A Simple Question...

Well, perhaps it's not such a simple question. Anyway...

Primarily for my own edification, but I guess for that of the community as well, I'd like to ask a quick question of this community. I know that this isn't going to be a statistically significant or random sample, but at least to get a snapshot of your views and feelings this poll should do. Would you support an effort to impeach, and eventually remove from office, President George W. Bush?

Feel free to respond in the comments with a more specific answer (like why you're voting one way or the other), but head on down to the extended entry to vote in the poll if you can.

Poll below

Tags: polls (all tags)

Comments

102 Comments

Re: A Simple Question...

The wrong question. We ALL will support it.

The question is should Democrats seek it KNOWING it is impossible and knowing that the political consequences will be extremely negative in 2008, knowing that it will completely derail all attempts to end the war.

Bad poll.

by Big Tent Democrat 2007-07-03 07:47AM | 0 recs
Re: A Simple Question...

The wrong question. We ALL will support it.

Apparently you're incorrect -- a sizable minority of those who have voted already say they would not support impeachment. That's what I'm trying to gauge, where people stand. If you want to just make assumptions, assume away. But I'd actually like to hear from this community rather than just dictate how they feel.

by Jonathan Singer 2007-07-03 08:12AM | 0 recs
You asked a malformed question

and got useless data. I voted no, but it isn't because I wouldn't like to see Bush removed from office.

by andgarden 2007-07-03 08:14AM | 0 recs
Re: A Simple Question...

Whatever Jonathan.

It is a crappy question because it mixes two concepts.

One, Do you want Bush removed? with two, should Democrats NOW move forward with impeachment proceedings.

You're smart enough to see my point and thin-skinned enough to respond to me in a childish manner.

by Big Tent Democrat 2007-07-03 08:52AM | 0 recs
Re: A Simple Question...

He was not incorrect -- I voted maybe as a way to pretend to reolve the conflict BTD described.

by demondeac 2007-07-03 09:21AM | 0 recs
Re: A Simple Question...

Are you sure that the political consequences would be so awful in 2008? You can cite Clinton, but on the issues we'd be charging Bush with, the public is  greatly on our side, unlike 1998. Hearings could build not just congressional support, but public support as well. Considering the utter lack of trust in this Administration on nearly every issue, I'd say this situation is more analogous to Nixon than Clinton.

by pluto101 2007-07-03 08:55AM | 0 recs
Re: A Simple Question...

What are you impeaching Bush for?

Warrantless wiretapping?

Iraq War?

Firing the USAs?

Please explain.

And while you are doing that, I take it you accept that Bush will NOT be removed, that this is all symbolic.

by Big Tent Democrat 2007-07-03 09:05AM | 0 recs
Re: A Simple Question...

> Warrantless wiretapping?
Yes, he's admitted it. Case closed.

> Iraq War?
Yes, he lied to Congress on March 18, 2003, the day before he launched the invasion:
http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/ 2003/03/20030319-1.html

> Firing the USAs?
Yes, he participated in corrupting the entire Justice Department.

> Please explain.

We have endless documentation here:
http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/?q=res ourcecenter

> And while you are doing that, I take it you accept that Bush will NOT be removed, that this is all symbolic.

He will resign after the House Judiciary Committee adopts Articles of Impeachment - just like Nixon.

by bob fertik 2007-07-03 09:15AM | 0 recs
Re: A Simple Question...

He will resign?  I find your faith in the president a little unfounded.

by fwiffo 2007-07-03 09:22AM | 0 recs
I had no faith in Nixon

but he resigned when the case for impeachment was overwhelming - and Republican Senators told him they couldn't defend him.

How many Republican Senators in competitive states would defend Bush in an election year?

When the New Mexico legislature considered an impeachment resolution earlier this year, Republicans didn't even show up.

by bob fertik 2007-07-03 09:25AM | 0 recs
Re: I had no faith in Nixon

How many Republican Senators in competitive states would defend Bush in an election year?

You think 16 Republican Senators will defect? I'd love to know which ones, specifically, people think will vote to remove Bush.

And that's assuming all 50 Dems stay together...

by aexia 2007-07-03 01:49PM | 0 recs
Maybe I am just simple

but I believe that he would be removed from office.  He is toxic now, how much more toxic will he be after a full airing of grievances during an impeachment hearing. If we actually think Republicans will come to our side on Iraq as the elections near, how can we not think they would come to our side on this.

by yd 2007-07-03 09:22AM | 0 recs
Re: A Simple Question...

I have no idea if he'd resign, or if he'd stick it out.  I suspect he would stick it out.  I have no idea if he would be removed or not.  I suspect he would not be removed.

I support impeachment because it is the right thing to do.  The President is breaking the law.  The proper recourse is to remove him from office.  Whether enough people can be convinced of the correctness of my attitude has yet to be determined.  But I am convinced that rolling over for GOP thuggery, time and time again, will eventually lead to the US degenerating into a country that I no longer want to be associated with.

Once upon a time, the US really did have moral authority in the world.  I want the country to recover that.  Trying to remove Bush from power would be a step along that path.  Giving in to cynicism and fears about right-wingers are steps away from that end.  

 

by RickD 2007-07-03 09:24AM | 0 recs
Bush will resign?

Bob, no.

BTW Bob, how much time will you be spending on Iraq? As opposed to impeachment?

by Big Tent Democrat 2007-07-03 09:35AM | 0 recs
Re: A Simple Question...

It's a tough question, but there's certainly alot to choose from. You might be able to pin a failure to prosecute Congress' impending Contempt of Congress charge on Bush, and if so it's fairly clear that's wrong, but I'd say Gonzales is better for that one.

We could throw the book at him, but then I fear our message will get muddied. It's easier if everyone's screaming the same injustice, not to mention the length of the hearings would be prohibitively long.

Warrantless wiretapping seems fairly straightforward except the Republicans will pin "not listening to Terrorists" on us, and the Dems haven't done a good job rebutting that charge.

Iraq? Maybe, but it's a fairly complicated, vague, difficult to pin down charge. What you want is something where you can prove the president was personally involved and knowingly approved of, that is easy to explain in a single sentence with little glossed over, and once explained is clearly repugnant. I'd say USAs or Wiretapping is closest to the mark.

by pluto101 2007-07-03 04:33PM | 0 recs
And let's not forget...

...what a disaster the Clinton impeachment was for the reepublican party, seeing as they only got the next 2 presidential terms and control of both branches of congress for 12 years.  And got the opportunity to pack the federal benches with monkey judges, and etc.

by hz 2007-07-03 09:09AM | 0 recs
John Nichols

wrote "The Genius of Impeachment" and found the party that tried to impeach the President won the next election every single time.

by bob fertik 2007-07-03 09:23AM | 0 recs
Re: John Nichols

write a disingenuous piece then.

The GOP lost seats in the 1998 elections BECAUSE it was going to impeach.

The GOP lost seats ion 2000 after impeaching.

This is just the type of BS that destroys credibility.

by Big Tent Democrat 2007-07-03 09:37AM | 0 recs
are you sure?

About your cause and effect, I mean?  Is it a certainty that the GOP lost seats in '98 and 2000 due to the causes you suggest?  Or could it be a natural swing of the pendulum after such a massive shift to the right?  Recall for a moment that the GOP and the pundit class can still beat the monkey drums about blue dresses and the definition of "is" anytime they want to get a quick laugh or score a rhetorical point.  Yes, it's disgusting, but not safe to overlook.

by hz 2007-07-03 09:47AM | 0 recs
Re: are you sure?

1998 I am positive about.

2000 I feel very confident about.

Check your history.

by Big Tent Democrat 2007-07-03 11:06AM | 0 recs
Re: John Nichols

I find it to be an oversimplified view that they GOP lost seats in those two elections because of the impeachment proceedings- however, I do think it may have been part of it.

That being said you can not assume that because THAT impeachment blew up in their faces that all impeachments will cause the same phenomenon. There is a large segment of the population that would like our congress to show some backbone and this would be one way to do it. I also think that because the charges will not be frivolous it is less likely that impeachment proceedings would hurt us in 0'8.  

by JDF 2007-07-03 09:54AM | 0 recs
to clarify

the impeaching party won the Presidency after each impeachment attempt.

btw the Republicans impeached Clinton after the 1998 election. Ken Starr delivered his report in September and Republicans screamed bloody murder for two months. Newt went (predictably) overboard with attack ads that backfired in a couple of districts.

by bob fertik 2007-07-03 10:42AM | 0 recs
Re: to clarify

That is such an absurdly small sample size, that it's not worth dignifying with a response.  Bush 2000 lost the popular vote, and won the electoral vote in a disputed election.  Andrew Johnson was a lame duck from the minute he took office, and the Democrats were essentially dead for about ten years anyway.  Carter won in 1976, but I wonder what would have happened without the pardon from Ford.

by Valatan 2007-07-03 10:53AM | 0 recs
Re: John Nichols

Oh come on, BTD. '98 & '00?!? The GOP suffered from its impeachment of Clinton because it clearly was, and was widely seen as, a politically-motivated and totally illegitimate abuse of congress's impeachment power of a very popular president, that is still seen as such to this day by the majority of Americans.

Whereas not only would any attempted impeachment of Bush, Cheney, Gonzo, etc., be totally legitimate from a constitutional point of view, (however successful it would or would not be in terms of actually impeaching them), but the public, which widely DESPISES this president, his administration and policies, would be highly unlikely to view such an impeachment as in any way similarly politically-motivated or an illegitimate abuse of congress's impeachment power.

Would it work? Chances are no. Would there be political repercussions? Probably. Would the MSM pile on Dems? Certainly? Would this prove to be the political disaster that the Clinton impeachment was for the GOP? Hugely unlikely, based on the facts and polls. Is it worth doing? Yes, I believe, but ONLY if congress is able to make a nearly airtight case, both legally and politically, and gets enough Repubs on board. And are we there yet? Sadly, no. Are we ever likely to get there? Hard to tell, but I'm not ruling it out.

Between the peeling away of GOP support for Bush, especially on Iraq, Bush's total defeat in the immigration bill and now total political (but, sadly, not executive) lame duckness, outrage over the Libby fiasco (both from wingnuts who think he didn't go far enough and non-wingnuts who think he just spit on the legal system YET AGAIN), ill will over all these scandals, and the coming showdowns over subpoenas and such, the legal and political conditions for impeachement may yet emerge. And to confidently predict that it definitely WON'T happen is just as pointless as confidently predicting that it WILL happen.

But to confidently predict that it would be a political disaster for Dems no matter how it turned out--and cite the Clinton impeachment as proof--is just silly. Sorry BTD, very weak case there.

by kovie 2007-07-03 11:17AM | 0 recs
it's not impossible

Richard Nixon resigned shortly after the House Judiciary Committee adopted Articles of Impeachment.

It didn't have to go to the full House or even the Senate because the case was solid and the American people supported the Democrats.

We have a prima facie case for impeaching Bush on the basis of the 30+ violations of FISA.

We also have the support of 2/3 of Americans who oppose Bush.

by bob fertik 2007-07-03 09:09AM | 0 recs
Re: it's not impossible

With Nixon, there were also several years of heavy press coverage where people learned all of hte minituae of how the white house functioned, and the particular crimes instituted by Nixon.  Today, we're lucky if we get 5 to 10 minutes of political news at 6:00

by Valatan 2007-07-03 10:56AM | 0 recs
Re: it's not impossible

No and no. It wasn't until mid-'73 that evidence began to emerge implicating Nixon in Watergate, less than 18 months before he resigned. And to suggest that there isn't steady (if still less than satisfying) press coverage of Bush's actions is simply unfounded. If anyone isn't finding out about Bush's policies, it's either because they don't follow the news, or get it from faux news outlets. But clearly, most Americans are getting some news on Bush, and most of it clearly negative, or else how does one explain his still-plunging poll numbers?

Whether this will all lead to a call for impeachment, let alone actual impeachment, is of course a different question. Depends on what Paris does.

by kovie 2007-07-03 11:25AM | 0 recs
Re: it's not impossible

And yet there was no Internet and blogosphere then.  Many people are learning of the minutiae of THIS administrations crimes and corruption that way.

I'm with Fertik.  It's not impossible.

My 86 yr. old father in the midewest is writing letters to the editor to impeach Cheney.  A lifelong Republican! - until now.

by laserflight 2007-07-03 11:37AM | 0 recs
if you allow your assumption

that you are powerless to keep you from acting, don't be surprised when you are powerless and serious people don't care about what you have to say.

by Carl Nyberg 2007-07-03 12:11PM | 0 recs
Re: A Simple Question...

Interesting theory, BTD.  Wasn't that the same logic leading so many Democrats to vote for the war in the first place... the electoral repercussions?

Maybe not always a sound barameter of what's right.  No point in having an opposition party if there's, you know, no opposing of the other party when it matters.

by mnprogressive 2007-07-03 09:27AM | 0 recs
Re: A Simple Question...

Just nonsense.

Removal is not going to happen and electoral repercussion ARE likely.

But that has nothing to do with Iraq, where the repercussion, if any, were going to happen anyway on 2002.

If you have ever read me you would not have written such a disinegenuous comment.

Do you know what I propose for Iraq?

I am giving up on discussions with ipeachment proponents. Distortions and disingenuity seem all that they will offer.

I am done with it.

by Big Tent Democrat 2007-07-03 09:39AM | 0 recs
Re: A Simple Question...

Umm....bye?

by JDF 2007-07-03 09:55AM | 0 recs
Re: A Simple Question...

Do you see a risk to Democrats not acting?

by Carl Nyberg 2007-07-03 12:09PM | 0 recs
Re: A Simple Question...

except we don't know it will be extremely negative in '08 and we certainly don't know it will have any impact on attempts to end the war given that it appears we are unable to end the war either.

In regard to the poll...

I have long stated that Cheney needs to be impeached first. Impeachment of Gonzales should have been started when Bush refused to can him.

Impeaching Bush comes last.

In that way... the poll fails to consider the various options available to us.

by Andrew C White 2007-07-03 11:52AM | 0 recs
Re: A Simple Question...

Such an effort would be futile and fruitless. This nation will survive George W. Bush.

by Dave Sund 2007-07-03 07:47AM | 0 recs
Re: A Simple Question...

You don't know that.  You're just assuming that.

And that's cynical and defeatist.

by RickD 2007-07-03 09:25AM | 0 recs
survival of USA

Will we survive Bush/Cheney starting a war with Iran?

by Carl Nyberg 2007-07-03 12:13PM | 0 recs
Undecided

If Congress started impeachment hearings, I would wholeheartedly support it. But in all honesty, they probably shouldn't. Instead, I think they should continue investigating the various criminal acts carried out by the administration.

Here is a very serious question - Can George W Bush or Dick Cheney face legal consequences for their past actions after they leave office??

by LandStander 2007-07-03 07:58AM | 0 recs
Will the law follow Bush/Cheney?
Two answers to that:
  1. Yes, the law can be applied to Bush and/or Cheney after they leave office...
  2. ... IF Bush doesn't pardon the both of them on the way out the door.  If they aren't already under impeachment proceedings at that time, Bush can issue a pre-emptive pardon on anyone he wants, a la Ford's pardon of Nixon.
by Phoenix Rising 2007-07-03 09:06AM | 0 recs
Re: Will the law follow Bush/Cheney?

It's not clear that Bush can pardon himself.  I don't think that eventuality has ever been considered.  

Bush could certainly pardon Cheney, though.

by RickD 2007-07-03 09:27AM | 0 recs
Re: Will the law follow Bush/Cheney?

I'm not sure anyone's really tested the pre-emptive bit, either.  Nixon got a pre-emptive pardon from Ford, but no-one ever tried to prosecute him for his crimes after that.

There's nothing in the Constitution saying he can't issue himself a pardon; with the current court, I'd say it sticks if he tries it.

by Phoenix Rising 2007-07-03 09:46AM | 0 recs
Re: Will the law follow Bush/Cheney?

Article II, Section 2, US Const.:

"The President shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment."

So, president can't pardon himself, if I read that correctly.

by DPW 2007-07-03 10:09AM | 0 recs
Re: Will the law follow Bush/Cheney?

I don't see those words...

If the President leaves office, he is no longer subject to Impeachment - that is a procedure reserved for sitting officers of the government.

There's nothing there that says the President can't issue a pardon for any offences he may have committed while in the office of President, unless the Congress acts to impeach him before he leaves.

by Phoenix Rising 2007-07-03 12:00PM | 0 recs
Re: A Simple Question...

No- practically speaking: given the amount of time that it would take (Bush would be leaving office about the same time as the proceedings would end so we wouldn't be gaining that) and the political damage it would do (it would take away from everything else), it would mostly be symbolic, not substantive in nature, which is not the right reason to use such a measure. If you had asked me at the begining of his term- sure, but now it's mostly just symbolic, won't change the S Ct, won't change policies and won't save the Constitution. What will do that is for these people to leave office- that will happen Jan 2009 regardles.

by bruh21 2007-07-03 08:05AM | 0 recs
Re: A Simple Question...

It's my opinion that symbolism is the exact reason we need to do this. Do you think that if a Democratic administration takes hold, they won't try to claim some of the excess that the Bush administration carved out? Bush has expanded the powers of the presidency to sickening levels, and as the passionate debates of today fade, many of those expansions of power are going to be considered legitimate. The only way to tell future presidents "What went on here is not ok" is to impeach.

by pluto101 2007-07-03 09:03AM | 0 recs
What exactly would it be taking away from?

It is not like they can get much done with Bush in office and less than 60 in the Senate.

by yd 2007-07-03 09:24AM | 0 recs
Re: A Simple Question...

A waste of resources.

by Jerome Armstrong 2007-07-03 08:05AM | 0 recs
Right
by horizonr 2007-07-03 08:33AM | 0 recs
Re: A Simple Question...

bingo

by bruh21 2007-07-03 08:54AM | 0 recs
it's a waste

only if you believe in the Constitution, as I do.

by bob fertik 2007-07-03 09:28AM | 0 recs
Re: A Simple Question...

Which should be reserved for exactly what...passing bills that will never get signed and for which Dems don't have enough votes to override?

And are you suggesting that impeachement--if sufficient evidence to warrant it was produced and if enough GOP support could be found--would effectively shut down congress? And even if it does, other than ending the war, what exactly would congress no longer be able to do that might otherwise lead to tangible results? And wouldn't weakening Bush through impeachment actually make it easier for congress to end the war?

by kovie 2007-07-03 11:30AM | 0 recs
He does need to be impeached.

Look Clinton needed to be impeached too.  They fucking lied under oath.  If that doesn't rot the core of representational democracy then nothing will.  (Before you tear into me for bringing up Clinton, I don't believe he ever should have been asked the question, and more importantly, he never should have answered it.  but I digress)  For a rule of law to mean anything it has to be enforced, EQUALLY.  And regardless of whether we survive until the end of Bush, we won't survive the next wanker who tries the same shit.  Heavy things (peak oil, global warming, bird flu, war) are coming, I know this because they always do.  It is the rule of law that makes the United States of America different.  If we don't fight our enemy's both foreign and domestic as many of us have sworn to do, we will have no United States.  

by yd 2007-07-03 08:08AM | 0 recs
Re: He does need to be impeached.

Clinton was impeached.  Remember?

by RickD 2007-07-03 08:19AM | 0 recs
Re: He does need to be impeached.

and remember where I wrote "Clinton needed to be impeached too.  They fucking lied under oath."

I know Clinton was impeached, as he should have been and as Bush should be.  See I know what I wrote AND I am consistent.

by yd 2007-07-03 08:36AM | 0 recs
Re: He does need to be impeached.

what happened with that?

by bruh21 2007-07-03 08:55AM | 0 recs
So you are saying you have never failed?

You have never tried something you weren't sure you could do?

If so then yours has been a sad and boring life.

But beside that, explain how these are the same?

Here are some questions to let you see how they are different:
Is the current president popular?
Are these charges frivolous in any way?
Does a plurality of voters CURRENTLY support impeachment?

If you can't see the difference then you aren't looking.

by yd 2007-07-03 09:28AM | 0 recs
Re: So you are saying you have never failed?

if I think its worth it- sure. If I think its  just to make me feel better rather than get something done no. Thats what objectivity is for. It's not that anyone is saying they woulnd't like it- its weighing its value. THe GOP wanted to impoeach clintona nd they did- but what was the result? did you answer my question ??

by bruh21 2007-07-03 09:48AM | 0 recs
Maybe this answers you...

For them maybe not so good in 98, but not a real downside either, they maintained control then "won" the next presidency as much because the pr effects of the impeachment that was "unsuccessful" hamstringed Gore and forced a crappy running mate.

But that is beside the point.  Do you really think all impeachments are the same? There are ample differences between the impeachment of Bush and Clinton as there is between either of those and nixon or johnson.  If you really want a parallel it is not clinton it is nixon.

Besides:
Do we stop trying all criminals after the first acquittal?

by yd 2007-07-03 10:10AM | 0 recs
Re: Maybe this answers you...

they loss seats and it drained them of their agenda. more importantly it wasn't at the end of a presidential term

by bruh21 2007-07-03 10:27AM | 0 recs
Re: Maybe this answers you...

Have you been here for the last 6 and a half years, or hiking tibet?

by yd 2007-07-03 11:13AM | 0 recs
Re: Maybe this answers you...

which cycles did that occur in?

by bruh21 2007-07-03 12:37PM | 0 recs
Re: He does need to be impeached.

Sorry, I misread.

by RickD 2007-07-03 09:27AM | 0 recs
No worries.

by yd 2007-07-03 09:29AM | 0 recs
No, Just Cheney

Impeaching Bush would make Cheney president and no Democrat -- and not many Americans -- want that.  Impeaching them both would make Pelosi president.  That would ignite the wingnut right into a furious war that would make the Clinton war seem quaint and could possibly tear our nation apart.

Instead, we should spend the next 18 months blocking BushCo from causing more damage and exposing the depth of the evil that characterizes all his administration stands for.  Then, the election votes of the nation in November 2008, not the impeachment votes of congress in 2007, will sweep Democrats into office with a legitimacy that Pelosi could never enjoy.

by Arthurkc 2007-07-03 08:09AM | 0 recs
Re: No, Just Cheney

Boo-hoo, another "that would tear the country apart" moan.

Why is it always that claimed that holding Republicans accountable for their actions will "tear the country apart"?  The majority of Americans disapprove of George W. Bush and, if it were demonstrated that he had been actively violating the law for years, the majority would support his removal from office.  Yes there is a small percentage (20-30%?) who would somehow think that this action was "partisan" only in nature, but I am tired of capitulating to the mouth-breathers that constitute the Republican base.  

Why is it that, now in 2007, we are being told exactly the same thing we were told in 2000, that standing up to the GOP smear machine would somehow "tear the country apart" and that, to avoid that, we have to appease the fear-mongers and criminals that are running the Republican party?  Fuck that.  I'm sorry, but fuck that.  My entire life (which started in 1968) has seen Democrats caving to Republicans on this issue.  If the gist of your argument is that you are afraid of Republicans, then I don't think it's worth listening to.  The main criticism of Democrats is that we are weak, and that is something that is demonstrated time and time again by arguments like yours that are intimidated at the prospect of actually forcing the rabid right wing to obey the fucking law for a change.

Excuse my swearing.  But I am sick and fucking tired of the corruption of the GOP.  And it will not go away when Bush leaves unless the power balance is radically changed.  And the only way to do that in the public imagination is to something dramatic like standing up to him.  Nipping and biting at the edges won't do it.  

What I want to see is a Democratic leader with a strong majority in both houses of Congress and a strong approval rating.  The only path to that end requires demolishing the current Republican power base.  Thoroughly.  

A Democratic Congress that tries to remove Bush by impeachment, but fails because of the obstruction by Republicans, can go to the public and say "we tried, but the Republicans stopped us.  They stand for corruption.  We stand for the Constitution."  A Democratic Congress that doesn't even try will be widely mocked by its supporters, by Republicans, by independents, by the media and late-night comics for not having the balls to stand for anything.

by RickD 2007-07-03 08:28AM | 0 recs
Can I hear an AMEN!, Brother.

That was fantastically well put, expletives and all.  There is a time to curse, and this is it.

by yd 2007-07-03 08:39AM | 0 recs
Re: No, Just Cheney

RickD:

There is something to be said for trying impeachment and failing because the Republicans blocked it, but the advantage of that assumes a solid majority of the nation wants Bush or Bush/Cheney impeached and removed.  Although Bush is in the 20s in approval, I doubt that there is 50% for impeachment.  Consequently, an unsuccessful impeachment might in a perverse manner serve to diminish our shared goal of having progressive Democrats in office, with legitimacy, for a generation to come.

Also, impeachment now, in the next presidency after the Clinton impeachment, might reinforcement the use of impeachment as another form of political warfare -- not that this impeachment is unjustified and not that Democrats are proposing ever using impeachment for political ends -- but the Republicans did recently and will surely try again.  One good way to see that impeachment is infrequently used is to use it infrequently when alternatives are not available, and such alternatives are now possible: the 2008 elections.

by Arthurkc 2007-07-03 08:43AM | 0 recs
Re: No, Just Cheney

There may not be 50% now, but if the hearings actually reveal what has been hidden, then that number is likely to rise very high.

The way to ensure that impeachment is not used for political ends is not to use it for political ends. Bush and Cheney should be removed from office, not because we are Democrats (that's the purpose of elections), but because they have severely abused their offices. The case is very strong (see the 3 or 4 books that have been written on the subject).

by RandomNonviolence 2007-07-03 08:50AM | 0 recs
Re: No, Just Cheney

"I doubt there is 50% for impeachment"

And so we have almost 50% on our side without even firing the first shot.  I don't know why people are unwilling to stand up for the Constitution only when doing so is a slam dunk.  I'm not saying it would be easy.  It would be damned hard to do.  Every day there would be mindless idiots babbling on cable TV about how the impeachment was partisan and unfair.

But here's the thing:  Democratic consultants watch way too much TV and don't talk to actual people very often.  People want everybody to obey the law.  That's a fact.  I don't care if there is no carefully weighted poll by Gallup or Zogby to that effect, that's a fact.  

The reason that the number for impeachment is so low (~50%?) is because nobody is out there making the case for it.  The Democratic leadership (sic) wants this movement to happen on its own.  They don't want to lead the American public to a point where the public agree with the Democratic leadership.  They don't want to lead.  They just want to hope that, somehow, magically, the public will get sick of Republicans.

Stephen Colbert had an interview with a Democratic consultant type that struck home on this very point: that the Democrats are just kind of twiddling their thumbs, hoping that the Republicans behave so egregiously that people are going to vote Democrat by default.  You know what?  That's not going to happen.  Colbert ended up mocking the Democrat repeatedly for his pantywaist approach to politics.

The last Democrat who tried to lead the country ideologically was Jimmy Carter.  Yes, Clinton did a decent job as President, but ideologically he didn't do a damned thing for progressive causes, and one could argue that his triangulating hurt progressivism in the big picture.  

Democratic leaders who want to be respected by the public should know that they have to earn respect.  Refusing to take any stance until it's already been shown to be popular does not earn any respect for Democrats.  

Politics is not easy.  To win fights, people need to be out there actually willing to fight and risk things.  Half of the people who think Bush shouldn't be impeached literally think that he hasn't done anything wrong.  Somebody ought to be trying to make the case that he has.  It's very sad that the only person who is doing that consistently is Glenn Greenwald.  It really should be Harry Reid or Pat Leahy or Howard Dean.  Or Nancy Pelosi, since she is the most relevant person in this discussion.  If she wants to be the Speaker of the House, the second most powerful person in Washington (after Cheney), then she should use the power she has.  

by RickD 2007-07-03 09:17AM | 0 recs
Convincing Me

Rick D,

You are converting me.  Sometimes principles are worth taking a stand for, even at some risk, if the principles are sound, and what is more sound than our Constitution and the rule of law?

by Arthurkc 2007-07-03 09:33AM | 0 recs
Re: No, Just Cheney

Exactly. I completely agree.

Not only that, if conducted well, impeachment hearings can air all the dirty laundry that the Bush administration has been hiding for the last 6 1/2 years. It is crucial for the American public to actually learn what has happened: that Bush stole the 2000 election, that the Iraq war was foisted on us under false pretenses, that all the fear-mongering about illegal aliens being allowed to vote is just hogwash, that US energy policy was shaped by the oil and coal companies (and Kenneth Lay) behind closed doors, that federal prosectors were illegally removed from office because they would not do the bidding of the Repubican party, that Bush authorized secret prisons and torture, that Bush has been illegally spying on progressive activists in this country, etc., etc., etc. If this does not constitute "high crimes and misdemenors", what would?

If we don't expose and challenge this stuff, it will just continue.

Sure it will take time, but with Bush vetoing every piece of progressive legislation, what does it matter? This is now the most imortant piece of business -- let's get on with it.

by RandomNonviolence 2007-07-03 08:46AM | 0 recs
Because Rightists have more guns...

...and more military officers than we do.

We would lose.

Then the country would still go to hell and we'd be dead. Whee.

by MNPundit 2007-07-03 08:52AM | 0 recs
Re: Because Rightists have more guns...

I'm not so worried about a military coup, as I harbour the (perhaps naive) opinion that the military wouldn't intervene, but if Bush and Cheney were both impeached I can see some governors of deep-red states (Georgia, South Carolina, Idaho, that kind of thing) refusing to recognise the authority of a US government led by President Pelosi.

I might support impeachment of Cheney, however. Particularly if a deal could be made to get him replaced by a Republican with no chance of being elected to the presidency (McCain?) That would both emphasise that nobody is above the law and help to dampen down the inevitable cries of "Coup!" from the hard right.

by Englishlefty 2007-07-03 09:16AM | 0 recs
Re: Because Rightists have more guns...

Military officers believe in the rule of law more than you give them credit for.  Real military types cannot stand Bush, but stick with the Republicans because they think Democrats are weak and without principles.  Taking a weak, unprincipled stance to the question of impeachment only feeds those stereotypes.

by RickD 2007-07-03 09:20AM | 0 recs
Re: Because Rightists have more guns...

I was actually referring to rank and file citizenry as I assume the military would split. Of course many lefties have and know how to use guns but they are out numbered by the righties.

As for your comment, the active military types have demonstrated they will follow the rule of law in regards to torture now, haven't they?

by MNPundit 2007-07-03 01:39PM | 0 recs
Re: A Simple Question...

I voted "no" for reasons similar to those expressed above: it could reflect badly on democrats and galvanize Bush's base; I would rather Congress not waste significant time and money on the impeachment process, especially given the fact that there isn't a slam dunk case against him. Remember, it's not enough to just argue that he has been a terrible president. We actually have to convict him of a crime--and it should be a serious and obvious criminal act in order to generate public support for impeachment.

Also, we would have to impeach both Cheney and Bush. I assume no one would be any happier with Cheney as president. As a result, even more time and money would be involved.

In short, we should pick our battles carefully, and this just seems like the kind of battle best avoided.

by DPW 2007-07-03 08:13AM | 0 recs
Re: A Simple Question...

There is never a slam dunk case for anything when the Republicans are kicking sand in the umpire's face and the mainstream media is balancing facts with propaganda. But the case laid out in these books is very strong:

Articles of Impeachment Against George W. Bush by the Center for Constitutional Rights.

The Impeachment of George W. Bush: A Practical Guide for Concerned Citizens by Elizabeth Holtzman and Cynthia L. Cooper.

Impeach the President: The Case Against Bush And Cheney by Dennis Loo, Peter Phillips, and Howard Zinn.

The Case for Impeachment: The Legal Argument for Removing President George W. Bush from Office by Dave Lindorff and Barbara Olshansky.

And here is why impeachment is a good idea:
The Genius of Impeachment: The Founders' Cure for Royalism by John Nichols.

by RandomNonviolence 2007-07-03 09:08AM | 0 recs
Re: A Simple Question...

I have read some of what you've linked in the past, and although I do believe there are plausible allegations of impeachable offenses, I would still be reluctant to characterize it as a strong case for impeachment.

There are a lot of tricky considerations, to be sure. I don't have the energy to discuss the legal points right now, so I'll do the lazy thing and just link to these articles by four conlaw scholars who highlight some legal and practical problems with calls for impeachment. (at least impeachment based upon misrepresentations to the public in the run-up to war; they don't directly address other possible "high crimes and misdemeanors")

by DPW 2007-07-03 10:46AM | 0 recs
Re: A Simple Question...

Frankly, I am not very impressed with these arguments. These people do not seem like Constitutional scholars to me, or at least the arguments they make don't seem very Constitutional. I don't have much time right now, but here is my take after a quick read of these four articles.

Tushnel, Rakove, and Gerhardt all argue political calculation is an important consideration -- that since it is unlikely that Bush will be impeached by a Republican Congress (in 2005 when the articles were written), therefore he shouldn't be. This doesn't seem like the kind of arguments that Constitutional scholars should be making. And Tushnel adds that impeachment should be reserved for "unfitness as demonstrated by serious political misconduct, and a need to replace the president so urgent that we can't put up with waiting until the next election." Why is urgency so important? Isn't it important enough that the President is subverting the Constitution?

Rakove further argues that invading a foreign country is merely "maladministration". Sunstein chimes in with: "Nonetheless, exaggerating a foreign threat, even intentionally, is hardly a legitimate basis for impeachment."

But invading a sovereign country is illegal under the United Nations Charter, a treaty the United States initiated and signed. US laws require us to uphold all signed treaties. Invasion is only legal if there is an imminent threat to our country or the United Nations Security Council explicitly authorizes military action (which they did not). Clearly, even if Saddam Hussein had some WMDs, he would not have represented an imminent threat to the US (much less than the Soviet Union did) or even to his neighboring countries. With the UN arms inspectors closely monitoring his every action and discovering (correctly) that he had no WMDs or WMD programs, Iraq posed no threat at all.

Gerhardt compares what is now known about Nixon's crimes after months of impeachment hearings with what was known about Bush in 2005. We know a lot more about Bush's crimes now than we did two years ago, and cearly, once there are impeachment hearings, we will know a lot more -- I think we will find that Bush's crimes are far worse than Nixon's. Gerhardt also says that since Bush (in 2005) has a lot of public support that he should not be impeached. This doesn't seem very Constitutional and it is no longer true.

None of these arguments are very convincing to me and none use Constitutional arguments. The articles do include some interesting facts about the development of the concept of impeachment, but these don't pertain to the arguments that they make.

I am much more impressed with the level of scholarship of the Center for Constitutional Rights.

by RandomNonviolence 2007-07-03 12:11PM | 0 recs
Re: A Simple Question...

The "keep the powder dry", "it would make Dems look bad", and "it would rally Bush's base" arguments are tired, discredited and no longer operative--as if they ever were. What you're suggesting is that Dems only go after Bush when they are absolutely guaranteed of success, and there is little to no chance of meaningful blowback. Such conditions NEVER exist in the real world, and calling for them is effectively calling for permanent inaction, or at best small-bore action.

Dems kept that powder dry for years--most deplorably during the Roberts, Alito and Brown hearings--and look at what a disaster that's been. Dems have NEVER suffered politically for standing up to Bush--only for NOT standing up to him have they suffered, as with the recent supplemental vote--and the adverse effect of the Clinton impeachment on the GOP is totally inapplicable.

And Bush's "base" is down to some 25% of the country, with indies having largely and permanently abandoned him, so the prospect of enraging his "base" is frankly irrelevant. They're going to hate Dems no matter what they do. And the idea of not standing up to one's political enemy (which is what Bush clearly is) out of fear of blowback is, well, not representative of what I want my party to be about.

Other, far stronger arguments against impeachment can be made--and I've made some, in terms of not trying to impeach YET--but these are not those.

by kovie 2007-07-03 11:41AM | 0 recs
Re: A Simple Question...

I agree with Jerome on "waste of resources" and voted no.  However, I think it is now time for Congress to simply declare Bush to be unfit for the office and give him no more funding for his follies as commander-in-chief.  Pre-commutation, I was willing to give some (at least minor) deference to the commander-in-chief function, but no more.  I am ready to make a firm, unequivocal stand on the next round of appropriations, and I think the people will stand with us now.  The move by Pelosi and Reid to delay the showdown will pay off, IMHO.

Left, center-left, and pure center (along with at least a handful of intellectually honest conservatives) are and should be pretty uniformly pissed now.  The time to strike is at hand.

50/50 nation is now 60/40 nation, and the repurcussions could last an entire generation if we don't eff it up.

New motto: "The Bush White House - Nixonian, without the hint of competence."

by NC State Dem 2007-07-03 08:30AM | 0 recs
Re: A Simple Question...
I prefer this as a motto:
The Republican Party - Unfit for Command.
by JJCPA 2007-07-03 08:46AM | 0 recs
Stare Decisis, baby....

Article 1, paragraph nine, of the Articles approved by the House Judiciary Committee in July, 1974:

9. Endeavoring to cause prospective defendants, and individuals duly tried and convicted, to expect favored treatment and consideration in return for their silence or false testimony, or rewarding individuals for their silence or false testimony.

Controlling precedent.

by Davis X Machina 2007-07-03 08:38AM | 0 recs
Re: A Simple Question...

I'm not voting, as I don't feel comfortable with any option presented.

Impeach Cheney.  Send the mother f$*(&(*r to prison for the rest of his god-damn natural life.  Hell, try him for treason.  Deport him.  Make him live out his life in exile in Saudi Arabia or something.  He can kick it in Idi Amin's old pad.

Impeach Gonzales, too.  

Leave the Chimperor in office, badly wounded.  We can survive another 18 months with that.  But the Vice President must go.

by JJCPA 2007-07-03 08:46AM | 0 recs
How can Cheney be a criminal

without Bush being one also?

by yd 2007-07-03 09:33AM | 0 recs
I've already voted for impeachment

For both Bush and Cheney

Lucky me.

And thousands of other Masschusetts Democratic delegates to their Democratic State Party Convention this past May at UMass' Mullins Center voted right along with me to urge the Congress to impeach the President and Vice President.

It was worth the 2 1/2 hour drive to Amherst just to yell out:

HELL YES!!! after I yelled out Aye to this:

When they asked "all those in favor of recommending impeachment proceedings against George W Bush and Richard B Cheney signify by saying Aye"

by merbex 2007-07-03 08:49AM | 0 recs
no

it's a waste of time and resources; it's highly unlikely to succeed in actual removal and it may, may, harm congress' ability to push forward on troop withdrawals from iraq. Having the commander and chief dealin with impeachment is probably not in our country's best interest with regard to Iraq and our safety.

all that said, I think he and cheney deserve to be impeached and have committed high crimes and misdeamnor.

by dpg220 2007-07-03 08:52AM | 0 recs
the only way out of Iraq

is through impeachment because Bush will veto any effort to bring troops home as long as he's holding the veto pen.

by bob fertik 2007-07-03 09:34AM | 0 recs
Re: the only way out of Iraq

Thanks for nothing Bob.

You know better than that.

Not passing a bill defunds the war.

I can not believe you floated that falsity.

To paraphrase you, it is NOT a easte of time if you REALLY want to end the war in Iraq.

If you are goping to spread that falsehood then it would be better if you stuck to impeachment.

I am infuriated with this falsity from you.

by Big Tent Democrat 2007-07-03 11:10AM | 0 recs
Re: the only way out of Iraq

If all we have to do is nothing in order to defund the war, then your logic proves we should support impeachment because per your logic, it will keep them too distracted to pass the proper appropriations bill.  Or is that false too?

by yd 2007-07-03 11:16AM | 0 recs
We need to impeach

I absolutely support impeachment - whenever, however.  I don't give a damn what "resources" would be wasted, I don't give a damn if it has a negative or positive impact on future Democratic fortunes.

I have 2 boys, ages 2 and 4.  I am literally frightened for them.  A generation ago, Nixon was impeached for illegal wiretaps.  George Bush has already admitted - in public! - to the same thing.  He has led us into war under false pretenses.  He and his administration has made public information about an undercover CIA operative.  Nixon was impeached.  George Bush has not felt any kind of restraint in his actions.  What kind of precedent are we setting here?

With all due respect, Jerome and everyone else here who is against impeachment, what you are asking me is to trust that the next president and all future presidents will be more trustworthy than Bush is.  For me, that's not good enough.  Not nearly good enough.  There needs to be consequences for illegal actions.  The only feasible consequence I can see at this point is impeachment.

by peter0118 2007-07-03 09:02AM | 0 recs
Re: We need to impeach

I agree. I don't want a Democratic president to be doing these things either. This country used to be a democracy (more or less) and we need to fight to make it truly be a democracy. Bush and Cheney have done their best to make it a monarchy or crony oligarchy and "we the people" need to fight back. We don't need a Democratic savior, we need democracy.

by RandomNonviolence 2007-07-03 09:42AM | 0 recs
Re: We need to impeach

I agree too.  The next President could do all these horrible things too, if impeachment doesn't prevent it.

This is what Bush said when he first came into office:

"[We] must remember the high standards that come with high office. This begins with careful adherence to the rules. I expect every member of this administration to stay well within the boundaries that define legal and ethical conduct. This means avoiding even the appearance of problems. This means checking and, if need be, double- checking that the rules have been obeyed. This means never compromising those rules. No one in the White House should be afraid to confront the people they work for, for ethical concerns, and no one should hesitate to confront me as well. We are all accountable to one another. And above all, we are all accountable to the law and to the American people."

by laserflight 2007-07-03 11:59AM | 0 recs
Johnson led us into war under false pretenses

in a lot of ways, Gulf of Tonkin was a more blatant lie.  More deaths resulted.  Before we go on and on about the justice dealt out by previous generations, answer me a question: why wasn't LBJ impeached?

by Valatan 2007-07-03 10:59AM | 0 recs
Re: A Simple Question...

As many posters have pointed out, the question's not so simple.  I've heard progressives (including Kucinich) say that impeachment should focus on Cheney because strategically, Cheney's public approval ratings are even more abysmal than Bush's, and if Bush is impeached, then the Presidency goes to Cheney.

I agree, impeachment should happen.  I'm not sure if it's the advent of web 2.0 and digital technologies that have made political blunders more visible, or if this administration is just truly that much worse, but GW's tenure has got to be one of the best-documented, worst presidencies in this nation's history.  I just wonder what exactly is the political/procedural impeachment "lay of the land" to contend with, and the strategic implications for moving the progressive movement/agenda forward.

by mnprogressive 2007-07-03 09:32AM | 0 recs
Cheney should be impeached first

for several reasons:

1. He and his staff are responsible for all the evil actions (torture, wiretapping, global warming, etc.)

2. He's less popular than Satan (related to #1)

3. His defenders are the only assholes bigger than he (Mary Matalin)

4. Bush will be exposed as the clueless earpiece-fed idiot he is if Cheney goes - an emperor with no brain.

5. Democrats would have to approve his successor, and could insist on a unifying caretaker who will bring our troops home before the next inauguration, so our Democratic president can enact the Progressive Agenda.

by bob fertik 2007-07-03 09:39AM | 0 recs
Re: A Simple Question...

Yes, but like so many other people who think about this- what about Cheney?  He needs to go first or we need to get rid of them together- and would this in any way cause Republican chances to take the White House in a year?  We need to a democrat in there to find all the terrible stuff they've hidden that they've done and may take a while just to go through so it's not so simple.

by reasonwarrior 2007-07-03 12:15PM | 0 recs
Re: A Simple Question...

The Constitution and our system of government are under direct assault from a group of people that consider themselves above the law. When the executive branch decides that it will not be checked by the other branches, that it will ignore subpoenas from the people's representatives in Congress, that it will conspire to obstruct justice -- there is only one Constitutional remedy.

Listen to or read the words of Barbara Jordan, and then re-think your answer:

http://americanrhetoric.com/speeches/bar barajordanjudiciarystatement.htm

A lawless executive is the most dangerous possibility in our system of governance. An executive unbound will have no compunction starting wars, breaking treaties, doing whatever he feels he can do.

Regardless of whether or not we think there are 17 Republicans that might value the Constitution over their party (and I doubt it to), the case needs to be made, forcefully, by every Democrat and every patriot, that our country is being destroyed from within. Gonzales, Cheney, and Bush need to all be impeaches for their lawlessness, and then every Republican must be made to answer and show where they stand, otherwise they will get away with it again. When all the truth comes out, the people will be with those that fight for the Constitution.

by Ron 2007-07-03 12:33PM | 0 recs
Re: A Simple Question...

I don't want Bush anymore.

CHENEY
CHENEY
CHENEY

Mr. " I'm not part of the Executive Branch."

All roads of Evil lead to HIM.

CHENEY
CHENEY
CHENEY

by rikyrah 2007-07-03 02:02PM | 0 recs
Re: A Simple Question...

I agree with the general consensus that Cheney has to go first, IF a convincing case can be made for impeachment.

We can never make Pelosi President. It would be a NIGHTMARE for our candidates in 2008. Our campaign depends on attacking the lameduck Bush-if they have Pelosi as a target, then we're exposed and vulnerable.

An impeachment would ONLY be possible if a sensible, sane Republican were to succeed Bush and Cheney. McCain 4 years ago might have sufficed. Is there any Republican in Congress who would be a broad centrist candidate acceptable to both sides?

Colin Powell would be an inspired choice to be Bush's brief successor. He'd be acceptable to both sides, and wouldn't be likely to run in 2008.

Voinovich might also suffice.

by BlackMage 2007-07-03 05:38PM | 0 recs
Charge Sheet in a Nutshell

1. Warrantless wiretapping of U.S. persons in violation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and in contravention of the Fourth Amendment.

2. Conspiracy to Wage Aggressive War (first count levied in the indictments at the Nuremberg Tribunal)--against Iraq.

3. Fraudulent use of fabricated and inconclusive evidence to justify Crimes against Peace, including the launching of an aggressive war against Iraq (note the Downing Street Memo, "yellowcake from Niger" hoax, mythical mobile BW labs, aluminum tubes with no relevance to a nuclear program, and the nonexistent but alleged connection between the events of 9/11 and the Iraqi regime).

4. Treason in conspiring to reveal the identity of a covert CIA employee (Valerie Plame) as part of an orchestrated effort to discredit Ambassador Joseph Wilson's exposure of the "yellowcake from Niger" hoax.

5. Conspiracy to violate the UN Convention Against Torture (UNCAT) and U.S. obligations to provide humane treatment to prisoners under the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949.

5. Obstruction of justice in commuting the jail sentence of I. Lewis Libby in return for his silence regarding the roles of President Bush and Vice President Cheney in Count 4 (Treason) cited above.

6. Obstruction of justice in firing U.S. Attorneys involved in major corruption trials (notably Carol Lam and Debra Wong Yang) when the investigations uncovered links to the Office of the Vice President and defense contractors.

7. Electoral fraud by means of efforts to suppress votes (caging, launching of bogus voter fraud investigations and prosecutions, and dismissal of U.S. Attorneys, such as Todd Graves in Missouri, who declined to pursue bogus voter fraud cases).

8. Bribery and influence peddling: policy decisions made on behalf of Big Tobacco, Big Oil, Big Guns, Big Insurance, and Big Pharma in return for campaign contributions, personal bribes, and revolving door employment opportunities in the corporatist sector for key political appointees.

Why should these charges be so hard to prove? The evidence is overwhelming.

by FMArouet 2007-07-03 05:56PM | 0 recs
Re: A Simple Question...

The real question in my mind is this: would pursuing impeachment jeopardize or enhance our chances in the 2008 election?  I would rather insure a victory in the election, have a Democratic president & Congress airing the dirty laundry of the last administration, and thusly destroying the Republican party for 20 years.  

by CLLGADEM 2007-07-04 03:55AM | 0 recs

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