Saturday, July 14, 2007

Why impeachment is a good thing

So here's the "liberal" idea of good TV. Get three people, two liberals and one conservative, who agree on a topic to discuss the topic. Pretty dumb, huh? I mean, where's the excitement, where's the screaming? Well, I was doing some of the screaming, but not at anyone on the screen. I was screaming stuff like "What about Alberto?" and "Can the Democrats get past that jellyfish Pelosi?"

The TV show is Bill Moyers' Journal, which aired last night. Since it's on PBS, it will be repeated a jillion times, though exactly when on what station near you is homework you'll have to do on your own. The three people were Moyers himself, former Reagan Justice Department official Bruce Fein and author John Nichols from the magazine The Nation, both pictured below.

While they all agreed that impeachment is a wonderful tool put into the Constitution for reasons we are seeing abundantly clearly right now, each man came at it from a somewhat different angle. Moyers played devil's advocate as the host from time to time, asking the questions someone from Fox News might ask, with the main difference being he let the people speak after he asked the question. Obviously, he believes impeachment is a good idea. It's his show and he invited two guys on to talk about it for an hour and he didn't call them pinheads or cut off their microphones. Of course, those are the tactics of another Bill, and the other Bill considers Bill Moyers a threat and a traitor.

Remember when manners meant something?

John Nichols brought up that a group of Democrats went to Tip O'Neill in 1974 and wanted to continue the impeachment even after Nixon resigned, with the idea that future residents of the White House should know what the impeachable offenses were, to make sure they wouldn't be repeated. O'Neill said no, which is understandable given the political climate of the time. You kind of wish he had said yes.

Wanting the war in Iraq to be over is still played as a "far left" idea by reporters in Washington, even though it is an idea held by 70% of the public right now. It was our idea first, but it's not ours alone anymore. Impeachment is supposed to be a "far left" idea now, but only if we ignore Constitution lovers like the conservatives Fein, Paul Craig Roberts and Bob Barr.

Madame Speaker, take back your blanket statement. You can give one of those "after difficult consideration and much prayerful consideration" speeches. People love those. Let the impeachment of Alberto Gonzales begin, and follow it with the impeachments of Dick Cheney and George W. Bush.

It's really important. Without a strong legislative body, our Republic will collapse into a monarchy.


Jess Wundrun said...

Huzzah! So well said. Much better than my own reaction of "totally AWESOME".

I was very interested by the statement made by Moyers (I think) and echoed by Nichols, that had Bush not commuted Libby's sentence they wouldn't have been having the impeachment conversation. Nichols said it was a last straw moment. (Or words to that effect).

I am sending Nancy a new table. One that seats at least three for impeachment.

Karla said...

Okay - don't yell or throw fish at me, but since impeachment is so rarely (neverish) followed by conviction, what does it actually do besides take up time in the House? It seems symbolic rathr than decisive.

What did it do to Clinton and his presidency, or to his ability to govern or any of that?

I'm not asking this in a pugilistic tone - I'm really sincere? What does impeachment without conviction do?

Matty Boy said...

You make a valid point. I think the case against Alberto Gonzales could get both an impeachment and a conviction, since his crime is screwing with the legislative branch, and some of the Republicans in the legislative branch can see that. Also, if Congress starts using the power of the purse, Bush might back down on some of his stupider acts.

I used the words "could" and "might" in the last paragraph. I don't think any of these is a slam dunk.

FranIAm said...

These are trying times indeed and I enjoyed this post and Jess' on the topic. I wish I'd seen the show but as Matt points out, reruns will be there for me. Check my local listings and all that.

Karla you do make a good point. I live in small tragically hip town about 25 miles north of NYC. The local town govt spent oodles of time recently on impeach Bush and Cheney measures and it really rankled many of us.

As Matty points out, Gonzales is another matter, but nothing is for certain in these dark days.

What will the history books say about us?

Deep sigh. I wish I felt better today.

Anonymous said...

I watched it and was impressed. I'd say Bush, Cheney and Abu have "Lotsa of 'Splainin' 2 do." Bring on the Impeachment Proceedings.

Jess Wundrun said...

Bruce Fein, as a conservative, was especially effective in making the point that we cannot allow this kind of lawless pseudo-monarchical presidency to set precedent for future presidents. John Nichols said that the current president has a toolbox full of the most powerful tools ever given to a president. Once given, those tools are rarely or never taken away, unless the people take the extraordinary measure of impeachment. His question is 'do we really want the next president, say Hillary, say Mitt, to have the amount of power that has currently been amassed by this administration?

Hell to the no.