Another impeachment fanatic

There are 360 days and 19 hours left in the terms of President George Bush and Vice President Richard Cheney. Mr Bush is constitutionally barred from serving another term, and Mr Cheney, who has serious heart problems, chose not to run for president. At noon on January 20, 2009, they become the honored former president and vice president.

But for some of our friends on the (far) left, that just ain’t good enough. David Swanson, from his biography on OpEdNews,

    is a co-founder of After Downing Street, a writer and activist, and the Washington Director of Democrats.com. He is a board member of Progressive Democrats of America, and serves on the Executive Council of the Washington-Baltimore Newspaper Guild, TNG-CWA. He has worked as a newspaper reporter and as a communications director, with jobs including Press Secretary for Dennis Kucinich’s 2004 presidential campaign, Media Coordinator for the International Labor Communications Association, and three years as Communications Coordinator for ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now. Swanson obtained a Master’s degree in philosophy from the University of Virginia in 1997,

is one of those for whom 360 days and nineteen hours is just too much to bear — even though he has borne it for seven years, five days and five hours! :)

    Nadler Is Blocking Impeachment
    By David Swanson

    A private off-the-record meeting was held on Capitol Hill on Wednesday that included House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, Subcommittee on the Constitution Chairman Jerrold Nadler, Judiciary Committee Member and advocate for opening Cheney impeachment hearings Robert Wexler, and several other committee members, activists, staffers, and former staffers from the Watergate days. I wasn’t there, so I’m free to talk about what happened.

    Wexler proposed opening impeachment hearings on Cheney. Conyers committee staffer Perry Appelbaum laid out instead a schedule for non-impeachment hearings over the coming 11 months. Conyers’ notion is to hold non-impeachment hearings on “the imperial presidency” and run out the clock. I guess that would be sort of like a dozen police officers paying a non-arresting visit to the home of a mass murderer. Seriously? An “imperial” president, and you don’t impeach him, and you don’t retire or commit suicide? This baffles me.

More at the link, on Mr Swanson’s site. The article is also cross-posted on OpEdNews, where I first saw it.

To say that Mr Swanson is heavily invested in impeachment would be a bit of an understatement; if you look on his site, you’ll find impeachment blurbs and books for sale in both sidebars. One of the books is, from the sidebar blurb:

The Case for Impeachment, by Dave Lindorff and Barbara Olshansky, an amazingly popular and extremely readable book that explains the context while also setting forth six articles of impeachment against Bush, plus an extra section on Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Condoleezza Rice, and Alberto Gonzales.

Apparently no one bothered to tell them that Donald Rumsfeld and Alberto Gonzalez are no longer in office. :)

The current target of Mr Swanson’s ire is Representative Jerrold Nadler (D-NY).

    The chief opponent of impeachment hearings was not Conyers. It was Nadler. Nadler argued strongly against any use of the I word. He argued that Congress should focus on passing bills, even though they will be vetoed, and then pass them again next year.

I was going to make some crack about if Mr Nadler was standing in the way, nothing could get past him, but the formerly very rotund Manhattan Democrat had bariatric surgery to induce weight loss back in 2002. But, even though I dislike almost all of Mr Nadler’s politics, the notion that a legislator ought to focus on legislation seems like a fairly practical notion.

What Mr Swanson and the rest of the impractical left¹ fail understand is that the mainstream Democrats are a little too smart to go for impeachment. Pursuing impeachment would:

  • Suck all of the coverage of the presidential campaigns away from the Democratic candidates, and none of the candidates, especially Senator Hillary Clinton, wants to be reminded of the impeachment of Bill Clinton;
  • Reunify the Republicans in a way almost nothing else could do; that’s what the Clinton impeachment did for the Democrats;
  • Result in President Bush (or Vice President Cheney, as the case may be) being acquitted in an impeachment trial in the Senate; removal would require the votes of at least sixteen Republican senators; and
  • Even if the impeachment of President Bush was successful, it would take half of the year to conclude, and we’d wind up with President Richard Cheney! If Vice President Cheney was the one impeached, President Bush could name a replacement Vice President. And the impeachment and removal of Mr Cheney would take so long that there would be no time left to impeach and remove President Bush.

I’m certain that if I continue to read OpEdNews, I’ll find “impeach now!” articles through the spring, into the long, hot summer, and proceeding into the fall. But as I (briefly) looked at Mr Swanson’s site, I have to wonder: being so heavily invested in impeachment, when President Bush and Vice President Cheney leave office peacefully at noon on January 20, 2009, what will Mr Swanson have left in his life?
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¹ – The term “impractical left” is a redundancy.

8 Comments

  1. I na bygone era, Swanson would have been a Trotskyite bemoaninging the relative benign natureof J. Stalin.

    His verbal bomb throwing reflects a man who has always been at the lunatic fringe of the body politic.

  2. Howdy,
    Is removal from office the only possible result from a successful impeachment if the office holder in question is found guilty of the accusations contained in the articles of impeachment? What about criminal punishment befitting the crimes committed?

    Can office holders be held accountable after their term expires for crimes committed during their tenure or does the clock simply run out when they leave office?

    Democrats and Republicans alike have lost sight of justice and accountability when the process of impeachment is viewed as some sort of ploy in political gamesmanship. We have lost an important part of our justice system when political gain or loss is the deciding factors in whether or not to impeach rather than evidence of criminal behavior.

    It is my sincerest hope that a comprehensive independent investigation will be launched into the processes that took us to war, of wiretaps undertaken illegally, the use of torture and a whole slew of other issues that have the appearance of criminal activity. I want to see a Ken Star type prosecutor assigned to the case and he be given unlimited resources, no time limit, and unlimited subpoena power to investigate the entire background and behavior of our lame duck President.

    This should have been initiated years ago by a Congress concerned with law and justice instead of partisan protection of a very suspicious President and vice president who lie about things like having warrants for wiretaps and never using torture. I don’t care about expiration of terms…I care about justice.

  3. Impeachment is a governmental, political issue. It is separate from a criminal investigation. Impeachment is designed to determine, by a vote of elected officials, whether a presidentis fit to serve out his elected term of office. The process is deliberately arduous to deter frivilous, partisan impeachments…such as what we would have under the current circumstances.

    Don’t for a moment think all those lawyers serving in Congress haven’t tried to find a way to legally prosecute the President for supposed lies (yes, supposed). No sane judge would convice President Bush, in any case. Criminal activity requires intent of wrongdoing, and there’s no evidence to show any.

  4. Good response, Sharon.

    Besides, the Dems have run Congress for over a year now. If there were genuine grounds for impeachment, they’d have done something by now.

  5. Welcome, Mr Vance!

    Unlike some of my friends on the right, I didn’t support the Clinton impeachment. h, I certainly thought that he deserved it, and once he was impeached, I thought he should have been convicted, but my position at the time was that the impeachment was simply a political move and a total waste of time and effort, because it was painfully obvious that he wouldn’t be removed from office.

    With President Bush, teh Democrats have had teh majority for only a year, so in one way, it could be said that they simply haven’t had the time to do an impeachment, but the other side of that coin is that they have had a year, and not only haven’t made any moves in that direction, they’ve pretty much capitulated to most of what President Bush wanted in the first place.

    As far as the things you mentioned, I don’t think you have considered just what they mean. the “wiretaps undertaken illegally” you mentioned, for example: even if we assume that they were completely illegal, just what penalty do you think the law imposes? Yup, that’s right: the “penalty” is that no evidence obtained by an illegal wiretap can be used in a court of law. It’s not a criminal matter at all.

  6. It is my sincerest hope that a comprehensive independent investigation will be launched into the processes that took us to war…….

    The authorization was sought by President George W. Bush. Introduced as H.J.Res. 114 (Public Law 107–243), it passed the House on October 10, 2002 by a vote of 296-133,[2] and the Senate on October 11 by a vote of 77-23.[3] It was signed into law by President Bush on October 16, 2002.

    Is this the “PROCESS” you are refering to Mr. Lance? Constitutional processes are hardly illegal or criminal.

  7. In my advocacy for a special prosecutor,I was not referring to the machinations of the legislative process…that is a matter of public record and of course nothing illegal happened there. What I am referring to is the claims that President Bush made regarding the intel that was presented to Congress as his reasoning for presenting the legislation you mentioned. He claims Congress had the same information that he had and so they are likewise culpable in the move for a pre-emptive war.

    An investigation might reveal if Congress had the same intel as the President or only the information he chose to present to them. The question that begs for an answer is “Did the President mislead the Congress into voting for this war?” If so, is that a criminal offense? No formal inquiries have been made on that matter.

    The President lied when asked if the Justice Department had warrants for wiretaps related to terrorism investigations. He pointedly said yes and that they would never undertake a wiretap without one. Shortly thereafter he admitted that they were doing wiretaps outside the bounds of FISA. This law was designed to make allowances for urgent wiretaps and allowed a sufficient three day grace period to get one after the fact to accommodate urgent needs of law enforcement officers.

    So, the President lied about illegal activities he was sanctioning. Another question that begs for an answer,”Did the President or those under his command (Alberto Gonzalez and others) knowingly and willfully violate Federal law regarding wiretaps without warrants?” If so, is that a criminal offense or does it just negate the efforts of investigators and thwart justice by causing evidence to be tossed out of court like Dana suggests? Either way, it should be thoroughly explored.

    Recently, the President appeared to be disingenuous again regarding the Iranian efforts to go nuclear. Apparently his administration had intel showing that Iran had abandoned their nuclear weapons programs while Bush was still rattling the saber over this matter. Another question, “Was the President knowingly lying to the world when he claimed Iran was developing nuclear weapons when they were not?” If so, is that a criminal offense or is it just a character flaw that keeps manifesting?

    Then there are the matters of sanctioning torture and whose desk that policy originated on.

    There is the matter of whether or not the President is sanctioning the use of secret prisons for prisoners who have never been charged with a crime. Is that legal or just immoral?

    Let’s not forget the matter of the firing of federal prosecutors for probable partisan reasons…that should be fully explored.

    This is the short list of shady and questionable dealings of our lame duck president. Will he be held legally accountable for his actions if he broke laws or will he simply fade away to Crawford when his term expires?

    Do any of you think that this President could stand up to the scrutiny of a Ken Starr type zealot from the left and come out unindicted?

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