Friday, December 08, 2006
H. R. 1106, The Personal Responsibility Act
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.
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.
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 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.
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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