Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Timw to Impeach

By Joe Conason

Recklessly and audaciously, George W. Bush is driving the nation whose laws he swore to uphold into a constitutional crisis. He has claimed the powers of a medieval monarch and defied the other two branches of government to deny him. Eventually, despite his party’s monopoly of power, he may force the nation to choose between his continuing degradation of basic national values and the terrible remedy of impeachment.
 
Until Mr. Bush openly proclaimed as commander in chief that he can brush aside the law, cries for impeachment were heard only on the political fringe, although most Americans have long since realized that he misled America into war. Much as he is disliked and disdained by liberals, even they have shown little enthusiasm for impeachment. In addition to the obvious obstacle of a Republican-controlled Congress, there appeared to be no firm proof of an offense that justified such action. To mention the word was to be dismissed—even by people who believe that this President may well have committed “high crimes and misdemeanors.”
 
The partisan peepshow of the Clinton impeachment did not leave much enthusiasm for that process. Nor would any thoughtful citizen want to risk abusing it in the manner made infamous by Newt Gingrich and Tom DeLay.
 
For responsible citizens, the reluctance to seek the ultimate sanction against the President is especially strong in a time of peril. He and his supporters could argue, quite plausibly, that to impeach him now would be dangerous and destabilizing. His pet pundits and flacks would deploy all the defensive arguments they scorned in 1999.
 
He might well be able to rally the public to his side again by denouncing “politicians in Washington” for “undermining national security.”
 
As political strategy and as public policy, the impeachment of Mr. Bush is an unappealing prospect. (Besides, if he could be thrown out somehow, who would want Dick Cheney to succeed him?) And yet, the actions and attitudes of this President raise the question of how else we can preserve the bedrock principles of a democratic republic.
 
If there has ever been a time, it is now!
 
Finally, the people of the U.S. must demand accountability for these people who have been pulling this same crap in this country for years.
 
 

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