S/SW blog philosophy -

I credit favorite writers and public opinion makers.

A lifelong Democrat, my comments on Congress, the judiciary and the presidency are regular features.

My observations and commentary are on people and events in politics that affect the USA or the rest of the world, and stand for the interests of peace, security and justice.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Journalism and the "I" word

This post is a newsroundup of what could be a growing movement that may gain momentum when the congress returns to Washington after the first of the year.
I refer to the "I" word, "impeachment."

Editor & Publisher (title linked above) on 12/21/05 reports this headline,

'Impeachment' Talk, Pro and Con, Appears in Media at Last By E&P Staff. Published: December 21, 2005 11:40 PM NEW YORK

Suddenly this week, scattered outposts in the media have started mentioning the “I” word, or at least the “IO” phrase: impeach or impeachable offense.The sudden outbreak of anger or candor has been sparked by the uproar over revelations of a White House approved domestic spying program, with some conservatives joining in the shouting.

Howard Fineman blogging at MSNBC on 12/21/05, states,

For months now, I have been getting e-mails demanding that my various employers
(Newsweek, NBC News and include in their poll questionnaires the issue of whether Bush should be impeached. They used to demand this on the strength of the WMD issue, on the theory that the president had “lied us into war.” Now the Bush foes will base their case on his having signed off on the NSA’s warrant-less wiretaps. He and Cheney will argue his inherent powers and will cite Supreme Court cases and the resolution that authorized him to make war on the Taliban and al-Qaida. They will respond by calling him Nixon 2.0 and have already hauled forth no less an authority than John Dean to testify to the president’s dictatorial perfidy. The “I-word” is out there, and, I predict, you are going to hear more of it next year — much more.
At the same site, this MSNBC poll asks the question, "Do you believe that President Bush's actions justify impeachment?" It is a "live vote," and certainly not scientific.

Molly Ivins in her December 29, 2005 syndicated column writes this about spying on Americans,

The first time as tragedy, the second time as farce. Thirty-five years ago, Richard Milhous Nixon, who was crazy as a bullbat, and J. Edgar Hoover, who wore women's underwear, decided that some Americans had unacceptable political opinions. So they set our government to spying on its own citizens, basically those who were deemed insufficiently like Crazy Richard Milhous. . .

This could scarcely be clearer. Either the president of the United States is going to have to understand and admit that he has done something very wrong, or he will have to be impeached. The first time this happened, the institutional response was
magnificent. The courts, the press, the Congress all functioned superbly. Anyone think we're up to that again? Then whom do we blame when we lose the republic?

Katrina vanden Heuvel writing for HuffingtonPost on December 26th declares that, "The I-word is gaining ground."

Ruth Conniff in The Progressive of 12/17/05, talks about "Impeachment Buzz". To quote,

The question about impeaching Bush has nothing to do with legal grounds, and
everything to do with politics. But in the last few weeks, the political climate has been changing, so that more people are seriously considering whether Bush has committed one or more impeachable offenses. The revelations about Bush's spying on Americans through the NSA helped change things a bit.
Representatives Johns Conyers and John Lewis and Senator Barbara Boxer are
talking, in public, about impeachment now.
Way at the left end of the dial, there's been chatter about impeachment for a long time--at least since the grounds for war in Iraq began to fall apart. Last May, a group called After Downing Street began working on an impeachment drive.
While no member of Congress took up the call to draft articles of impeachment, the group's efforts launched Cindy Sheehan's crusade against Bush's war. Now these same activists are organizing a grassroots campaign to support Representative John Conyers's bills to investigate Bush's conduct, with an eye toward impeachment (HR635) and censure Bush and Cheney for blocking Congress's access to information on intelligence manipulation, torture, and other misdeeds (HR636 and HR637).

In the December 15 National Journal's The Hotline, is an article reporting that Senator John Kerry has speculated that there might be a move to impeach if the Democrats take the House in the upcoming 2006 election.

Ralph Nader writing in Common Dreams 12/24/05 newsletter calls for the president and vice-president ot resign, and also cites Richard Cohen's Washington Post column. Quote,

Richard Cohen, the finely-calibrated syndicated columnist for the Washington Post, wrote a column on October 28, 2004 which commenced with this straight talk: "I do not write the headlines for my columns. Someone else does. But if I were to write the headline for one, it would be 'Impeach George Bush'."

Jim Hightower writing for the Illinois Times on October 27, 2005 states, in part,

. . . there’s an even more startling statistic that the establishment media has deliberately failed to report to you — the percentage of Americans who now want Congress to consider impeaching Bush if he lied about his reasons for invading Iraq: 50 percent! This new data from Ipsos Public Affairs, the highly regarded nonpartisan polling company, shows a stunning surge in grassroots support for removing George W. from the White House. It’s even more remarkable when you consider that the media barons have provided zero coverage of the burgeoning sentiment for impeachment. Likewise, not a single congressional Democrat has stepped forward to support what is fast becoming a majority opinion of the people.
The political and media establishment can hide the numbers, but they can’t long hide from the sentiment. To learn more, go to

Pat Buchannan, writing in his own conservative column on August 29, 2005, called for a bill of impeachment citing the president's failures to enforce our borders. To quote,

Well, we are being invaded, and the president of the United States is not doing his duty to protect the states against that invasion. Some courageous Republican, to get the attention of this White House, should drop into the hopper a bill of impeachment, charging George W. Bush with a conscious refusal to uphold his oath and defend the states of the Union against "invasion."
It may be the only way left to get his attention, before the border vanishes and our beloved country dissolves into MexAmerica, what T.R. called a "polyglot boarding house for the world."

John Dean, writing at FindLaw's Writ on June 6, 2003, cites the invasion of Iraq on what he called bogus information. Quoting Dean,

To put it bluntly, if Bush has taken Congress and the nation into war based on bogus information, he is cooked. Manipulation or deliberate misuse of national security intelligence data, if proven, could be "a high crime" under the Constitution's impeachment clause. It would also be a violation of federal criminal law, including the broad federal anti-conspiracy statute, which renders it a felony "to defraud the United States, or any agency thereof in any manner or for any purpose."

For the other side, columnist Vincent Fiore writes about it in a June 10, 2005, column generally dissmissing the likelihood of such a thing ever happening. I wonder if he will be quite so confident in 2006. Quote,

Having lost badly in this new century’s elections, Democrats are now sounding the alarm for impeachment proceedings against President Bush. If the word "impeachment” were not so serious in its intent, one is tempted to laugh out loud, and I will assume that many did.


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