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Impeachment Action: History, Rationale and Resources (AfterDowningStreet)

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marmar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-03-07 08:55 AM
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Impeachment Action: History, Rationale and Resources (AfterDowningStreet)
Impeachment Action: History, Rationale and Resources

by Nellebracht

The impeachment and conviction of George W. Bush will never be a Democratic party priority, nor is it even possibly a Democratic party issue. Now if you, like me, advocate for the impeachment and removal of W, that statement may strike you as controversial, perhaps even flat out wrong. Bush has behaved so recklessly and criminally that only sycophants and cowards would demur that he should be tried and convicted. Nonetheless, it is true. Now before I get raked over the coals, I would like to point out that this does not mean that impeachment and removal is impossible, it does mean that if we actually want impeachment and removal to proceed, we need to take a different tack.

The impeachment and conviction of George W. Bush will never be a Democratic party priority, nor is it even possibly a Democratic party issue. I say this not only because of the history of impeachment of Presidents in the United States, but also because of the nature of partisan politics in this country. There have only been two impeachment trials of a President in the history of the US, and probably only a handful of incidents where it could or should have been a serious threat. Lincoln's VP, Andrew Johnson was impeached for firing one of his cabinet members without Congress's approval, a violation of the unconstitutional Tenure of Office Act. Despite the fact that his opposition held veto-proof majorities in both the House and the Senate, and the fact that Johnson's own political party, the National Unity Party, was practically defunct at the time, Johnson survived by one vote. Most of us remember the farcical impeachment of President Clinton, held under even more unfavorable circumstances for the party pursuing impeachment. Neither of those attempts were successful.

Nixon was perhaps the only President where the outcome of any impeachment proceedings were a foregone conclusion at the outset, and he resigned rather than suffer the ignominy of being the first President impeached and convicted. What made this possible was the fact that Republicans could no longer ignore the evidence of Nixon's crimes and were forced to support his removal. Had the evidence not been found, or if it had been more circumstantial and less definitive, Nixon would likely have finished his term and we'd have to affix another suffix to denote political scandals. Republicans would have spun Watergate as a partisan witch-hunt, a fishing expedition, and had Democrats pursued it, it would have split their party between ideal "law and order" types intent on punishing crime, and pragmatic politicians attempting to minimize fallout and maintain some sort of governing coalition with the President and his party (sound familiar?)

These three historical incidents show us that Presidents are protected not only by the Constitutionally granted privileges and powers over Congress and the Courts, but also by their own political parties. Johnson was protected from removal, in essence, because an oppositional Congress essentially attempted to set an unconstitutional impeachment trap for him. Despite the fact that his opposition held a super-majority of the Senate and should have made conviction a slam-dunk, the shady manner in which they set him up caused a member of the opposition to defect. Allegiance to the Constitution saved Johnson's Presidency.

Clinton was protected from removal largely because of partisan politics. Once again, the opposition, without a super-majority in the Senate, attempted to set Clinton up in an impeachment trap, but rather than passing an unconstitutional law that he would be forced to violate, they inundated him with irrelevant investigations and waited for the inevitable perjury. Armed with a nominal crime, and the precedent that Nixon's criminal activities were enough to force his removal, they pressed for Clinton's removal. And at least a few Democrats joined in from the House. Tellingly, no defections from the President's party occurred in the Senate, and a number of Republicans declined to vote to convict. Democrats were successful in protecting their President by linking the Republican attempts to remove him with a partisan political agenda.


With this in mind, I propose the following:

1.)Stop bugging Democrats about supporting impeachment and stop pressuring them to put impeachment back on the table. Impeachment comes back on the table when the Republicans put it there. Call Nancy Pelosi and tell her to say just that. Here's her number :(202) 225-4965 Don't worry, Democrats will support impeachment when it comes around.

2.)Keep bugging Democrats to investigate the crimes and failures of this Administration. Republicans aren't going to investigate themselves and the evidence that would convince them to support Bush's removal needs to come out and be exposed. Here's John Conyer's number: (202) 225-5126. And here's Patrick Leahy's number: (202) 224-4242.

3.)Start calling Republicans. Those of us who do any calling at all are probably used to those numbers above, but what we're probably not all that used to is calling the Republicans, and that's unfortunate. Nowhere does it say that a liberal can't call a Republican, and the last time I checked, you don't have to tell them your political affiliation. These guys need to start hearing from us, en mass. Politicians are panderers by nature, and if they start getting a lot of noise from the hoi polloi, they may start to soften some of their stances, or turn them around outright. If even a small portion of the tens of thousands of people that go through DailyKos on a daily basis were to call their Republican Congressman or Senator, and demand the impeachment and removal of the President, many would begin to reassess their political fortunes. Besides, it's way past time to focus our quite justifiable anger on those who truly deserve it, rather than those who are largely allies. So here's the list of Republicans and their phone numbers, beginning with Senators up for reelection in 08: .........(more)

The complete piece is at:

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L. Coyote Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-04-07 04:42 PM
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1. House Impeachment Inquiry Resolution Proposed: BUSH, CHENEY, ET. AL.
Impeachment by blog: Assistance with this thread appreciated
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