As I write this, it's Friday night. I'm watching the Tough Talk About Impeachment episode of Bill Moyer's Journal on PBS.
In this report, Moyers often speaks and questions as the voice of those who resist impeachment, citing the usual fears of any constitutional crisis, and the fear having such a crisis during a "time of war, when terrorists are coming to America to do us harm." His guests for the discussion were Bill Nichols, of The Nation magazine, and Bruce Fein, Constitutional scholar from American Freedom Agenda. Both men strongly advocate impeaching both Bush and Cheney for a long list of provable offenses that have been revealed in the news media. They also cite a number of patriotic and constitutional reasons, including the need to show Americans that the rule of law still operates, that justice is even-handed, and the importance of setting binding precedents that will prevent future presidencies from attempting to overreach their authority the way the Bush administration has.
One of the first important points on which all three agreed is that Moyers would not even be recording a program about this topic, and PBS stations nationwide would not be airing it, if it wasn't clear to them all that a majority of the public is ready to seek both men's impeachment. Representative Dennis Kucinich has long since introduced articles of impeachment against Cheney, but Speaker Nancy Pelosi continues to maintain that "impeachment is off the table."
All agreed that what has recently increased the potential for impeachment is that the American public is in an absolute furor over the Scooter Libby commutation. Nichols believes this one act may be the tipping point where the majority of Americans now believe that the Bush Administration truly feels and acts above the law.
It seems the various impeachable offenses of which Bush and Cheney have been accused in the past year were somewhat obscure technical offenses to the average American, whose main concerns have been making a living and the Iraq War, whether pro or con. The war, and war weariness, has made people less attentive to a variety of unconstitutional actions by the administration during the past six years. So, many have not perceived the overall pattern of abuse the administration has pursued - UNTIL NOW!
It seems that the commutation of Scooter Libby's sentence was such a manifest injustice that it has outraged even the non-political.
I know this is true from personal experience. During the past week or so, I have heard these sentiments expressed by neighbors and casual acquaintances. People from a variety of ethnic and cultural backgrounds with whom I have never discussed politics before. Most are nice people who usually don't talk politics with people they don't know well. And yet, they are overwhelmed by their need to bitch about this topic.
One by one they have walked up to me out of the blue and said some variation on, "What do you think about Bush commuting Libby's sentence?" It depresses me greatly. "Those people are ruining the country. They are making a mockery of our system of justice. Bush keeps defending the Iraq war and getting American soldiers killed when any idiot can see it's a total disaster and we should get out of there. We've got to get rid of this administration." The variations usually included a number of expletives, which I've deleted. I've even seen complete strangers talking about it on the bus, musing out loud over a newspaper article one was reading.
For nearly two-thirds of the program, the participants discussed the process of impeachment, the seriousness of the list of impeachable offenses charged, and why the ability to impeach high officials was considered crucial by the founding fathers. So much so, that it's mentioned six times in the Constitution.
Nichols told Moyers that many Americans have a common mistaken attitude about impeachment. They treat the threat of impeachment procedings as a constitutional crisis. Nichols believes impeachment should, instead, be seen as the medicine for fixing a constitutional crisis, such as this one brought on by Cheney and Bush.
I suggest you find, Tivo if necessary, and watch this insightful report. Whether you are for or against impeachment, this discussion will open your eyes.
Saturday, July 14, 2007