Friday, March 09, 2007

A practice impeachment

I have been floating an idea with a few friends lately: how about we get America used to the idea of impeaching Bush and Cheney by first going after Attorney General Alberto Gonzales?

It’s just an idea I had because I know that, in this country, we don’t actually impeach presidents because they broke the law, we impeach them because we don’t like them. That was clearly the case with the Republicans and Clinton (oh, by the way, hypocrite much?), and, believe it or not, it was the case with Richard Nixon, too (though, in that case, there were plenty of Republicans to join with the Democrats who didn’t like RN). You have to build a case for impeachment—and I don’t just mean a legal case. You have to sell it politically.

Many in the Democratic leadership are wary of the political fallout that might (might, mind you—not will) accrue if they were to press for the abdication of King George or his dark prince, and they might (again, might) be right to be cautious. With no Dick or Bush, we would be talking about President Pelosi, after all. And it has also been argued that dropping impeachment into the center ring would steal the spotlight from all the positive things that a Democratic Congress might (yeah) do for the country.

But what if we were to start small? And when I say small, I mean small of brain and short of stature—I mean Bush legal eagle Abu Gonzales.

Under Gonzales, the Department of Justice has been a scandal machine—blocking investigations of the executive, authorizing illegal wiretaps, pushing for politically motivated indictments, and now purging the ranks of US attorneys in order to replace them with administration cronies. Fat Albert himself has stonewalled when asked for information, dragged his heels on Congressional requests for evidence, and lied to Congress under oath—on more than one occasion. That last point alone is unimpeachable grounds for impeachment.

But, most importantly, no one is much liking Alberto these days. No one.

Senior Senate Republicans today delivered scathing criticism of Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales for his handling of the firing of eight U.S. attorneys, joining Democrats in charging that the prosecutors were dismissed without adequate explanation.

Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, suggested that Gonzales's status as the nation's leading law enforcement officer might not last through the remainder of President Bush's term. . . .

Now, I will be the first to say that Arlen Specter’s words are about as vital as his prostate. The Senior Senator from PA has a nasty habit of talking loudly while carrying a tiny stick. Why, if I remember correctly (and I do) it was just 14 months back that he was threatening to impeach President Bush over the warrantless wiretaps Specter eventually wound up working overtime to legitimize. And I will also point out that, as head of the Judiciary Committee in the last Congress, it was Specter’s job to exercise oversight over DoJ and stop legislative skullduggery like the provision about the US attorneys that was inserted into last years PatAct extension.

All that said, however, what Specter said on Wednesday should not pass without any notice at all. His tough (tough? well. . .) talk—along with that of some if his Republican colleagues—is just the kind of bipartisan cover that a now Democratically controlled Congress can use to advance the impeachment idea.

Impeachment of Alberto Gonzales, that is. . .

. . . for now.

With Justice Committee hearings on the misdeeds and malfeasances of Bush’s best bud Gonzales, Democrats can build a very public, very newsworthy (or coverage-worthy) case for the benefits of investigation and oversight. And, if, after having his lawbreaking and distasteful petulance paraded before the cameras, the Attorney General refuses to gracefully step down, well, then Democrats have pretty much built the case for his forced removal.

All the while, the rest of the Democratic leadership can still press the case on Iraq (they can do that, right?), can still fight for the rights of working Americans, and can still point out and point at all the flaws of the current Republican administration.

And who knows where we’ll be by the end of the summer? Maybe Mr. 29% will be Mr. 22%. Maybe many more Republicans, feeling the hot wind of 2008 in their faces, will publicly break with Bush and Cheney over the war, or the tax cuts, or the trade deficit, or homeland security, or prescription drugs, or any other policy initiative the lame duck President wants to float in a vainglorious but doomed attempt to give historians something to say besides: “Worst. President. Ever.”

And, with the orderly impeachment of a criminal cabinet secretary under our belts, who knows where America will be vis-à-vis the impeachment of the big two? Rather than looking like a Machiavellian power grab, maybe it will look more like a mercy killing.

Maybe with Gonzales impeached, more rats will willingly leave the sinking ship—and then talk about that rusty vessel in order to save their own reputations. With more inside information and more scandals coming to light, maybe even his own party loyalists will have grown so sick of that lead anchor named Bush that they will grow to hate the sound of his faux southern drawl.

Or maybe they will just grow to dislike him enough to see him impeached.


But for now, let’s set our sites on Gonzo. It’s no small prize, and it could bait the hook for the really big fish.

(cross-posted to Daily Kos)


Blogger Provident 360 said...

Revelation 13:5 - Are we in this 42 month period?

8:03 PM  

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