What Fresh Hell Is This?

July 26, 2007

Josh Marshall on Impeachment

Over at Talkingpointsmemo, Josh Marshall has an interesting posting on impeachment. In the spirit of full disclosure and as if it's not at all obvious let me reiterate that I'm all for it. Josh ain't so sure. His reasons:
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:

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.

And in general:

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.

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.

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.


EdHeath said...

It would be something if Congress could at least censure both the President and VIce President. I think something is likely to happen with the contempt citations being issued to Harriet Miers and Josh Bolton. Even if the US Attorney for DC doesn't act, or maybe especially if he doesn't act, Congress is likely to take more direct action towards the President.

Anonymous said...

I thought you democrats were elected to legislate. It appears the only reason you think you were elected is to seek revenge for any slight, real or imagined, and impeach anyone who dares to have a different point of view from you. This is pathetic. In the midst of a war all you lefties want to do is impeach? Sick.

Scmuck Shitrock said...

Thanks for showing up, Anon! We haven't had much incoherent whining around here for a few days. I don't know about anybody else, but I was kinda jonesin' for some twaddle with which to make merry.

In the midst of a war all you lefties want to do is impeach?
I'm afraid you managed to insert only three mistakes in this bunkum. (Three errors in fourteen words is nowhere close to the record for Wingnut prose, but it is an excellent start for one with such limited skills.)

1) There is no war. Congress must declare war. No matter how many times Rush told you that they did declare war, they didn't. Just like he keeps telling you about all those nukes they found in Iraq. Not true.

2) Apparently, the Dems do NOT want to impeach. Despite having, what? maybe seventy-five? reasons to do so (as opposed to a blowjob from a chubby intern), no one has put impeachment "on the table" as far as I know. Do you have information to the contrary? (Sorry, I hope I didn't confuse you. That was in-for-may-shun: the stuff lefties use to come to conclusions. Compare and contrast to prop-a-gan-da: falsehoods disseminated by Bill O'Reilly to whip up a frenzy among fools.)

3) Impeachment is not ALL we lefties want. We also want the end of the occupation, a war crimes trial, universal health care, a Constitutional amendment mandating the permanent dissolution of the Republican Party, the restoration of habeas corpus, and a country that looks more like Thomas Jefferson's vision than Vladimir Putin's. But you know what Mick Jagger said. Oh, you don't? Too bad!

You were an excellent player, but you don't have enough blather here to earn the grand prize. NEXT!