Friday, July 01, 2005

The I-word returneth (impeachment, that is)

Liberal Oasis has a good take on all the recent impeachment talk, based on a recent Zogby poll: "[M]ore than two-in-five voters (42%) say they would favor impeachment proceedings if it is found the President misled the nation about his reasons for going to war with Iraq." Let me say once again here that I do not support the impeachment of President Bush. If new revelations come out, fine. But, based on what we currently know (see, for example, my take on the DSM here), there is in my opinion no justification for impeachment. L.O.:

For one thing, there’s practically no chance that this Republican House will ever vote for impeachment of this Republican president. And there’s similarly little chance that the Democratic leadership will get behind impeachment.

(There is a little loose talk about pushing impeachment among a few liberal House members, but even Rep. John Conyers, who organized the Downing Street Memo hearings, is not on board.)

So if some politicians and activists step up the impeachment talk, it would not really be with any hope of an actual impeachment, but with the hope of reframing the political discussion about Iraq...

Iraq is a crisis. A crisis of Bush’s making but a crisis nonetheless. And the public demands a strategy and a resolution.

To not do so is to lack credibility in the broader Iraq debate.

You want to push for impeachment?

Then you better say at the same time what you believe should happen with Iraq after impeachment.

Otherwise, you will just look political while people continue to die.

So it's up to Democrats to come up with an alternative on Iraq, not just to talk impeachment loosely and without any real hope of success:

"Impeach Bush," by itself, is an obsession, not an agenda. If it is to be pursued, it needs to be part of a larger agenda for Iraq...

Without a singular view, there’s probably no way around having a cacophony of voices from liberals and Dems on Iraq for the foreseeable future.

The risk is without agreement on what to do going forward, it will be too easy to only debate the past, leaving the false
impression that liberals and Dems have no thoughts about how end the Iraq crisis.

But hopefully, if we all are at least offering ideas about what should be done going forward, regardless of our other strategies, we can at least expand the discussion and move towards a unifying vision to offer to the public.

And that's exactly what the American people -- the overwhelming majority of whom are dissatisfied with Bush's job performance -- are waiting for. Are Democrats up to the challenge?

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  • The impeachment idea is silly because it's taking what is effectively a political dispute and elevating it to a legal issue. Obviously, there is no way a Republican Congres is going to impeach Bush. But more importantly, it's dangerous to use impeachment in this way. Even if Bush misled the country (which I think he did), the only reason people are talking about impeachment is because the war is going badly. No one would be talking about it if things were going well. I fear that using impeachment as a crutch when a policy is not working would set a dangerous precedent--president screwed up, so let's impeach him. This isn't a parliamentary system.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:53 AM  

  • I agree, Marc. It's just a crutch. I realize that many Democrats and liberals are still smarting from Clinton's impeachment, and perhaps much of this is just an attempt at retribution. An eye for an eye, so to speak. But it's so ridiculously counter-productive and just makes Democrats and liberals look like sore losers. Unless there's some new revelation of wrongdoing, we need to challenge Bush on his ideas and his policies. If it were a parliamentary democracy, then, yes, his resignation would be a more viable option. But I worry that impeachment will now be the fall-back position whenever the opposition, whether Democrats or Republicans, runs out of things to say.

    By Blogger Michael J.W. Stickings, at 12:30 PM  

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