Monday, June 13, 2005

Why I'm Not Impeachy Keen

The Downing Street Memo/Minutes revelations and the various other damning documents originating from those loose-lipped Brits have a whole bunch of my liberal brethren talking giddily about impeachment, but I have to confess to considerably less enthusiasm. Not only do I consider it unlikely, but I actually think it could be counterproductive.

Firstly, while there are some tentative signs of principled Republican resistance to the Bush agenda and questioning of the war and the Bolton nomination, and even Social Security reform, it looks more like butt-covering than genuine opposition. When it's come right down to it on votes like bankruptcy reform and confirming horrible, unqualified right-wing judges, they've been in perfect, bootlicking lockstep. If they're not going to vote against Priscilla Owen or Janice Rogers Brown, they're sure as hell not going to vote to impeach Bush himself, enthralling a fantasy as it may be (I do have a caveat about that, which I'll get to later).

Secondly, I have to ask the question, what does impeachment buy us, really? Yes, we all hate Bush, and I think we all agree that he's the worst president of all time and want to see him humiliated and exposed for the criminal he is, but let's not lose sight of the big picture here. Bush himself is not truly the problem, but only a symptom of the corruption and arrogance that has become the Republican core. What Democrats need to do is discredit and expose the entire Republican party and its media mouthpieces, allowing them to retake control of Congress and start fixing everything that's been broken. They need to cast themselves as the party of grown-ups, who sometimes ask us to make sacrifices and take our medicine and do our homework so we stay healthy and smart and get good jobs.

Impeachment does nothing to advance this; in fact, it essentially absolves congressional Republicans of all responsibility, by allowing Bush to take the blame for everything that's gone wrong, while portraying themselves as innocent dupes. Worse yet, unless there is overwhelming public demand for it (the only scenario in which I can see any realistic chance of a successful impeachment), the attempt would backfire badly and make Bush a heroic martyr of the Republican cause, unfairly attacked by small-minded liberal Democrats blinded by hate and vengeance. Just imagine the backlash against the Clinton circus, magnified by a Republican media avidly hyping the Bush-Under-Siege meme. And if there is overwhelming public demand for it, then the Republicans will see which way the wind is blowing and vote for impeachment, thus making themselves noble heroes who heavy-heartedly put country before party, thus inoculating themselves even more thoroughly from any accountability for Bush's depredations.

And for what? What would impeachment buy us, beyond the I-told-you-so satisfaction? Even if we do manage to impeach Bush, that still leaves us with President Cheney, which is even worse (yes, I know he has zero charisma, but this has consistently been spun as a positive - proof of Cheney's seriousness and steady competence). If we manage to impeach both of them, we end up with President Hastert, which is only a marginal improvement at best. Yes, it could potentially be President Pelosi, but the chances of Democrats retaking the house next year are slim, and I don't think the pro-impeachmentpeople are really looking to wait until 2007 anyway.

My gut feeling is that impeachment talk is premature, and maybe makes us look a little fanatical and crazy. We absolutely need to keep the story alive, and keep hammering away at the message that Bush is a sociopathic liar, but we need to focus more on ways to make the war an albatross around all the Republicans' necks in 2006, not just the lame duck's.

8 comments:

magnolia said...

"We absolutely need
to keep the story alive, and keep hammering away at the message
that Bush is a sociopathic liar, but we need to focus more on
ways to make the war an albatross around *all* the Republicans'
necks in 2006, not just the lame duck's"

yes, they need to get a conscience, if it takes smelling dead bird for the rest of their lives.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and a good feeling it would be, too! But I agree it's all really unlikely, and not a sure thing, anyway, even if they go for it.. And why would we want to look like the Republicans going after Clinton?
Then, too, even though Bush is only the hood ornament on the Right's Edsel of Destiny, it just wouldn't be right for that fine ride to come out of the Car Wash of Justice all gleaming, and without something broke off, now would it?

Doozer

frd said...

I think you are right in saying that he won't be impeached , but I think it should be attempted anyway, to show that what he has done won't be tolerated. This crap has to stop and if he gets away with it, what will keep it from happening again? These are serious crimes that need to have a very bright light put on them.

Eli said...

Well, Nixon didn't get away with it, and that wasn't much of a deterrent. It took, what, 6 years to get a Republican elected again? And Reagan wasn't exactly a squeaky-clean president, so I don't think he was worrying about impeachment.

Believe me, I would love to see Bush and all the other bastards held accountable, but the Clinton impeachment (and hell, maybe it was really about laying the groundwork for this) made impeachment synonymous with petty witch hunts and score-settling, rather than justice and cleansing.

I think the best way to hurt the Republicans is to expose their corruption in such a way that only their most die-hard followers can ignore it, and they lose all credibility and can't get elected anywhere but the reddest of the red states. If that can be achieved via impeachment, then I'm all for it - I just don't think it can be.

smalfish said...

You have given me pause to think,and actually gave me reason to link to your blog.

smalfish said...

Doh!

I guess I ought to give you a link, eh

oldwhitelady said...

What Democrats need to do is discredit and expose the entire Republican party and its media mouthpieces, allowing them to retake control of Congress and start fixing everything that's been broken.

Yes....

But Impeachment sure would feel good! I would love to see them having to provide all sorts of documents (of course we know they know how to get those made) explaining what the hell they were doing and thinking. I would love to see shrub and all his henchmen having to take the stand and tell the truth. Wishful thinking - it will never happen, but they've pissed off a good many people. Pitchforks and Torches are good things to have, just about now.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I see your blog is talking about Edsels. Are you looking for anything related to Edsels? Edsel cars, or Edsel parts & accessories? Everything that you see can be had at auction prices. Just wanted to pass this tidbit of info along. Thanks.