Yelling "Impeachment" in an Empty Theater
Laying aside the idea that the impeachment of Bill Clinton was calculated to taint the process as capricious and politically motivated to set the stage for future Republican misdeeds, the people clamoring for impeachment have it backwards.
What the Democrats, and we as a nation, should be doing is pursuing the crimes of the Bush years: corruption, cronyism, political hatchet-jobs and abrogation of the constitution.
The president takes an oath to faithfully execute (as in carry out, not kill; perhaps he is confused by his stint as Texas governor) the laws of the land. This he has failed to do by any standards. One example: signing statements. These are, in effect, line item vetoes. Since these have been declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, therefore the law of the land, he is in violation of his oath.
He has trampled the Fourth Amendment, and nullified habeas corpus, which the executive may do only in time of insurrection or invasion. He is in violation. These are high crimes and misdemeanors.
He has lied about the reasons for war, and abused the vote to make war only after all other means have failed. He was derelict, as was his national security advisor, in not responding to the warning about the intentions of Al Qaeda in the Presidential Daily Briefing in 2001. They are at least partially responsible for the deaths and destruction of September 11, 2001.
His political organization may have stolen and/or corrupted the results of two elections. He has offered up our national treasury to be fed upon by his friends and minions through no-bid contracts and preference for industries owned or operated by his cronies. He is, in many respects, the equal of his namesake king in 1776.
If the Democratic Party is smart, which may not be the case, they will pursue all of these things via congressional oversight hearings. When the Halliburtons, petroleum lords, voting machine tweakers and security firm thugs parade before the American people taking the Fifth Amendment, we may see some overdue dawn break in this country.
When one or two of these begin to rat out their fellows, just like with Watergate, the whole stinking mess will come down. There will be an Alexander Butterfield moment.
Then we will have a clamor for impeachment from the people. Or, if the process goes beyond January 20, 2009, we will see former high officials, up to the miscreant-in-chief, serving in federal prisons. Either way is fine with me.
So, don’t say “impeachment.” Say, “investigating criminal misconduct.”