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February 12, 2007

Discuss: Is Impeachment Worth It?

Some say that the odds of convincing Congress to pursue impeachment are so slim that the focus should be on more pressing issues, such as pulling US troops out of Iraq. Sanford Levinson said impeachment advocates "are in effect supporting a strategy doomed not only to fail but also to be perceived by most of the country as a dangerous distraction from the pressing problems facing the country."

But others say impeachment is key. Elizabeth de la Vega, a prosecutor who wrote United States v. George W. Bush et al, which presents evidence incriminating the president to a hypothetical grand jury, said not pursuing impeachment is like "painting your kitchen when you have a tornado coming through the house."

We want to know what you think. Are After Downing Street and ImpeachPAC wasting their resources? Should activists push for impeachment, or are we all better off if they work on other issues they care about, like the Iraq war or poverty?

Activists and lawyers admitted that winning over Congress members is an uphill battle. What do you think they would need to do get Congress to change their minds? And is it worth it?

Comments...

Duane Waln:

With Bush about to attack Iran, and compound an already disastrous world condition, how can the present Democratic leadership not be complicit if they don't stop him by impeachment? How can they pussyfoot, when Bush stomps around the world stage as if intent on bringing on Armageddon?

Darryl Hamson: Impeachment? Yes, but ...

There are certainly grounds for impeachment. While scholars may differ on the exact meaning of "high crimes and misdemeanors", there is no doubt at all that the Bush-Cheney gang are guilty of abuse of power, which was one of the key charges made against Nixon. I fully agree with David Swanson of After Downing Street that it is essential to establish that what this administration has done will not be tolerated.

But ... I have to acknowledge that the chances of impeachment (let alone conviction) are slim to nil. The problem is not just with this "unitary executive"; it's that the whole system of checks and balances set up by the Constitution has unraveled. Even if Bush et al were removed from office, the corrupted structure that made them possible would still be there and would quickly supply us with other corrupt leaders.

I don't know what the long term remedy should be, or even if there is one. But for now, I think it makes sense to support as many investigations as possible into the actions of the Bush administration. The more the incompetence, the deceptiveness, the outright criminality of these people can be demonstrated, the harder it will be for Americans to avoid thinking about what their government has done.

Leslie:

How can we effectively deal w/ pressing domestic and international issues if the rot in our executive remains. That rot spills into every department, policy, and program that they interface with, so yes, Impeachment is worth it because otherwise the rot will remain.

eciaccio: IMPEACHMENT IS WORTH IT

If impeachment of Cheney first (for his Joseph Wilson-Valerie Plame involvement as Scooter Libby's trial has verified), then Bush, stops a war on Iran, it is CERTAINLY worth it.

Leslie:

eciaccio is right-which is worse for this country? We can handle impeachment; I don't know if we'd ever recover from the effects of a war w/ Iran.

weescot: impeachment?

With two years to go, and the infrastructure being readied with concentration camps and military-style control of gatherings now being finalized, BushCo still has martial law up its sleeve and is making even further moves to facilitate that last step toward totalitariansim. Would impeachment prevent that possibility (likelihood) or just bring it on? The Democratics are still divided on Iraq, have barely addressed defa vu in Iran, and Democratic voters still hope to be listened to but that's going down the drain in the usual DLC-type maneuvering and strategizing rather than principle. Cheney will find a way to further neutralize opposition to BushCo (his) crimes. Impeachment sounds far too tame anyway. In Latin America, they take massively to the streets. In France they strike, in the US they watch TV, be sure to get their exercise and water, and commiserate with each other if not too much effort. with one another

Mike Jung: More than impeachment

Not only should we be pressing our representatives to impeach Bush and Cheney, we should also be pushing for a Constitutional amendment to allow voters to replace a sitting president by majority vote. As has been pointed out, the system doesn't allow for true accountability to the voters since the two major parties have so much control over whose names show up on the ballot. As long as we're at it, may as well add an amendment that specifies that corporations are not people and are not protected in any way by the Constitution. And that the president is elected by popular vote.

DH:

I think impeachment over an issue related to how we got into Iraq would be a very powerful message to the people who pushed for it. I doubt it would play out this way even if impeachment became a reality. But for me two questions remain. How different will the next guy's policy be towards Iran? Does our hope for the future rest on the possibility of an honest White House?

boboh7: Impeachment NOW

Color me paranoid if you wish BUT I fear a phony "terrorist" attack will be used to declare martial law, invoke all the unconstitutional powers provided in the so-called "Patriot Act", and suspend the 2008 election so a coup can set up a permanent Republican Party federal government. This is the psychopathic program I see afoot now. Congress must act now if there is to be any chance to stop the coup.

jamielejeune: Bigger Fish To Fry

If impeachment itself is the only goal, the only indicator of success, and actions for impeachment are carried out in relative isolation from anti-war and social justice organizing generally, then After Downing Street and ImpeachPAC are wasting their resources. Not only is success by that measure unlikely, but even if Bush was impeached, what really would we have won? As asked in a comment above, "Does our hope for the future rest on the possibility of an honest White House?" This is exactly the problem.

Any push for impeachment should not act to highlight and punish the crimes of one man. Rather, we should highlight the systemic ills of our political system. The question is not whether what Bush's actions legally constitute high crimes, nor whether there is enough popular antipathy to politically convict him. The real question is how he has gotten away with such acts in contradiction of the will of large majorities? What is wrong with our political system that has allowed this to happen, and what changes are we going to make to fix it?

Now, if organizing for impeachment is oriented towards increasing the number of people working to answer that question, then, regardless of whether Bush is actually impeached or not, it will be definitely worth it.

PatK: Like trying to remodel a burning house. . .

. . .trying to "get things done" in Bush World is lunacy.

The election had nothing to do with items on an some agenda.
It was not "all about the War."
It was all about Bush.
The message was clear, "Get us out of Bush World!"

As long as our so-called "leaders" refuse to accuse/impeach, Bush and Cheney will continue to turn Americans into torturers. What "other priority" can possibly excuse complicity with torture?

As long as they leave the massive power of the American presidency in the hands of these lawless men, they will accomplish nothing unless the "unitary authoritarian executive" deigns to permit it. If they think betraying their oath and spending two years of blowing hot air and demonstrating their impotence will help Democratic candidates win next time around, they'd better think again.

The only "solution" is to escape from Bush World.

The only way out is impeachment.

Related:

Lobbying for Impeachment: Take along a Big "Clue Stick" !

___________________________________
BTW. If the leadership gets serious about impeachment, defeat is far from certain. The Republicans are a ruthless bunch. They'd probably welcome any excuse to force Bush and Cheney to resign and install some "new faces" (Republican faces) in the White House.

Just imagine if all the "Stop the War" and "issue" advocates took a month to lobby for nothing but impeachment. Bush and Cheney would be out of there so fast the fascists wouldn't know what hit them. We'd have a shot at actually extracting ourselves from Iraq and addressing those issues.

Just imagine what it would be like if our leaders stood and fought for our most treasured principles, win or lose. Just imagine the boost our candidates would get if our leaders turned the perception that Dems are weak on it's head.

Impeachment is not just a moral imperative; it is the WINNING thing to do.

jnagarya: Either/Or Extremisms --

and oversimplifications are akin, and knee-jerk.

Everything that can be done should be done, including pursuit of impeachment -- though the latter is made more difficult by those who believe (and insist) it is difficult. In short: help out, or get out of the way.

No one believed Nixon could be impeached. I knew it, and pursued it, and that was the in-effect result. I only rue not having made his "Enemies List"; an honor missed.

Stop the talk aout "it can't be done" and start the talk about "It will be done -- it's inevitable."

DH: possible or worthwhile

anyone that thinks impeachment is a worthwhile goal should be working for it, without a doubt. but the discussion I think that needs to take place is, what's next? If people aren't creating peaceful alternatives to the current system of privilege and concentrated power, how much will change? i think it does make a undeniable difference who is president, but the office of president wasn't created to defend human rights around the world. being not completely decided, i'd like to hear what supporters of impeachment would expect after the president's removal from office. I struggle with this because while I prefer the Dems policies, I see the president as being forced to cater to most powerful domestic interest groups, a status not yet held by the peace movement, etc.

JWao1776: The standard has been set

The standard has been set.

If Clinton can be impeached for adultery then Bush can certainly be impeached for all of his actions.

If Bush is not worthy of impeachment then no President will ever be. They may as well retire that word.

DNAtsol: Let's wait

Not to be too cynical here but any impeachment process would take months. By the time it came to the floor and was acted on there might be a few months at most left in Bush's term.

I say we wait until he finishes his term then charge him with War Crimes and aiding Global Terrorism as a private citizen. Then have him go through the judicial system he helped setup that robs so many citizens of their civil liberties.

Ohhh, the irony make me quiver with glee :) DNAtsol


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The NewStandard ceased publishing on April 27, 2007.