As John Nichols of The Nation reports, Representative Henry Waxman (D-CA) is preparing to investigate the leaking of Valerie Plame-Wilson's status as a member of the Central Intelligence Agency to the press in 2003. But as Laura Flanders--also of The Nation--reports, Congressional Democrats are too worried about risking the chances of their party taking back the White House next year to perform their sworn duty to impeach George W. Bush and Dick Cheney.
Such cowardice is unconscionable in light of the literally hundreds of instances of lawbreaking, violations of the U.S. Constitution, and abuses of executive power. The excuses given for not impeaching and removing a dictatorial regime from power are many, but when examined closely they fall short of credibility. I will now debunk each "argument" (read: lame excuse) against impeachment that has most often popped up.
- Impeaching Bush and Cheney would divide an already split nation.
- Republicans would have a field day attacking Democrats with charges of partisan politics.
- Impeachment now would be pointless, since it is so close to the next presidential election cycle.
- Democrats need to focus their time and energy on ending the war in Iraq, preventing war with Iran and passing a progressive agenda. Impeachment would simply distract from that.
- It would hurt Democrats going into next year's elections.
So there you have it; there is no valid reason, no excuse Congressional Democrats have for shirking their Constitutional duties. Impeachment is at this point the only way to hold Bush and Cheney accountable for their crimes. And if Democrats are smart they can go to the saner Republicans in both chambers and make a deal, in which the latter group's legislation will get a fair debate if--and ONLY IF--they support Democratic efforts to impeach and remove Bush and Cheney. Not that this will happen, mind you, but it's a possibility.
But someone needs first to light the fire under Congress to do its duty. Recall efforts must be used to force key Democrats (and Republicans) to initiate and support impeachment. Although such recall efforts are not likely to succeed, a real threat of early removal from office may be enough to get things moving. And savvy voters could point out that California governor Gray Davis was successfully removed from office in 2003, mere months after his re-election. If members of Congress targeted for recall elections balk at the idea of impeachment, they will use some variation of the above excuses for why they won't do their jobs. You can use my points in crafting your counter-arguments. If efforts by state legislatures work to force the House of Representatives to debate impeachment, these points will prove even more invaluable in that they may be used to convince squeamish members to find their backbones.