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Debating Impeachment Among Democrats

By David Swanson

Can you even imagine Republicans, even if they were in a minority in Congress, debating whether or not to call for the impeachment of a Democratic president known and documented as guilty of a wide range of high crimes and misdemeanors? In particular, if you can imagine that, can you imagine the Republicans who opposed impeachment arguing that they were doing so for strategic political reasons?

This is hard to imagine, because the Republicans won a majority in Congress by loudly proclaiming what they would do if they had it. The main thing they said they would do and still say they will do is oppose the agenda of the Democrats.

Meanwhile, Democratic voters and lapsed voters keep waiting for the Democrats to have an agenda. Polls show that most of us want strong positions on single-payer health care, clean elections, ending the war, shifting to renewable energy, investing in education, restoring the minimum wage, restoring New Orleans, and other policies that incumbent Democrats are usually - at best - taking baby steps on.

The Democrats in Congress seem to be operating under the delusion that they might achieve something small by trying to cooperate with the radical right-wingers who rule the committees. The RNC depicts Nancy Pelosi as Darth Vader, but she wants to work cooperatively with them. At some point this behavior develops into self-hatred.

One of the positions that we Democratic voters seem to care most strongly and decisively about is impeachment of the president. In a recent Zogby poll in Pennsylvania, 85 percent of Democrats favored congressional candidates who are committed to impeachment. Over 75 percent STRONGLY preferred such candidates. These and other polls are revealing not just a preference, but a passionate preference.

Democrats who think they can run on content-free platforms and win because of disgust for Bush are apparently aware of the disgust that's out there. What they are missing is that it's even higher for Democrats who fail to stand up to Bush. I've been at a number of events around the country - Democratic events and anti-war events - where the applause and cheering for impeachment has been matched only by the booing and hissing for Democrats who roll over and refuse to challenge the Bush regime.

Some commentators say we can't push impeachment until after non-Republicans win a majority in Congress.

This makes no sense to me, because first we need a reason to vote the Democrats a majority. You don't get a majority without offering people a reason to vote you one.

If 85 percent of Democrats want candidates who stand for impeachment, impeachment could help win a majority. These two goals are not opposed, but impeachment may need to come first if winning Congress is to be achieved.

Winning Congress for the Democrats may or may not be needed in order to impeach Bush and Cheney. It also may or may not lead to impeachment. This will depend on what sort of Democrats we elect, how we pressure them once they're in, and whether we've built a massive campaign for impeachment that is already up and running once they get there.

It's hard enough getting Democrats to do what they promise to do during their campaigns. Imagine how hard it would be to get them to do something controversial if we'd all kept quiet about it during the campaigns!

There is always an election around the corner. If that's a reason not to fight for justice, then we can never fight for justice.

It is not a waste of time to push popular positions without any guarantee or even likelihood they'll succeed. It is the only way to make them eventually succeed. And it is the only way to change the political balance.

It is also the only thing Democrats in Congress are doing right now. Why should the Dems push futile proposals on education, energy, the war, and every other issue, but not push a futile proposal on impeachment? If we're going to declare everything futile, then they should just go home until someone miraculously gives them a majority.

OR, they could fight for what people want them to fight for, and provide us a reason to vote them a majority.

We need to demand right now that they sign on (as 23 of them have) to H Res 635, John Conyers' bill to create an investigation that will make recommendations on impeachment.

And let's be clear: We need to impeach both Bush and Cheney. It seems likely in fact that we'll persuade a member of Congress to introduce articles of impeachment against Cheney before Bush.

But there are several reasons we should not worry about the remote possibility that impeaching Bush would stick us with Cheney as President.

First of all, an investigation into possible grounds for impeachment, as well as proposals for censure, serves an educational and political purpose, whether or not we get to impeachment. We further discredit the Bushies, and we help to build an opposition.

Impeachment and removal from office are two separate things, one of which has never been done in U.S. history. We should try for removal from office, but we shouldn't worry about it one way or another while fighting for impeachment.

It would be virtually impossible to investigate Bush or Cheney without incriminating the other one. If we impeach one, we impeach both.

Cheney is running the show now backstage. If by some combination of incredibly improbably occurrences he ended up president, we'd be better off with him up front as a walking advertisement for voting against Republicans. We'd be no worse off, since he's already in charge.

It is, in any case, our duty to demand impeachment. If you cannot impeach for the highest crime imaginable, taking the nation to war on the basis of lies, then you can never impeach, or impeachment must be reserved for sex. We must not be the ones to effectively remove the impeachment process from the US Constitution.

It is the duty of every citizen to demand what is right and just, come what may. More important than who sits in the Oval Office is that they know that we can hold them accountable for their actions.

Allowing criminal underlings to provide immunity is a recipe for disaster. If Bush is untouchable because Cheney is criminal, let's stop and think where that leaves us.

And let's stop and think about what it means to be a citizen. We all know that it's unlikely that a Republican Congress will impeach Bush and Cheney. But most of us understand that no important change has ever looked likely - through the course of history - before it's been won. And most of us know that our respect for Democrats will increase dramatically if they fight for what is right, likely or not, plausible or not, reasonable or not. Pundits will call them foolish. People will call them heroes.

Americans are fed up with Bush but even more turned off by Democrats' failure to develop backbones.

Can you imagine every Democrat in Congress standing strongly for impeachment? Can you imagine the pressure that would put on Republicans to join them? I bet you can.

We only need 15 Republicans. Are you going to tell me that nonviolent people's movements can create democracy in Russia, can kick the British out of India, can resist the Nazi occupation in Denmark, can drive a dictator out of El Salvador and another out of the Philippines, can end Jim Crow, can bring down the Soviet Union, can topple military regimes in Argentina and Chile, can end Apartheid, and can bring democracy to the Ukraine, but can't win the votes of 15 Republicans.

How narrow are our dreams! How shrunken is our vision!

Let's think larger! Let's say with Marvin Gaye this Valentine's Day: "Stop beating around the Bush. Let's get it on!"

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Your article makes a pretty good case for supporting the Green Party.
(By the way, you make it sound as though Jim Crow ended -- please note that the strongest, most destructive of the Jim Crow laws is still in place. The sales tax. Begun in Jim Crow states during the Jim Crow era, it was a successful attempt by racists to make poor people pay more for government. Now used it most states, it is the most regressive of all taxes currently in place.)

My friends:
I have affection for all my fellow readers because they care about the same things I do. But let's not kid ourselves. The Democratic leadership won't go to to the wall over NSA spying, an illegal program justified by lies from the Administration (it's not domestic, it's targeted, it keeps us safe).
Do you really think anyone is going to push for impeachment?

...won't go to the wall over anything. Why not? Who knows. Maybe afraid of getting swift-boated someway. Maybe too many Dems jockeying for position in a run for the White House, and not enough positions to take. As far as I'm concerned, there are only two positions -- either you're with us ("What noble cause?" "How Many More?" "Out Now!") or you're with them (The Establishment). Everything else can wait.

Sad to say, but I don't hear any of the leadership or the candidates saying anything like that.

Picture this: The ruling party begins impeachment this summer and defeats it, blocking the minority party from doing it after the elections, when they gain power, because of double jeopardy. Do you think president rove hasn't thought about it at least once?

because i don't think double jeopardy has anything to do with impeachment proceedings

let's have a vote every month

I just posted a blog in Huffington Post giving her hell for her "wait until the election" to impeach. With the spying on Americans scandal there should be a lot of Republicans who would join up who are facing the mid-term election. Even Republicans should feel that Bush and his gang have to be dumped.

I agree with everything you have written, and I will contact Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein with the same message. I have been calling for the candidacy of anyone who will run on the two central issues of this election: Get out of Iraq now, and Impeach Bush. And this goes for Democrats.

Impeachment of Bush and Cheney

I Demand Congress Start Impeachment against G.W.Bush, and D. Cheney.
They have commited serious crimes

I found this and I haven't seen it around the blogs. Did I miss it? Well if you haven't seen it yet here it is. I tried a link but they don't seem to work. If you would like to double check, it is from the Library of Congress, Thomas -

Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States to repeal the 22nd amendment to the Constitution. (Introduced in House)

HJ 24 IH


1st Session

H. J. RES. 24
Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States to repeal the 22nd amendment to the Constitution.


February 17, 2005
Mr. HOYER (for himself, Mr. BERMAN, Mr. SENSENBRENNER, Mr. SABO, and Mr. PALLONE) introduced the following joint resolution; which was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary


Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States to repeal the 22nd amendment to the Constitution.

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled (two-thirds of each House concurring therein), That the following article is proposed as an amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which shall be valid to all intents and purposes as part of the Constitution when ratified by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States within seven years after the date of its submission for ratification:

`Article --

`The twenty-second article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States is repealed.'.

If that doesn't give you chills, I don't know what will. I never thought a 2 term limit made much sense if we had someone who got things done, But If they repeal it so he can buy another election...

I came to this country 7 years ago, im a once was a proud USA citizen now.
When I came to America I thought Americans had a ton of gutts.
And I thought they stood up for what is good in this world.

Im very sad to say im wrong, or am I ???
Bottom line , bush needs to be thrown out of the white house, and put in prison for his war crimes,lieing to the american public, wire tapping, and the toatle disregaurd for Americas safty.

If bush is so heavey into the war on terror, how come he refuses to make Americas bourders safe, please somone for gods sake just answer that for me.

He has captured Saddam , yes a good thing, ( maybe ) but it wasent any of americas right to go in and overthrow a goverment, if he wants to play big shot around the would why not help the Camboidian people get rid of there currupt goverment, oh wait , problem American govment is Corrupt hmmmmm, bush should be in the same dock with Saddam, the only reason he invaded iraq was because of oil.

He is useing the American army like a bunch of mercenarys imho.
He and his administration are sucking upto any arab country that will help him.

Why is it allways the American public that have to pay and pay and pay for Wars they dont want , and presidents that get away with war crimes.

Iain P Noonan

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