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A curse on both your houses.

Concern (819622) writes | more than 7 years ago

User Journal 7

This is, already, turning out like I predicted. From the wire:

"She [House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi] said she would be "the speaker of the House, not the speaker of the Democrats." She said Democrats would aggressively conduct oversight of the administration, but said any talk of impeachment of President Bush "is off the table."

This is, already, turning out like I predicted. From the wire:

"She [House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi] said she would be "the speaker of the House, not the speaker of the Democrats." She said Democrats would aggressively conduct oversight of the administration, but said any talk of impeachment of President Bush "is off the table."

In the Senate, Sen. Charles Schumer (news, bio, voting record) of New York, the head of the Democrats' Senate campaign committee, said, "We had a tough and partisan election, but the American people and every Democratic senator - and I've spoken to just about all of them - want to work with the president in a bipartisan way."

Fuck it. Give me the Republicans back. At least I can respect them on a "political demagoguery" level.

The serious prospect (no matter how futile) of justice for all is the only thing that would shock this complacent nation out of its stupor.

Compare and contrast:

Whitewater, Enron
Lewinsky, Warrantless Wiretapping
Travelgate, Haliburton

You could say we've impeached for less.

Where is Kenn Starr when you need him?

cancel ×

7 comments

Oversight is key, impeachement is not (1)

peacefinder (469349) | more than 7 years ago | (#16786281)

Successful impeachment requires a 2/3 vote in the Senate. The Dems nominally control 51 seats, and gained some of those by knocking off moderate Republicans. So tell me, where are the sixteen Republican Senators that will join a vote for impeachment? 'Cause right now, they don't exist.

I know a lot of liberals want blood, but Impeachment is madness. The lesson to be learned from the impeachment of Clinton is that it never should have happened. It was a horrible thing to put the country through and it was not absolutely necessary. The Dems should not repeat that mistake.

Instead, what the new Congressional leadership needs to do, for the good of the country, is put all thoughts of revenge out of their head. Everyone knows that the Dems have reason to seek revenge. Now they can earn some lasting goodwill, and do the country a great favor, by refusing to seek it.

Instead, they need to do their job of oversight. It may be that proper oversight will reveal Something Awful, something that will make more than a third of the Republican Senators consider Impeachment necessary. But that's not the point of proper oversight, it's just one possible and (hopefully unlikely) side effect.

Re:Oversight is key, impeachement is not (1)

Concern (819622) | more than 7 years ago | (#16800818)

Let me use a little metaphor here.

There's a mafia don. He has some people killed, some protection rackets, prostitution, gambling. It's all well known, and the guy is so "untouchable" that he even brags about a few of his crimes to the press. (Bush has literally done this, for instance with respect to authorizing warrantless wiretaps.)

Picture Elliot Ness saying, "look, we're going to work together on this. I'm going to watch this mafia guy very closely. But arresting him and putting him on trial? That's off the table."

That Something Awful? There are several of Them and they've already been revealed, AFAIK.

Think the Republicans will be talking bipartisanship and oversight with Hillary, if hell freezes over and she actually beats McCain/Giuliani/etc. in 2008?

Re:Oversight is key, impeachement is not (1)

peacefinder (469349) | more than 7 years ago | (#16801800)

And if Elliot Ness knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that there was absolutely no way that the mafia don would be convicted because he already owned enough of any possible judge or jury? That by going ahead with an indictment without a probable conviction the Don, once aquitted, could never be prosecuted for those crimes again? That indictment without conviction would make Ness and the police look like fools to all the town, instead of just half? And worst of all, that a successful conviction would leave the city with a mafia boss five times as vicious?

'Cause that's what you're looking at.

Even if there were not political reasons to forgo impeachment (and there are plenty) the practical obstacles are currently insurmountable. It's just not worth it.

Re:Oversight is key, impeachement is not (1)

Concern (819622) | more than 7 years ago | (#16804822)

I start to see. We just have some assumptions that we diverge on.

You think it was a tactical mistake for the Republican's to have impeached Clinton. I think it was brilliant. (Clinton "survived," as of course he was meant to, and both he and the Democrats received an epic, almost destructive, stain.)

And you think, in the (I freely admit, impossible) scenario that Bush was actually impeached, we'd get a president "five times as [bad]." That one I really lose you on.

I see us flushing down the toilet, and the only spectacle I think that could jolt the conservative movement out of its path is real accountability and justice - the arrest and trial of its criminals, just the same way every other kind of criminal gets arrested and tried.

I honestly believe a surprising number of these guys, and I'm talking a majority of the rank and file, knows in some dark corner of their hearts that they're wrong, the same way a little kid daydreaming on a Sunday afternoon knows, on some little level, that it's really pretend. And when the hammer of reality comes down, the illusion will shatter.

I think it becomes "politically impossible" to arrest and try certain criminals when we decide it is. And their whole intimidation game is designed, among other things, to convince you of exactly that. By talking about what's "politically impossible," you are playing along, sucked into their daydream.

Re:Oversight is key, impeachement is not (1)

peacefinder (469349) | more than 7 years ago | (#16808824)

"You think it was a tactical mistake for the Republican's to have impeached Clinton."

Oh, no. That's not it at all. I think it was a demonstration of the Republicans valuing partisan political gain more than the good of the nation. It was tactically and strategically successful: it probably led to Gore's defeat in 2000. But it was far worse for the nation than letting a President lie to Congress about something personal and inconsequential and get away with just an apology.

"And you think, in the (I freely admit, impossible) scenario that Bush was actually impeached, we'd get a president "five times as [bad]." That one I really lose you on."

Well, Cheney is next in the line of succession. So unless he is (successfully) impeached first, he'd be the new Prez. No matter what one might say ill of Bush, he seems at the very least to be preferable to President Cheney.

"I see us flushing down the toilet, and the only spectacle I think that could jolt the conservative movement out of its path is real accountability and justice - the arrest and trial of its criminals, just the same way every other kind of criminal gets arrested and tried."

You might be correct. But I think they got the message loud and clear this week. They may or may not choose to heed it, of course.

There's an old piece of advice: "Never try to kill the King and fail." Although no one is talking about kings or killing here, the advice still applies. The country (let alone the Democrats) would gain nothing and lose much by an unsuccessful impeachement. Any chance of reconcilliation between the parties, any chance of healing the rift between red and blue, would be destroyed or profoundly delayed by such an action.

I don't object to investigations and oversight that's meant to expose illegal activity. I think that needs to be done. Out of those ivestigations may come sufficient evidence to turn sixteen or more Republican senators (and all the Democrats and independents) in favor of impeachment. If it becomes apparent that that has happened, then you'll find me in favor of impeachment. But I think that it is crucial, for the good of the nation, that no impeachment be launched that is unsure of success before it begins.

"I think it becomes "politically impossible" to arrest and try certain criminals when we decide it is. And their whole intimidation game is designed, among other things, to convince you of exactly that. By talking about what's "politically impossible," you are playing along, sucked into their daydream."

I agree that political impossibility is in the eye of the beholder. But it's not that I'm intimidated. I just don't think the damage that would be done to the country is worth it just to get rid of an emasculated lame duck President.

We have important issues that need to be urgently addressed (the debt, the war, the environment) and we need some unity to deal with them successfully. An unsuccessful impeachement would delay the restoration of some sort of healthy interpartisan working relationship by at least two years, and probably six. We don't have that kind of time to fuck around.

Re:Oversight is key, impeachement is not (1)

Concern (819622) | more than 7 years ago | (#16813496)

But it was far worse for the nation than letting a President lie to Congress about something personal and inconsequential and get away with just an apology.

OK - so we impeached for something inconsequential and let a number of major, history-making crimes slide. I see that as the worst possible thing for the nation.

Confidence and credibility are our most valuable national asset. Once lost, almost impossible to recover.

No matter what one might say ill of Bush, he seems at the very least to be preferable to President Cheney.

To be honest, I consider them indistinguishable.

Going back to what I said earlier, a "successful" impeachment is clearly impossible, and it doesn't matter. An unsuccessful one would still be beneficial - the point would be made, and once we embarked, the comparison would be stunning, and unmissable, to the American people and the world.

Finally, in the imaginary universe were successful impeachment was possible, we already know the Republican endgame from the last Republican criminal we (almost) impeached - Nixon. Bush would resign. Cheney would pardon him. If the momentum was there, we could conceivably impeach Cheney. Nancy Pelosi is third in line, if I'm not mistaken?

But I think they got the message loud and clear this week.

That's where we disagree.

After the election, I spent a lot of time reading the right-wing blogs, watching Fox, etc.

They did not get any message.

They are simply going to rewind a few years - they were a much more effective minority party than a majority party anyway. They're ruthless and organized and not terribly disheartened by what they consider to be a momentary aberration.

The country (let alone the Democrats) would gain nothing and lose much by an unsuccessful impeachement.

I couldn't disagree more. The very process of reading the charges would shock the Republicans to the core and irrevocably deflate their momentum.

Conservatives operate by a kind of mythology. This act would light their political theater on fire.

Any chance of reconcilliation between the parties, any chance of healing the rift between red and blue, would be destroyed or profoundly delayed by such an action.

There is no chance of reconciliation, period, on their terms. Just wait. I fear this comment is going to make you feel chagrined within 4 years, if not 2.

The only chance is to deflate the Orwellian doublethink and bring them back to reality. Be the "Stern Father" archetype everyone is always describing the conservatives as.

I don't object to investigations and oversight that's meant to expose illegal activity.

This is my whole problem. I fear we've just been told that will never happen.

Remember the metaphor? Someone telling you they'll "investigate, but not arrest" an already known, professed criminal, is telling you they're not going to do jack shit, at least in my book.

Would love nothing more than to be wrong about this.

We have important issues that need to be urgently addressed (the debt, the war, the environment) and we need some unity to deal with them

We have zero unity, and no prospect of having any. It's just not how they're thinking right now, and this is the only way I can think of to recover.

To make another metaphor, I think you have to sober up before you can start back to work again.

But you're right, it is a crime and an embarrassment that this is even something we have to consider, rather than doing the urgent work of the day.

I really hope it plays out your way, and they really do provide oversight. But I'm afraid what we're really hearing is that the oversight, if we get any, is strictly ceremonial. More than that, I fear that we've started to buy into the Neoconservative dogma ourselves - that we're "seeing both sides" of the debate on evolution, so to speak. To be unsure of our basic principles is death, politically if not practically.

Re:Oversight is key, impeachement is not (1)

peacefinder (469349) | more than 6 years ago | (#16817728)

"OK - so we impeached for something inconsequential and let a number of major, history-making crimes slide. I see that as the worst possible thing for the nation."

It surely isn't good. But what the Republicans did was trivialize and politicize Impeachment. That has, oddly, crippled the tool now that we need it.

"Confidence and credibility are our most valuable national asset. Once lost, almost impossible to recover."

What I'm saying is that it's already gone. We're in the recovery phase.

"They did not get any message."

They took no message from a crushing electoral defeat, but you think that they'll find Impeachement shocking? I don't see how that can be. If they are so divorced from reality that a nationwide 55%-45% popular vote means nothing to them, then the only message they'll get from Impeachment is Revenge.

Look, you don't need to care about the Republican base. If the hardcore neocon-fundy-whatever part of the Republican party did not get the message, that's not a practical obstacle. (Certain pundits have posited a 27% crazification factor [blogspot.com] anyway.)

What you need to care about is the centrists of all parties and the independents. Independents in the key Senate races broke for the Democrats by (at the smallest) an 8% margin. They're the ones who put the Dems in power.

Those people don't give a shit about Democratic revenge. They won't give a shit about Impeachment as political theater, either. If there's a real Impeachment, if there were real and provable crimes committed, then they'll back impeachment. But if it's just for show, they will not be pleased.

And that's what you're looking at. What you say you want is real accountability, and I agree with that. But what you're demanding is that the Dems skip over the investigation and go straight to trial... and that's not justice, it's theatrics. It will not generate real accountability done that way, because it will be impossible to carry out an honest investigation as part of an Impeachment. The investigation needs to be complete first.

What the Dems - strike that - what Congress needs to do is engage in real accountability. They need to establish real oversight and find the truth about what's been going on. Once the truth is in hand, it will be apparent if Impeachment is necessary.

It's really the same decision as going to war with Iraq was. We launched an invasion based on intelligence that turned out to be faulty. The same danger looms with Impeachment. Impeachment is every bit as dangerous to the country as war, and it's imperative to not trivialize it any further by getting it wrong again.

"Someone telling you they'll "investigate, but not arrest" an already known, professed criminal, is telling you they're not going to do jack shit, at least in my book."

Or they're operating on the presumption of innocence and being mindful of double jeapoardy. Even if they're saying "no impeachment", I'm sure they're willing to change their minds later if enough evidence comes to light. What they mean is that they cannot impeach anyone with the evidence in hand, and they're not willing to do it wrong.

"We have zero unity, and no prospect of having any."

Again, the 27% of crazies are not relevant. The level of agreement needed to do practically anything is only 67%. Full consensus is not achievable, nor is it necessary. But 67% unity is within reach, on some issues, and a failed Impeachment would wreck any chance of that.
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