will, however, help move Congress and the media in the direction of listening to the public demand for accountability.
And Congress has a long, long way to go. Not a single member of the House has introduced articles of impeachment. Only one has said he would sign onto them if someone else introduced them (John Lewis, just yesterday). Asking Congress Members to sign onto censure and, more importantly, a bill to create a fact-finding committee to investigate possible impeachable offenses, helps them take a significant step toward where the public is.
In fact, this point is well argued in the Executive Summary of the report released today by Congressman Conyers. Here is the key section:
Let's hold the criminals accountable. Join us at: http://www.censurebush.org