Minor reasons are that it's late in the president's term and that I think impeachment itself is toxic to our political system -- though it can be less toxic than the high officials thrown from office. My key reason, though, is that Congress at present can't even get to the relatively low threshold of votes required to force the president's hand on Iraq.Of course, he's right. And it's shameful that Congress hasn't been able to flex its constitutional muscles and force dubya's hand on his bloody war. But that doesn't mean the push for impeachment should stop. Someone has to be out front pushing for what's right and what's constitutional. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Josh's faith in his decision has been faltering a little and he gives some reasons:
And in general:
This was the exchange in which Gonzales simply refused to answer one of Sen. Schumer's questions -- didn't say he didn't remember, didn't invoke a privilege, just said, No. Not going to discuss that with you. Move on to the next question.
It's not that this one incident is a matter of such consequence in and of itself -- though I would say it's pretty consequential. But it captures pretty fully and in one small nugget the terrain the White House is now dragging us on to.
As I explained in that post, testifying before Congress is like testifying in a court of law. The questions aren't voluntary. You have to answer every one. You can invoke a privilege and the court's will decide whether the argument has merit. But no one can simply decline to answer a question. And yet this is exactly what Gonzales did.
Which is precisely my point. Let's assume the next president is a Democrat, would any Republican want the next administration to ignore the constitution as flippantly and as flagrantly as this one does? The fact that they're still protecting their president, and placing party above the nation is evidence enough of the Republicans' political crudity.
Without going into all the specifics, I think we are now moving into a situation where the White House, on various fronts, is openly ignoring the constitution, acting as though not just the law but the constitution itself, which is the fundamental law from which all the statutes gain their force and legitimacy, doesn't apply to them.
If that is allowed to continue, the defiance will congeal into precedent. And the whole structure of our system of government will be permanently changed.
Eventually some compromise will take place and what it will entail no one can say at this point but there's a large chunk of the American People itching for impeachment right now. For example, in the last few days, a the Takoma Park city council (are you reading this, Council President Shields?) voted to call for the impeachment of Bush and Cheney. There are 81 other municipalities (at this point) with similar resolutions passed.
If everyone screaming "Impeach" just closed up shop and went home because there aren't enough votes in the Congress, then what would become of the inevitable compromise?
Even if the bastards are never impeached, pushing for it will guarantee something that might not happen if those collective voices were not raised.