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Impeachment -- A Discussion

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by Fenian_Bastard, Jul 14, 2007.

  1. http://www.crooksandliars.com/2007/07/14/bill-moyers-roundtable-on-impeachment-of-bush-cheney/

    Two guys from opposite ends of the ideological spectrum, making a rational case.
    What I like best is the argument that, we may not do this for all the pragmatic political reasons we can muster, but we can't say the remedy for what's being done isn't right in front of us. The Founders and the Constitution are on their side.
  2. Bump_Wills

    Bump_Wills Member

    I watched this last night. Powerfully persuasive stuff.

    Absolutely, impeachment is the tool to bring an overreaching executive back into constitutional balance. It should never be off the table, as Pelosi has said.

    The discussion also highlighted why impeaching Clinton was the right thing to do, although it was done in a ham-handedly partisan way. No matter how scurrilous one considers the various investigations of Clinton to be, he lied under oath. You cannot promote the rule of law, something that is in the very DNA of us as Americans, if the most visible man in America and the one who should most revere that law is allowed to carry himself above it.

    Bush's transgressions, in a constitutional sense, are far greater. It's time to rein in the executive, lest we want to tacitly expand the power of every president who follows.
  3. Freelance Hack

    Freelance Hack Active Member

    I think there's a much more viable case for Bush's impeachment than there ever was for Clinton's. This administration has had such disdain for the country and its laws that it should be held accountable for it.

    Clinton's impeachment was clearly personal. Conservatives (prodded by the wing-nut talking heads) wanted Clinton out of the office and when he foolishly lied under oath, it gave the House's GOP members enough ammunition. Fortunately, there were enough sane heads in the Senate.

    Conservatives would see Bush's impeachment as something just as personal. Some would probably go as far as calling it a Democratic coup d'etat (especially if Dems tried to oust both Bush and Cheney). Such an action would probably help the GOP solidify its base, too. And, most importantly, it would continue this petty tit-for-tat game between Democrats and Republicans. If Bush is impeached, does anybody want to guess what would likely happen if the GOP regains the House in 2010 and there's a Democrat in the White House?

    The Democrats have enough power in Congress to effectively neuter this administration for the next 17 months. As long as they don't cave into the administration, this country will be fine.

    What this country needs more than anything isn't another impeachment process. What this country needs is for its leaders -- Democrats, Republicans and those in between -- to come together and try to forge a vision for this country's future. That won't happen for a long time if Democrats move forward on impeachment.
  4. One of the tragedies of the Clinton impeachment -- I was for censure and then whatever penalties the legal profession wanted to provide -- was that it was so nakedly partisan and contrary to public opinion that it devalued the process worse than did the Andrew Johnson debacle. As the Hack points out, the House Republicans did this simply because they had the votes, and they would have done it had Ms. Lewinsky never brought pizza to the West Wing. Tom Delay's staff was telling people they were going to impeach Clinton in the fall of 1994. John Fund, famously, told a gathering of conservatives around that same time that all you needed was the "will" tp impeach, not the grounds. Ann Coulter argues in her book that you can impeach a president simply for not doing what he said he would do while he was campaigning. (She argues, seriously, that GHW Bush could have been impeached for signing the budget deal that broke his "read my lips" pledge.) Especially after the 1998 midterms, there was never a chance that they would get a conviction. It didn't matter.
    This time, well...
  5. Bump_Wills

    Bump_Wills Member

    This is a good point, and it's something the two gentlemen touched on during the roundtable. Impeachment cannot and should not be a partisan act; for it to serve its constitutional purpose, sane heads on both sides of the aisle must step forward, out of duty to country before party, and say, "This cannot stand."

    Alas, we could sooner wait for hell to freeze over, these days.
  6. Hack
    The problem is, as Nichols says, impeachment is not a constitutional crisis, it's the solution to a constitutional crisis. What is being asserted now by the Executive is a counter-Constititutional set of prerogatives. The Constitution provides only one solution for that -- impeachment. Since all our politics depend on the Constitution functioning, it is futile to proceed with any kind of bipartisan political "vision" until the Congress elects to do its job and correct the constitutional vandalism that has taken place over the last seven years. Leaving this theory of Executive power in place is destructive to the most important parts of what we are. It disfigures the government.
  7. Bump_Wills

    Bump_Wills Member

    Further, removal from office is not the only prescription of impeachment. Fein noted in the clip that a renunciation by Bush/Cheney of their Constitution-fracturing ways could, in theory, be the conclusion. What's needed is the unmistakable correction of course that restores balance to the government -- whatever that may be.
  8. Want to see what's at stake?

    Nice to see Leahy with a pulse.
  9. zeke12

    zeke12 Guest

    Leahy has certainly grown a pair lately.

    I cannot believe that someone who worked for the federal government would go before Congress and say that. I truly can't.
  10. Meanwhile, John Dean sees the wheels within the wheels.

    Now, that's scary.
  11. Johnny Dangerously

    Johnny Dangerously Active Member

    Great discussion, but Bruce Fein comes off a bit naive in this section about Nixon's boasting after his downfall: "He wasn't repentant at all. If we'd insisted -- maybe as a condition of the pardon, or otherwise -- 'You need to repent; we're a government of laws, not of men, and it's wrong for anyone to assert unchecked power,' that would have had such a pedagogical effect, and it would have deterred anything in the future. We've got to make certain this time around we get that proper acknowledgment from the public officials."
  12. Five to 15 in Danbury might have done the trick.
    I think Fein was just speaking generally of the dynamic of "moving on."
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