Views on Impeaching Bush and Cheney
July 16, 2007 7:37 AM   Subscribe

Tough talk about impeachment. A public opinion poll from the American Research Group recently reported that more than four in ten Americans — 45% — favor impeachment hearings for President Bush and more than half — 54% — favored impeachment for Vice President Cheney. In the video segment linked to here (available via javascript pop-up window from the main linked page), Bill Moyers gets perspective on the role of impeachment in American political life from Constitutional scholar Bruce Fein, who wrote the first article of impeachment against President Bill Clinton, and THE NATION's John Nichols, author of THE GENIUS OF IMPEACHMENT. Transcript is available here.
posted by psmealey (179 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
 
I'm not really in favor of impeachment. Let's skip the niceties and go on to impalement. On a long wooden stake. On the White House lawn.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:47 AM on July 16, 2007 [13 favorites]


Not going to happen because the idea of America is gone. By any reasonable stretch, people ought to be in the streets demanding Bush's impeachment, along with Cheney.

I'd really like to see Cheney impeached though, even if it meant Bush went free.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:50 AM on July 16, 2007


While it may be feasible--perhaps, even, desirable--to impeach the son of a bitch (both of them, actually), it may be far, far better to let Bush and Cheney fester, watching their approval rates get lower and lower.

As a reluctant Democrat, I'm terribly pleased to watch the infighting and entrail-eating going on as the Republicans implode. IMO, Republicans need a strong leader, a big thug to tell them what to do, someone whose word is inviolate (remember Nixon's dictum, "Thou Shalt Not Criticize Other Republicans.") Right now, the GOP is falling apart. Another year of this, those bastards will be in total disarray.

An impeachment hearing, though, will completely reverse that: Republicans, again IMO, LOVE to feel like the Outsider, the Oppressed. If the Senate impeaches now, that will give them a chance to rally around each other, circle the wagons, stand by their man. ("He may be a son of a bitch, but he's OUR son of a bitch!")

No, let's let the GOP fall apart and splinter, perhaps exposing them for what they are: the deluded waterboys for the 1% that really own this country.
posted by John of Michigan at 7:50 AM on July 16, 2007 [8 favorites]


Quoting a Constitutional scholar. How quaint!
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:51 AM on July 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


Keep talking about it folks. Make it part of water cooler conversation. We -- all of us -- have to make the people who aren't really paying attention believe it's possible.
posted by empath at 7:54 AM on July 16, 2007


we don't have 67% of the senate, though, do we?

no, the best thing is to wait until after the election and then use the legal system against them to find out the truth about what's been going on - something that could wind up being a lot nastier to bush and company than a mere impeachment and convicition
posted by pyramid termite at 7:56 AM on July 16, 2007


After the Clinton debacle I always thought it would be too hard on the country. I am not so sure anymore. It has become clear that his goals are solely personal and he really could care less about the country as a whole. Given the spectacular number of offenses which would merit impeachment and his complete disdain for the union, it is probably time. Nevertheless, he has failed to commit that one act which would get even his own party to convict him. It can't be the war as they all backed it with far too much enthusiasm. It won't be the whole panoply of bad acts, as that is too easily dismissed as just partisan politics. No, it must be a technical violation, something like the warrantless surveillance.
posted by caddis at 7:58 AM on July 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


you know, I've been a part of the way of thinking that says "nah, it's not gonna happen, we're, as a country, too insulated from the effects of their treason to care. and even if we did care, they'll just be pardoned afterward for some 'healing the country' reason or something" for a while now. I've wanted them impeached for a very long time, but I just saw it as this uphill battle that would come to late to get them out of office, and that there's no way the republicans were taking back any power in 08, so why bother? But this discussion did finally make a good case for proceeding to my mind:

On January 20th, 2009, if George Bush and Dick Cheney are not appropriately held to account this administration will hand off a toolbox with more powers than any president has ever had, more powers than the founders could have imagined. And that box may be handed to Hillary Clinton or it may be handed to Mitt Romney or Barack Obama or someone else. But whoever gets it, one of the things we know about power is that people don't give away the tools. They don't give them up. The only way we take tools out of that box is if we sanction George Bush and Dick Cheney now and say the next president cannot govern as these men have.

I don't see this as saying "Obama will also abuse these powers if HE'S elected." I see it more as "Nobody who's elected is going to make it their first duty to curtail the powers of the president back. They'll just, at best, not use the powers bush would seem to have given them. then someone else will come along in however much time and start using them again. wiretapping americans, detention without trial or even pressed charges, on and on and on." this seems to me to be precisely what impeachment, at almost any cost, would avoid.
posted by shmegegge at 7:59 AM on July 16, 2007 [12 favorites]


no, the best thing is to wait until after the election and then use the legal system against them to find out the truth about what's been going on

Not after the pardons.
posted by eriko at 8:00 AM on July 16, 2007


pyramid termite writes "no, the best thing is to wait until after the election and then use the legal system against them to find out the truth about what's been going on"

How likely is that, after they're out of office?
posted by krinklyfig at 8:00 AM on July 16, 2007


pyramid termite is right. Even if 90% of people wanted them out, there are still enough die-hard, hyper-loyal party servants in the Senate who would keep the 2/3 vote for conviction from happening even if Bush and Cheney were raping children and eating live puppies during the precedings. We're already seeing this in the general opinion polls on Bush and Cheney: they've managed to strip away all of their supporters except the %20-25 core partisans who will vote for them no matter what.
posted by Sangermaine at 8:02 AM on July 16, 2007


Another Bush thread, yay.

Impalement: YAY.

Clinton's impeachment process was an unecessary hardship. This potential impeachment would be the healing process the country and the world that looks to it desperately needs.
posted by ninjew at 8:03 AM on July 16, 2007 [2 favorites]


Republicans, again IMO, LOVE to feel like the Outsider, the Oppressed. If the Senate impeaches now, that will give them a chance to rally around each other, circle the wagons, stand by their man.

OTOH, that rallying will hurt them in their districts, especially in Oregon, NH and Maine. 3 (or more) additional D Senators would certainly be nice.

I support impeachment, if only so future rightwing nutbags can't say "Bush may have been bad, but he obviously wasn't as bad as Clinton since he was never impeached".
posted by DU at 8:04 AM on July 16, 2007


Once again, Moyers with the win.

BRUCE FEIN: Let me underscore one of the things that you remember, Bill, 'cause I was there at the time of Watergate. And this relates to one political-- official in the White House, Sara Taylor's testimony. And claiming that George Bush could tell her to be silent.

BILL MOYERS: That was a great moment when Sara Taylor said, "I took an oath to uphold the president." Did you see that?

BRUCE FEIN: Yes. And that was like the military in Germany saying, "My oath is to the Fuhrer, not to the country." She took an oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States. I did, too, when I was in the government. There's no oath that says, "I'm loyal to a president even if he defiles the Constitution."

JOHN NICHOLS: Ever.

BILL MOYERS: Just this week Harriet Miers, the president's former counsel, did not show up to testify before the congressional hearing. What do you make of that in regard to this issue of power?

BRUCE FEIN: Well, it shows how far we've come from even the mon-- monarchical days of Richard Nixon where he didn't have the audacity to tell John Dean, "No, you can't testify before the Watergate committee about conversations you had with me about obstructing justice or otherwise."

BILL MOYERS: John Dean was his counsel--

BRUCE FEIN: White House counsel--

BILL MOYERS: --just as Harriet Miers--

BRUCE FEIN: --is to President Bush. Yes.

BILL MOYERS: And Nixon said to Dean, "You must go up there and testify"?

BRUCE FEIN: No. He didn't attempt to impose any objection at all. And Dean, of course, broke the Watergate story that led to Nixon's impeachment and the House's judiciary committee--

BILL MOYERS: And look what--

BRUCE FEIN: --and resignation. And now we have a comparable situation where a Harriet Miers could perhaps expose things regarding President-- Bush's knowledge of the electronic surveillance program or the firing of U.S. attorneys, which seems to contradict what Alberto Gonzalez has said about White House involvement. And yet President Bush is saying, "You can't talk, Harriet Miers, because I don't want any of that political or legal embarrassment." And unlike John Dean who brought the Constitution forward with his testimony, Harriet Miers still is silent.

posted by phaedon at 8:06 AM on July 16, 2007 [16 favorites]


All the political bullshit aside, isn't this really the heart of the matter?
FEIN: I think Bush's crimes are a little bit different. I think they're a little bit more worrisome than Clinton's... because he is seeking more institutionally to cripple checks and balances and the authority of Congress and the judiciary to superintend his assertions of power. He has claimed the authority to tell Congress they don't have any right to know what he's doing with relation to spying on American citizens, using that information in any way that he wants in contradiction to a federal statute called the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. He's claimed authority to say he can kidnap people, throw them into dungeons abroad, dump them out into Siberia without any political or legal accountability. These are standards that are totally anathema to a democratic society devoted to the rule of law.
posted by psmealey at 8:09 AM on July 16, 2007 [4 favorites]


It is important to impeach if only to reclaim our credibility and integrity. Moreover, Bush is forcing impeachment, since anything less -- any attempts to reign in the corruption -- would be rebuffed by pardons.

And I have an odd feeling that the least bit of heat put on Cheney will find him suddenly retiring for "health reasons".
posted by RavinDave at 8:12 AM on July 16, 2007


Bush's administration has actively and overtly tried to subvert and demean the very thing he swore to uphold and protect: the Constitution of the United States of America.

Regardless of the mental gymnastics everyone is doing in trying to game this thing out, isn't that the most unambiguously impeachable offense of all?
posted by psmealey at 8:13 AM on July 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


What JoM said. Let 'em twist in the wind until January '09.
posted by squalor at 8:14 AM on July 16, 2007


Not after the pardons.

actually, in a congressional inquiry, pardons would prevent bush and company from using the 5th ... which is why scooter didn't get a pardon, but just a commutation of sentence

besides - who's going to pardon bush? ... i don't believe he can pardon himself

How likely is that, after they're out of office?

that depends on who gets elected

Clinton's impeachment process was an unecessary hardship

so would be bush's ... it would tie up congress for months and nothing would result ... and any information congress demanded in the process would be stonewalled

also, there's something about having had TWO presidents impeached in a row that ought to concern people about the health of our republic ... do we REALLY want this to be a tradition?
posted by pyramid termite at 8:14 AM on July 16, 2007


also, there's something about having had TWO presidents impeached in a row that ought to concern people about the health of our republic ... do we REALLY want this to be a tradition?

I would actually be more concerned about the precedent being set in not impeaching such a clearly self-dealing and lawless administration ONLY because it's not politically expedient to do so.
posted by psmealey at 8:18 AM on July 16, 2007 [16 favorites]


it would tie up congress for months and nothing would result ...


and this would be a bad thing?


also, there's something about having had TWO presidents impeached in a row that ought to concern people about the health of our republic ... do we REALLY want this to be a tradition?

this would be a bad thing and is the primary argument against impeachment at this point
posted by caddis at 8:21 AM on July 16, 2007


Thanks for posting this psmealey, I saw the program on Friday night and was blown away. Bruce Fein made it crystal clear it's no longer a matter of choice. The Congress must begin the process of impeachment and holding Bush peons in contempt or the system of checks and balances as envisioned by the founding fathers will be perverted and damaged.
posted by Skygazer at 8:23 AM on July 16, 2007


TWO presidents impeached in a row that ought to concern people about the health of our republic

ever stop to think there might actually be bigger issues that ought to concern people about the health of our republic, and that treating the systems rather than digging out the core of these problems will only lead to more problems in the future?
posted by saulgoodman at 8:26 AM on July 16, 2007


So, are we to trade the tacit damage done by this regime for the potential damage of two impeachments in a row?
posted by RavinDave at 8:26 AM on July 16, 2007


So, are we to trade the tacit damage done by this regime for the potential damage of two impeachments in a row?

You say "potential damage," some of us say "healing."
posted by SBMike at 8:29 AM on July 16, 2007


You know, there is a risk in not impeaching him. There is a possibility, a very very very slim possibility, that he could do something that returns his approval ratings to the 40-50% range. For example, if the military captures bin laden or al-zawahiri, or if there is another terrorist attacks that he spins to his advantage.

If he manages to pull a rabbit out of his hat, then from the perspective of history you have a president who did all the terrible things to erode the constitution, start wars on lies, etc, and was able to be seen as an effective president because he did something that pandered to the masses.

We should impeach him to deny him the opportunity to rehabilitate his reputation, so that the record ends with a disaster in Iraq under false pretenses.
posted by Pastabagel at 8:37 AM on July 16, 2007 [8 favorites]


I would actually be more concerned about the precedent being set in not impeaching such a clearly self-dealing and lawless administration ONLY because it's not politically expedient to do so.

at the end of the day impeachment and conviction is a political process, not a judicial one
posted by pyramid termite at 8:42 AM on July 16, 2007


Clinton was impeached for getting his dick sucked. These guys have authorized the use of torture, spied on their citizens, gone to war illegally, etc. They should be tried as war criminals. Fuck impeachment. The fact Americans still don't give a fuck about what goes on in their country suggests to me it is seriously broken. Impeaching Bush and Cheney isn't going to fix much of anything. They aren't ruling by divine right, they are ruling by the will of the people. If you don't want them in power, do something.
posted by chunking express at 8:51 AM on July 16, 2007 [3 favorites]


Remember the giant public paroxysms of praise when Nixon died? Then more than ever, I felt as if I'd awakened in the Bizarro World, but apparently nothing denies these ratbastards the opportunity to rehabilitate their reputations.

Anyhow, Pyramid Termite speaks the truth: much as the Crook-in-Chief and his organ grinder's monkey deserve it, Bush and/or Cheney's impeachment would undoubtedly be seen by most of the public (even some of that 45% supposedly in favor) as a huge, ugly, vicious, boring, pointless partisan mess. It would never be successful, the people too blindly loyal or abysmally stupid to face up to what Bush has done would not be swayed by any amount of evidence, and it would simply provide yet another opportunity for the incompetent, bumbling shitheels we call Congress to parade their droning idiocy on every TV screen in the nation.

Which last item, in a better world, might inspire the public to burn down the Capitol with its denizens inside and start over, but not here.

Now, if there were some body somewhere of capable, rational, qualified adults who could carry out an impeachment trial with some basic level of decorum and critical thinking, I might change my tune.
posted by FelliniBlank at 8:51 AM on July 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


Bush and/or Cheney's impeachment would undoubtedly be seen by most of the public (even some of that 45% supposedly in favor) as a huge, ugly, vicious, boring, pointless partisan mess.

Which would once again affirm that the people of this country (via its representatives) no longer have the balls to do the right thing.

Look, swearing an oath to uphold the Constitution is not a political obligation; it's a legal one. If we refuse to hold our own President accountable to the highest law of the land, then I see little hope for us.
posted by psmealey at 8:54 AM on July 16, 2007


I support the impeachment of President Bush.

Not because I have any particular animus against him or his political party.

No, I support impeachment because his departure from the Oval Office would force MeFites to find something else to talk about.
posted by jason's_planet at 8:54 AM on July 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


Alert: the jizz in this room has risen to waist-level.
posted by Krrrlson at 8:56 AM on July 16, 2007


John of Michigan: While it may be feasible--perhaps, even, desirable--to impeach the son of a bitch (both of them, actually), it may be far, far better to let Bush and Cheney fester, watching their approval rates get lower and lower.

As a reluctant Democrat, I'm terribly pleased to watch the infighting and entrail-eating going on as the Republicans implode. IMO, Republicans need a strong leader, a big thug to tell them what to do, someone whose word is inviolate (remember Nixon's dictum, "Thou Shalt Not Criticize Other Republicans.") Right now, the GOP is falling apart. Another year of this, those bastards will be in total disarray.

An impeachment hearing, though, will completely reverse that: Republicans, again IMO, LOVE to feel like the Outsider, the Oppressed. If the Senate impeaches now, that will give them a chance to rally around each other, circle the wagons, stand by their man. ("He may be a son of a bitch, but he's OUR son of a bitch!")

No, let's let the GOP fall apart and splinter, perhaps exposing them for what they are: the deluded waterboys for the 1% that really own this country.


While I can't stand the ridiculous partisanship that I see south of the border (which, admittedly, we suffer from as well in Canada), it's comments like this that spell out exactly why the Republicans are generally doing so much better than the Democrats---because they actually do something, as opposed to sitting by and watching, and hoping that the other folks screw up.

Everything should be going their way. They should be driving the failures of the current administration home. They have popular support for impeachment, and a president with a horrendously low amount of support, and again, an abysmal track record that should be easy to exploit.

And you want to just sit and hope they do worse? What more do you want them to do?

And what happens if, as someone suggested further down the thread, they happen to catch Bin Laden? While you sit there waiting for them to screw up more then they already have, they might just go out and make some eleventh-hour save and be mostly completely vindicated in the eyes of the public. While you sit by and let them, simply because you don't have the balls to do anything.

Sometimes, I think you have the government you deserve down there.
posted by vernondalhart at 9:00 AM on July 16, 2007 [7 favorites]


Bush and/or Cheney's impeachment would undoubtedly be seen by most of the public (even some of that 45% supposedly in favor) as a huge, ugly, vicious, boring, pointless partisan mess.

Hey don't underestimate Bush and Cheney, they still have about 18 months in office and I feel fairly confident they will alienate and fuck over even their most diehard political supporters whne the right ($$$) time comes. Impeachment might not be as partisan as some folks here fear it will be.
posted by Skygazer at 9:02 AM on July 16, 2007


ought to concern people about the health of our republic

BS substitution of "framing" for logical thought. Using the mechanisms of the republic for good, validly constitutional ends is good for the "health of the republic".

Same thing wrt using the SCOTUS for good, validly constitutional ends, even though it gives our pinheaded friends on the right like [redacted] the opportunity to vent some glee here when the same tools are abused by his ideological cohorts in power.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 9:07 AM on July 16, 2007


A modest proposal:

The American people, being sickened by the overall state of their government, decide that a fresh start is in order. Both Washington, D.C. and every state capital are surrounded and every person inside allowed out only through certain checkpoints. At these checkpoints screeners determine one thing: does the person attempting to leave the city work in government in any position of influence or work in a position where their job is to influence government. These people (elected officials and their senior staff, bureaucrats, lobbyists, heads of government agencies, members of the media) are not allowed to leave these cities, but instead taken to a massive prison complex built in the New Mexico desert for a ten year sentence of hard labor and a disqualification from ever holding elected office or voting again. We then hold completely new elections for all state and federal offices, with the caveat that if we aren't happy with the state of government in another ten years, then we do the same thing again.
posted by ND¢ at 9:07 AM on July 16, 2007 [2 favorites]


We then hold completely new elections for all state and federal offices

guess what, the problem isn't the politicians, the problem lies within the electorate.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 9:08 AM on July 16, 2007


Which would once again affirm that the people of this country (via its representatives) no longer have the balls to do the right thing.

What was your first clue? Listen, I'm right there with you on holding people accountable, but I really do think most Americans have ZERO sense of civic duty or interest. I start frothing at the mouth during campaign season when every single fucking candidate appeals only to the most base, selfish, "how can I gain?," "how will this affect me and my immediate family directly?" so-called issues -- well, those and whatever hot-button divisive emotional hand-wringer is big that year. Whatever happened to doing what's right or just even if it's not helpful or relevant to you personally? Few people care one whit about respecting the law until someone in their family is mugged or someone rear-ends their car.

Therefore, we need to face the likelihood that Bush and company are going to get away with it, all of it, and no amount of screaming (cathartic as it may be) is going to change that. We have a long track record of letting our public officials get away with more and more heinous crap -- but hey, that's the predictable course of a society in decline. I'm hoping the next human slobs, or the porpoises, or cockroaches or whoever inherits middle-North America, makes a somewhat better job of it.
posted by FelliniBlank at 9:13 AM on July 16, 2007 [2 favorites]


"health of the republic" = restoring checks and balances and constitutional limits over executive authority.

"health of the republic" != ignoring the abuses of the past 6.5 years.
posted by Tommy Gnosis at 9:13 AM on July 16, 2007 [6 favorites]


so would be bush's ... it would tie up congress for months and nothing would result ... and any information congress demanded in the process would be stonewalled

You say that like this would preventing them from accomplishing anything worthwhile. And that they're not being stonewalled right now anyways.

I say fuck it, let this whole thing bring the entire US govt to a full stop. Then the only way to get things moving again is a public dismissal and recrimination of (at least) two war criminals.
posted by ninjew at 9:17 AM on July 16, 2007


P. S. And I would sincerely enjoy it if growing public outrage over the next few months proved that my above post is completely full of shit.
posted by FelliniBlank at 9:18 AM on July 16, 2007


I think you espouse a much more hobbesian view of society than I, FelliniBlank. I still think it's possible to inspire the electorate with a vision of a better place (Clinton did this to some degree in 1992, but ultimately bailed on it) rather than make cynical appeals to self-interest, bigotry and fear.

All it takes is some leadership with moral courage, which admittedly is something we haven't seen since possibly LBJ worked to get the CRA passed, or Eisenhower enforcing Brown vs. the Board of Ed. But I still like to think it's possible.
posted by psmealey at 9:18 AM on July 16, 2007


Well, some of these comments are bringing out the Mr. Smith in me and making me think that if there were every anything to get into a loud, ugly, vicious, messy, government-stalling public battle over, this is it whether or not it's a lost cause.

I do wish the forces of good had better quality gladiators, though. Who in Congress would you-all nominate as having the moral stature, brains, and public appeal to lead the charge?
posted by FelliniBlank at 9:24 AM on July 16, 2007


Obama talks a really good game, but I still haven't decided as to whether or not he is completely full of shit.
posted by psmealey at 9:27 AM on July 16, 2007


or your could go back in time and kill this guy

(Hey you Timecops, I'm just positing a hypothetical)
posted by geos at 9:30 AM on July 16, 2007


It's laughably obvious that Bush will never be impeached, and if in some miraculous way he was he would of course be acquitted. That said, it's kind of interesting how if it wasn't for Clinton getting impeached, no one would even consider talking about this.

People get whiny about the president and say he should be impeached all the time- they wanted to impeach Carter; they wanted to impeach Reagan, they wanted to impeach Clinton before he took office on January 20, 1993. But after the Clinton impeachment, it became the conventional wisdom that you actually could, you know, do it. Nixon resigned before that goal was fulfilled, and I remember from the very beginning of Clinton's impeachment there was a small faction of conservatives who actually believed they could get him to do the same to "save face."

I think a lot of the backlash in 1998 was at the idea that Republicans would have the sheer, power-hungry and blatantly partisan gall to actually pull the trigger on impeachment. That the trigger has now been pulled is something the Republicans can be thanked for.

I think a lot of them though are silently breathing a sigh of relief they weren't as equally stupid two years ago with the filibuster.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:38 AM on July 16, 2007


I start frothing at the mouth during campaign season when every single fucking candidate appeals only to the most base, selfish, "how can I gain?," "how will this affect me and my immediate family directly?" so-called issues

What else would you expect from a consumer society? I'm serious. There was a time, I suppose, when interest and involvement in government and elections rose to a more altruistic level, but that has long been supplanted by the institutional self-interest of the consumer society.

Civic-minded concepts such as "the greater good" have been banished as old-fashioned or even somehow undesirable or naive. Largely, they are punch lines used to deride the occasional proponents of such ideas.
posted by Thorzdad at 9:44 AM on July 16, 2007


Dateline: 2003. Small town council reaches unanimous decision to request impeachment investigation, first in nation. Hippies ftw.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 9:49 AM on July 16, 2007


I don't know how any reasonable person of any party and be in favor of the rule of law and not be in favor of impeaching both Bush and Cheney. Firstly, to set an example of what should happen to power crazed would-be dictators in this country and second to eliminate the inevitable raft of pardons that will come on January 19 of the year after next. If this kind of behavior in the highest offices is allowed to go unpunished, that's pretty much it for America. It was nice while it lasted.
posted by lordrunningclam at 9:58 AM on July 16, 2007 [3 favorites]




impeachment would be the first time Bush speaks where he's not controlling the debate though right? I can't recall any other time when he wasn't just able to talk around whatever he felt like and have filtered question press conferences, interviews only with milquetoast reporters, town hall meetings with only supporters.

Whereas I think people like Cheney and Gonzales can handle themselves under the pressure till the very end, I believe all it would take is one Senator on the committee with some courage (= not planning on running another term) to phrase the right questions in a manner that might make Bush come unhinged or admit to some willful treasonous action.
posted by kigpig at 10:00 AM on July 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


Look, either impeach the fuckers or admit to the world that we don't really care enough about right and wrong to hold monsters like Bush and Cheney responsible.

What's that, you say? Hyperbole? What other words would you use for autocrats responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths? The kid-gloves handling and oh-so-precious attempts at civility are obscene when used as a way of refusing to speak plainly about the myriad obscenities and crimes that lie at the feet of the administration.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:16 AM on July 16, 2007 [3 favorites]


TWO presidents impeached in a row that ought to concern people about the health of our republic

John Nichols: You are seeing impeachment as a constitutional crisis. Impeachment is the cure for a constitutional crisis. Don't mistake the medicine for the disease.
posted by wsg at 10:22 AM on July 16, 2007 [4 favorites]


Right now, the wingnutz are having a field-day tossing about their new favorite meme: "the Do-Nothing Congress". Now, we can take the John Kerrey approach, stand by passively, let'em hang that albatross 'round our necks and hope it will go away ... or we can take active steps to ensure that our subpoenas are not ignored, our investigations are not stonewalled and our legislation is not rewritten.
posted by RavinDave at 10:33 AM on July 16, 2007


In the news conference on Mideast peace Bush where Bush is now speaking, there was the line "The Palestinians must govern without corruption."

I swear he almost started laughing as he said it.

I think Impeachment is the right answer, but don't think the Dems will go ahead with it unless they feel like there's no way it can fail. I don't trust either party, but trust they will try to do each other a nasty turn if the opportunity arises.

Somehow I think that if one of We The People tried to do something, they'd be apprehended and tried for treason. I think that's what a great many people who are outraged fear. A groundswell is needed, and everyone is nervously looking around for a groundswell.
posted by SaintCynr at 10:33 AM on July 16, 2007 [3 favorites]


Cheney pushes Bush to act on Iran

If Bush bombs Iran he is clearly psychotic and is aiming to destroy our republic as his "legacy." If he does that then he must be impeached. Or hanged.
posted by tkchrist at 10:39 AM on July 16, 2007


Cheney pushes Bush to act on Iran

Pushes? Doesn't a puppetmaster PULL strings to get his marionette to dance?

As for impeachment, the American public had their chance in 2004 and they re-elected those bastards. We got the government we deserve and we'll all have to suffer the consequences for a very long time. Get over it.
posted by three blind mice at 10:41 AM on July 16, 2007


be in favor of the rule of law and not be in favor of impeaching both Bush and Cheney

conviction on impeachment isn't "gee I don't like what they've been doing". You've got to show willful malfeasance and abuse of Constitutional powers -- the "high crimes and misdemeanors".

So far, they've been pretty crafty to stay on the safe side of that line, IMO. Knowingly Constructing bogus intelligence pictures to scare the nation into a conflict would perhaps qualify as impeachable, but we need more evidence, since there's that "plausible deniability" thing.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 10:44 AM on July 16, 2007


"treating the systems rather than digging out the core of these problems" --> "treating the symptoms rather than digging out the core of these problems"

(carry on...)
posted by saulgoodman at 10:44 AM on July 16, 2007


So far, they've been pretty crafty to stay on the safe side of that line, IMO.

Lying to Congress in pursuit of the renewal of the noxious USA-PATRIOT ACT isn't exactly legal.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:48 AM on July 16, 2007


I say impeach them all and let God sort them out.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:50 AM on July 16, 2007 [3 favorites]


"health of the republic" != ignoring the abuses of the past 6.5 years.

"health of the republic"!= starting a political show trial that your side can't win just because you want to

you can't even get the majority of the PEOPLE on your side on this ... i wonder why the REST of the poll numbers weren't cited ... you know, the part where 46% said they were against impeachment

that's 1% more than those who are for

again, this is a political process ... yes, it is in the constitution and that's a political document, also ... and it is a good idea before starting a political process to make sure you actually have the votes

you want accountability? ... judgement of right and wrong? ... justice?

we have a legal system for that ... and once the current occupant of the white house is replaced, there's an excellent chance the kind of evidence that is needed will be available

in these circumstances, impeachment and the attempt to convict can be nothing more than a political proceeding, just as the last one was

we don't need it
posted by pyramid termite at 10:56 AM on July 16, 2007


I really can't understand any of the arguments that center on whether or not to impeach. It's not really that there's any choice, is there? The constitution *demands* it.
posted by deCadmus at 10:57 AM on July 16, 2007 [4 favorites]


Impeach for what? Unpopularity? Cuz he don't do foreign policy like you want? Gimme some specific crimes. And I mean cite the laws he has broken and be prepared to back that shit up with case law.
posted by rockhopper at 10:59 AM on July 16, 2007


Impeach for what? Unpopularity? Cuz he don't do foreign policy like you want? Gimme some specific crimes. And I mean cite the laws he has broken and be prepared to back that shit up with case law.

Go back to LGF.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:01 AM on July 16, 2007


you can't even get the majority of the PEOPLE on your side on this ... i wonder why the REST of the poll numbers weren't cited ... you know, the part where 46% said they were against impeachment

It's pretty fucking sad that is comes down to poll numbers. I find it hard to believe that most people, when given a rational arguement can't agree on impeachment.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:03 AM on July 16, 2007


> If he manages to pull a rabbit out of (t)his hat, then...then you can pretty much give up on the United States.
posted by The Card Cheat at 11:04 AM on July 16, 2007


If the Democrats had what they need to impeach, by God they would do it.
posted by rockhopper at 11:04 AM on July 16, 2007


Go back to LGF.
posted by Pope Guilty at 1:01 PM on July 16 [+] [!]


Go back to third fuckin' grade.
posted by rockhopper at 11:06 AM on July 16, 2007


If the Democrats had what they need to impeach, by God they would do it.

Where have you been the past twenty years?
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:06 AM on July 16, 2007


you can't even get the majority of the PEOPLE on your side on this ... i wonder why the REST of the poll numbers weren't cited ... you know, the part where 46% said they were against impeachment

Back when Clinton was impeached, anybody have a link to the public support numbers for his presidency? His approval ratings, IIRC, were still in upper 70% to 80% territory during the proceedings, fer chrissake. It makes the Dems look like a bunch of indecisive sissies to hem and haw about impeaching a president with such abysmal support--and that's the Republicans last hope right now.

Although, personally, I think it would be more effective and less risky to impeach Cheney. He's the real head of the beast.
posted by saulgoodman at 11:07 AM on July 16, 2007


Where have I been?

I've been a voting citizen of this country for the past twenty years. I have wtached both parties govern and I can tell you that the Dems have the killer instinct only when it comes to their own power. If impeachment was on their plate right now, they would eat it the fuck up. That's why this post is Eurodisney.
posted by rockhopper at 11:11 AM on July 16, 2007


The big issue I see with trying to impeach Bush or Cheney is them saying "Fuck you, I'm not going anywhere." That's when things get really interesting.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:14 AM on July 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


in these circumstances, impeachment and the attempt to convict can be nothing more than a political proceeding, just as the last one was

What circumstances work then? I'm serious. The founders thought impeachment was important enough to include in the constitution. I'd argue that it was precisely for such circumstances as these. Obviously they were aware that it could be misused as a political manuever, but thought that risk was worth it to include such a safeguard into our government. The potential for misuse doesn't mean that something will always be misused. It's a pretty weak and cowardly argument. There are real and valid reasons for impeachment, backed up by lots of evidence. Of course those on the defensive and their allies are going to frame impeachment as a political vendetta. In a theoretical universe, they might be right. But in the real world, there have been high crimes and misdemeanors committed. The fact that many of us rabidly hate Bush with the passion of a thousand suns doesn't make his crimes any more excusable or worthy of overlooking.
posted by SBMike at 11:17 AM on July 16, 2007


Gimme some specific crimes. And I mean cite the laws he has broken and be prepared to back that shit up with case law.

I gather you didn't watch the video or read the transcript, nor do you really have a basic understanding of what impeachment means. Grounds for impeachment are, according to the Constitution, "high crimes and misdemeanors", which do not necessarily correlate with violations with either criminal or civil law. Regardless, the administration did violate FISA (which is an actual law), has held American citizens indefinitely without charging them for crimes and violating their rights to petition for writs of habeas corpus, was negligent in dismantling FEMA's operability (contributing to the catastrophe), launched an attack on a sovereign nation based on false, misleading and shifting justifications, and where their incompetent management of that war's aftermath has left our military in an intractible mess. What else do you need?

Eurodisney? Really. More like Pirates of the Potomac.
posted by psmealey at 11:21 AM on July 16, 2007 [5 favorites]


They have what they need to impeach—a majority in the House.
posted by oaf at 11:22 AM on July 16, 2007


It's pretty fucking sad that is comes down to poll numbers.

yeah and then congresspeople actually have to VOTE on it while getting phone calls and letters from that 46% that don't want it

pretty fucking sad, alright

It makes the Dems look like a bunch of indecisive sissies to hem and haw about impeaching a president with such abysmal support

unfortunately for them, public approval of congress is even lower

the major complaint seems to be that they aren't doing anything ... somehow, shutting the government down for an impeachment trial doesn't seem like that's going to help that problem

What circumstances work then? I'm serious.

the circumstances where you have the votes ... period

What else do you need?

67 votes in the senate ... you don't have them ... period
posted by pyramid termite at 11:22 AM on July 16, 2007


Impeach for what? Unpopularity? Cuz he don't do foreign policy like you want? Gimme some specific crimes. And I mean cite the laws he has broken and be prepared to back that shit up with case law.
posted by rockhopper 17 minutes ago


this has to be one of the most ignorant things I've ever read on this site. Did you read the link? It's all in there. and if you want to refute it, be prepared to back that shit up with case law.
posted by shmegegge at 11:23 AM on July 16, 2007 [5 favorites]


What are we going to do WHEN Bush bombs Iran?

We need to be prepared for that eventuality.

I hope people are ready to take to the streets to demand his immediate resignation.

I fear the opposite will happen, though. I rise in his poll numbers and a crushing Dem defeat in 2008 -- the end of the Republic.
posted by empath at 11:24 AM on July 16, 2007


Gimme some specific crimes. And I mean cite the laws he has broken and be prepared to back that shit up with case law.

You might consider first the articles of impeachment outlined in H Res 333. Or peruse the efforts of the eleven states that have been, or are currently considering impeachment resolutions. That is, if you're not, as I suspect, talkin' out your hat.
posted by deCadmus at 11:30 AM on July 16, 2007


Impeach for what?

Here are a handful of crimes he and Cheney can be impeached for:

• treason (lying to the public about the reasons for going to war)
• treason (allowing Libby to walk despite apparently causing grave harm to national security)
• conducting voter fraud
• violating FISA (illegal wiretapping)
• gross and excessive abuse of separation of powers ("executive privilege") for the purposes of obfuscating and covering up illegal activities (illegally hiding the content of energy task force meetings in violation of the Federal Advisory Committee Act and subsequent FOIA rulings)

That's for starters. There are numerous problematic connections between national policy and Halliburton no-bid contracts which violate the federal Competition in Contracting Act.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:34 AM on July 16, 2007 [4 favorites]


I have wtached both parties govern and I can tell you that the Dems have the killer instinct only when it comes to their own power. If impeachment was on their plate right now, they would eat it the fuck up.

Wait, what? Seriously? The Democrats almost managed to blow the 2006 election as bad as they blew the 2004 one. They backed into controlling Congress, and they sure haven't done anything since taking control of it.

Everyone knows the crimes being committed daily; most people just don't care. The Democrats didn't do anything in 2004; they didn't do anything in 2006; and they sure aren't doing anything now.

Ever since the DLC took over the party, abandoned the populist ideals (leaving the theoconservatives to pick them up and tie them to "moral values", taking the entire middle of the country with them) of the old Democratic party, the party's been floundering and unable to do much of anything.

They won't be able to stop Cheney/Bush from bombing Iran, let alone impeach him for what he's already done. And in 2008, we'll be back under Republican control, because mainstream America will choose "do bad things, but at least do something" over "stand around and do nothing".
posted by criacow at 11:36 AM on July 16, 2007


67 votes in the senate ... you don't have them ... period

There's few things that make less sense than this. I'm not sayin' that it isn't the way that the Democratic leadership sees it right now -- I'm afraid you have it spot on -- but I'm troubled that we may never take a step down this road for fear that "we won't have the votes for it in the end."

More, I think it's likely we *would.* Were the length and breadth and height and depth of the crimes that have been committed by this administration brought into the light of day through the Congress, I think there's a more than reasonable chance that even the most far-right Senator's constituents will demand accountability, and justice. Even as, I believe, some of them are, already.
posted by deCadmus at 11:39 AM on July 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


Impeach for what? Unpopularity? Cuz he don't do foreign policy like you want?

Go back to third fuckin' grade.

I'm pretty sure there's only one person here who needs a catchup lesson in elementary school grammar. I've seen LOLcat threads with better English than that.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 11:39 AM on July 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


treason (lying to the public about the reasons for going to war)

i don't think bush can be impeached for that ... not unless one is willing to see a good part of congress, both parties, held accountable, too ... they either knew he was lying or deliberately chose not to look

that's the reason why they won't impeach bush ... congress is in many ways, an accessory to his crimes
posted by pyramid termite at 11:41 AM on July 16, 2007



Impeach for what? Unpopularity? Cuz he don't do foreign policy like you want? Gimme some specific crimes. And I mean cite the laws he has broken and be prepared to back that shit up with case law.
posted by rockhopper at 1:59 PM on July 16


This is a very valid point. The crimes have to be committed by the President, not some underling who can take the fall. You may think he lied about the Iraq war, but "taking the country to war under false pretenses" isn't actually a crime. Lying is also not a crime. Perjury is, and fraud is, so lying can be the basis of a crime, but it isn't in and of itself a crime.

Furthermore, you have to prove a case, with evidence. Do we have any first hand documentation or corroborated testimoney that Bush lied?

See the Clinton impeachment was totally different. The crime in question, perjury, is not really a confusing or difficult to understand crime. Furthermore the evidence against him is the strongest kind of evidence you can have ever - his lie, as testimony under oath, was videotaped, and the truth comes in the form of his DNA on a dress.
posted by Pastabagel at 11:44 AM on July 16, 2007


Bush should be impeached. Otherwise we're saying his conduct in office is acceptable. Also, we need to restore some balance of power between the legislative and executive branches.

I don't think it's politically feasible now, but it might be as time goes by. As we get closer to the election, more Republicans are going to turn on Bush. Also, an impeachment investigation would likely reveal abuses that would build the case for removal from office.

However, I think the skeptics are right and they'll get away with everything. Republicans and Democrats will put their careers and parties above what's good for the country. (I feel like we've been in a Constitutional crisis since Clinton's impeachment, including the Supreme Court's interference in the 2000 election, and not impeaching Bush will finish off what's left of the Constitution.)

You've got to show willful malfeasance and abuse of Constitutional powers

Warrentless wiretapping without FICA oversight.

Commuting Libby's sentence. One of the impeachment articles against Nixon was for pardoning people who might be able to testify against him.

Cheney should impeached for saying that there was no doubt that Iraq had nuclear weapons. That is a lie, pure and simple.

once the current occupant of the white house is replaced, there's an excellent chance the kind of evidence that is needed will be available

Sure. Just like what happened with Reagan and George H.W. Bush and Iran/Contra.

If the Senate impeaches now
The House impeaches, the Senate does the trial. Clinton was impeached by the House, and acquitted in the Senate.

posted by kirkaracha at 11:46 AM on July 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


Pastabagel, not crimes per se. "High crimes"... here's some background for you:

Under the English common law tradition, crimes were defined through a legacy of court proceedings and decisions that punished offenses not because they were prohibited by statutes, but because they offended the sense of justice of the people and the court. Whether an offense could qualify as punishable depended largely on the obligations of the offender, and the obligations of a person holding a high position meant that some actions, or inactions, could be punishable if he did them, even though they would not be if done by an ordinary person.

Offenses of this kind survive today in the Uniform Code of Military Justice. It recognizes as punishable offenses such things as refusal to obey orders, abuse of authority, dereliction of duty, moral turpitude, and conduct unbecoming. These would not be offenses if committed by a civilian with no official position, but they are offenses which bear on the subject's fitness for the duties he holds, which he is bound by oath or affirmation to perform.
posted by psmealey at 11:48 AM on July 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


Impeachment can only happen after a simple majority of the
House of Representatives votes to try the official for crimes.
The Senate tries impeached officials, and in the case of the
President and Vice President, the head justice of the Supreme
Court presides over the proceedings. A two thirds vote of the
Senate is required to convict the President or Vice President
on any article of impeachment.

From where I'm sitting, there is an obvious Republican strategy
that can beat any impeachment, once it is brought: there
simply are not enough votes in the Senate to guarantee a
conviction.

Since impeachment is now a tool wielded by political parties,
at least when it comes to presidents, though, the floodgates
are open to about a dozen articles of impeachment, ranging
from misappropriation of monies from the Afghanistan
campaign for planning and staging the Iraq war, violation
of the provisions for the FISA court, violations of the Geneva
Convention to corruption involving the December 7 firings of
the US Attorneys, and contempt of Congress during the
investigation of the Plame case.

Make sure the impeachment hearings are going strong, on
many accounts, by March of next year, with prospects of
continuing through November, and maybe enough Republican
senators will have a change of heart of the sort described
by vernondalhart .

Who knows? We might get lucky. I don't want any president, of any party,
having the power that this president has carved out of the other branches of government
for himself.
posted by the Real Dan at 11:55 AM on July 16, 2007




Here are a handful of crimes he and Cheney can be impeached for:

• treason (lying to the public about the reasons for going to war)
• treason (allowing Libby to walk despite apparently causing grave harm to national security)
• conducting voter fraud
• violating FISA (illegal wiretapping)
• gross and excessive abuse of separation of powers ("executive privilege") for the purposes of obfuscating and covering up illegal activities (illegally hiding the content of energy task force meetings in violation of the Federal Advisory Committee Act and subsequent FOIA rulings)

posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:34 PM on July 16


All of which are very bad things, BP, but none of which are crimes committed by the President personally. Impeachment goes to the officeholder, not the administration.

More specifically, you can't impeach Bush for something Cheney did, and vice versa.

Furthermore, going to war under false pretenses isn't "treason" as that law is understood. And prosecuting it as such raises the possiblity that if Iran has nukes, it could be seen as treason if Bush doesn't invade, as a deliberate failure to defend the country.

FISA is impossible to pin on him, and they are going to be impossible to prove, because TA DA! it's classified national security!

Seperation of powers "violations" aren't high crimes and misdemeanors, unless someone does something about it. If the Supreme Court rules a certain way (e.g. "produce the witness to congress") and Bush doesn't, that would be impeachable.

But that will never happen, because he has lawyers who are telling him to keep pushing until someone pushes back. So far no one is really pushing back.
posted by Pastabagel at 11:57 AM on July 16, 2007


As for impeachment, the American public had their chance in 2004 and they re-elected those bastards.

They cheated the first time, and guess what? They cheated the second time too. No surprise there.
posted by agregoli at 12:00 PM on July 16, 2007 [3 favorites]


Seperation of powers "violations" aren't high crimes...

Sure they are. They are betrayals of the founding principles of the US government. His actions were meant to erode and subvert them. You can't get any closer to what is meant by a "high crime" than that. This is obviously a subjective determination, but this is by design.

There's more than enough basis for impeachment already established, what's lacking is the political will.
posted by psmealey at 12:02 PM on July 16, 2007


Under the English common law tradition, crimes were defined through a legacy of court proceedings and decisions that punished offenses not because they were prohibited by statutes, but because they offended the sense of justice of the people and the court. Whether an offense could qualify as punishable depended largely on the obligations of the offender, and the obligations of a person holding a high position meant that some actions, or inactions, could be punishable if he did them, even though they would not be if done by an ordinary person.

This is the United States, not England, even though both share the common law. And we are talking about the removal of the President. This isn't "a high position" it is the "highest" position.

From your link:

An executive official is ultimately responsible for any failures of his subordinates and for their violations of the oath he and they took, which means violations of the Constitution and the rights of persons. It is not necessary to be able to prove that such failures or violations occurred at his instigation or with his knowledge, to be able, in Starr's words, to "lay them at the feet" of the president. It is sufficient to show, on the preponderance of evidence, that the president was aware of misconduct on the part of his subordinates, or should have been, and failed to do all he could to remedy the misconduct, including termination and prosecution of the subordinates and compensation for the victims or their heirs. The president's subordinates include everyone in the executive branch, and their agents and contractors. It is not limited to those over whom he has direct supervision. He is not protected by "plausible deniability". He is legally responsible for everything that everyone in the executive branch is doing.

This is idiotic, right-wing, "I hate Clinton so much" nuttery. The history of presidential impeachment in the US is that the president himself must have committed a proper crime for the case to proceed. It isn't a referendum on his performance.
posted by Pastabagel at 12:11 PM on July 16, 2007


I understand your protestations, Pastabagel, but you have it wrong. This high crimes thing is an established principle in US Constitutional Law. Read up on the Andrew Johnson impeachment trial of 1866.

And FYI, I picked that link precisely because it was from a right wing site. What's good for the goose, etc.
posted by psmealey at 12:19 PM on July 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


Sure they are. They are betrayals of the founding principles of the US government.

You're missing the legal subtlety here. The argument will be that calling an executive branch witnesses to testify in a non-judicial proceeding is a violation of separation of powers, because the legislature does not have oversight of the executive.

The fact that previous administrations granted the legislature the courtesy of making people available to testify does not mean that congress had that right. Furthermore, it is universally accepted that Congress cannot subpoena the president (as president) and force him to appear. So why should they be able to subpoena an executive branch official?

This is what they will argue, and they aren't completely off base either. If congress really thinks it has this power, why don't they order Miers arrested and brought before the committee?
posted by Pastabagel at 12:20 PM on July 16, 2007


I've finally realized how far this country has gone wrong.

Get a hummer, lie, and face impeachment. I don't support Clinton's lying, especially over something so selfish and trivial.

But lie, kill untold thousands with those lies, wiretap your own people, continue to lie, line the pockets of your buddies with cash, gut veteran's care, shit on the documents and ideals that many Americans died to protect, and you're sure to have a bunch of people standing around, wringing their hands, saying "What can we do?"

This is why, mostly, the assholes win everything. They're the ones who will game the system for all it's worth, shafting everyone else in the process, meanwhile gaming the system again when anyone might dare to question all the wrong they've done. And then hide behind more lies.
posted by SaintCynr at 12:20 PM on July 16, 2007 [2 favorites]


Read up on the Andrew Johnson impeachment trial of 1866.

I have. Johnson was impeached for violating the Tenure in Office Act. If was a very specific set of circumstances and events directed by Johnson that constituted the violation of a very particular law. The fact that the legislators were politically motivated and had long standing reasons to want Johnson gone does not matter. What matters is that Johnson broke that particular law.

Furthermore, the fact that these guys conspiring against Johnson felt the need to wait for a specific crime implies that they knew he couldn't be impeached without it.
posted by Pastabagel at 12:26 PM on July 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


You're missing the legal subtlety here.

If the law cannot cope with the specific subtleties subterfuge committed by Bush and Cheney, then perhaps the law is broken?

However, I suspect this is more a question of the will of the legislative branch to defend the country from an out-of-control executive branch, and an usurped Supreme Court packed with activist GOP judges, than a constitutive problem with the Constitution itself.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:39 PM on July 16, 2007


Get a hummer, lie, and face impeachment. I don't support Clinton's lying, especially over something so selfish and trivial.

But lie, kill untold thousands with those lies, wiretap your own people, continue to lie, line the pockets of your buddies with cash, gut veteran's care, shit on the documents and ideals that many Americans died to protect, and you're sure to have a bunch of people standing around, wringing their hands, saying "What can we do?"


You are deliberately leaving out the only fact that matters. He lied under oath. That makes it perjury. Bush has never lied under oath, because he's never been under oath as president. Lying on television is not a crime.

This selective fact editing has got to stop, on both sides. There have to be a million articles and blog posts about impeaching Bush. It should be a simple matter to say he broke X law and here is the evidence directly tying responsibility for the crime to Bush himself. Someone should have done this already.

No hand waving about stuff that's bad that we all agree is bad. Build the case. No hearsay, no speculation, no following-the-money motives. A rigorous case.
posted by Pastabagel at 12:41 PM on July 16, 2007


All of which are very bad things, BP, but none of which are crimes committed by the President personally.

Wrong. He could also be charged if it could be demonstrated he was part of a conspiracy to commit these crimes, as he likely was and as Cheney almost beyond a doubt was.
posted by saulgoodman at 12:43 PM on July 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


Pastabagel,
What do you think is the closest example of Bush and/or Cheney breaking the law?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:44 PM on July 16, 2007


All of which are very bad things, BP, but none of which are crimes committed by the President personally. Impeachment goes to the officeholder, not the administration.

Actually, everything I cited was the result of decisions either directly approved or mandated by either George Bush or Dick Cheney.

More specifically, you can't impeach Bush for something Cheney did, and vice versa.

I don't think I suggested that; rather, that my answer to the question addresses impeaching either official for their respective crimes, of which they are either singly or jointly complicit.

Furthermore, going to war under false pretenses isn't "treason" as that law is understood

Why not? If he and Cheney are putting personal economic or familial interests ahead of defending the Constitution, they are violating their respective Oaths of Office — this is explicitly defined as high treason. Very clearly, there were no WMDs in Iraq, so why are we really there?

FISA is impossible to pin on him, and they are going to be impossible to prove, because TA DA! it's classified national security!

Nixon tried that and failed. Again, it comes down to the will of the legislative branch to defend the country from the various criminal acts of George Bush and Dick Cheney in fomenting policy and conspiring to illegally surveil American citizens.

Seperation of powers "violations" aren't high crimes and misdemeanors, unless someone does something about it

So they are high crimes? Not to be glib, but I don't see this as an appropriate time for a Zen koan.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:56 PM on July 16, 2007


I understand your point, Pastabagel. I'm just sick of seeing this hijack of our nation and the world, and fear that between lawyers, money, and more lying, they'll find a way out of anything.
posted by SaintCynr at 12:59 PM on July 16, 2007


Pastabagel,
What do you think is the closest example of Bush and/or Cheney breaking the law?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:44 PM on July 16


I'm not really a good person to ask, because:

(a) from what I know, these two guys have been very very careful not to let anything get back to them, and they accomplish this by hiring people like Libby and Rove who are smart enough to know what Bush and Cheney want without asking first and are willing to take the initiative to make it happen. See also Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Ashcroft. Furthermore, the Patriot act before 2006 was so ambiguous and broad that it would be a tough case to prove how anything went outside the bounds of what it allowed.

(b) I haven't read everything, so it's very possible that there is some evidence people have found tying these guys to something. When I asked for someone to build the case above, I was sort of hoping somewhere somebody already had a link to it, and that link would get posted here.
posted by Pastabagel at 1:00 PM on July 16, 2007


Lying on television is not a crime

Matters of private scope, no. Intentionally misrepresenting evidence supporting launching an invasion on a sovereign country, I beg to differ.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 1:06 PM on July 16, 2007


these two guys have been very very careful not to let anything get back to them, and they accomplish this by hiring people like Libby and Rove who are smart enough to know what Bush and Cheney want without asking first and are willing to take the initiative to make it happen.

Very true, but you gotta admit, it almost makes you wish they would extend certain provisions of Sarbanes-Oxley to include members of the Executive Branch. If the Chairman of GE can go to jail for things his executives do on his behalf, why shouldn't the President of the United States?
posted by psmealey at 1:07 PM on July 16, 2007


BP:

My point was that if you impeach both guys, you create the possibility that you only charge one for something that the other in fact did. If Cheney is impeachable, then an argument can be crafted for Bush that Cheney did it, and not him. Likewise Cheney could have the same defense. I realize you didn't suggest this, but I'm bringing it up as an example of how the whole case can spiral out of the democrats control unless they know exactly what they are charging which person for and what evidence they intend to use.

And it is of course possible for "treason" to be extended to cover lying to get into a war. The democrats could charge Bush with treason, but that's a tough case to prove. Treason isn't destroying the country, it's destroying it on purpose and with that intent at the outset. How do we prove that?

Look, ultimately there's no law on what is and isn't impeachable, and Congress could craft whatever legal theory they wanted to go after these guys. But for two actual cases and one almost case, impeachment is virgin legal territory.

But unless you have the case down solid - multiple evidence, multiple corroborations all to the same conclusion, possible defenses run to the ground etc. - the whole thing could backfire, Bush stays in office, but is immunized against criticism, because at that point everyone is going to want to put it behind them. That said, I think they should impeach, and should be working on this.

To respond to SaintCynr, the failure here is the democrats. There is no political opposition to this president, no politician of any stature standing up, admonishing the president for the utter failure and disaster of his administration. It could be quite a speech too.
posted by Pastabagel at 1:10 PM on July 16, 2007


Very clearly, there were no WMDs in Iraq, so why are we really there

it's helpful when throwing the charge of treason around to remember that it is a capital crime. If eg. White House tapes were leaked with clear evidence of Bush &/or Cheney talking about this deception, then I do believe the charge & penalty of treason would be adequately supported. But without the smoking gun, and if the glove don't fit . . .
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 1:10 PM on July 16, 2007


(actually I have to retract my above . . . treason is essentially selling out your country to an enemy power during wartime. Whatever BushCo did in the marketing rollout 2002-2003, it wasn't treason as defined in the Constitution.)
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 1:16 PM on July 16, 2007


>>To respond to SaintCynr, the failure here is the democrats.

I know that's a big part of it. I don't belong to their party, either, but see them as a lesser of evils, by and large.

But your assertion begs the question: then what do We do?

For my own part, I no longer believe that the fox is in the hen house, but rather that the hen house is made entirely from foxes.
posted by SaintCynr at 1:19 PM on July 16, 2007 [2 favorites]


But your assertion begs the question: then what do We do?

For my own part, I no longer believe that the fox is in the hen house, but rather that the hen house is made entirely from foxes.
posted by SaintCynr at 4:19 PM on July 16


I think it has always been this way. We are just seeing it being underreported stories get their due on line, and people can connect with each other online in a way not previously possible, so that most people who are online at least know what the story is, even if they take different political positions on issues.

I don't really know what "we" can do. Prepare for the worst, probably.
posted by Pastabagel at 1:25 PM on July 16, 2007


Heywood Mogroot writes "treason is essentially selling out your country to an enemy power during wartime."

Given that 'the enemy' in this 'war' is 'terrorism,' and given that the 'terrorists' have benefitted beyond their wettest dreams from the invasion, treason still seems like a valid conclusion here. If there's one lesson to be learned from Bush's administration, it's that he benefits greatly when terrorists attack the country. That alone should be reason enough to get him out of office post haste.
posted by mullingitover at 1:27 PM on July 16, 2007


They cheated the first time, and guess what? They cheated the second time too. No surprise there.

And nothing has been done to stop them from cheating a 3rd time or a 4th time or a 5th time. The Republicans (and anyone else paying attention) have learned that you can cheat your way into power and no one will call you on it. Or they'll do it on a blog and call it a day.
posted by chunking express at 1:31 PM on July 16, 2007


the evidentiary standard for making that interpretation stick is pretty high, mullingitover. In fact, I beg to differ. I think the present ME approach was in fact designed to stabilize the situation, that an Allawi/Chalabi/INC-led secular shiite administration in Iraq was thought to be hugely preferable to a revitalized post-sanctions pot-stirring Saddam one.

The current mess we find outselves in wasn't even on the powerpoints.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 1:42 PM on July 16, 2007


Absolutely right, chunking express. I was commenting in response to that tired old, "well, the public elected him again..." Since Bush cheated both times, that isn't really true and smacks of "they deserve what they asked for."
posted by agregoli at 1:42 PM on July 16, 2007


Pastabagel, could Cheney be impeached for attempting to redefine his role (i.e. he's not part of the executive branch?).

Could an ordinary citizen sue the President or VP in civil court for defamation of America's character? (yeah, I'm stretching) Misuse of tax money? Could someone who was wrongly placed on the terrorist list and kept from flying sue the President for...something?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:55 PM on July 16, 2007


I got your point, I just disagree with the conclusion. If citizens aren't willing to challenge what was done during both elections then they do deserve the government they get. There is no point of even going out to vote if you don't care about the results being accurate or not. There was more than enough scandal surrounding both elections, but people still don't care enough to do anything about it.
posted by chunking express at 2:00 PM on July 16, 2007


>>I don't really know what "we" can do. Prepare for the worst, probably.

Well, here's what I'm doing.

I'm working on putting together a series of projects aimed at educating people from all walks of life about other cultures, ethnicities, outlooks, and faiths, the ones that so bitterly divide us here in the USA. I'm thinking a website where people can anonymously give info about their true feelings on race, immigration, government, etc. to serve as a sort of framework for local town halls which are taped and posted to Youtube and the like. I want to foster as much community and goodwill among Americans as possible, and would hope that others elsewhere would join in.

I know, it probably sounds corny. The idea so far may not work, it's just notes on page at present. But my feeling is that if we started to know more about each other, all those "different from us" that make up our nation, we might start to see ourselves as a powerful whole with common dreams and goals, instead of a fragmented collection of races and ideologies who don't trust one another.

It might not work. That won't keep me from trying. I don't know what else to do. Thoughts, feedback, and assistance are welcome.
posted by SaintCynr at 2:08 PM on July 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


I think it has always been this way.

Every time I hear this, I think that, while it is not necessarily true, the sheer mass of this attitude I currently see in my walk-a-day life makes me pretty sure it will be this way for some time.
posted by absalom at 2:17 PM on July 16, 2007


Look, ultimately there's no law on what is and isn't impeachable, and Congress could craft whatever legal theory they wanted to go after these guys.

That was exactly my point. I'm not sure where you disagreement with that was.

I am still unconvinced that you need a rock solid criminal case against Bush, as I think there is an overwhelming preponderance of evidence that demonstrates malicious intent, self-dealing, incompetence, and willful dishonesty to the American people. Taken as a whole, a believe that a case for impeachment is easily made (assuming there are enough Democrats with any courage), and prosecuted (assuming there are enough Republicans with any integrity).

But, we also agree, that these guys are too shifty in order to be able to make a criminal case for impeachment. They've been playing bait-n-switch since they landed in the oval office.
posted by psmealey at 2:22 PM on July 16, 2007


Habeas Bill Voting Tomorrow
posted by homunculus at 2:25 PM on July 16, 2007


There was more than enough scandal surrounding both elections, but people still don't care enough to do anything about it.

I disagree. I don't think there was nearly enough publicity about the electons being tampered with, particularly the last one. I also think the Democrats were shocking in accepting the results with no challenge. The American public isn't entirely to blame for election fraud, and I don't subscribe to notions of us "deserving" anything. Neither is such talk really helpful in any sense of the word.
posted by agregoli at 2:32 PM on July 16, 2007


Very clearly, there were no WMDs in Iraq, so why are we really there?

Bush On Saddam: ‘That Motherf*cker Tried To Take Out My Dad’
posted by homunculus at 2:34 PM on July 16, 2007


Forget impeachment. I'm a reluctant Democrat myself, and I think the party machinery has the right idea -- the longer Bush is in office, the longer the Dem stranglehold on Congress will remain. Target "moderate" Republicans in purplish states, put a picture of Dick Cheney's sneer on every piece of campaign literature, and welcome to two solid decades of Dem Congressional control.

Granted, they'll find a way to fuck things up, but it literally can't be as disastrous as complete Republican rule was from 2001-2006.
posted by bardic at 2:36 PM on July 16, 2007


But unless you have the case down solid - multiple evidence, multiple corroborations all to the same conclusion, possible defenses run to the ground etc...

Is all of that really necessary to get things going in the House? Because we've already got HR 635. If I understand the process, the Judiciary committee would have an investigation first and I assume that would involve document requests, supbeonas and things of that nature.

Given the administration's complete disdain for checks and balances, is it that unlikely that they would wind up getting caught in a lie or obstructing the investigation in one way or another?

Bush has never lied under oath, because he's never been under oath as president.

Yeah, that is a problem. In fact, it's the problem. Can you imagine the Judiciary Committee trying to compel Bush or Cheney to testify in front of it? You want to talk about a constitutional crisis. Those guys would walk right into that one. They're too arrogant not too.

They've only been allowed to get away with so much because Congress, the press, and all the rest of us have let them. If Congress pushed back hard, I think we might all be surprised at how quickly the whole thing can come crashing down.
posted by GalaxieFiveHundred at 2:40 PM on July 16, 2007


Bringing an impeachment case forth would cause the media to focus on it. Bush and Cheney don't need to be successfully impeached for this to be a success. This was clear at the outset of the Gonzales hearings on the judicial firings. The longer it lasted, the more the media focused on it, and the worse he looked. Now saying the justice department will be independent of the executive is a positive selling point for democratic candidates, something that may not have been the case otherwise. Bush is a far less crafty speaker than Gonzales.

Similarly, the more Bush's decisions are discussed the worse he'll look and the more not being like him will be an important characteristic for the next election. I say impeach, put every offense out there whether the case is strong or not. Let the congresscritters question the two of them. Let the ones who stay loyal try and come up with lies to defend them. They'll still look bad. In addition if the evidence isn't there, it makes the case for a future more transparent government.
posted by kigpig at 2:41 PM on July 16, 2007


I don't know if this has been mentioned up thread, but it only takes a simple majority in the House to impeach. So Bush and Cheney could be impeached even if they weren't removed from office.
posted by GalaxieFiveHundred at 2:48 PM on July 16, 2007




Anything preventing impeachment based on gross incompetance?

What’s also at issue is what has been a core ruling philosophy in western civilization. Hell, even in a feudal system, the chancellery and the war ministers were separated.

I’m more concerned about the shadow government set up by the Republican party, or at least this cabal of the republican party, that mirrors and supercedes government functions.
It is the dismantlement of that apparatus that is most crucial otherwise we’re going to be most definately and most securely into fascism. One can argue (and I’d agree) that we have elements of it now, but currently there have been a number of acts that have been unchallenged by the law. A law that goes unenforced is basically useless.
If it takes an impeachment to return the country to a more equitable rule of law, so be it. I’d actually prefer harsher more lasting measures, but not on a personal level, more systemic.

As a f’rinstance I heard Edwards talk about how he would be the president for the little guy. How he would help business, yes, but he would be president for people getting the short end right now. And he may well mean it, and indeed, perhaps he will be. But that’s not what’s required.
There needs to be a systemic change such that people cannot be disenfranchised. Not based on the merits or largesse or virtue of any given individual in office, but upon the mechanics of holding the office and the checks themselves.
IMHO if we had more parties, the rules would be more important. Right now it’s based on internal party workings and who can summon the most cash to bear.
That aside, if someone could guarantee me a systemic fix I’d let everyone in the Bush administration walk.
As it is - I’d like to see all their balls (or ovaries) in a blender at the very least.


And re: the mefites talk too much about Bush amirite?
A. don’t like it? Find another thread.
B. present a cogent counterargument.
C. I’ll personally stop pissing on Bush when the war dead come back to life, when the tortured are made whole, when the president can’t imprison me at will, when he returns the money he stole from my pocket and the future he stole from my child and my grandkids.
Criminals have to be prosecuted or the law means nothing.
And I am doing something about it. But I like jerking off on the web too. Helps me form a more coherent mental frameset and get ideas. And maybe clue people in to new ideas as well (like voting 3rd party).
And they don’t have to get away with it either. Pat Fitzgerald’s office (talk about a force for good) just took down one of the most powerful media bastards in the world (Conrad Black). No reason why money and power means a guy is going to walk. Black got nailed precisely on withholding evidence of his other crimes. And there’s no better way to re-assert the primacy of the law.
posted by Smedleyman at 2:59 PM on July 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


I question whether even an unsuccessful impeachment would hurt the democrats. Much of the nation would so relish the spectacle of Bush's humiliation that I wonder if maybe a negative outcome wouldn't matter less than the brutal process of arriving at it.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 3:01 PM on July 16, 2007


To Pastabagel's arguments, a cite from Talking Points Memo which I find particularly compelling in light of the current occupant's "order" that Miers not appear before Congress when compelled to by subpoena:
Invoking a privilege is one thing, but telling a person not to show up in response to a subpoena -- if only to actually invoke the privilege -- is quite another. It's not just worse, it's a felony under federal criminal law. See for yourself.

18 U.S.C. Sec. 1505 : ... Whoever corruptly ... influences, obstructs, or impedes ... the due and proper exercise of the power of inquiry under which any inquiry or investigation is being had by either House, or any committee of either House or any joint committee of the Congress ... [s]hall be fined under this title, [or] imprisoned not more than 5 years ... or both.

18 U.S.C. Sec. 1515(b): As used in section 1505, the term "corruptly" means acting with an improper purpose, personally or by influencing another, including ... withholding, [or] concealing ... information.
Thus, his most recent reach, is perhaps his most clear and direct violation of US law.
posted by deCadmus at 3:11 PM on July 16, 2007


deCadmus has another salient argument. However, if it isn't in the mainstream media, written and/or presented at a 5th grade level (in less than 90 seconds), and repeated 7-10 times daily then we can bet it it ain't gonna be the straw that breaks the camel's back.

We got the government they deserve.

SaintCyr, FTW
posted by HyperBlue at 4:02 PM on July 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


Also this “can’t” talk always gets to me (even when it’s well grounded).

John Nichols: “...An awfully lot of Americans understand what Thomas Jefferson understood. And that is that the election of a president does not make him a king for four years. That if a president sins against the Constitution-- and does damage to the republic, the people have a right in an organic process to demand of their House of Representatives, the branch of government closest to the people, that it act to remove that president.”

/btw I’m thinking of getting a Federalist papers tattoo, maybe wearing a tri-corner hat...
posted by Smedleyman at 4:10 PM on July 16, 2007


//I had a family thing recently. My wife and I set up a nice resturant for the thing, got the menu, got everyone together, etc. Lot of people so, y’know, it’s money. The head waiter is running around like a lunatic trying to get everyone in line. I guess he was nervous, maybe it was his first big party. Waiter is telling me where to put my baby seat, etc. etc. I’ve got a pretty high tolerance for interpersonal b.s. if it’s not worth killing someone over, it’s not worth getting upset over. And we’re not breaking anything or being rowdy. I mean there’s little kids, extended family, cousins, grandmas & grandpas. But my family is sort of like cats. The waiter was just too anal or something.
One of my uncles sort of looked at me, looked at the waiter, frowned. So I had to buttonhole him. I said I appreciate the effort, but you’re on MY time. Your boss might own the place, but you’re working for ME. You’re pissing my family off with the uptight attitude. The service is fine, but it’s not why were here. So relax and if we want something, we’ll ask for it. I think the rest of the service staff appreciated that as well, because he stopped barking at them too. But I think that is sort of what needs to happen with the impeachment. Just a sort of reality check.
posted by Smedleyman at 4:25 PM on July 16, 2007


Ok. I need to backtrack a bit. I was overly critical of blazecockpileon's comments. In the absence of an airtight case, the democrats should follow your suggestion and impeach on on the "big idea":

Nixon tried that and failed. Again, it comes down to the will of the legislative branch to defend the country from the various criminal acts of George Bush and Dick Cheney in fomenting policy and conspiring to illegally surveil American citizens.

Doing nothing is a disaster. Much of politics is theater and power comes from perception of power, so an full blown trial laying out this case would be worthwhile. I wasn't deliberately being dismissive, but my instincts - don't go to court unless your going to go all the way and have the evidence to destroy your opponent - got ahead of me there.


To Pastabagel's arguments, a cite from Talking Points Memo which I find particularly compelling in light of the current occupant's "order" that Miers not appear before Congress when compelled to by subpoena:...
posted by deCadmus at 6:11 PM on July 16


Here's the problem with the reporting on this. REad what I wrote about about their likely separation of powers defense. The statute reads, "the due and proper exercise of the power of inquiry under which any inquiry or investigation is being had by either House". If as they will argue the congressional subpoena itself is a violation of separation of powers, then it isn't "due and proper exercise of power" under the statue, so it isn't obstruction.

Furthermore, did he really order her? Or did he ask her "Harriet, do you want to testify? If you don't you don't have to.." We don't know what he said to her.

That said, it may be worth taking a shot and failing, if only to make the point that we'll take the shot, and when it fails the public will be so outraged they'll greenlight changes in the law to control these runaway excesses.
posted by Pastabagel at 4:46 PM on July 16, 2007




I'm not really in favor of impeachment, for a number of reasons. First off, it won't be successful. It's not a popular vote. It can't be pulled off with the Congress we have now and will have for the next couple of years. We wouldn't get the simple majority required. It would be a circus and a waste of time, energy, money, political capital, and so forth.

What I'd rather see is them go after GWB after he leaves office. Cheney, too. Right now, someone sails out of office and the storm just vanishes. I'd bet a dollar that there was some intern in the White House who wrote a little Javascript portion of Bush's secret home page that has a steady countdown in days, hours, minutes, and seconds until he can blow this joint, akin to an estimate of the remaining cash needed to have "fuck you money."

He's got fifteen months and counting down, fast. I don't see the Democrats getting a President in 2008. Laugh at me if you will, but the newest Republican candidate, whoever it might be, will distance themselves from the administration and market their platform as a return to the good ole country values (always a big seller). Throw in some terror fear and it's a sell. And it'll be back to the same old tricks because they work just long enough for you to bail and retire.

What will cause a political change is the idea that, after you leave office, resign, whatever, they'll still nail you to the wall.
posted by adipocere at 5:05 PM on July 16, 2007


Pastabagel: did he really order her? Or did he ask her "Harriet, do you want to testify? If you don't you don't have to.." We don't know what he said to her.

On the contrary. We know precisely what he said...
..."the president has directed her not to appear at the House Judiciary Committee Hearing on Thursday, July 12th, 2007."
Insofar as the separation of powers defense, Clinton tried it. Further, he filed a suit in federal court to quash the subpoenas. He lost. They appeared.
posted by deCadmus at 5:46 PM on July 16, 2007


As Bruce Fein pointed out to the incredibly brave Bill Moyers (brave for having a show on this topic at all), there is NO ONE in the congress with the courage to pursue Bush on impeachment or anything else. NO ONE because none of our elected officials has the knowledge of the constitution or of history to truly understand what has been happening since 9/11. As was also pointed out, it will take a public outcry if anything to push this weak milquetoast Congress to act in any way other than what is self serving. Watching the Bill Moyers show made me simultaneously outraged and ashamed.
posted by bluesky43 at 6:39 PM on July 16, 2007


JoM just convinced me that impeachment may not be the best option for the long-term outcome.

If the Republicans are allowed to destroy themselves, then with any luck at all a couple new parties will crop up: one to represent the ultra-right nutbars and religionists; and one to represent old-party Republicans (the reducing government, deficits, etc ones).
posted by five fresh fish at 6:57 PM on July 16, 2007


Pastabagel--

If Miers doesn't testify, the issue is not whether Bush committed a crime by "ordering" her not to testify. Once Congress finds her in contempt, then the issue becomes, what will the Federal prosecutor do? If he refuses to indict her (likely) that's when Congress should move to impeach.

That's something that everyone can understand-- she has to testify, refuses, and then the Federal prosecutor won't even budge. Now there is the argument that the Federal prosecutor might indict, and then the judge will dismiss. But seeing how the Bush administration has behaved when threatened, it seems more likely that they will go completely obstructionist. They might fire the US Attorney. Then it is analagous to the Nixon's Saturday Night Massacre, where he fired the Special Prosecutor.

On the other hand, maybe the US Attorney will refuse to indict. Then the argument becomes, the US Attorney, a Bush appointee, refuses to do the right thing and indict. The argument becomes that Bush's people are completely unaccountable-- break the law and be prosecuted and Bush will give you a pardon, or fix the prosecutor so he doesn't indict. There's no accountability there. Then begin the impeachment proceedings.

This is a gamble of course. But without accountability, things will get worse-- and they have gotten worse since the end of the Vietnam war.
posted by wuwei at 7:12 PM on July 16, 2007


FFF:
How much worse do you want it to get before the Republicans "destroy themselves?" And what price is too high?
posted by wuwei at 7:13 PM on July 16, 2007


I truly must say I like the taste of peaches. Especially in cream. Light cream, though.
posted by Sir BoBoMonkey Pooflinger Esquire III at 7:33 PM on July 16, 2007


Yeah, I remember this "just wait, and the Republicans will self-destruct" idea being thrown about when Enron hit the fan. Yep, any day now...
posted by The Card Cheat at 7:36 PM on July 16, 2007 [3 favorites]


Yeah how many more people have to die in Iraq? How do you look a father, a mother, a sister, a brother of a person killed in Iraq in they eye, and tell them "look, more people have to die, because then, the GOP will self destruct, and then, the Democrats will sweep in to victory?" Because that's what people are saying when they spin this "wait for GOP self destruction."

It's like when you're getting your ass kicked, and someone keeps telling you "just wait, one day , they'll get theirs," while the person contines to kick you in the head.

Sometimes, you have to stop someone from kicking your ass.
posted by wuwei at 7:48 PM on July 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


Actually I was wrong and peaches are best in heavy cream. Heavy whipping-ass cream.

All joking aside, 50 years from now some history student is going to write his/her doctorate on the thesis of WWIII can be traced back to Clinton and Monica. Basically, they'll write, the Second Holy War could be attributed to the fact that Clinton's impeachment trial/scandal left such a bitter taste in the public's mouth that they just let Bush go on and on, Energy-bomby-styley till the hornet's nest stung us all in the ass. And then, after the history student's doctorate was turned back to him/her as inferior, he/she would then go on to become supreme dictator of the post-apoc.

Oh, wait, I'm in teh wrong thread.
posted by Sir BoBoMonkey Pooflinger Esquire III at 8:17 PM on July 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


I think you have the government you deserve down there.

I heard a better version of this in an old sci fi story. People get the government they want. Another way of stating it is to say that you get the government you're willing to fight for, and you're stuck with the government you're not willing to fight against. Part of what's important about the impeachment process is the simple declaration that this shit's not okay. Impeachment would rally the republicans together under some martyr banner? I suppose it's possible, but when you see so many republicans distancing themselves from this is that it's rats leaving a sinking ship. You don't see the rats at the moment the ship's about to go under jump back on and go "let's rally and keep the ship afloat!" But even if they did, so what? So they get some extra votes, maybe use this to achieve some of their goals. You know what? We fight against that, too. We fight through what the system provides us, and we fight through what we provide ourselves. We make movies if that's what you do, like Clooney and Moore. Or we write articles, or we protest, or we get our representatives to represent us for once, and if they won't we find the ones that will. Whatever it is, we do it. Losing one battle won't kill us. Refusing to fight will. Like frogs in a pot, with the water temperature rising.
posted by shmegegge at 10:57 PM on July 16, 2007


How much worse do you want it to get before the Republicans "destroy themselves?" And what price is too high?

Well, I would have to say that the insanity that defines Iraq and the return of the Cold War plus the threat of a serious war with Iran leading to a potential world war is a bit too high, yes.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:07 PM on July 16, 2007


I don't see the Democrats getting a President in 2008. Laugh at me if you will, but the newest Republican candidate, whoever it might be, will distance themselves from the administration and market their platform as a return to the good ole country values (always a big seller). Throw in some terror fear and it's a sell

It's the Dems to lose. Which is not to say they're not capable of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. What will kill them is deciding the time is right to do something novel - oh say for example like nominating a woman pres. However well qualified Hillary may be (personally I suspect she might do just fine) she's carrying too much baggage to obtain a majority vote.

The Republicans situation is already about as bad as it can get with only the most hard-core still supporting them. Strategy-wise I'm sure there are some who would see an impeachment process as a blessing in disguise, as a way to shake up the box, change the situation somehow, some way, to any way but the current way before next Fall.
posted by scheptech at 11:14 PM on July 16, 2007


You are deliberately leaving out the only fact that matters. He lied under oath.

this is true, but it's not the only fact that matters - there's another one

congress did not approve a resolution authorizing monica to give bill a blow job ...

how do we have an impeachment trial when a loose cannon democrat accuses republican congressional leadership of being a party to the lies bush told the people?

and how will the democrats be able to answer the inevitable republican counter accusation that they knew about the lies, too?

right now there does not seem to be one prominent democratic candidate who will not have to vote on impeachment if it's brought to the senate ... the inevitable debates could well be political suicide for candidates of BOTH parties

both parties seem to be committing that anyway ... they're both unraveling, as is our government and our political culture

all it's going to take is for one thing to push the whole house of cards over
posted by pyramid termite at 12:49 AM on July 17, 2007


"oh say for example like nominating a woman pres."

Also, never underestimate the latent, unspoken rascism of many. I can think of more than five without too much effort that would elect anyone over Obama. Just 'cause.

I hate to say I can see the Dem's point about staying out of the way of the Republicans' self-destruction, but I do worry that if they don't do something to substantially curb Cheney (we are not going to pretend bush wields any power, are we?) and quick, that we will be in a mess on a scale we currently can not quite imagine.

Rather than impeachment, I'm for flaming meteorite striking at opportune moment. Because frankly I think one is as likely as the other.
posted by From Bklyn at 1:08 AM on July 17, 2007


congress did not approve a resolution authorizing monica to give bill a blow job ...

If only they had, then Clinton might conceivably have accomplished more during his second term than pardoning Marc Rich.

Come to think of it, I can think of worse uses of Congressional time than tying the President's hands for a year or more to, y'know, keep him from possibly invading one or more other countries.
posted by psmealey at 3:04 AM on July 17, 2007


What will kill them is deciding the time is right to do something novel - oh say for example like nominating a woman pres.

It's not that they're nominating a woman, it's that they're nominating Hilary Clinton. And the fact that the GOP hates is isn't the problem. It's her record in the Senate, which is basically comprised of variations on "Fuck the Democratic base."

The other candidate with money is Barak Obama, who's carefully honed a position of not really taking a position. The few he has taken aren't good.

This is the best we can do? No. Hilary's war vote and bankruptcy vote are death knells to me, she will *not* receive my vote, primary or general. Obama's refusal to fight Bush has cost him my primary vote, but I might hold my nose and vote for him in the General.

Edwards, I can deal with, and is my current candidate. Gore would trump in a heartbeat, but he's not going to run.
posted by eriko at 5:39 AM on July 17, 2007


It's not that they're nominating a woman, it's that they're nominating Hilary Clinton.

I think it's a mistake to look at the Democratic Party as a monolithic anything. It's still very much the party that eats its young. Who could have predicted Kerry winning the nomination right up until the Iowa Caucuses in 2004? Most had him at fourth behind Dean, Edwards and Gephardt.

I could well be wrong on this, but Clinton winning the nomination? I just don't see it. She's just as divisive a figure (as you point out) on the left as she is on the right.
posted by psmealey at 6:02 AM on July 17, 2007


from what I know, these two guys have been very very careful not to let anything get back to them, and they accomplish this by hiring people like Libby and Rove who are smart enough to know what Bush and Cheney want without asking first and are willing to take the initiative to make it happen.

Hiring people to commit crimes for you is itself a crime.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:25 AM on July 17, 2007


hat's something that everyone can understand-- she has to testify, refuses, and then the Federal prosecutor won't even budge. Now there is the argument that the Federal prosecutor might indict, and then the judge will dismiss.

But she doesn't have to testify, if she, and the president and the justice department all believe that it is a violation of the separation of powers doctrine for congress to compel an executive branch employee of the white house to testify. This isn't a settle issue of law - there is great debate about where the lines are drawn even in academic circles. This has to go to the supreme court first. Just because people understand it doesn't mean anything.

You can pander to the same stupid masses that gave this guy a 99% approval rating after 9-11 just because it may suit the agenda now. You need to have a solid legal theory. and this isn't solid legal ground by any means. Why do you think the administration is choosing to take a hard line on this issue rather than others, like detention and torture?
posted by Pastabagel at 6:56 AM on July 17, 2007


Pastabagel, you have a lot of patience.

Folks, a sense of historical perspective might be a good thing. Start by chewing on the myth of Democratic populism.

The 'our side is righteous and your side is evil' thing is nonsense on its face.

All of us are fallen, and we all need some kind of grace to help love each other like we should. But the stories we seem to be believing about the 'other' will not get any of us where we need to be.
posted by rockhopper at 7:22 AM on July 17, 2007


You are deliberately leaving out the only fact that matters. He lied under oath.

In a case that was dismissed. Where were all the "no underlying crime" fuckers then?
posted by kirkaracha at 7:40 AM on July 17, 2007


unfortunately for them, public approval of congress is even lower

the major complaint seems to be that they aren't doing anything ... somehow, shutting the government down for an impeachment trial doesn't seem like that's going to help that problem


No, impeachment trials would be something. The people, myself included, that elected them to office to change the way things are going. To stand up and put an end to the war, to the corruption. And we're pissed because they're NOT doing that. They are putting on a pretty face but in the end keep backing down.

Yes, they're slowly getting their teeth as Bush is more and more defiant, but we don't want them to find their teeth, the people that elected them elected them because they claimed to have the teeth necessary to end this war, to curtail this presidents egregious abuses. So of course their approval rating is low. Doing something (even if it fails) to try and stop Bush and NOT backing down is exactly what they need now.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 7:47 AM on July 17, 2007


[insert clever name here]'s got it.
posted by saulgoodman at 7:51 AM on July 17, 2007


Doing something (even if it fails) to try and stop Bush and NOT backing down is exactly what they need now.

all they really have to do is to add an amendment to every spending bill that says congress will no longer fund the iraq war and the troops must come home ... then claim that bush would rather have his war than a functioning government when he keeps vetoing the bills

whether the american people would approve of this, or congress is really trying to end the war is debatable ...

impeachment isn't stopping the war ... and close inspection of what the democratic leadership is really saying gives me doubts as to whether they really want to withdraw all the troops or just some of them for a "better" war

they could stop the war if they really wanted to
posted by pyramid termite at 8:36 AM on July 17, 2007


Wouldn't he just tack on a signing statement that says, "The part about stopping the war in this bill? Yeah, i'm vetoing that. WORD."
posted by chunking express at 8:46 AM on July 17, 2007




Wouldn't he just tack on a signing statement that says, "The part about stopping the war in this bill? Yeah, i'm vetoing that. WORD."

i've thought about this for awhile and all i can say is that the way things are going, we're going to have to have this fight sooner or later with one president or another

we might as well now
posted by pyramid termite at 10:03 AM on July 17, 2007


I'm impressed congress didn't fight the signing statement thing sooner. I'm pretty sure the president is only supposed to veto the whole bill, not just the parts he doesn't like.
posted by chunking express at 10:15 AM on July 17, 2007


“Folks, a sense of historical perspective might be a good thing.”

Excellent point. Wasn’t it Bastille Day recently?

“they could stop the war if they really wanted to”

That, I think, puts the entire situation into the proper perspective. No one has really made them want to. Culturally I think the U.S. needs a “WTF!?” moment to shake us out of this cult of celebrity. Conceptually (’cos I’m not a Dem) I like Obama. But if he started voting for things I was against I’d drop my (albeit relatively worthless right now) support for him in a second.

But we have this cult of personality such that whatever candidate is “our guy” and anyone else - isn’t. (as a general social trend, mefi’ers are, in certain particulars, exempt due to a typically more strenuous level of reasoning and more exacting discourse, even at it’s most elementary level, as ‘real life’ conversations aren’t moderated and most certainly aren’t subject to the same levels of scrutiny - for good or ill. And indeed the media and public conversations that are moderated typically weigh heavily in favor of a given method of reasoning and perspective. One can argue mefi is slanted toward a given perspective, but valid arguments tend to be respected, if only for their clarity, barring the usual ends of the bell curve noise any open discourse is vulnerable to)

And that’s the way the system runs. People are fans of, and give money to, individuals rather than a given supporter of an idea or a bill. So stuff like the campaign finance bill is secondary to McCain and/or Feingold and gets gutted because the focus is on appearance, because that’s what gets the bucks.
If people were fans of the ideas and considered the individual politicians only vehicles for or representatives(!) of a given concept, there wouldn’t be this hesitancy to impeach or to deliver any given set of reform or legislation. But since the money doesn’t run that way, neither does the system. So really, why stick your neck out? The statesmen didn’t just disappear. The systemic support that grew statesmanship disappeared. Probably because we haven’t really been put to the wall for quite some time, we haven’t been driven - truly driven - by need. Or gone down to the elemental level (e.g. rationing in WWII). There’s been no reality check. So practical results and real merit or character are secondary to image and illusion.
posted by Smedleyman at 10:31 AM on July 17, 2007


"If people were fans of the ideas and considered the individual politicians only vehicles for or representatives(!) of a given concept,"

Hoooooo! oh, boy, hahaHaaaaa! wow. Oh, I about busted a gut reading that! That was just - man, witty doesn't begin to touch it...

*limps off quietly to weep in the corner and pray for a bigger meteor, sooner*

(My only exception to this, Smedleyman, is that you forgot the complicity of the media in the degredation of ideas as a viable topic of national discourse. When I can keep the weeping under control I am a huge fan of Digby who often has more and more intelligent things to say than I can ever croak out.)
posted by From Bklyn at 11:08 AM on July 17, 2007


I'm impressed congress didn't fight the signing statement thing sooner.

When did they start fighting it? How about an amendment outlawing signing statements and requiring the president to follow the law as Congress wrote it? Then override his veto. Then impeach him if he does a signing statement. the closer they get to that, the closer I'll be to seeing them as fighting.
posted by kirkaracha at 2:41 PM on July 17, 2007


My comment doesn't make any sense. I said impressed when I meant to say surprised. Why bother showing up to work if the president is going to ignore what it is you do?
posted by chunking express at 2:49 PM on July 17, 2007


“you forgot the complicity of the media in the degredation of ideas as a viable topic of national discourse.”

I thought their complicity was implicit...y.
Paris Hilton, all that.
From Bklyn, one can engineer a ‘meteor strike.’ Me I’d like to try as much as possible before resorting to raising havoc. But y’know, some time in the future after a meteor strike, if you hear a quiet knock on your back door in the middle of the night...
posted by Smedleyman at 3:16 PM on July 17, 2007




Also: “The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie.” - Goebbels

The clock IS ticking. They’re going to have to crap or get off the pot at some point.
posted by Smedleyman at 5:12 PM on July 17, 2007


It is implicite, but I think you can't point out the elephant in the room often enough.

Especially when things are going so dramatically bad.

(and the meteor I keep praying for and which still isn't here yet, is to selectively disrupt those parts of the executive branch the Congress seems so un-willing to.)
posted by From Bklyn at 1:19 AM on July 18, 2007


Sorry to make this comment so late. I just finished skimming everything, so this question may have been answered already. Pastabagel - if indeed Bush and Cheney have been careful to cover their legal tracks and haven't done anything explicitly illegal and you're right about your assertions that the only impeachable offenses are explicitly unlawful actions, then what do you make of the arguments for impeachment by Bruce Fein and John Nichols? These guys seem to have a good grasp on the constitutional basis for impeachment as well as a comprehensive historical view. Why would they be advocating it if there were no grounds on which to do so? I don't know anything about these issues -- I'm really curious because it seems there is sincere disagreement (between you and them) in which both parties are rational and well informed on the issue.
posted by Wash Jones at 6:13 AM on July 18, 2007


In other news: Valerie Plame's lawsuit dismissed
posted by homunculus at 12:11 PM on July 19, 2007


I guess now they'll focus on trying to figure out who forged the documents in the first place.
posted by chunking express at 12:32 PM on July 19, 2007




Re: crap or get off the pot. Looks like it’scrap.
This declared “national emergency” garbage is really getting to me.

btw, that’s quite a coincidence, hom.
posted by Smedleyman at 3:01 PM on July 19, 2007


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