Saturday, April 07, 2007

None Dare Call It Impeachment

Joe Klein over at Swampland, believes that George Bush is dangerously incompetent, but that we shouldn't impeach him. He lists his reasons, many of which I have heard before, but this is conventional wisdom so it needs to be aired out.

If successful, you get President Cheney. If unsuccessful, you get a latter day precedent--any President, and especially the next President, is more likely to be impeached than not. Impeachment was cheapened by Republicans in the last administration; it shouldn't be cheapened by Democrats in this one. It should be saved for the most blatant cases of serious criminality, not for criminal adolescence and incompetence.

As for what to do now: oppose the Bush foreign policy without proposing precipitate and ill-considered alternatives (listen to politicians like Jim Webb, John Warner, Jack Reed and Chuck Hagel on Iraq), publicize any ensuing acts of carelessness (like Walter Reed) and expose--and block--Rovean overreach. And try to find a next President who is more thoughtful and judicious.

1. I envision more of a Nixon scenario actually. Cheney being forced to resign and a Gerald Ford type taking his place. Cheney's comments this week calling democrats Stalinists and suggesting a 9/11 link with Iraq were pretty shameful. What is unforgivable, or should be to Republicans, is that it doesn't help Bush out at all. These lies are red meat to the base, but the base is all that is left. Bush needs to expand beyond the 30's to have any more power with congress. Cheney just hurt Bush. Republicans might ask him to go first. A non threatening Republican who isn't looking to be President would be thrusted upon the President. I see somebody like a Howard Baker, somebody who would get near unanimous support.

2. Just because the Republicans impeached Clinton over a blow job doesn't mean that impeachment is being talked about "unseriously" here on the merits. This administration lied us into a war that has cost 3,200 dead americans, hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, will end up costing us over a trillion dollars. His incompetence over Katrina, authorizing torture, ignoring habeus corpus, politicizing the justice department aren't petty things here.

3. Joe is basically arguing that we should wait out the clock and try to limit the arterial spray with band-aids. One thing I didn't mention in my second point was signing statements. No matter what congress does, Bush thinks he can sign a bill and ignore it with a statement. He can order bombing of any country he feels like without congress being able to prevent it. He can do a lot of damage beyond the control of congress to prevent. We have a serious flaw in our system. In parliamentary democracies, if a leader is unfit, loses the support of the people, the government can be dissolved. Joe Klein is saying that this is too drastic a measure, even though it's done all the time in other democracies. But why? Bush is not listening to reason, he isn't listening to Republicans like James Baker. We are not obliged to sit around until January 2009, hoping he doesn't wake up one morning and decide he wants to use a nuke before he leaves office. Does anybody think Bush wouldn't go there? Maybe we should impeach him before we find out.