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I'm starting to believe it will happen now.  Articles of impeachment will be delivered to the US House of Representatives.  A few telltale signs:

  • The leaked story on the White House defense strategy;
  • Moderate Republicans demanding answers;
  • Ever-cautious big name Democrats like Kerry mulling about a "solid case for impeachment" (even though he tried to claim it was in jest afterward);

also:

  • The RNC response to Kerry, showing that the issue has traction and cannot be ignored;
  • The slew of Op-Ed pieces by wingnuts dismissing the charges with tortured logic;
  • The conclusion of any sane, unbiased observer with a minumum of legal knowledge that George W. Bush knowingly and unequivocally violated the FISA law.

It is looking like impeachment may actually pass by simple majority.  But impeachment is only half the battle.  The Senate must then try the case.

Note that this analysis only covers the current 109th congressional session.

A supermajority of Senators, 67 votes assuming all are present, must vote guilty for the President to be removed from office.  Interestingly, this applies to the Veep too.  President BigMac / Tantrum Ted is not outside the realm of possibility.

From Wikipedia:

The Constitution empowers the House of Representatives to impeach federal officials for "Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors" and empowers the Senate to try such impeachments. If the sitting President of the United States is being tried, the Chief Justice of the United States must preside over the trial. During any impeachment trial, senators are constitutionally required to sit on oath or affirmation. Conviction requires a two-thirds majority of the senators present. A convicted official is automatically removed from office; in addition, the Senate may stipulate that the defendant be banned from holding office in the future. No further punishment is permitted during the impeachment proceedings; however, the party may face criminal penalties in a normal court of law.

In the history of the United States, the House of Representatives has impeached sixteen officials, of whom seven were convicted. (One resigned before the Senate could complete the trial.) Only two Presidents of the United States have ever been impeached: Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1999. Both trials ended in acquittal; in Johnson's case, the Senate fell one vote short of the two-thirds majority required for conviction.

Under the Twelfth Amendment, the Senate has the power to elect the Vice President if no vice presidential candidate receives a majority of votes in the electoral college. The Twelfth Amendment requires the Senate to choose from the two candidates with the highest numbers of electoral votes. Electoral college deadlocks are very rare; in the history of the United States, the Senate has only had to break a deadlock once, in 1837, when it elected Richard Mentor Johnson. The power to elect the President in the case of an electoral college deadlock belongs to the House of Representatives.

There are currently 44 Democrats and 1 independant in the US  Senate.  All of these would presumably have to vote guilty for there to be any chance of success.  As conservative as Joementum and Ben Nelson might be, they are not on the right third of the Senate spectrum.

Base votes: 45

Twenty-two Republican Senators must therefore vote guilty.  In order of likelyhood:

  1. Lincoln Chafee
  2. Olympia Snowe
  3. Susan Collins
  4. John McCain
  5. Chuck Hagel
  6. Lindsey Graham
  7. Mike DeWine
  8. Larry Craig.  Hails from the second-reddest state in the nation, but Idaho has libertarian leanings and he joined the filibuster against renewing the PATRIOT act.
  9. Arlen Specter
  10. Geore Voinovich.  Showed some spine on Bolton and tax cuts, at least.
  11. John Warner.  Old-school conservative who may not want to side with the neocons.
  12. John Sununu.  The only Arab-American in the Senate may have qualms about his ethnic group being targeted.
  13. Judd Gregg.  Another low-profile New England Repub that may be influenced by his constituents in a state that is now trending blue.
  14. Richard Lugar.  Has managed to criticize Bushco once or twice.
  15. Chuck Grassley
  16. Norm Coleman
  17. Conrad Burns.  The Need To Be Reelected may supercede party loyalty if there is strong support for conviction.
  18. Trent Lott.  OK, this is getting pretty far out, but Trent may want a little revenge after the Frist putch.
  19. Rick Santorum.  Also wants to be reelected and has shown the ability to switch sides on a dime if convenient.
  20. Lisa Murkowski
  21. Orrin Hatch.  The biggest stretch of all.  But Hatch is more of a Paleoconservative and his tenure as judiciary chairman may have given him a little respect for the rule of law.

    22. Jon Kyl. I couldn't find anyone more likely to turn. Sigh.

All remaining Rebublicans are either hard-right partisans or nonames who owe allegiance to Bushco.  One or two may be interchangable with some near the bottom of this list, but that's it.  To remove George W. Bush from office, we need these people on board.

These numbers are also unlikely to change during the next congressional session.  The four most vulnerable Rs (Santorum, Chafee, DeWine and Burns) are already on the list.

What I conclude is that conviction is pretty unlikely unless a rock-solid case that superseeds ideology can be made.  It's an uphill climb.

Originally posted to Cream Puff on Wed Dec 28, 2005 at 01:41 PM PST.

Poll

Assuming impeachment, how many Senators will vote to convict?

30%40 votes
8%11 votes
5%7 votes
16%22 votes
12%17 votes
6%9 votes
19%26 votes

| 132 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  El tip jar. (4.00)
    My mojo has been waning of late because of the Pagan Feast of the Sun God our family celebrates.
    A Merry Christmas to all, and to Bill O'Reilly: Happy Holidays!

     - John Dingell

    Never play leapfrog with a unicorn.

    by Cream Puff on Wed Dec 28, 2005 at 01:40:32 PM PST

    •  big assumption... (none)
      is that impeachment articles will be sent to the Senate at all in 2006. Please elucidate a scenario (other than a self-serving, go-thru-the-motions pre-emptive strike by House Republicans wanting to defuse the issue for their own re-election in 2006) in which the current House would do this.
      •  Wish I could. (none)
        Maybe, as you suggest, Republicans will see the polls and turn on Bush rather than go down in the fall.

        But that would require an alert, vocal and well-informed electorate.  We're great at coming together as a nation when there's a war on, especially a just one like WWII.  If the issue can be claimed as one of a national uprising against a despotic governement, it could happen.

        The chances of impeachment passing go way up with the next congress, of course.  My read is that conviction will be just as difficult, though.

        Never play leapfrog with a unicorn.

        by Cream Puff on Wed Dec 28, 2005 at 07:39:55 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  a 4 for quoting Dingell's poem n/t (none)
  •  Clarification: Do you mean (none)
    a rock-solid case like with facts?

    Because if you are suggesting mere facts would ever be sufficient to convince more than 4 of the power-crazed Republican Senators to vote in favor of convicting Bush, then (with all due respect, of course) you totally nuts.

    It would take both a rock-solid case of incontrovertible facts and an absolutely overwhelming tidal wave of public opinion turning against Bush and his evil regime. Then, there would be a real chance to get maybe 8 or 10 max.

    I hate to be pessimistic. Really, I do. But as to this issue, realism and pessimism are joined at the hip.

  •  Voinovich (none)
    Is listed twice at number 8 and number 11 on the list.  I don't see anything happening before 2007 no matter what Bush does because I don't see the House letting anything out of Committe.  Bush could murder somebody on live TV and be safe with these turkeys.
  •  Voinivich gets two votes?? (none)
    /
  •  Not Going To Happen (none)
    The House isn't going to even vote on the matter as long as the GOP has a majority. Even if control of the House & Senate were to switch parties with the 2006 election, it's doubtful that Congressional Dems would gamble their new found majorities on the impeachment issue. In any event, the remaining GOP Senators wouldn't vote to convict in sufficient number. The diarist's list is way too optimistic.
    •  I'm not saying they WILL vote (none)
      for conviction.  I'm saying they would HAVE TO for Bush to be removed from office.  I'm not much more optimistic than you that they will.

      I simply wanted to explore how far right the votes would have to come from.

      Never play leapfrog with a unicorn.

      by Cream Puff on Wed Dec 28, 2005 at 07:44:07 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  This Congress of ours is the most (none)
    corporate owned group of sleaze bags ever gathered together under one dome.

    With that in mind, I submit that corporate America will dictate impeachment hearings.

    Why?

    Corporate America was violated by NSA as well as everyone else.

    A "bought" politician should NEVER bite the corporate hand that feeds it. That's a real no - no.

    Civil suits. The wild card. Once that corporate America and the populace discover they may qualify for a class action civil suit, the game is over.

    •  Ooh, that would be nice. (none)
      Rather shot themselves in the foot with the Paula Jones precedent, didn't they?  Still, corporations can't actually be violated the way people can.  It's a stretch to claim that domestic spying hurts their bottom line.

      Never play leapfrog with a unicorn.

      by Cream Puff on Wed Dec 28, 2005 at 07:47:02 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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