Friday, May 11, 2007

Impeachment! Use It!! or Lose It!!!

Enough with the alibies for inaction! Sometimes you just have to say, WTF!

Philadelphia journalist Dave Lindorff is coauthor along with Barbara Olshansky, of The Case for Impeachment: The Legal Argument for Removing President George W. Bush from Office. He has a diary up on the Daily Kos today in which he says of the impeachment power, basically - use it or lose it:
Congress has an obligation to defend the Constitution against attack. If it fails in its duty, then it should at least have the decency to give a proper burial to the impeachment clause that the Founders gave them to use for that purpose.
Lindorff details five spurious anti-impeachment arguments floating around:
  1. Impeachment would be a diversion from Democrats’ main goals of ending the Iraq War, and passing important legislation.
  2. Impeachment is divisive.
  3. The public opposes impeachment.
  4. Impeaching Bush would mean making Cheney president
  5. The president’s crimes and abuses of power need to be proven before any impeachment bill.
Follow the DKos link given above to see how Lindorff dispatches these aliblis for inaction. The only one I present here is Lindorff's answer to #5 (above):
This is completely backwards. An impeachment bill can be filed by any member of Congress who believes the president has violated the Constitution. At that point, it is up to the House Judiciary Committee to consider the bill’s merits and decide whether to ask the full House to authorize impeachment hearings. It is at an impeachment hearing where investigations should proceed. After all, only after the Judiciary Committee votes out an impeachment article can the full House consider whether to actually impeach. Calling for investigations before an impeachment hearing is like asking for an investigation before a grand jury investigation. It’s redundant, simply a dodge.
There are currently five sponsors to Rep. Dennis Kucinich's bill to impeach Vice President Dick Cheney (H Res. 333) for lying about Iraq WMDs, lying about a link between Hussein and Al Qaeda, and for illegally threatening to invade Iran:
  • Rep. Dennis Kucinich
  • Rep. Albert Russell Wynn (D-MD)
  • Rep. Jan Schakowsky
  • Rep. William Lacy Clay (D-MO)
  • Rep. Lois Capps (D-CA)
OK, Okay, I fibbed a little. My own Congresswoman Capps is not yet a sponsor, but I'm so determined that she be among the next ten that I commit to calling her office every day until she signs herself up for reals. I'm going to keep it simple and be making only two points:
  1. Jefferson and Madison had people like Bush and Cheney in mind when they placed the impeachment clause in the Constitution.
  2. Our war occupation in Iraq cannot be ended until at least one of the two war-starters-in-chief is chased out of office.
Dave Lindorff also suggests that chair of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), also be similarly pestered with a demand that hearings on the Kucinich bill (H Res. 333) be scheduled.

And now for my public service announcement:
The main number for the House switchboard is (202) 225-3121.