Saturday, February 02, 2008

Failure to impeach Bush will haunt Democrats and the country

Weldon Berger in BTCNews:

Nearly a decade of investigations, a lurid final report and a concerted campaign for impeachment left Bill Clinton among the more popular American presidents, with the majority of Americans unconvinced of any need to impeach or remove him from office. Nearly a decade of no investigations, with no coherent summary of misdeeds and no institutional effort to impeach, has left George Bush among the most unpopular of all presidents with a large minority, possibly a plurality, of Americans believing he deserves impeachment.

Clinton was impeached for personal reasons, on both sides of the equation: it was his personal behavior that provided whatever basis for the charges existed, and the desire to impeach him was intensely personal as well. However much impeachment proponents dislike Bush and Cheney—often considerably—the rationale for impeaching them is their official behavior. Consequently, any indictment of the two, whether for repeatedly breaking the law with respect to warrantless surveillance, or violating the Geneva conventions, or politicizing the Department of Justice or any of a number of other crimes, would constitute an indictment of their Congressional enablers as well.

No doubt that’s among the reasons some Democrats in Congress are dead set against the idea, since many of them can be counted among the enablers. But in the long run, Democrats are missing an opportunity to methodically expose the scofflaw nature of the Republican party and to decertify it as a legitimate participant in governing the country until it reconstitutes itself in a more palatable form (or until Democrats implode, whichever happens first).

Nancy Pelosi recently restated her opposition to impeachment, saying that it would be divisive. As I noted at the time, she’s absolutely right. On one side of the divide would be those who support the Constitution and the rule of law, and on the other, whether from party loyalty or personal philosophy, those who don’t. It’s a division that, were it to be explicitly drawn, would benefit the country and those Democrats who stand on the better side of it even if impeachment were to fail, which is possible, or if impeachment succeeded and the Senate voted, as is all but certain, to acquit.

Should the next president be a Democrat, he or she would benefit considerably from serving with a Congress in which Republicans were stigmatized by having been forced to side with Bush and Cheney against the Constitution and Democrats were clearly identified as standing with it. A Republican president would be constrained by the same circumstances.

Labels: , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home

Web Site Counters
Staples Coupons