Friday, December 08, 2006


H. R. 1106, The Personal Responsibility Act

Resolved, that George Walker Bush, President of the United States, is impeached for high crimes and misdemeanors, and that the following Articles of Impeachment be exhibited to the United States Senate If past history holds, a couple of years from now, the same people that are calling McKinney a loon, and saying that impeachment is off the table will be asking why George Bush was not removed from office before his disastrous leadership broke the American army and reduced the nation to the status of beggar and pariah. I haven't called, at least with any urgency, for impeachment. But I realize that that is the result of my cynicism and conviction that there are certain people whose faces will have to be wiped in the feces that are George Bush before they change their ways. But McKinney explained well why she introduced H. R. 1106: "We have to do this because this is simply the right thing to do. The American people do want to hold this man and his office accountable for the crimes they have committed, and if no member of Congress is willing to do it, than I will." Personal responsibility. Accountability to the public. Imagine that.
Actually, the outgoing Congressional Republican leaders have deliberately sabotaged the legislative docket so that the Democrats, even working all through January, won't have much time to do more this year than wade through the many dog turds the GOPers left for them to clean up. By the time that's done, there won't be time to start an impeachment process that will make it to the Senate for a vote before January of 2009.

And even if by some miracle it did, can you imagine seventeen Republican senators voting to convict Bush? Doing that would be signing their own political death warrants. (We'd need at least seventeen to defect because Lieberman and Ben Nelson would vote for acquittal.)

Remember, the reason that the moderate and liberal Republicans that were flourishing in the 1970s are now extinct is because they dared to back the Democratic drive to impeach Nixon. Lowell Weicker was one of the last to go in 1988, and the Republicans, failing to oust him in the primary, actually gave up a Senate seat by backing the nominal Democrat running against him, Joe Lieberman.
Oh, and another reason not to be too hepped on impeachment: President Cheney.

Much depends on what you intend impeachment to do. Do you want to punish Bush? Impeachment won't do it. Civil or criminal suits, however, just might. (Yeah, Bush, while he's in office, can't be hit with criminal charges. But he can be hit with civil charges. Look at how the Paula Jones nuisance lawsuit, which never even came to trial, sapped the time and energy of the Clinton administration.)

But what if your goal is to remove him so he can't do any more damage? As noted above, impeachment moves too slowly for that. But if you want to neutralize him, bring out the civil suits. Better yet, go after his brains, Rove and Cheney. Bush may be immune to much legal danger, but Rove and Cheney aren't. Already, the Plame case and Rove's efforts to dump everything on Cheney's staff have been a big distraction for ol' Turd Blossom. And now that it's a civil suit, things aren't going to be much better for either Cheney or Rove in terms of distractions.
PW, as I said, I have not called for impeachment, at least with any urgency. All of the things you raise and many more speak against having an impeachment.

But what McKinney says is spot on: "We have to do this because this is simply the right thing to do."

The American system is headed for a crackup much more serious than a stolen election or an impeachment. And when it happens, people need to remember who it was who stood up to do the right thing even though, as you ably point out, it's politically disastrous.
The big fat irony, Charles, is that a lot of the people who have been pushing the hardest for impeachment are aghast that McKinney is backing it, because of her reputation, true or false (and we know that much of it is false), as an anti-semitic looney tune; they believe that this will make it impossible for more respectable legislators to proceed with hearings, as the existence of McKinney's impeachment act will make it seem as if the hearings were entered into with one predetermined result.

The right-wingers such as those over at FOX News are overjoyed, of course, because they see McKinney's actions as playing into the "crazy out-of-control black woman" image they have of her, and also the idea of the Democrats as out-of-control vengeance junkies: It was given prominent play on the network and the website within minutes after she announced it yesterday.
Yeah, well, if Democrats developed better instincts to defend their own, they could turn the circular firing squad outwards... and do a better job of defending everyone.

Yes, it's true that it would be best if this resolution came from someone white, with an impeccable centrist reputation. But as John Nichols pointed out, a lot of people are quietly happy that McKinney took up the cross. Let the 'wingers shout and moan. And let the rest of the world remember that four years ago, Cynthia McKinney was the "loon" who said there must be a 9/11 Commission... and lo, there was a 911 Commission.

But not until after she demanded it.
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