The Corpus Callosum

Impeachment Update

The Blogosphere has had a bit of a twitter over the issue of the
impeachment of President Bush.  The most assertive progressive href="http://alterx.blogspot.com/2006/11/nancy-its-your-duty-to-impeach-bush.html">
are upset that the issue is “ href="http://www.democrats.com/Why-Conyers-Changed-Tune-On-Impeachment">off
the table,” in the words of Nancy Pelosi and John Conyers.
 Conservatives are href="http://slagblog.blogspot.com/2006/11/yes-mama-sheehan-back-in-saddle.html">skeptical,
imagining that the Democratic leadership is just as vicious as the
Republicans leadership.  

Cindy Sheehan is one of the progressives upset by the apparent
weakening of their stance.  After all, there href="http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/">is evidence
that a lot of people support the notion of impeachment.  (The
MSNBC snap poll, showing href="http://theunknowncandidate.blogspot.com/2006/11/msnbc-live-vote-do-you-believe.html">87%
support impeachment, is not evidence.  It was linked
from the headline of Huffington Post for a while,
which doubtless caused a significant bias.)

Ms.
Sheehan wrote a letter
, published on Buzzflash,
in which she expressed disappointment:

We the people are shocked that you two are already
stridently saying
over and over again that impeachment is “off the table.” Since the
historic Nov. 7th elections, I have talked to a boat-load of Americans
who want impeachment on the table. We activists worked hard to make
these elections about national issues, like the illegal and immoral
occupation of Iraq, and the culture of corruption that, especially you,
Ms. Pelosi have been railing against for months now. And you, Mr.
Conyers, have already written a brilliant and detailed indictment of
BushCo. We the people are definitely puzzled by your rhetoric.

(HT: href="http://mobyrebuttal.blogspot.com/2006/11/bizarro-world.html">Blonde
Sagacity
)

I think Ms. Sheehan is a sharp individual, having heard her speak a few
times.  But I trust Conyers, and think he is both wise and
shrewd.
 He addressed the issue of impeachment at a town hall meeting
in
Detroit, which href="http://corpus-callosum.blogspot.com/2005/07/while-we-wait.html">I
attended.  I also heard him discuss it on the href="http://jackshow.blogs.com/jack/2005/12/next_time_12220.html">Jack
Lessenberry show.  Unfortunately, the audio has been
taken down from the Lessenberry Blog, so I have to go by memory on this.

Basically, Conyer’s argument is that we cannot go directly to
impeachment.  We have to follow the process.  First,
you
investigate.  It is true that href="http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/constitutionincrisis">much
of the investigation has been done already,
but what has been done does not meet formal legal standards; the
minority in Congress does not have subpoena power.  If the
formal
investigation shows that impeachment is in order, you go from there.
 It’s the old innocent-until-proven-guilty thing we have in
this
country.  That’s the wise part.

Then, there is the shrewd part.  Even if href="http://risingofthemoon.blogspot.com/2006/11/and-so-it-starts.html">over
half the people in the USA href="http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/?q=node/4421">support
impeachment,
that does not mean that over half the people have the gumption to go
ahead with it.  To get that to happen with the support of the
majority of the people, the people would have to see the evidence.
 Not
only that, but they would have to see it over and over and over again.
 Repetition is the only way to convince most people.
 So far,
the media have not been willing to give it that kind of coverage.
 But if Congress plays this one well, I think the media will
play
along.  

The other thing is this: a lot of people will not listen to the
evidence, and follow it where it goes, if you first try to get them to
buy into the conclusion.  They want to see the evidence first,
and
draw their own conclusion.  So if you want to get them to buy
the
conclusion, you just start showing the evidence.  

Investigate the story of the href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A36348-2002Sep18">aluminum
tubes.  Investigate the href="http://www.counterpunch.org/leupp11092005.html">uranium
from
Niger.  Let the href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valerie_Plame">Plame
investigation unfold.  Investigate the
contacts between href="http://www.tpmmuckraker.com/archives/000720.php">Abramoff
and the White House.  Investigate the
href="http://www.cnn.com/2006/POLITICS/02/13/katrina.congress/index.html">response
to Katrina.  Investigate the business that href="http://www.projectcensored.org/censored_2007/index.htm#2">Halliburton
does in
Iran.  Investigate the href="http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2005-01-06-williams-whitehouse_x.htm">buying
of journalists.
 Investigate
the use of href="http://www.nytimes.com/2005/03/13/politics/13covert.html?ex=1268456400&en=2e1b834f0ba8a53c&ei=5088%22">video
news releases.  Investigate the href="http://www.waronscience.com/home.php">suppression,
distortion, and misuse of science.  Investigate the href="http://www.oldamericancentury.org/bushco/cronyism.htm">cronyism.
 Investigate the href="http://www.truthout.org/docs_03/102403A.shtml">missing
Iraq reconstruction funds.
 Investigate our href="http://www.soaw.org/new/type.php?type=8">activities in
Central America.  Investigate
war
profiteering
.  Investigate the evidence that Bush
was
planning, href="http://thepriceofloyalty.ronsuskind.com/thebushfiles/archives/000067.html">even
before 9/11, to invade Iraq.  Investigate the origin
of the “Foreign
Suitors for Iraqi Oilfield Contracts
” document.

Of course, there is a problem with that approach.   href="http://www.greenmountaindaily.com/showDiary.do?diaryId=661">It’ll
take too long.  There is just href="http://dir.salon.com/story/news/feature/2005/01/18/scandal/index.html">too
much to investigate.  And we haven’t even gotten to href="http://www.antiwar.com/news/?articleid=2444">Abu Ghraib,
memogate,
the alleged attempt to href="http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2003-12-04-dem-inquiry-bribe_x.htm">bribe
Nick Smith, the href="http://scienceblogs.com/corpuscallosum/2006/11/leakerinchief_flubs_again.php">numerous
intelligence leaks, not to mention wiretapping, habeas
corpus, oil company giveaways.  And so forth.

Perhaps the best approach would be to pick a subset of topics to
investigate, and to target not only the President and Vice President,
but a few other top Administration officials, as well as Congress
itself, a few lobbyists, and some corporations.  The idea to
to paint a picture of the culture of corruption.  Of course,
this will do not good unless progress is made on href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/11/09/AR2006110901819.html">real
reform, positive legislation (e.g. href="http://www.pnhp.org/">Universal Healthcare) 
still goes forward, and we keep our href="http://markmaynard.com/index.php/2006/11/08/my_unicorn_is_strong">unicorns
strong.  The key will be to maintain the proper
balance between the positive and the negative.

Comments

  1. #1 Joe Shelby
    November 16, 2006

    Why no impeachment?

    2 words: President Cheney.

    It’s better to run out the last 2 years with at least some check against Bush’s power than to take him out and replace him with a REAL asshole…

    History will remember enough.

    Besides, impeach him, get President Cheney, who pulls a “Ford” and pardon’s Bush and everybody else in the corrupted administration, and bingo – no accountability reaches it’s peak.

  2. #2 Kevin W. Parker
    November 16, 2006

    If you’re going for impeachment, then obviously you need to impeach Cheney first. But good luck convincing two-thirds of the Senate (meaning at least one-third of the Republican Senators) that either one must go.

  3. #3 Barry Leiba
    November 16, 2006

    The subject of impeachment is dear to my heart (well, “dear” isn’t quite the right word); it’s what got me to start blogging, actually, when I decided that I wanted to openly post a letter I wrote to my legislators.

    In general, Joseph, I agree with the approach that you suggest… but for the time issue. And the time issue is important for one reason only. I believe that King George has done what damage he’ll do. Yes, he could do more, and it’d be a good idea to get him out and prevent that, but realistically I know it’s not likely to make much difference there. But…

    …what impeachment will accomplish, even if the Senate ultimately acquits him, is to say to the world, to Americans, to future presidents — even to Dick Cheney — that we won’t accept these abuses, and that those who perpetrate them will be held accountable. That’s an important statement to make, and to back up with action.

    As to Joe’s comment:

    1. Don’t you think we already have “President Cheney”?
    2. The “pardon” scenario still leaves accountability. I think Mr Nixon was still held accountable, despite the resignation and the pardon.
  4. #4 Jon H
    November 16, 2006

    While impeachment is truly well deserved, I really don’t like the idea of Cheney having his hands on the reins completely unchecked by Rove’s political calculations. (And that in itself is a scary thought – without Rove, it might be even worse.)

    And there are a *lot* of advantages in subjecting the GOP to “death by a thousand cuts” through multiple wide-ranging investigations that find wrongdoing at all levels. If handled skillfully and aggressively, that can stain the GOP and take GOP people off the political bench for the long term, leaving them fit for little more than Heritage and AEI sinecures and Fox News consultant gigs.

    Salting their fields, is what that is. Or could be.

  5. #5 Jon H
    November 16, 2006

    My unicorn is FIGHT!

    (from “My Tank is Fight!”, a book about crazy WW2 weapon systems, from one of the Something Awful.com people. Which in turn comes from the song “My Tank” by the Cthulu-influenced band “The Darkest Of The Hillside Thickets”)

  6. #6 Joseph j7uy5
    November 16, 2006

    Well, Congress can impeach the Vice-President, too. In fact, it might make sense to go for him first.

    But one important issue implied in these comments: Although Nixon was deposed, and a placeholder put in his place (Ford was deliberately chosen as an innocuous presence), Cheney, Rumsfeld, and others from that era did hang around, and did re-emerge later, with even more power than before. So yes, it is necessary to dig deep to get all the roots.

  7. #7 Matt
    November 17, 2006

    Speaking of hanging around and reemerging in a later administration, what about those Iran-Contra vets like Elliot Abrams and John Poindexter who showed up at some point in Dubya’s world?

  8. #8 Ben Noyes
    December 15, 2006

    Orwellian double think abounds
    The people know a criminal is in charge
    They cannot face the truth
    Impeachment and imprisonment of corrupt officials is the only way we will be able to save ourselves.

    It takes some courage , I am begining to think that has been washed away also
    People are willing to let murder continue as long as their jobs are safe.
    They are full of fear
    One sign of a dictatorship