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Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Taking Impeachment Off the Table

Tammy Baldwin


Once again, I find myself all worked up over a political issue with no one to yell at. Like everyone else, I've got one House member. Unlike most, mine pretty much rocks. Not only did Rep. Tammy Baldwin vote to debate the impeachment of Dick Cheney, but she was a cosponsor of the resolution introduced by Dennis Kucinich yesterday.

I'll send her my support, but it'd be more entertaining and emotionally satisfying to fire off an email that contains the phrase "what the Hell is wrong with you?" to a holdout congress critter. Oh well, I guess I'll have to settle for good government.

The general feeling so far is that the Cheney impeachment will be buried in committee and never again see the light of day. It's hard to see what the majority's reasoning was here for their votes-- dem or GOP. It was the Republicans who voted to keep the resolution alive and the Democrats who finally decided to send it to committee for review before a floor debate. GOPers apparently feel that the resolution would hurt Democrats with voters. That's hard to figure. Maybe they're so close to it that they think the average voter knows all about Dick Cheney's various abuses and are fine with it.

But the fact is that the big story on any given day is almost never the newest abuse by the White House. Yesterday wasn't the day that a historic impeachment resolution for Cheney was brought to the House -- not in the mainstream media, anyway. For most outlets, yesterday was the Hollywood Writers' strike, day 2. Maybe Republicans have bought their own "liberal media" rhetoric and have forgotten how successful they've been at keeping most White House scandals to page three.

Dennis KucinichBringing the debate to the floor would've brought the Republicans to the defense of Dick Freakin' Cheney, for chrissake. The man polls at 23% and worse, an American Research Group poll taken in July showed that 54% of Americans supported his impeachment.

The whole thing is bass-ackward. The GOP wanted to bring everything Cheney did out into the light of day, which couldn't possibly help them, while the dems gathered up their tutus and ran screaming from a debate that could only have strengthened their position. It's official -- the vast majority of people serving in the House of Representatives, of either party, are dumber than cold gravel.

The case against Cheney -- and Bush, for that matter -- is solid. In response to Kucinich's resolution, the National Lawyers Guild held their own vote on impeachment yesterday:

The National Lawyers Guild voted unanimously and enthusiastically for the impeachment of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney at its national convention in Washington, DC. The resolution lists more than a dozen high crimes and misdemeanors of the Bush and Cheney administration and "calls upon the U.S. House of Representatives to immediately initiate impeachment proceedings, to investigate the charges, and if the investigation supports the charges, to vote to impeach George W. Bush and Richard B. Cheney as provided in the Constitution of the United States of America."


NLG President Marjorie Cohn said, "The war of aggression, the secret prisons, the use of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, the use of evidence obtained by torture, and the surveillance of citizens without warrants, all initiated and carried out under the tenure of Bush and Cheney, are illegal under the U.S. Constitution and international law." There's your high crimes and misdemeanors. You can read the full NLG resolution here, in PDF.

Now that the resolution has been moved to the House Judiciary Committee, pretty much everyone thinks it's done. In an editorial praising Kucinich, the Cleveland Leader -- a paper in his district -- wrote, "The articles of Impeachment will move to the a committee where they will probably die a slow death. While Kucinich's resolution won't pass or be debated in the full House of Representatives, one imagines that he most likely picked up a lot of strong public support."

I'm not giving up hope so easily. In response to the news that the resolution was being moved to his committee, Rep. John Conyers office sent this statement to the Rachel Maddow Show:

The Committee has a very busy agenda -- over the next two weeks, we hope to pass a FISA bill, to vote on contempt of Congress citations, pass legislation on prisoner re-entry, court security and a variety of other very important items. We were surprised that the minority was so ready to move forward with consideration of a matter of such complexity as impeaching the Vice President. The Chairman will discuss today's vote with the Committee members but it would seem evident that the committee staff should continue to consider, as a preliminary matter, the many abuses of this Administration, including the Vice President.


Not as strongly supportive as you'd like, but it does acknowledge that Bush/Cheney are guilty of "abuses." In addition, Conyers has been supportive of the idea of impeachment -- in July saying he would bring the articles himself. Right now, Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer are sitting on him, but Congress is polling so low that Democratic House leadership can be written off as a complete disaster. Both Pelosi and Hoyer are overly cautious, incompetent boobs, too afraid of their own damned shadows to be good for anything. With enough public support -- meaning, a huge groundswell in support for Kucinich -- Conyers could completely disregard this self-neutered pair.

We need to tell our Reps that we want this resolution on the floor and that democracy and the Constitution not only need this debate, but require it. The case is solid, the cause is popular, and this Congress's legacy demands it. This Congress can't be allowed to be the one that established the precedent that there's no such thing as an impeachable offense.

I've got no one to yell at but, if you do, start yelling.

--Wisco

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3 comments:

Vigilante said...

Don't we have to have an investigation & hearings in the Committee before urging the HR Res 333 back up to the Floor? Shouldn't there be a slow build?

Wisco said...

Like I say, it was sent to committee in hopes that Conyers would sit on it. Slow build or not, it has to move to go anywhere.

ryanshaunkelly said...

gravel kucinich paul nader - unity for truth; elicit fear, smear, & blacklist. Honesty compassion intelligence guts.