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Friday, December 01, 2006


Starting things off...

I think there may be legitimate grounds for impeachment, but by no means is it a slam-dunk. Generally speaking, the guy has been one of the worst presidents of the last 100 years (at least), but I don't know that you impeach a guy just for poor performance. Especially given that he was re-elected, which at least is an indication that there isn't overwhelming agreement that his performance has been that poor.

I think you also don't impeach a guy just because he has pushed the scope of the Executive Branch. That's an issue to be resolved by the Supreme Court, not via impeachment. Many of his power grabs, while certainly distasteful, may (or may not) have been constitutional. Impeachment does not resolve those questions.

I guess for me, the issue of the legitimacy of impeachment is moot, because it is simply not practical. It only takes a majority in the House to impeach, but it takes 2/3rds in the Senate to convict. The Democrats still don't have that kind of juice. And even if they did, properly done the proceedings would take 12-18 months at a minimum, meaning that Bush would be removed from office all of about 3 or 4 months prior to the end of his term. And during that time, the Democrats would be tied up in those proceedings instead of actually taking care of the business that they were elected to take care of.

Given that, impeachment would be a terrible idea for the Democrats, and a boon to the Republicans. Not least because, while the election of Democrats nationwide did send a message, that message was not "We want impeachment"! The country as a whole is not going to support the idea, so pushing it will cause problems for the Democrats in 2008.

As for the idea that impeachment is a pathway to redemption in the eyes of the world -- puhleeze. That ship sailed when, as mentioned before, the people actually re-elected Bush in 2004. Fool me once, shame on you -- fool me twice, why the HELL did you vote for that guy??????

So frankly the correct response to the mistake of Bush would have been to vote him out of office, but it's too late for that. Kicking him out at the end of his second term (assuming it was possible) is hardly going to send a strong message to the rest of the world. And going through a 2 year trial that results in an acquittal (the almost certain outcome) would more likely cause a further erosion of our reputation. What we need to do is move on, from 2009, and begin the long, hard work of rebuilding our respect the old-fashioned way.

Just my two cents...

Yeah, I also don't think removing them from office does anything but burn up their political capitial just in time for the next election. Unless...there is some way they can serve prison time. Obviously I'm not a lawyer or a constitutional scholar or I would know if that was even possible.

If congress were to pursue impeachment I don't think it could be over overstating the case for invading Iraq, or for poor performance.

IMHO, the two possible causes of action are the secret wiretapping and the torture. The Democrats already let that bill through just before the election that let the Pentagon decide what is and isn't torture and retroactively legalized the illegal acts done in the name of intelligence gathering. If there was ever a time to use a filibuster, that was it. I guess they were afraid that being "obstructionist" to a nominally anti-terror bill would be used against them in the election. Perhaps they are right but man, I can't think of a more clearly immoral thing than torture. People can understand that a lot more than they understand illegal wiretapping.

Which brings me to illegal wiretapping. It looks to me like the existing law was written to prevent exactly was the POTUS did. It ought to be a quick trial, but I suppose it wouldn't be. There are some people who think this is an important issue, but I think that it lacks a viceral wrongness. I think more than half the people, after you explained the issue to them, would say "Well sure he broke the law, but there isn't anything really evil about it. What is the difference between that and lying under oath about cheating on your wife?"

I would counter that one has everything to do with the way he does his job and the other has nothing to do with it, but that won't change how people feel.

So I agree with you that there seems to be no point in impeachment hearings. I do think there might be something to be gained from looking into all the missing Iraq money, and holding other investigative hearings and let the Republicans look sleazy covering things up but let them burn their political capital burying these things and let them fight each other to hold onto the moral high ground.

You know, I forgot about the Valerie Plame thing. I guess that is still working its way through the courts, but if I understand it, it probably isn't going to catch anybody higher than Scooter Libby, who could just be pardoned. So nevermind. Just a little felony, nothing to see here, move along.

And going through a 2 year trial that results in an acquittal (the almost certain outcome) would more likely cause a further erosion of our reputation.

Nixon would have survived any impeachment vote in the Senate all the way up to the end of July 1974. I takes time to investigate. It takes time to build a case. It takes time for the public to care. It takes time for them to reach a conclusion.

We've GOT to investigate to find out what exactly happened these last six years. We've just got to know. And if the evidence points toward throwing the guy out (even in the middle of a presidential primary), then I think that's what we've gotta do. To let him off the hook just because he's only got a couple of years left would be a bad precedent.

Personally I'm pro-impeachment. Were I able to, I'd vote for it today.

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