GOP Swept from Power in 2006; Impeachment
June 1, 2005
Satire by Bernard Weiner and Ernest Partridge, The
Press, Nov. 8, 2006: The Democrats didn't waste any time after
their landslide victory in the November midterm election that put
them in charge, with huge margins in both the House and Senate.
The incoming Democratic chairs of the various investigatory committees
announced that subpoenas would be going out immediately to the White
House for all documents relating to when and how the decision to
attack Iraq was made; to how far up the chain of command the authorization
for torture went; and whether Bush and Cheney and/or their subordinates
lied to the Congress and the American People.
Congressional committees also will be on the lookout for evidence
of Administration involvement in war crimes, bribery and election
fraud, Democratic officials said. It is expected that bills of impeachment
will be filed shortly thereafter against both President George W.
Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney.
If both Bush and Cheney are removed from office, the new Speaker
of the House, Nancy Pelosi, would become the President, as stipulated
in the Presidential Succession Act of 1947; she would nominate a
Vice President for approval by the Senate.
Based on polling of voters before and during the voting, according
to political consultants for both major parties, the electorate
clearly was expressing its revulsion at Bush Administration policies;
voters said the key issues affecting their votes were their anger
at the lies undergirding the Iraq War, now in its fourth year, the
condoning of torture as American policy, and the current economic
These factors presumably led to the sweeping votes for Democratic
(62%), and Green (8%), candidates around the country. Many of those
voters, an estimated 20%, described themselves as "conservatives"
who had supported Bush in 2004.
THE ROAD TO IMPEACHMENT
The sudden decline of the Republican Party and the likely downfall
of the Bush-Cheney administration follows a cascade of catastrophes
and unexpected reversals of fortune for the White House during the
second Bush term.
The Economy: The American economy is in deep recession
and, many economists fear, on the brink of depression. Heedless
of warnings by economists from both parties, Bush and the Republican
Congress continued its policy of deep tax cuts to the wealthy, the
dismantling of social services, and huge deficits with no end in
Recognizing at last the unsustainability of these policies, the
international financial community lost all confidence in the dollar,
and, as a result, the value of the dollar against world currencies
Then the economic dominoes proceeded to fall. The price of imported
goods skyrocketed and became unaffordable to ordinary Americans.
International banks (primarily Chinese and Japanese) refused to
continue their support of Bush's budget deficit which forced the
US to raise interest rates dramatically.
Consequently, debt-ridden US consumers have lost their homes, disposable
family income has shrunk, businesses have closed, and unemployment
is rising to levels not seen since the Great Depression of the thirties.
However, this time the bankrupt US government can not supply unemployment
compensation or other relief. The suffering public has put the blame
for this disaster directly upon the Republicans and the Bush Administration.
The Media: After the 2004 election, it was widely believed
that Republican-corporate control of the mainstream media had guaranteed
a permanent Republican "lock" on the federal government. Not so.
Soon thereafter, the public finally began to wake up to the fact
that it had been lied to by the media and, just as important, that
it had been denied vital information about the misdeeds of the Congress
and the Administration.
As a result, the media audience fell dramatically, creating a crisis
in advertising revenue. In the meantime, the Internet became the
primary source of news to the public. Attempts by the Bush-friendly
FCC and the Congress to stifle the Internet failed in the face of
There was then a re-birth of investigative journalism which immediately
received widespread support, thence advertising revenue. Investigative
journalists then proceeded to uncover a rogue's gallery of "White
House Horrors" - the instigators of the Valerie Plame affair, the
suppression of accurate intelligence information, the sellout of
public resources and institutions to private "investors," unbid
sweetheart contracts to firms such as Halliburton, and much more.
Voting Fraud: With the collapsing economy, the loss of
media credibility, the continuing bad news from Iraq, and the re-emergence
of investigative journalism, the public became more receptive to
the idea that the 2000 and 2004 elections were fraudulent and thus
that both Bush administrations were illegitimate.
Because elections are administered on the state and municipal level,
state and local governments were able to open criminal investigations
of election fraud, and with these investigations effectively employed
the powers of legal discovery, subpoena and the threat of perjury.
Indictments followed and public demands for election integrity
in 2006 become irresistible. Reliable exit polling became mandatory
along with paper records of touch-screen balloting.
Civil Liberties: Violations of civil liberties under the
USA PATRIOT Act, which were tolerated in the abstract and when suffered
at a distance by "enemy combatant" prisoners and resident Moslems,
finally provoked outrage when applied to dissenting citizens.
"Watch lists," the federal identity card, censorship, arbitrary
arrests, blacklisting and the loss of careers and reputation, and
the labeling of legal dissent as "subversive" or even "treason"
- all this finally bent the endurance of the public and the newly-liberated
media past the breaking point.
Because the PATRIOT Act evoked little protest and resistance during
Bush's first term, the Administration greatly over-estimated the
American public's willingness to accept these abuses. That false
assessment of public opinion backfired spectacularly.
The Theocracy: With the Congressional vote for stem-cell
research in mid-2005 followed by Bush's veto and the subsequent
Congressional over-ride, Bush's support among Christians shrank
to die-hard fundamentalists (a minority), as moderate Christians,
religious non-Christians and secularists rebelled against the religious
extremism that had captivated the White House and Congress ever
since Bush first took office in 2000.
The Decline in Scientific and Technological World-Leadership:
Bush's disdain for science and education began to yield serious
economic consequences, as cutting-edge research and development,
primarily in environmental (e.g. global warming), energy and bio-technology,
moved abroad, along with leading American researchers and graduate
The usual influx of foreign scientists and students slowed to a
trickle. The public paid little attention at first to this decline
in international prestige, but corporate executives, industry, the
media, and eventually politicians become acutely aware of the crisis,
leading to an abandonment of support by these GOP stalwarts of the
Few of these conditions are impeachable offenses as stipulated
in the Constitution (Article 2, Section 4) - i.e., "treason, bribery,
or other high crimes and misdemeanors." However, together they constitute
a political climate conducive to impeachment.
As political scientists have often remarked, "impeachment is a
political act," which means that it can not go forward unless the
Congress is willing. With the stunning outcome of this week's election,
the Congress is apparently willing to proceed with the impeachment
of the President and the Vice President.
Immediately ahead is the task of compiling evidence that Bush and
Cheney are, in fact, guilty of "treason, bribery, or other high
crimes and misdemeanors."
THE WHITE HOUSE RESPONDS
The first reaction from the White House to Tuesday's election
results was curiously muted.
Said Press Secretary Scott McLellan: "The people have spoken and
we have taken note. We will cooperate with the new Congressional
leadership in all ways we can, consistent with our Constitutional
responsibilities to protect and defend the national interests of
the United States."
When asked directly whether this last phrase left wiggle-room
for the Administration to deny Congress the information it was seeking,
McLellan gave a more ambiguous answer: "Of course, we will supply
what it is necessary for the Congress to know. But we will not be
party to a fishing expedition that might do injury to U.S. interests
in the world or compromise our troops and covert operatives in the
When reminded by a journalist that two senior White House officials
had revealed the CIA affiliation of covert agent Valerie Plame,
thus endangering her and her contacts abroad, McLellan verbally
attacked the reporter as "coming close to providing aid and comfort
to the enemy" by questioning the Administration.
He added: "Though the Democrat Party tends to forget it, our country
is engaged in a war against terrorism, and all Americans should
watch carefully what they say and do. Raising questions about the
Administration's veracity and war-policies might make the terrorists
think that the American government is weak and unable to confront
them. This could make our country more vulnerable to attacks."
THE DEMOCRATS SPEAK OUT
Senator Ted Kennedy (D-Ma.) replied with unusually frank language.
"That response is simply scare-tactics bullbleep. If anyone is endangering
America's national security, it is the Bush Administration with
its arrogant, bullying behavior around the world, taking us into
wars based on lies and deceptions; the fact is that since the U.S.
invaded Iraq, and the tortures were revealed, more and more terrorists
seem to have joined in attacking the United States."
Incoming Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) added: "Midterm
elections are referenda on the sitting Administration. The November
2006 election results make perfectly clear that the good citizens
of America have had quite enough of the lies, deception, corruption
and dirty tricks of the Bush Administration. It would behoove the
White House to accept the judgment of the people. The election was
a clear no-confidence vote in their leadership.
"One would have thought that the Bush Administration would have
seen the handwriting on the wall as early as five months into their
second term, with embarrassing legislative defeats, secret Iraq-war
memos revealed in London, and the strains and open warfare amid
their own coalition - and thus would have chosen to govern more
from the center. But, in their arrogance and hubris, they instead
moved further to the right to please their neo-con, corporate and
fundamentalist base. In the end, however, even segments of those
constituencies deserted them, so much had the Administration botched
their programs and policies, especially in economic areas where
everyone's pocketbooks are affected.
"For the good of the country, and for what little is left of their
reputations, Bush and Cheney should resign. If they do not, they
can anticipate being dragged through the trauma of impeachment.
My guess is that if they resign, they might be able to 'plea-bargain,'
as it were, and the country would go easier on them for their crimes."
THE ROAD AHEAD
Norman Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative
think-tank, said, "Normally, one would think that a defeat of this
magnitude - especially with so many conservatives withdrawing their
support - would lead Bush and Cheney to think seriously about resigning,
rather than have to face impeachment. My guess is that eventually
a group of prestigious Republicans in the Congress and from the
corporate world will be forced to make the inevitable march to the
White House to urge them, for the good of the party and the economy
and the country, to step down.
"But Bush and Cheney and Rove and the rest of their posse - Rumsfeld,
Rice, Gonzales, Chertoff, Negroponte, et al. - are also thinking
about possible jail terms, and perhaps even having to appear before
international courts, and so I don't see Bush and Cheney resigning.
Karl Rove will work overtime to create a defense, and go to a massive
frontal attack against the Administration's Democrat opponents."
"As long as the Bush Administration remains in power," said Harvard
Law Professor Lawrence Tribe, "they maintain control of the Justice
Department, which, with Bush loyalist Alberto Gonzales [as Attorney
General], could give them some leverage in the various court cases
that may arise.
"My guess as to their political strategy is that they will fight
impeachment with everything they have, and, if necessary, create
a Constitutional crisis between the Executive and Legislative branches
and hope that the Judiciary, which over the years they've packed
with their appointees, will somehow bail them out at the last minute.
"But I don't think even that cynical strategy will work. Judges
read election returns and there's no way they would want to be connected,
even inferentially, with an Administration that is going down for
"But this extremist crew will not go easily into their dark night.
If they're going to go down, they probably are willing to take the
country down with them."
"There is no way we would let them endanger America further,"
said incoming House Speaker Pelosi. "Rest assured" she said, "that
we in the Congress, with the firm backing of the American people,
will do everything in our power to get this reckless gang out of
the White House as quickly as possible. If they start playing dirty
tricks, the anger of the citizenry will grow against them even more.
In short, after six years, we finally are seeing the end of their
illegitimate rule, and the shining of a new era of hope and progress."
Well, friends, if you want to make something happen like the possible
landslide defeat of the Bush Administration described above, it's
time to crank up your activism now in preparation for the
all-important 2006 midterm election. Just wishing for it, or starting
to think about it a few months before the voting, won't make it
The time for political pressure and coalition-building - and demanding
honest vote-counting with hand-counted paper ballots - is today.
Organize, organize, organize!
Bernard Weiner, Ph.D., has taught politics and international
relations at various universities and worked as a writer/editor
with the San Francisco Chronicle. Dr. Ernest Partridge
is a consultant, writer and lecturer in the field of Environmental
Ethics and Public Policy. He publishes the website The
Online Gadfly. Together they co-edit the The
Crisis Papers. Send comments to [email protected].
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