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"The Genius of Impeachment:" -- John Nichols

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pat_k Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 10:33 AM
Original message
"The Genius of Impeachment:" -- John Nichols
Edited on Mon Oct-09-06 10:43 AM by pat_k
"The Genius of Impeachment: The Founders' Cure for Royalism"
by John Nichols

From David Swanson's afterdowingingstreet.or Blog entry (emphasis mine):

. . .this is not an argument for impeaching Bush, not a list of charges, not a rough draft of articles of impeachment. Rather, "Genius" is a history and portrait of the practice of impeachment, a practice that has been used far longer, far more often, and with far greater importance than most of us imagine.

Nichols makes an overwhelming case that the regular use of impeachment is necessary for the survival of our constitutional government, that impeachment proceedings usually have beneficial consequences even if unsuccessful, that promotion of impeachment is not nearly as politically risky as is failure to do so when it is merited, that a move to impeach Bush in the U.S. House would be greeted with enthusiastic public support, and that failure to impeach Bush would contribute to an ongoing dangerous expansion of executive power from which our system of government might not recover.

. . .a few of Nichols' remarks on the recent history of the Democratic Party in the United States . .

"When the congressional Democrats failed to pursue impeachment as the necessary response to the Iran-Contra revelations of rampant illegality in the Reagan White House rejecting the advice of Henry B. Gonzalez, the wily Texas congressman who alone introduced the appropriate articles in 1987 they thought they were positioning the party for victory in the coming presidential election. Instead, Vice President George Herbert Walker Bush, having recovered from the gentle slap on the wrist he received from Congress for his own involvement in the scandal, was elected to the presidency in 1988 by a landslide, and expected Democratic advances in Congress failed to materialize.

"Pulling punches in a political battle usually results in a knockout, with pu]the party that holds back collapsing to the mat and struggling, often for a very long time, to finally get up again. And the Democratic Party of the George Herbert Walker Bush years, with its inexplicable penchant for pulling punches, runs the very real risk of being flattened not once but repeatedly if it fails to confront the issue of rampant wrongdoing on the part of the Bush administration."
. . .


Order at Powell's Books

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ClassWarrior Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 10:35 AM
Response to Original message
1. K&R for IMPEACHMENT and...
Edited on Mon Oct-09-06 10:36 AM by ClassWarrior
...fellow Sconnie John Nichols.

Visualize IMPEACHMENT.

Then DO something to make it happen. http://impeachforpeace.org/ImpeachNow.html

NGU.


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rodeodance Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 10:37 AM
Response to Original message
2. copy this to ALL congresscritters
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texpatriot2004 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 10:37 AM
Response to Original message
3. Impeachment...it's happening! 3 days and counting nm
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Supersedeas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 10:39 AM
Response to Original message
4. an expanding Unitary Executive v. a rubberstamp Congress--Impeachment is
the third way.
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onenote Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 10:56 AM
Response to Original message
5. a couple of pretty smart Democrats disagree with this sort of thinking
Leaving aside the absence of documentation that the public would be "enthusiastic" in its support for an impeachment proceeding, and the fact that Bush's election in 1988 had more to do with how the public perceived Dukakis (with the help of an unfriendly media, his own mistakes, and negative campaign crap like the Willie Horton ad),as well as Bush's lie about "no new taxes", a couple of pretty smart Democrats tend to have much more narrow view of impeachment, one which is at least as worth of consideration as Nichols':

"Let us resolve to learn the lessons of this long, sad year. Let us learn now, having come this far, the wisdom of the founders that impeachment is and must be a high barricade, not to be mounted lightly. Let us learn that because it requires the overwhelming support of the Senate to succeed, it cannot and should not proceed on a merely partisan basis. Let us learn that the desire to impeach and remove must be shared broadly, or it is illegitimate."

Statement of Senator Paul Wellstone, February 12, 1999

"I see the 4-year term as a unifying force of our Nation. Yet, this is the second time in my adult lifetime that we have had serious impeachment proceedings, and I am only 45 years old. This only occurred once in the entire 200 years prior to this time. Is this a fluke? Is it that we just happened to have had two `bad men' as Presidents? I doubt it. How will we feel if sometime in the next 10 years a third impeachment proceeding occurs in this country so we will have had three within 40 years? I see a danger in this in an increasingly diverse country. I see a danger in this in an increasingly divided country. And I see a danger in this when the final argument of the House manager is that this is a chapter in an ongoing `culture war' in this Nation. That troubles me. I hope that is not where we are and hope that is not where we are heading. It is best not to err at all in this case. But if we must err, let us err on the side of avoiding these divisions, and let us err on the side of respecting the will of the people.

"Let me conclude by quoting James W. Grimes, one of the seven Republican Senators who voted not to acquit Andrew Johnson. I discovered this speech, and found out that the Chief Justice had already discovered and quoted him, and said he was one of the three of the ablest of the seven. Grimes said this in his opinion about why he wouldn't convict President Johnson:

"I cannot agree to destroy the harmonious working of the Constitution for the sake of getting rid of an unacceptable President. Whatever may be my opinion of the incumbent, I cannot consent to trifle with the high office he holds. I can do nothing which, by implication, may be construed as an approval of impeachment as a part of future political machinery."

Statement of Senator Russ Feingold, February 12, 1999
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Bandit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 11:05 AM
Response to Reply #5
6. If they refuse to address the wrongs done in our name then
they will be replaced because no one wants a leader that will not lead. Addressing all the things that have been done to diminish the USA by this Cabal is their job, and they have not been doing that job at all.
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babylonsister Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 11:28 AM
Response to Reply #5
10. With all due respect, I wonder if Senator Wellstone
might have had a change of heart after seeing what this admin has done to our country?

And Sen. Feingold, if the constitution was being used constructively instead of as toilet paper,
I might consider this statement. I see no harmony, only damage being done, and I think it's time
to stop it. If not now, when? When would impeachment be acceptable? I hope never to see such a
disaster in the wh ever again. He's a cancer that must be removed.
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Greyhound Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 11:39 AM
Response to Reply #5
12. This politicization of the impeachment process has resulted in the
Edited on Mon Oct-09-06 11:40 AM by greyhound1966
impeachment of one President for nothing that comes even close to its required standard, and the failure (so far) to impeach three blatantly criminal Presidents, granting tacit approval of their crimes.

And it all comes down to the Re :puke: Party, yet we are going to continue to treat them as legitamate...

Too stupid to live, we so deserve what we're going to get. :banghead:

Edit: :kick: & R
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pat_k Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 12:21 PM
Response to Reply #5
13. Impeachment = restore "harmonious working of the Constitution"
Edited on Mon Oct-09-06 12:30 PM by pat_k
We don't don't need proof of existing support.

But for those who believe the fears sown by so called "strategists" trump moral-imperatives and sworn duty, you'll find proof at the end of this post.

As Nichols points out the landslide election of Geo. H.W. Bush proved "strategic" rationalizations for refraining from impeachment when their oath demands it couldn't be more wrong. Dems believed focus on "agenda" and "civility" would position for victory in 1988, so they betrayed their oath and kept their silence about the crimes against our constitutional democracy committed by Reagan and GHW Bush. Rather than "victory" they were trounced and have yet to recover. (And, the victory of Bush I made the reigh of Bush II posible.

------ Proof -------------

Even with the deafening silence, a majority of Americans want Bush impeached. There would be far more proof if they had done any polling on impeachment in the past year, but apparently the reality -- that a majority of Americans want to see this man impeached -- is so unthinkable to the pollsters and "strategists" they don't even bother to ask. They just believe the predictions of doom spouted by the likes of Paul Weyrich and David Horowitz.

Ipsos Poll, one year ago, before Bush's eroding support when from steady decline to free fall.

50% agreed with the statement:

"If President Bush did not tell the truth about his reasons for going to war with Iraq, Congress should consider holding him accountable by impeaching him."

44% disagreed, and 6% said they didn't know or declined to answer. The poll has a +/- 3.1% margin of error.


---------------------------------
A majority of American's now believe Bush and Cheney lied

ABC 11/2/05

In making its case for war with Iraq, do you think the Bush Administration told the American public what it believed to be true, or intentionally misled the American public?"

55% Mislead
44% They believed


CNN/USA/Gallup 10/30/05

Do you think the Bush administration deliberately misled the American public about whether Iraq has weapons of mass destruction, or no

53% Mislead
45% Not


The numbers have continued to move against Bush since these polls.

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ClassWarrior Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 12:36 PM
Response to Reply #13
14. Yes. IMPEACHMENT is a REMEDY to all the corruption and power lust...
...the Rape-Publicans have injected into our government.

NGU.


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onenote Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 12:49 PM
Response to Reply #13
16. if you're going to cite cnn polls, don't be so selective
First, as noted in my earlier post, there is no evidence that would suggest that trying to impeach Reagan for Iran Contra would've (1) been successful and (2) helped Dukakis against Bush. JUst raw speculation. Well, I'll go with my raw speculation that it wouldn't have made a damn bit of difference. As for the claim that a majority of Americans want Bush impeached, and that we'd know that for certain if the pollsters weren't refusing to ask the question, well, here's a CNN poll from five weeks ago that asked the question.

CNN Poll conducted by Opinion Research Corporation. Aug. 30-Sept. 2, 2006. N=1,004 adults nationwide. MoE 3 (for all adults).

http://www.cnn.com/2006/POLITICS/09/08/poll.democrats/i...

"Do you think it would be good for the country or bad for the country if the Democrats in Congress were able to conduct official investigations into what the Bush Administration has done in the past six years?" Half sample, MoE 4.5

Good Bad Unsure
57% 41% 2%
.

"Next year, it is possible that the country will have a Republican president and a Democratic Congress. Do you think that is more likely to result in more cooperation between the two parties or more likely to result in more gridlock and stalemate in the government?" Half sample, MoE 4.5

Cooperation Gridlock Unsure
27% 70% 3%

"Based on what you have read or heard, do you believe that President Bush should be impeached and removed from office, or don't you feel that way?"

Should Be Should Not Be Unsure
30 69 1



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pat_k Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 01:33 PM
Response to Reply #16
18. Since we cannot know the outcome why would we hesitate to do the right. .
Edited on Mon Oct-09-06 01:37 PM by pat_k
. . thing and fight for impeachment?
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onenote Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 02:14 PM
Response to Reply #18
20. I think we have good idea what the outcome would be
The repubs will stand together and thus there is no way to successfully remove chimpy from office. And there is an unacceptable risk, imo, that the public likely will respond as they did to the Clinton impeachment, which ended up costing the repubs seats in both the House and Senate.

Again, consider the words of the late, great, Senator Wellstone: "Let us learn now, having come this far, the wisdom of the founders that impeachment is and must be a high barricade, not to be mounted lightly. Let us learn that because it requires the overwhelming support of the Senate to succeed, it cannot and should not proceed on a merely partisan basis. Let us learn that the desire to impeach and remove must be shared broadly, or it is illegitimate."

Whether or not you agree or disagree with Wellstone's statements, there can be little doubt that this statement, and Feingold's, would be plastered all over the airwaves if the Democrats launch an impeachment effort, and given where polls show the public is on the issue of impeachment, we would be doing the repubs a huge favor, imo.
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Senator Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 02:51 PM
Response to Reply #20
21. This defeatist, rationalization for inaction hurts Dems far more...
...than anything the neofascists say or do.

The simple reality is that repubs no longer need to "stand together." Nor do they need to have majorities in congress.

The Dems can offer nothing under "rule by signing statement." Any law they pass or court ruling is just "words on a page" to this regime. There is no bipartisanship to be had, except perhaps in opposition to the criminality. In fact, we all might be shocked to see just how quickly an impeachment effort could turn "bipartisan."

Which is why this outcome-based, circular reasoning is so damaging. Without any real power, all that's left is one's principles to stand on. Their failure to stand up for impeachment displays weakness to those they might otherwise rally behind them. It's embarrassing to have to refer to the DC Dems as "leaders."

How is a voter supposed to imagine Dems standing up against terrorists, or healthcare profiteers, or globalized greed, or any threat to our way of life for that matter; if they won't stand up to this never-elected, never-legitimate, criminal regime?

That dog is just not hunting. And hasn't for years.

Impeachment is the ONLY moral, patriotic option.

--
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KitSileya Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-10-06 03:09 AM
Response to Reply #21
22. Amen!
I think the rest of the world sees the inaction of the Dems as just a great a betrayal as the crimes comitted by the Bush** admin. From our point of view, Americans are doing nothing to stop them! We do not see the protests on the corner, or the canvassing for Democratic candidates, or all the other things you do every day - but we do see about as much as you do the leaders of the Democratic party and their inability to grow a spine.
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stepnw1f Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 11:08 AM
Response to Original message
7. Inaction Created the Mess We See Today
and some are still pushing us all to shut up about impeachment. Now you know what side they are all on... whether they realize it or not, they support this "go along" mentality at the expense of our children.
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oc2002 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 11:10 AM
Response to Original message
8. Can you impeach the president for lying? if he is not under oath?

just wondering where this impeachment is going, I am all for impeachment, but other than he lied about WMD's in Iraq, or exagerated the evidence, where is the impeachment going?
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babylonsister Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 11:24 AM
Response to Reply #8
9. How about for treason? He started a war and sold our country
to the highest bidder who ironically didn't even have to bid.
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pat_k Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 12:44 PM
Response to Reply #8
15. They've confessed. Publicly. Repeatedly. Every time they invoke "unitary.
. . authoritarian exective" to rationalize the crimes against our constitutional democracy the are committeing.

The case is self-evident. No investigation neeeded. By their own public actions they have condemned themselves.

BTW. Impeachment is a defensive, political process.

Defensive in that we are saving our Constitution and the nation on which it stands from further harm.

It is akin to pulling over a drunk driver to get a menace off the road. (Turn off the engine. Get out of the car.) The drunk driver is prosecuted after the fact, but the first order of business is to get on out of control drive off the road to protect the public the police are sworn to protect (as members of Congress are sworn to protect the Constitution).

Political in that WE decide what is impeachable. We decide whether our civil officials are a menace to the fabric of our Constitution. We -- through our voice, the Congress -- could impeach an idiot President because his stupidity was a menace to our security and to the world.

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Phredicles Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 11:32 AM
Response to Original message
11. Way recommended!
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TahitiNut Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 12:52 PM
Response to Original message
17. I strongly agree. The potential harm of Clinton's impeachment and
... conviction in the Senate is dwarfed to almost nothing compared to the benefits of impeaching the Fecal Fuhrer and his Unterfuhrer. Impeachment proceedings - for presidents and supreme court justices - ought to be nearly as common as elections. The specious sanctification of some 'untouchable' elected or appointed office is far, far more harmful than political corruption itself, imho. The totally fictitious notion that our nation will crumble and suffer great harm if some policitian is FIRED (by his employers, the People) does nothing but deify crooks.

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Senator Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 01:54 PM
Response to Original message
19. Dictionary Definition for "Urinary Executive"
Urinary Executive or Urinary Authoritarian Executive (slang, DCspeak)

n., (en)title -- the "newly-discovered," or "inherent" (i.e., faith-based) Constitutional Authority for an appointed ruler (as opposed to elected leader) to piss down the back of the American People and tell them it's raining.

See also, Trickle-Down Economics

--
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