I wasn't planning on writing this diary today. But circumstances have forced my hand.
I'm not complaining mind you because it gives me a chance to further clarify and focus some issues on the Impeachment Front as I respond directly to yesterday's diary by buhdydharma on The Apparently Misunderstood Strategy Behind Impeach 'Now'. who was in turn responding to me (and others) when I said "One Thing We Shouldn't Do - Is Impeach Too Soon."
And just for the record I understand perfectly, I simply disagree tactically with "Impeach Now" particularly if we actually want to have a successful Conviction and Removal in the Senate.
As of now, that's not gonna happen - but it might in the future if we play our cards carefully.
The first issue is "Impeach Who" exactly?
Just for the record, I think we're only a hair's breath away from Impeaching Gonzales. If the IG investigation of his obstruction with Monica Goodling isn't just a white-wash, and Congress doesn't sit on it's hands with his obvious and repeated perjury before various committees - his ass his grass.
Gonzo needs to be taken out first, that's clear. He's the cock-blocker that's keeping us from establish a a Special Counsel to look into all the other wrong-doings of Bush and Co.
But if you're talking about Impeaching either Bush or Cheney - I think that's simply going to have to wait for a few more months, possible even a year or so until after the above (Removing Gonzales, Implementing a Special Counsel) is accomplished.
(I should note however that with Cheney's little "I'm not in the executive branch" speil while trying to avoid reporting requirements for classified information and today's revelations that he spied on White House Staffers, and set up a secret campaign of Global Warming Denial he just might be gone sooner than Gonzo at this rate. You never can predict these things perfectly.)
It is my contention that these comments come from reading PARTS of impeachment diaries...as well as conflating a FEW poorly reasoned and presented impeach arguments with those of the more responsible impeachment advocates.
Speaking entirely for myself, I didn't write my diary yesterday based on "PARTS" of anything. I've written my own share of Impeachment diaries. To Wit.
- The Impeach Team - Winograd (CA-36), McClosky (CA-29) & Coleman (CA-28)
- RNC says Democrats have an Impeachment Agenda - They do?
- Kwiatkowski : Impeach Early and Often!
- Arianna on Huffpo: Impeach Gonzales Now!
- Sign the Impeach Gonzales Petition
- Impeach Gonzales First Movement Creeps Forward one More Step
- Rebutting the Defense Against the Impeachment of George W. Bush
- The Impeachment Case against George W. Bush - Count 4: Criminal Negligence
- The Impeachment Case Against George W. Bush. Count 3 - War Crimes, Torture and Murder
- The Impeachment Case Against George W. Bush. Count 2 - Domestic Espionage
- The Case for the Impeachment of George W. Bush : Count 1 - Intelligence Fraud
- After November 06: A Re-Defining Moment
- Dems find that Bush broke 26 Statutes
- Censure is TOO GOOD for 'em
- What Liberals Want...
- One Consistent Meme for Victory in November
- The Fastest Way to End the Iraq War
- History of Presidential Surveillance vs the Wingbats - Episode III
- DOJ Inspector General looking into Obstruction by Gonzo
- Downing Street II : Nail in the Coffin
- In the last throes of Gone-zales....?
- This Failed Presidency
- White House was warned of possible War Crimes Violations in 2002
- WWDD: What would a DEMOCRAT Do?
The other direct inspiration for my comments yesterday were many of the comments I recieved to my Contempt of Congress Diary from the day before that. Examples:
Chairman Conyers needs to start Impeachment hearings.
If he doesn't, the stonewalling will never end.
"The process was designed to be slow and deliberate, to prevent its being abused and misused."
How's that working out?
We need to start impeachment hearings for BOTH Gonzales AND Cheney NOW!
The clock is ticking!
(This I happen to think is a somewhat fair point, the timetable I suggested yesterday would put Impeachment taking place right after the Presidential Primaries in June of '08 - which could be more than a little bit awkward, but if the case is strong and air-tight enough - ultimately that won't matter.)
we are not gonna stop this war in this current term.
However, we CAN establish for posterity formal articles of impeachment, which will put on the record the crimes of the Bush admin.
Such will also reinvigorate our own base.
Such will also shake up the Bushie "I can't recall" defense. And the "executive privilege" defense.
And, it will be during the impeachment hearings themselves where we will discover new & interesting things;
Another poster here astutely said, when Rodino & Dash (of Watergate fame) proceeded to formal impeachment hearings, they never knew beforehand that John Dean would flip or that Butterfield would tell us about the WH taping system.
Rodino & Dash proceeded to formal impeachment hearings of NIXON with a lot LESS stuff than Conyers ALREADY has!
Impeachment isn't the real goal, and neither is removal the real goal;
THE FORMAL DISCOVERY AND FORMAL DOCUMENTATION OF BUSH CRIMES is the real goal!
THE NIXON TAPES CAME OUT ONLY AS A RESULT OF FORMAL IMPEACHMENT HEARINGS, WHICH HAD TO FIRST BE HELD!!
My diary yesterday was simply an attempt to consolidate and organize my responses to some of the above comments - particularly the last one since I felt it operated under a historical fallacy.
The simple fact is that the Nixon Tapes came out months before formal impeachment hearings began - so that's clearly an invalid justification to "Impeach Now". I was correcting his (or her) misunderstanding.
Next buhdydharma said:
To reiterate one point that somehow has been constantly and I dare say, maliciously ignored....NO responsible Impeach advocate has suggested that impeachment is not reliant on thorough investigations.
We can certainly debate the "responsible" issue, but just from the comments I've quoted some people have indeed made that very suggestion, essentially arguing that we either already have everything we need or it's only through Impeachment proceedings that we can peirce the veil of "executive priveledge" as was noted by this commenter.
Impeachment means starting the investigation.
Conviction only comes after the evidence. My guess is that if you polled Americans on the question, "would you support the removal of the President if he were found to have committed crimes against the country and the constitution?" an overwhelming majority would say yes.
Impeachment, and impeachment alone, can enable those revelations, because only by impeachment can we cut through "executive privilege" stonewalling. That is why it is urgent and necessary.
The "Executive Priviledge" issue may also be a fair point, but there's more than one way to skin a Bush. We still have some time left to let the court battle over that issue resolve itself.
And, in point of fact, a very similar question to the one suggested by that commenter was asked by an LA Times Bloomberg Poll last April.
"If George W. Bush broke the law when he authorized government agencies to use electronic surveillance to monitor American citizens without a court warrant, do you think that is an impeachable offense, or not an impeachable offense?"
- All Adults IS 36% IS NOT 56%
- Democrats IS 53% IS NOT 36%
- Republicans IS 17% IS NOT 80%
- Independants IS 37% IS NOT 53%
"Democratic Congressman John Conyers has called for creation of a committee to look into impeaching Bush and removing him from office. Do you think Congress should or should not impeach Bush and remove him from office?"
- Should 33% Should Not 66%
Not exactly the stunning results one would expect, eh?
The point here is that the case for Impeachment has not even begun to be made yet (and the MSM isn't helping since they've hardly ever bothered to poll on the question since last year!) Congress has yet to find the "smoking gun" that would make the case complete in Bush's case.
Then buhdydharma said:
Point two, and the one that has been highlighted recently....NO ONE expects Nancy Pelosi to read an impeachment diary and suddenly throw up her hands and throw her own assessment, her own read of the politics and her common sense to the wind because of an impeachment diary on Dkos....and immediately start proceedings!
Well, of course not... but - and this is big but - we do have to hope that we, in our own small way, can have an impact on policy. These diaries aren't neccesarily written specifically for legislators - we write them primarily for each other. To help ourselves negotiate and develop activist action plans, build marching orders and implement them.
Nancy Pelosi may not read a specific Impeachment Diary, but many of us will and then get on the phone and call her office at (202) 225-0100...
Or write her a letter at
Office of the Speaker
H-232, US Capitol
Washington, DC 20515
Or post on her blog The Gavel and let her know what you think directly.
Secondly, my issue isn't with Speaker Pelosi doing "something against her better judgement" - I personally was more concerned with the level of growing impatience, cynicism and frustration that was clearly evident when Congress failed to override Bush's Veto of the Troop Redeployment plan and choose to Punt Until September, at which point I wrote Don't Panic to point out that despite Kucinich and Edwards' posturing Dems had no more viable options until they were able to gain more Republican support. As Dana Milbank pointed out that evening on Countdown they didn't even have the requisite 60 votes to re-submit the vetoed bill again It was D.O.A. Time for Plan B.
As a result of that fracus - We Lost Cindy Sheehan!
This is what I don't want to see continue. We need to stay in this fight for the long haul, we can't afford to let cynicism and defeatism push us out of the public sphere as an activist force.
I was speaking to US - not them (Congress).
Then buhdydharma said:
Demanding impeachment on Dkos WILL NOT make it happen. To think we don't know that is ridiculous and as I have said, insulting. So instead of thinking all impeachment advocates are idiots, try taking a second to ask what our strategy and thinking actually is!
On this point I actually completely disagree. Demanding that Congress change - via DKOS and other outlets - DID MAKE IT HAPPEN. Oh sure, the Repubs did a lot to help what with the Abramov, The Dukester, The Foley Follies and Maccaca Man. But we helped keep those stories alive and kicking GOP Ass.
It not so much a matter of "demanding" but of making consistent persuasive arguements which gradually change the mind of others progressives, and those people tell two people.. and they tell two people... and eventually you have a groundswell that Congress can't possibly ignore.
BUT... my point remains that although we should absolutely be pushing for Impeachment, since there are literally hundreds of good reasons for it, we Don't have to kick a gift horse like possible Contempt of Congress Charges in the Mouth simply because the issue isn't moving fast enough for our tastes.
Patience is not Appeasement!
There's a huge difference between Impeaching Now... and Impeaching with the intent of Winning in the Senate and Removing Bush (and Cheney) from Office. I know many people don't believe that can be done - but I can tell you one thing, it sure as shit won't get done if we don't even try to visualize it.
To me: Impeachment's Too GOOD For 'em, they need to be Removed.
We may or may not get there, but Removal should be the goal.
There are two primary reasons for this 1) We are not going to end the Iraq Occupation while Bush is still President, he'll go down to the last gasp of his Administration on Jan 19th 2009 still clutching Baghdad in his cold dead fingers and 2) We are not going to send a serious message to all future Presidents that the type of blatant lawlessness and arrogance that this Adminstration has perpetrated Will Not Be Tolerated by this nation or we risk Permenent Damage to The Rule of Law - unless we Impeach, Remove and hopefully Convict!
If we don't reign these fuckers in - and I mean Hard - there is literally nothing to stop it from happening again, and again and again. Just listen to Mitt Romney "I would open Two Guantanemos" - or listen to Guiliani whose practically ready to launch a pre-emptive strike against Iran. Or McCain...
"Bomb bomb bomb.. bomb bomb I..."
This shit has to be stopped cold.
These guys are too irresponsible to be trusted with the family car, let alone the country. The Authoritarian Dickheads who've totally hijacked the GOP have to know that they can't get away with it. Ever.
On every other point made by buhdydharma I completely agree.
I don't think or expect that Nancy Pelosi will become President even if somehow my best case scenario does manage to pan out and both Shooter and Bushie are removed. Most likely we'll wind up with a limp Senate-safe "Ford II" regent to ride out the demise of Bushco. It simply wouldn't be appropriate to make this issue into a partisan coup.
That's not what it's about.
(Although in full disclosure it hasn't stopped me from making a "President Pelosi '07" T-Shirt Design just for the fun of it.)
I stand in solidarity with buhdydharma on the point that we need to address these issues wisely and strategically. We need to be strong, DKOS Strong, learn to handle the setbacks and contain ourselves from lashing out at our own side when they're honestly paddling as fast as they can through the morass of obstruction and that our government was designed to be.
A government that works too quickly, works rashly. Isn't that exactly what we saw under the Republican Congress as they passed bills in the middle of the night and decided to stop doing the entire country's business to invervene in the health decisions of one lone florida woman in a hospice?
I was not intending to shout-down those who feel passionate about Impeachment, or to discourage them from speaking out and letting people know how they feel - rather I sought to re-assure them that "Yes, brother - look at what Conyers is doing - and recognize that It is good"
Contempt of Congress is for Today.
Impeachment (of Gonzales) is for Tommorrow (or in the next fwe weeks)
Cheney and Bush have a few months before it's their turn.