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There is a debate brewing as to whether or not the cries for impeachment coming from every corner of this nation are good or bad for the political prospects of President Bush and the Republicans.    This has led to questions both from Congress and analysts as to whether or not Democrats should focus their energy on impeachment or the more recent move to censure.  

Unfortunately, the entire debate is based on a false premise--a deceptive idea spilling into the media from the GOP spin machine faster than oil from the Exxon Valdiz.   Democrats need to be careful not to get caught up in this slick deception because if we do, the risk will be a loss of our moral clarity--which is our single greatest asset heading into 2006 and 2008.

So, with this in mind...I'm for censure and impeachment of President Bush, and you should be, too.

 Here's why...

The False Premise:  Impeachment Is A 'Distraction'
The big idea behind the so-called debate ("...should we censure or impeach?") is that one of these actions will actually lead to political gain for President Bush and the Republican Party.

This idea is false.  

For Republicans, this falsehood is being intentionally foisted on the American people out of desperation.  For Democrats, the falsehood is being accepted mistakenly for a variety of reasons.  

For Republicans, their political prospects in 2006 are in serious trouble for three key political areas: security, leadership, and spending.  These are not just 'any old' set of political issues, but the foundation of political success for the GOP over the past two election cycles.  

Desperate to reverse their fortunes, the Republicans have launched a centralized effort to attack the Democrats.  No doubt this was always their plan for 2006 and 2008, but it now seems that the 'Dubai Port Scandal' has forced them to move their slime up schedule by a few months.

And so, the Republicans have launched a full-out PR campaign to say that the efforts by Democrats to censure and impeach the President will 'weaken' our national security--distract America from the war against terrorists.  Americans see this for exactly what it is:  Desperate PR in an attempt to rescue the sinking GOP party.

Americans know that what threatens American security is the Iraq war and the efforts to impeach and censure the President are efforts by the American people to get rid of the very leaders endangering this nation.  

Now, the Democrats for their part are seeing a different logic,  although it is also problematic.

Democrats in Congress are addicted to old polls.  They are looking at the historic poll numbers from the last round of impeachment waged against President Clinton and seeing that after the whole mess was over, an impeached President Clinton came up in the polls.  In the face of all this, cautious Democrats in Congress believe that an impeachment measure will--ultimately--benefit the President who will be seen sypathetically by an American public with a distaste for such hard-hitting politics.

This reading of history against the present situation by Democrats is not correct.

Impeachment In Context
The key is to see that when Americans talk about impeachment they are in fact talking about Iraq and about Katrina and about Abramoff and About FISA and about the budget deficit.

Impeachment as it is being used in current debate is not referencing the Constitutional process whereby the House initiates and the Senate carries out a trial of the President.  Instead, impeachment is being used in the vernacular to mean, in simple terms:  Throw the bum out.

More specifically, impeachment is being used by Americans as part of this general formula:


[Throw the bum out] because of [issue]

This takes the form of the following general statements that are implicit and explicit in every call for impeachment of President Bush currently rising up from the American public:


Throw the bum out because of the War in Iraq.
Throw the bum out because of the Katrina debacle.
Throw the bum out because of his out of control spending.
Throw the bum out because of domestic spying.
Throw the bum out because of his lying to Congress.
Throw the bum out because of his violations of the law.

In other words, every time the public talks about impeachment,  they are actually not being distracted from other topics.  They are focusing on them.

To date, the most engaged the public has been in every topic that matters have been the calls for impeachment.  But even more specifically, these calls for impeachment have focused in many cases on the war and the President's violation of the law in the Domestic spying scandal.  We need only look at the impeachment resolutions to see that they are not distractions.

For example, consider the call for impeachment passed by the Board of Selectmen in Newfane, Vermont, which is indicative of what these calls for impeachment look like across the country:

ARTICLE 29: We the voters of Newfane would like Town Meeting, March 2006, to consider the following resolution:

Whereas George W. Bush has:

1. Misled the nation about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction;
2. Misled the nation about ties between Iraq and Al Quaeda;
3. Used these falsehoods to lead our nation into war unsupported by international law;
4. Not told the truth about American policy with respect to the use of torture; and
5. Has directed the government to engage in domestic spying, in direct contravention of U.S. law.

Therefore, the voters of the town of Newfane ask that our representative to the U.S. House of Representatives file articles of impeachment to remove him from office.

(the entire list of articles can be read here)

Keep in mind, these are local Selectmen and Selectwomen in a small town in Vermont who meet once a year to discuss issues like the cost of repairing chuck holes in sidewalk pavement.  In this semi-regular moment of local government, these citizens chose to focus their attention on the performance of the President of the United States in the areas of foreign policy and domestic security.  This is not distraction.  This is engagement.

Censure Is An Extension Of Impeachment
In this context, Russ Feingold's move to censure the President is  just an extension of the formula that we find repeated over and over again in town halls across America.

Senator Feingold, perhaps more than any other Senator, takes his inspiration from listening to his constituents, in endless listening sessions with Wisconsin voters.  The censure measure, in this respect, must be seen not as an act of distraction, but as the product of a Senator who is very 'in tune' with the people of his state picking up on an increased chatter on the core issues of Iraq and the NSA scandal.

What the Feingold censure measure shares with the calls for impeachment,  in other words, is that they are both ways that the American public are now talking about the war and the leadership of the President.

The more the public talks about impeachment, in other words, the more they are calling for a change in America's national security policy, in our foreign policy, in our approach to defense at home.  The more Americans talk about censure, the more they are calling for a change in leadership in the White House.

Neither the calls for impeachment nor the call for censure will lead to political gains for the Republicans.  Both movements can only result in gains for the American public.

In this situation, Democrats will likely gain the most by demonstrating that they too believe that the change the American public is calling for is good for the country.  Democrats will stand to gain the most by supporting both censure and impeachment.  

If Democrats have moments of self doubt, this is understandable.  These are turbulent times, none of us has a crystal ball, and nobody wants to be blamed for a potential mistake.

But just as Russ Feingold who steels his spine by listening to the focus and insight of his constituents, other Democrats in Congress should ease their worries by listening to the actual words of their constituents, not to the meta-demographic analysis of polsters.    Maybe if the Democrats start looking to their constituents for more inspriation they will be able to stand up and say, with conviction and strength: "I'm for censure & impeachment, and you should be, too."

Originally posted to Jeffrey Feldman on Sat Mar 25, 2006 at 04:28 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  According to repeblicans Bush has it head (3+ / 0-)

    over heels above Clinton. It of course is a bunch of crap. At any rate, they weren't worried about Clinton being distracted and he did do okay I believe. Their little Bush deserves it whole heartedly. He deserves more than impeachment or censure and we must put him to the test. The gutless bastard.

    James M Joiner www.anaveragepatriot.com or http://anaverageamericanpatriot.blogspot.com

    by jmsjoin on Sat Mar 25, 2006 at 04:34:19 PM PST

  •  Google Caught Censoring Charlie Sheen 9/11 Story? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Kayakbiker

    Coming to your town soon! The Social Security Adminstartion Electric and Power Company. "Omen Tuffy" 1918-1992

    by generic on Sat Mar 25, 2006 at 04:39:23 PM PST

  •  President Cheney (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MattBellamy, Kimberly Stone
    Guys come'on

    If we impeach President Bush, we get President Cheney, is that really what we want?

    If you like what I had to say, please contribute $5-$20 to my Act Blue page

    by Pitin on Sat Mar 25, 2006 at 04:43:09 PM PST

  •  Taking back seats in the House (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MattBellamy, scrutinizer, Moli, dougymi

    and the Senate should be the foremost priority.

    A call for censure yes.

    I agree that the call from impeachment is a distraction.

    We should focus on what is our best hope for the immediate future.

    Galvanizing republican opposition should not be a part of it.

    Bringing moderate republicans to our side should be a priority. They are looking for a reasonable alternative and we should offer them one.

    inspire change...don't back down

    by missliberties on Sat Mar 25, 2006 at 04:43:42 PM PST

    •  What're you gonna do... (5+ / 0-)

      with a razor-thin majority against a president who thinks he can nullify any law you pass with a signing statement?

      •  Here are some steps: (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Moli, gmb, paisa, dynamicstand

        1a) Make some laws that he's just gonna have to veto
        1b) Make them so good that you can override
        (The Tip O'Neal formula)

        2a) Use the power of subpoena to stick your nose into EVERYTHING that each committee has oversight upon
        2b) Lawsuits by the bushel to support 2a.  If a congressman on the oversight committee doesn't have standing, then who does?

        3) Micromanage the living daylights out of the next two years and prepare the groundwork for the next eight.

        4) Reinstitute Pay as you go rules.

        5) Did I mention #2, above?

        6) Start impeachment hearings on a number of low-life people, starting with the 'bad' advisors to the President, culminating with the Attorney General, specifically on his findings on Turture and Spying.  Avoid trying to impeach the President in round 1 (may not need it at all), but get his Evil Counsellors.

        Happy little moron, lucky little man. I wish I was a moron, my God, perhaps I am! -- Spike Milligan

        by polecat on Sat Mar 25, 2006 at 04:57:23 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Override? (5+ / 0-)

          You're planning on picking up 90 seats in the House and 22 in the Senate?

          Also, let me stop you at 1a).

          Signing statement. Bam. Do not pass go.

          •  Therefore there is ZERO chance of impeachment (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            scrutinizer, jcs

            Censure continues discussion of the Law Breaking, highlights checks and balances written in the constitution.

            There are many many  hard core Republicans that believe Prezzy's wiretapping is illegal and goes too far. You can't  get them on board with impeachment talk.

            Take ONE step at a time.

            If censure brings out what a criminal Prezzy is, then more and more people will be disenchanted. Facts first. We need to appeal to those that think that it is only al-Queda that is in the wiretap scope.

            I think talking about impeachment is stupid right now. (And the Karl Rove just loves it, it distracts from the fact the the Pres is Breaking the Fucking law. That is what we need to talk about.)

            inspire change...don't back down

            by missliberties on Sat Mar 25, 2006 at 05:14:56 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Ah, missliberties...it's been too long (7+ / 0-)

              Talk of impeachment is not 'stupid.'  What would be 'stupid' is to not take time to understand what the public means when they talk about impeachment--which is distinctly different than the Congressional procedure that needs a certain number of votes.

              But I would never call anyone stupid...

              •  Impractical (0+ / 0-)

                It is impractical and therefore a stupid idea to bring up impeachment at this time when we do not have the power to make it happen. No matter how right we think we are. The dems can't even stand up for censure. It is putting the cart before the horse.

                inspire change...don't back down

                by missliberties on Sat Mar 25, 2006 at 05:52:21 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  But it is also attracting many horses (12+ / 0-)

                  to stand in front of that cart.  Enough horses...and it doesn't matter if they're in front of or behind the cart.

                  If impeachment gets people to the polls--if that's the issue that gets people angry enough to get out and vote--doesn't that mean that we have to rally arround impeachment now to win?  I think it does.

                  •  2004 (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    archibaldtuttle

                    I heard this kind of talk in the lead-up to 2004... that the nation was so thoroughly fed up with Bush that surely the polls were wrong and the election would be an unexpected bloodbath (similar to what happened in 1994 to the Democrats), with Bush's blood supplying the red on the floor.

                    We were wrong.

                    Sure, if we were to "poll" dkossacks, and likely those with whom dokossacks hang out, there might be the illusion that there's large head of steam for impeachment/censure among the general public.  But neither we nor our passions are representative of the nation at large.

                    Do not let passion cloud our thinking.  I say again, we do not want to invigorate a dispirited Republican Party.  Talk about the lies, talk about the lawbreaking, talk about the loss of liberties, talk about the scandals, talk about the manipulation of intelligence, talk about the incompetence in going into and handling Iraq (and Katrina and the Dubais Port Deal)... but do not talk up impeachment and censure... not yet.

                    There is a smart way to do this, and then there is the way of bringing a sledgehammer to the brain surgery.  Let's be smart.

                    I want more than anything else to see Bush and Cheney and their neofascist staffs held accountable for what they've done, to spend a large portion of their lives in prison for wrecking MY nation.  And I feel that if the Democrats do not take either the Senate or the House, or both, King George and President Cheney will not be held accountable.  To make impeachment and censure the main menu of political discourse will in my opinion result in failure in 2006.

                    I most vigorously disagree with your calculation that talk of impeachment and censure will bring more voters to the Democrats in 2006.  It will be the opposite.  

                    Please keep your powder dry until the moment is right.

                    "Life is forever menaced by chaos and must restore balance with every intake of breath"-- Jean Gebser

                    by rangemaster on Sat Mar 25, 2006 at 10:34:44 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  This is the moment (4+ / 0-)

                      I appreciate your perspective.  But the distinction between 'voters' and the impeachment movement reminds me of the distinction between 'swing voters' and Democrats that the Kerry campaign so steadfastly clung to.  

                      The logic you are advocating is what I call 'don't-rock-the-boat-ism' and is currently being pushed by Rahm Emanuel and the DLC.  I see it's logic.  I do.  And I don't think it's 100% wrong.  I think that view and my view can get along quite well if we try.  But the idea that this impeachment movement is somehow passion that's out of control is just not true.  

                      The issues are  much, much clearer now than in 2004.  I agree with your point about assuming too much back then, but the landscape has changed. I believe the key to election victory this Fall is a full on anti-Bush, anti-war explosion--a literal outpouring of frustration at the White House, as a strategy for bring out people to the polls.

                      2008?  No idea.  I confess not being able to fully understand those dynamics quite yet.  I think a lot will depend on what happens with the GOP candidates.  

                      Anyway,  I'm glad you posted your comment to this thread.   It's an important and widely held perspective.

            •  Politicization of legality (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              leo joad
              The Law and the President by Chris Kelley

              ...from an opinion piece in the "Weekly Standard" and written by Harvard scholar Harvey Mansfield...

              Mansfield makes the argument that the president has constitutional and prerogative powers, the latter of which allows the president to use extra-legal powers ...

              ...He writes:

              From this standpoint the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act is a mistake. That law makes surveillance subject to approval by a secret court of judges...

              If that were the case, then why allow the president to take action and 72 hours after the fact notify the FISA courts upon what he had done? I would assert that the FISA courts were there not to approve, but rather to monitor and if necessary, to alert the Congress, the media, the public (?) regarding the potentially illegal actions taken by the president. This lets the other powers of government decide whether they wish to act against the president or not.

              The second point I take issue with involves his discussion of the critics of the Bush administration. He writes:

              We note that President Bush's critics do not want him to stop surveillance; they just want him to do it legally--as if legality could guarantee success and morality could make our enemies give up.

              I disagree. I think the Bush critics are attempting to frame his actions in terms of legality, because if successful, the American people understand the opposite of legal, and if President Bush is not acting in legal terms, then he must be acting illegally. Hence the attempt by the Bush administration to frame the whole wiretap issue in terms of politics--that the critics are making hay to score political points, and if they had their way, would deny to the president the necessary tools he would need to protect us from terrorism.

              <div style="color: #a00000;"> Our... constitutional heritage rebels at the thought of giving government the power to control men's minds. Thurgood Marshal

              by bronte17 on Sat Mar 25, 2006 at 05:35:01 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  How many Dem votes did you get... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              greenearth

              on that DeLay thing? That was awesome. Talk about zero chance! I thought we were sunk, because we were outnumbered 232-0, but man...

            •  If (0+ / 0-)

              There are many many  hard core Republicans that believe Prezzy's wiretapping is illegal and goes too far. You can't get them on board with impeachment talk.

              Where is the proof that impeachment talk would make them change their mind about the President having done something illegal. The Republicans who truly believe the President broke the laws and therefore damages the Republican party, will do their own thing to get rid of the President, with the Democrats talking about impeachment or not. I don't see why stopping to talk about impeachment would change anything in their own thinking or actions vis a vis the President. They need to get rid of the President no matter what the Democrats say or do, I think.

              A country is not only what it does - it is also what it puts up with, what it tolerates. - Kurt Tucholsky

              by mimi on Sun Mar 26, 2006 at 01:53:29 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  item 2b - LAWSUITS (0+ / 0-)

            The Chairman of an oversight committee, by definition, has standing to bring a lawsuit.

            That should do quite a number on a "Signing Statement".

            Finally, pass a law ending the Authorization of Military Force.

            Happy little moron, lucky little man. I wish I was a moron, my God, perhaps I am! -- Spike Milligan

            by polecat on Sun Mar 26, 2006 at 08:15:53 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  nullify his power (0+ / 0-)

        turn republicans against him by joining reasonable democrats.

        inspire change...don't back down

        by missliberties on Sat Mar 25, 2006 at 05:07:49 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  And you take back seats by providing DIFFERENCE (0+ / 0-)

      Talking impeachment only highlights all that the Republicans have done wrong.

      Or, what, you want to ignore all that stuff and talk about what a great Universal Healthcare plan you have?

      And the Republicans want to galvanize behind a President who conducts illegal, unConstitutional behavior, I say let'm. If they want to galvanize behind a President who lied his way into a war he has conducted w/ mind-boggling incompetence, by all means. Let'm galvanize behind a White House that leaks the names of covert agents, that is in bed w slimy pay-for-play lobbyists. Yeah, let them circle the wagons so we can get them all at once.

      Quit being afraid of Republicans. Or pandering to them.

      It's that exact attitude that Pelosi + Co. have used to no effect at all for the past few years. Time to change.

    •  if there are moderate Republicans who can be (0+ / 0-)

      attracted, they will come on their own, you don't have to do anything to make that happen. They come, because they run away from the other "galvanizing republican opposition" they themselves can't stand anymore. Why do you think the Democrats have to behave in a certain way to make them come over is not clear to me?

      I think the Republicans that are brave enough to be reasonable and moderate will come to the Democrats on their own, the other Republicans will make them do it, NOT the appeasing Democrats.

      A country is not only what it does - it is also what it puts up with, what it tolerates. - Kurt Tucholsky

      by mimi on Sun Mar 26, 2006 at 01:47:18 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  re: Censure Is An Extension Of Impeachment (0+ / 0-)

    No it isn't. The consequences are dissimilar; politically and practically.

    I would be keen to see where the public support for impeachment exceeds censure.

  •  feldman, you're spot on (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    vivacia, dus7
    if all the lawya's in house and senate actually attended to procedural law, bush/cheney would be history before 2006 midterms.

    congressional resistance begs the question for dem incumbents: what's in it for you personally?

    in this sense, public comprehension of  congressional 'racketeering' to maintain a political status quo is well worth investigation and individual indictments.

    Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

    by MarketTrustee on Sat Mar 25, 2006 at 04:44:31 PM PST

  •  Censure? Impeachment? Investigations!! (9+ / 0-)

    I support censure, and I'd be happy to see Bush get impeached.  But one thing that's both realistic and that would make a massive difference in the world is for Democrats to retake the House and launch tons of investigations with their subpoena power.  Who was Bush wiretapping?  Why did we blow the capture of Osama?  How did the White House cook the books on WMD intelligence?  And imagine what we could do with GOP corruption.  With investigations on these and other topics, we could destroy the Republicans' credibility on several issues for a generation.  

  •  Newfane (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ksingh

    Wrong on Newfane. It was not Select Board members. An annual Vermont town meeting consists of every registered voter who shows up. The Select Board, on the other hand, is an elected (unpaid) group of citizens who make decisions over the rest of the year. But those Vermont resolutions have been passed by majorities of the voting citizens in those four towns (with Brattleboro and Rockingham still pending — Windham County's a good place to be).

  •  Hmmmmm...Censure AND impeachment? (8+ / 0-)

    Two great tastes that go great together!

    "It's not selling out if you don't get paid, okay? We're not whores. When you do it for free, that's just slutty." -Wonkette -6.38/ -4.21

    by wonkydonkey on Sat Mar 25, 2006 at 05:13:27 PM PST

  •  prove it (0+ / 0-)

    How do you know this?

    Democrats in Congress are addicted to old polls.  They are looking at the historic poll numbers from the last round of impeachment waged against President Clinton and seeing that after the whole mess was over, an impeached President Clinton came up in the polls.  In the face of all this, cautious Democrats in Congress believe that an impeachment measure will--ultimately--benefit the President who will be seen sypathetically by an American public with a distaste for such hard-hitting politics.

    "Why can't you and the idea of separation of powers just hug it out, bitch?" Wonkette

    by Hollywood Liberal on Sat Mar 25, 2006 at 05:17:24 PM PST

    •  various press stories (0+ / 0-)

      I don't recall where I first picked up on it.

      •  I really have a problem with that (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        scrutinizer

        You base a large part of your thesis on it and yet I have heard nothing but anecdotal evidence about this assumption. Are you sure it's not opinion about what Dems are doing? People keep stating this kind of thing like it's fact, and yet I have NEVER seen it substantiated. I assert that we have NO FRIGGIN' IDEA what they are basing their, well, INACTION on. We have theories that might be correct and they might not be.

        I for one refuse to believe that they are operating on OLD polling information.  That's just not party operating procedure. More likely they have polled the shit out of this question week after week and haven't figured out how to get around the negatives, or can't agree on it, and now they're frozen like deer in the headlights. I happen to think that's a stupid response to poll numbers especially when your base is enraged as we are. But that's a separate question.

        "Why can't you and the idea of separation of powers just hug it out, bitch?" Wonkette

        by Hollywood Liberal on Sat Mar 25, 2006 at 05:26:01 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Here you go... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Hollywood Liberal, WriterRoss

      Zogby poll says 53% of Americans support impeachment.

      Most interesting and surprising part of the poll:

      Responses to the Zogby poll varied by political party affiliation: 66% of Democrats favored impeachment, as did 59% of Independents, and even 23% of Republicans.

      Let your conscience be your guide.

      by Jiminy Cricket on Sat Mar 25, 2006 at 05:56:18 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Jiminy what is the date of this poll? (0+ / 0-)

        Thanks.

        •  January 9-12 (it's in the link) (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          WriterRoss

          Imagine what the percentage is now for those who support impeachment. ; )

          Let your conscience be your guide.

          by Jiminy Cricket on Sat Mar 25, 2006 at 06:16:46 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Thanks. I think this is more significant (0+ / 0-)

            ...given its a Zogby poll.

            •  You'll like this state by state poll even better (4+ / 0-)

              SurveyUSA

              Another article here analyzing the poll. Here's a snip:

              According to SurveyUSA.com, which tracks Bush’s approval ratings in all 50 states, Bush’s support in the March readings plunged to double-digit net negative numbers even in some staunchly Republican states: –12% in South Carolina, –17% in Indiana, –18% in Virginia, and –19% in Tennessee. In Bush’s home state of Texas, public disapproval topped approval by 14 percentage points.

              All told, Bush dragged down by the Iraq War, his inept Katrina response and the exploding federal debt has higher disapproval than approval numbers in 43 states. Bush is at –10% or worse in 37 states; –20% or worse in 26 states; –30% or worse in 13 states; and a staggering –40% or worse in six states.

              The March readings show Bush with positive numbers in only seven states (and then by mostly narrow margins): Nebraska +1%, Mississippi +2%, Oklahoma +2%, Idaho +3%, Alabama +5%, Wyoming +7%, and Utah +13%.

              While SurveyUSA.com’s averaging of the numbers for the 50 states fits with recent national surveys showing Bush with about 35% approval and 60% disapproval, a net negative of 25 points, the state-by-state numbers highlight the pervasiveness of Bush’s political troubles.

              When you look at the numbers state by state, you get a better idea of the overall situation that Republicans will have to deal with. Top that with Zogby's poll showing 59% of Independents, and even 23% of Republicans support impeachment and you get a better idea why Republicans are pre-emptively attacking the idea of impeachment. They're scared.

              Let your conscience be your guide.

              by Jiminy Cricket on Sat Mar 25, 2006 at 06:51:41 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

  •  Think of it like this (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    scrutinizer

     The Democrats must present a unified front. Their best chance is getting them behind censure. Infighting weakens. The common ground for achieving the goal of getting our country back on track is censure.

     Impeachment talk is out of the realm of reason. It ain't gonna happen right now. No way. No how. Be realistic.

    inspire change...don't back down

    by missliberties on Sat Mar 25, 2006 at 05:20:52 PM PST

    •  No. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      vivacia

      Let your conscience be your guide.

      by Jiminy Cricket on Sat Mar 25, 2006 at 05:58:09 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Why not back down? (0+ / 0-)

      There's probably an even better chance of unifying behind a wet Bronx cheer.

    •  It doesn't have to happen, don't you get it? (0+ / 0-)

      Talking about all the reasons why we should impeach is the point here.

      Because they are all the reasons why we should vote out the Republicans as well, since the Republicans and Bush are essentially the same. And they are.

      Whether the result is actual impeachment is quite beside the point.

      Besides, your argument is like "Well, we might lose, so better not try." So then you have a self-fulfilling prophecy.

      "Being realistic" is what Pelosi et al have been counselling and "doing" since 2000. Great leadership. Look what it's given us. Pathetic. So you're saying "more of the same"?

    •  the only unifying front I see the Democrats (0+ / 0-)

      to gather behind is their next Presidential candidate, other than that I hope all of them act according their moral conscience, even if it's supposedly not strategically "smart". If the population wouldn't be so much bullied into always being polite (instead of honest, but rude - as Republican's would call it), not so much threatened about repercussions for voicing their opinions, not so much brainwashed by corrupted or outright bought shills for the current Republican administration, I believe the population would show they have much more spine to vote and talk their conscience than what the "strategically" thinking Democrats believe of them.

      Are normal people thinking and feeling and voting like strategists or like passionate, morally driven human beings? All you have to make sure that the lies of the Republicans get debunked, persistantly, exactly, factually and politely. Impeachment discussions do help in it, censuring discussion do the same. What's the big fuss? Just keep debunking and talking and requesting and demanding the damn truth, fact by fact.

      Is it really important right now to think about if impeachment has a chance of success or is it important to talk about WHY impeachment SHOULD have success? Just talk about it, say it like it is. I believe the rest falls in place by itself, sooner or later.

      A country is not only what it does - it is also what it puts up with, what it tolerates. - Kurt Tucholsky

      by mimi on Sun Mar 26, 2006 at 02:34:37 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Another stab (4+ / 0-)

    Why censure only? Why Not impeachment?

    Because Censure allow the discussion to be about  what Bush has done and is doing.

    Impeachment skips that step and makes it about what is DONE about what Bush has done and is doing.

  •  Thank you Jeffrey (10+ / 0-)

    This diary clears something up that's been going around in my head. Over in Armando's diary we are taking apart the tactical/political nature of impeachment/censure/investigations/other measures. Big important stuff. But it seems a little esoteric to me.

    I think you are right--in the minds of many reg'lar folks (and I count myself at least one foot and perhaps an arm or two in that camp), impeachment and censure both seem to crystallize an intent to fire the guy and move on. Either works as a way to express clear dissatisfaction. And impeachment means accountability and change.  It seems to this bear of little brain that  politically that works as well.

    His work as an executive is incompetent--we're not happy with it. He and his administration have dragged us into an illegal war, not to mention various degraded economic, moral, environmental and other states. And if that is not enough, he broke the law, numerous times, and continues to indicate an intention to do more of the same. If that won't work he'll conspire with other members of his party to move the bar to make his actions legal. He seems to be prepared to sacrifice fundamental rights of not only remote peoples but his countrymen and women. We know this isn't ok.

    When I think about all this, I'm not parsing whether censure or impeachment have nuanced positive results for Republicans . I'm concerned with the ultimate effect on the Republic.

    So there's both this higher level and a very simple essential level working at the same time. And i think that essential level wins out, because it connects the head and gut so nicely.

    Thanks for clearing that up .

  •  On Armando's Diary I wrote this... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gmb, Dioscuri
    ...It applies here too.

    ...the whole country wants to get rid of this petulant, incompetent, loser in any way possible.

    ...Why is the dem leadership so deaf to the voice of this groundswell in nearly 8 of 10 Americans (I take approval rate of 34-38% and subtract those that would approve just for the sake of the office this tool resides in).

    ...Getting rid of the entire BushCo is a winner for the Democratic Party and they better wake up and smell the stench.  These Senators and House members better quite reading WAPO, the NYT, and watching Cable News.  Get out and talk to the people, real people outside the beltway.

    ...It is time to take back our country and the whole nation is looking to the Dems to do it.

    "Wonderful things can happen ... when you plant the seeds of distrust in a garden of Assholes" -- Elmore Leonard

    by Blue Shark on Sat Mar 25, 2006 at 05:38:34 PM PST

  •  The reason we must impeach is because (7+ / 0-)

    if you don't call Bush what he is (crook liar etc) then he isn't. It's as simple as that. That is the equation upon which his political power rests. Knock it out from under him and he's finished. It's the Emperor's Clothes principle and no, censure doesn't do it. Censure is for misdemeanors not crimes. Censure is hunting the elephant with a pop gun

    What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail? unknown

    by moon in the house of moe on Sat Mar 25, 2006 at 05:40:44 PM PST

  •  Piercing the bubble (7+ / 0-)

    Both censure and impeachment pierce the bubble around the actions of President George W. Bush in a way with which few are comfortable.

    Many elements of the media are now rallying to support Bush again, despite the polling data, because the potential scope of censure and/or impeachment makes them uncomfortable. Even many organs that have criticized Bush have not made the jump to criticize the war as illegal aggression, as the action of a rogue state (sure, with no actual justification for invading Iraq, what else could an impartial observer call it?)

    This is because as long as the discourse remains: "popularity slipping," "election prospects failing," "discontent growing," as long as it is still all about us, it still fits within the realm of the "normal." It indicts a man, a party, but not the whole system and the people in it.

    What Feingold is doing is much more of a challenge to the way business as usual is done. If the NSA wiretapping is illegal, then much of the executive has been aiding and abetting. The rest of the government and the press is also guilty of a lack of oversight. It is not politics as usual, it is exceptional and it implies that something exceptionally wrong has been going on.

    Impeachment implies an even greater challenge to the system. It would no longer be just about us, but about Iraqis. Iraqis who have died, and perhaps even more of a challenge for many who are right of center, Iraqis who have come to hate us. It would not just be a failure of the government and press, but of the public who supported Bush and the decision to go into Iraq. To every person to claims they were misled, there is a response that no one dares say too loudly (it goes something like this: how could you have allowed yourself to have been taken in by such flimsy falsehoods when the lives of inncoent children were at stake?) But even as we begin to admit the problem is so serious, that reply makes people turn away and deny it.

    So frames aside, political calculus aside, censure and impeachment are crucial to get people out of the bubble world. We should be ready for groups we thought would be our allies to buck this. But Jeffrey's right. I'd go further and say that if we don't support this, then, as citizens of a democracy, we're complicit.

  •  I prefer Impeachment articles+special counsel (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ghost of Frank Zappa

    over any censure-based approach.

    Specific suggested courses of action can be found here:

    And the discussion threads where I have addressed many questions that were raised can be found here:

    Thanks.

  •  Would someone please tell me what it is about (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Anna M, dus7, greenearth

    these arrogant, self serving, incompetent, corrupt, environment-destroying ASSHOLES that they manage to escape any accountability despite scandel after scandel?

    Tony Blair has his emails published in which he and Bush admit they are going to lie to start the war -- and NOTHING HAPPENS in either country.  Destruction of our most cherished civil liberties -- and NOTHING HAPPENS. Halliburton defrauds us again and again so they are given Katrina contracts. WHY DOES NOTHING HAPPEN?  

    I DO NOT ACCEPT that because the Thugs have control of Congress, we (Dems) have no voice and can do nothing.  Why always have before, and God knows the Thugs did when they were the minority party.

    We have a voice; they have a voice; unfortunately, neither of us has a leader.

    I'm old.  I've voted in every election since I could and always, always  as a Democrat.  For the first time in my life -- I'm about ready to go Green..

    Someday the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron. -- H.L. Mencken

    by CalDoc on Sat Mar 25, 2006 at 05:54:54 PM PST

  •  Impeachment as a means to an end. (0+ / 0-)

    If the Democrats can take over Congress this year then maybe the threat of impeachment can hang over Bush's head in the few years to come and force him to moderate his position just a tad.

    It's the beat generation, it's be-at, it's the beat to keep, it's the beat of the heart, it's being beat and down in the world and like all time low-down

    by Splicer on Sat Mar 25, 2006 at 05:56:27 PM PST

  •  Simple logic-You Left Out Resignation (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ksingh, dus7, leo joad, greenearth

    At issue: why are we in Iraq?

    We now know the administration's reasoning is faulty. WMD, civil war, loss of oil revenue (which was supposed to "pay for the war.") So it's up to Congress to investigate. Imperitive even. Only, under the current majority party, they won't investigate. That right there suggests strongly that the administration is hiding something major, which will be easily exposed when scrutinized.

    So yes, rather than draw up articles of impeachment on the first day of the new session, call a bunch of hearings under oath. But, surely it is apparent that at best such hearings would expose grave incompetence. The result of such hearings would certainly lead to calls for Bush to step down. Therefore, to my mind the argument is moot.

    1. He probably lied about the war
    1. He engaged in conspiracy to cover up the lies
    1. Congressional hearings will uncover proof of gross incompetence or worse.
    1. Such proof will result in articles of impeachment being presented, again

    One way or another, barring a Republican surge late in 06, he's going to be found unfit for office by a majority of Americans. At that point, impeachment should be presented, in all it's damning detail. But note that impeachmet is only useful for the same reason it was useful against Nixon. Impeachment charges are merely the means by which resignation can be forced. Resignation is what this whole effort should be about, IMO.

    •  Resignation???? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ghost of Frank Zappa, leo joad

      This isn't your local Lions Club president we're talking about. If it were, maybe getting the bafoon to step aside would be sufficient to allow the club to go on with its good works.

      We're talking about the President of the United States, one who has spit on the constitution, has lied us into war, has bankrupted our country, has paid off all his cronies and enablers on the tax-payer's dime, and brags of doing so for the foreseeable future.

      All of this talk about how impeachment is 'politically' impossible shows how hollow is the philosophy and strategy of the opposition party and its followers. George Bush and Dick Cheney should, ultimately, be indicted, tried, convicted, and imprisoned for what they've done. It's just that fucking simple, and if you argue or settle for anything less-- especially for sake of practicality or politics, then you're just not serious about holding them accountable.

      I say let's shoot for imprisonment, settle for impeachment and disgrace. Anything short of that and we'll be having this same conversation ad infinitum et nauseum (witness Watergate, Iran-Contra, etc.) It's time to put this notion of an imperial presidency to a test in the only court that matters: the judicial branch. Censure, resignation, impeachment... all politics. Let's put the fuckers on trial and settle this thing.

      •  My point is (0+ / 0-)

        and I am in agreement with your comment, is that from a practical standpoint, any impeachment hearings resulting in passing along charges to the Senate, won't get to a Senate vote. If the Dems really get the goods on Bush, he will resign, in an attempt to plea bargain his way back to the Ranch. Given that the number one concern is to get him out of power, that may have to suffice. As it is, the notion of a swing in party supremacy is a long shot, so all of this may be academic.

        He will be distinguished from Nixon in that it's hard to imagine Bush not being exposed to the threat of litigation or imprisonment after he steps down from office, impeached or no.

      •  Well, a couple of million of people (0+ / 0-)

        in Washington calling for resignation followed up by all Democrats for a couple of weeks, over and over again, won't have an effect? I think it has.

        A country is not only what it does - it is also what it puts up with, what it tolerates. - Kurt Tucholsky

        by mimi on Sun Mar 26, 2006 at 03:16:10 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I don't know (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    scrutinizer
    Do you really think a sample of the audience at a Feingold listening session is a more accurate barometer of the nation than a professional poll of the entire nation?  
    I think it's hard to discount the negative effect the Clinton witch hunts had on the nation.  It's clear that there are quite a few Americans who don't approve of Bush, but still look upon censure and impeachment as partisan politics.
    Even if this doesn't hurt us in the upcoming election, it certainly won't help and is likely to only be a further distraction.  
    •  It's a good question (0+ / 0-)

      I do think why Feingold called for censure at the moment he did and how he did it--I think that is a key issue.  Even beyond the listening sessions in WI, I think it has to do with a much broader political landscape involving the media cylce, Warner, the impeachment story, etc.

      I'm distrustful in general not of the national polls, but how their interpreted to Dem leadership.

    •  I agree that the Clinton impeachment (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dougymi

      mess left an after taste that is going to make anything having to do with impeachment and/or censure seem like political assault for the sake of assaulting. But I think that censure, properly handled, could have great impact, if it can be presented as a reasoned, worthwhile effort. That's why I support it. My worry is how the other Dems are handling it, and how the media is spinning - and being allowed to spin - it.

      •  The impeachment of Clinton (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        greenearth

        left a bad taste in everyone's mouth because Clinton had high approval ratings, unlike Bush, and Americans knew it was a partisian witch hunt and overwhelming did not support impeachment of Clinton. This time we have the horse before the cart, Bush has very low approval ratings so as a result of that 53% of Americans support impeaching Bush.

        Let your conscience be your guide.

        by Jiminy Cricket on Sat Mar 25, 2006 at 07:31:46 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  What impeachment can do (4+ / 0-)

    that censure alone can't is throw a light on all the illegal actions and crimes of the Bush administration over the past 5+ years.

    Impeachment proceedings will encourage a lot of people to wonder what's going on in spite of the GOP spin machine that would surely follow. MSM will be forced to cover this in a way they haven't done on any of the high crimes and misdemeanors of the group of crooks.

    The public may think of this as partisan politics now but a properly lead Democratic party could make sure that the articles are out front and center for all the world to see.

    We could have a focussed and intensive barrage of the facts of all the articles for many months. Included in these facts with be the enabling of Republicans each step of the way.

    Censure alone focusses on a single though important issue and lessens the impact of all the evil this group as put on America.

    I'm not buying the distraction argument. This will attract voters to our point of view.

    No more tip-toeing around this; go for the kill and don't let up until resolution.

    -4.25, -6.87: Someday, after the forest fire of the Right has died we'll say "Whew, I'm happy that's over."

    by CanYouBeAngryAndStillDream on Sat Mar 25, 2006 at 06:16:19 PM PST

    •  what is this magic resolution? (0+ / 0-)

      impeachment? actual removal? you don't really think he'll be convicted do you? again, what does this accomplish other than raise gop money and motivate gop activists? still not convinced.

      "When people think, Democrats win." - Bill Clinton

      by Todd Beeton on Sun Mar 26, 2006 at 01:46:40 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It accomplishes the highligting of (0+ / 0-)

        Bush's lies and deceptions in one place over an extended period of time for those who haven't been paying attention.

        The majority of people in this country don't pay attention so I think that if we could make a big issue of it we'd encourage more people to get involved.

        I speak from the experience of Nixon and Watergate. I was mostly disinterested but when it all started to happen I got involved by reading about it and even sent a one-word telegram to Archibald Cox - prosecute.

        Sure, I was ignorant but the episode was the start of my political involvement and set the basis for my involvement here and in a Congressional campaign.

        That's what it will accomplish.

        -4.25, -6.87: Someday, after the forest fire of the Right has died we'll say "Whew, I'm happy that's over."

        by CanYouBeAngryAndStillDream on Sun Mar 26, 2006 at 03:21:46 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  And Cheney... (0+ / 0-)

    Bush is an ignorant, arrogant fool without an ounce of curiousity about the real world. However Cheney is downright EVIL ala Nixon. I'll be happy with censure and to have a majority in congress (after November) keep a tight rein on Bush for the balance of his term in office.

  •  Great Diary (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    WriterRoss, Dioscuri, dus7

    Having stayed up till 2:00 am one night watching the Conyers panel on C-SPAN on impeachment (hosted by Sam Seder), I agree: we need to initiate serious discussion about both censure and impeachment now.   While everyone on the panel conceded impeachment will not happen while the Thugs are still in power, nevertheless, all concerned citizens including Democrats in Congress should be making impeachment noise right now.

    The crimes of this administration far exceed those of Richard Nixon, and certainly the ridiculous peccadilloes of Bill Clinton.  Conyers asserts that we really don't have a choice.  We have an obligation to get the truth, the facts out now-- so that by the time (hopefully) the Dems gain back some seats and thus subpoena power the stage will be set, and the pieces in place, so impeachment can proceed efficiently.  

    Even with all their posturing, IMHO, there really are no "moderate" Republicans in power at this time.  They talk and act like they are moderate, but their actions and votes demonstrate they are just like rest of the rubber stampers.  There is no way the Thugs will even consider censure.  But there is value in bringing the debate into public awareness.  The nasty little facts begin to surface for all to hear.

    At our County Convention today, we overwhelming voted on a resolution to investigate, censure and even impeach if necessary.  New Mexico's State Convention voted to impeach.  Impeachment rumblings are starting to spread throughout this land.  People are outraged at the crimes of BushCo.

    Censure and impeachment are not distractions, as the diarist posits.  They are remedies.  

    As others have suggested, sending even a small donation to Russ Feingold's PAC sends a message to insecure Dems that we want this President Censured.

    ...and they passed in thought out to regions where pain and delight flow together and tears are the very wine of blessedness.

    by rlharry on Sat Mar 25, 2006 at 06:19:18 PM PST

  •  Can someone lay out for me (0+ / 0-)

    ... what an impeachment timeline would look like? Where does it begin, how does it progress, and where would it (most likely) end. I want to understand the mechanics of it, given our current situation (minority party). Sorry to ask such a basic question...

    •  I should clarify (0+ / 0-)

      ... I guess I'm not asking for the abc's of impeachment, but I'm wondering more where the roadblocks, hurdles, and possibly impossible impasses will be, given that the dems are in the minority. What's the current status of the Conyer investigations, and what comes after that? Thanks.

    •  Response (0+ / 0-)

      "Where does it begin, how does it progress, and where would it (most likely) end."

      A Democratic house is the only shot, however, even if that happens, the majority would be so small and tenuous, there is very little chance it would pursue impeachment against a president that will be on the natural removed from office in less than 2 years.  The ending is simple.  Even if the house impeaches Bush, the Senate would not convict him.

      "I guess I'm not asking for the abc's of impeachment, but I'm wondering more where the roadblocks, hurdles, and possibly impossible impasses will be, given that the dems are in the minority. What's the current status of the Conyer investigations, and what comes after that? Thanks."

      Roadblocks: minority status, inability to schedule hearings on the issue, a lack of consensus in the caucus that this is the right move, no republican votes, etc...

  •  the more i read, the more torn i am... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    scrutinizer, thered1, ksingh, leo joad

    let me begin by saying i would love for the entire white house to have a gigantic enema that would wash out everyone from chimpy to his phony wife, pickles.
    having said that, i am not sure if i am in favor of impeachment or not. in a perfect world, dumbya and darth cheney would have been impeached a long time ago. we don't live in a perfect world though. in a way, the rethugs sort of ruined impeachment. they used it for a matter so trivial that they cheapened the very meaning of the word. instead of high crimes and misdemeanors, they tried to prosecute a blowjob. not only was it a waste of resources and a huge embarrassment for the entire country, but it makes it look like any attempt by the dems to impeach a rethug president would simply be payback. while anyone with half a brain who has paid attention with just one eye open would know that this is not the case, it is a fact that a lot of people who vote have both eyes closed and their brains are awol.
    i'm not sure what the answer is.
    i do support russ feingold, and i think his call for censure was the correct thing to do. the next step is to keep the subject in the public discourse, but in the right way. it will take dems with safe seats and a little bit of moxie to frame the arguments in the right way. they must identify those in the senate who voted to censure bill clinton. they have to point the finger straight at lindsey graham. he was one of the instigators who called for impeachment. force him to admit that if he is not in favor of censure now, he is a hypocrite of the vilest kind. once the offenders have been identified, they must be put on the spot. allow them to start with their bullshit about how the clinton impeachment was about the rule of law. force them to admit that dumbya admitted that he broke the law. challenge their ridiculous logic if they say he didn't. identify every lawyer in the senate. force them to explain in detail the fisa laws. ask them why they want to change the law to accomdate what dumbya is doing. ask why a change is necessary if dumbya was not breaking the law in the first place.
    the dems do not have the power in the senate, but, if they play it right, they can get a foothold in the media and push the issue. they have to explain carefully what censure is. if they have to, let them say that they care about the country too much to start the circus of impeachment, but they will do so if the public demands it. i think censure can be used as a tool to wake up the masses.
    when i think of impeachment, i think of the recall of gray davis in california. the people had the right to recall davis and replace him with ahnold, but i wonder if the majority of californians are happy they did what they did.
    i think censure should be used to embarrass the shit out of dumbya, darth cheney, abu gonzalez, et al. also, use it to embarrass the hell out of all the rethugs in congress who allowed the administration to have so much power and looked the other way when they abused it. maybe the answer for now is not removal but control. make the rethugs very afraid that the sheeple are finally listening. if that happens and we get the majority, then it is a whole new ballgame. until then, we have to be smarter and slicker than the rethug spin machine.

    I didn't get Jack from Abramoff...I'm not a Republican!

    by nonnie9999 on Sat Mar 25, 2006 at 06:46:17 PM PST

  •  Dictator's party (0+ / 0-)

    sez pointing out dictator is bad distracts from 'issues' is bad for dictator's critics.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/...

    Yeah, right.

    What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail? unknown

    by moon in the house of moe on Sat Mar 25, 2006 at 06:46:24 PM PST

  •  what's the upside to impeachment, exactly? (0+ / 0-)

    you say:

    "Neither the calls for impeachment nor the call for censure will lead to political gains for the Republicans.  Both movements can only result in gains for the American public."

    But all it seems to be is an optimisitic statement, not one that you back up with any evidence.

    I personally just don't see an upside. but the downsides are much more perilous: mobilizing the base at a time when Republicans are disillusioned with their party. we have such an opportunity right now to show people why they should switch to the Democrats and all we're focusing on is the Republicans. who cares about Bush at this point? he is irrelevant, he is lame duck, he is floundering, everyone knows it. what purpose does impeachment serve??? let's get the country back on track.

    "When people think, Democrats win." - Bill Clinton

    by Todd Beeton on Sat Mar 25, 2006 at 06:47:43 PM PST

    •  When Gore ran for election (0+ / 0-)

      Wasn't Clinton an issue?

      It seems many people are torn between two sets of ideals on this issue.  One the one hand, there is the passion to boot the Republicans out through tremendous election gains.  On the other hand there is the desire to return politics to 'real issues.'  

      Bush is the head of the Republican party.  He was campaigning for Republicans, today.  Raising money for them.  He is absolutely an issue.  

      The term 'lame duck' refers to his ability to pass legislation through the Congress.  Every second term presidnet is relevant in the next election.  Bush especially so.

    •  Because we MUST (6+ / 0-)

      As citizens of this country it is our responsibility to hold our elected officials accountable for their actions. We owe it to our troops, we owe it to our Founding Fathers, and we owe it to the rest of the world to show them we care about what is done in our name.

      Impeaching Bush renders the Republican government completely impotent. they would be neutered. IMHO it is the only option...

  •  mark me fown for censure, impeachment (4+ / 0-)

    and imprisonment

    "Rovus Vulgaris Americanus" nasty, soon-to-be-indicted co-conspirator -7.63, -9.59

    by shpilk on Sat Mar 25, 2006 at 07:04:20 PM PST

  •  I just saw today... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Kagro X, WriterRoss

    ...for the first time, even in liberal Cambridge, Mass., people's houses with "Impeach Bush" signs starting to go up.  And I work near Central Square, quite possibly THE most liberal area of THE most liberal city of over 10,000 in America.  Still, aside from bumper stickers, no one seems to have had the gumption yet to post it on their property.  But, as I rode in the back seat with my 1-year-old daughter on the way down Aberdeen St. (the left off Mt. Auburn St. after Star Market, for those keeping score at home), there they were: a couple of houses with hand-printed "Impeach Bush" signs right out in front.  It's coming.  Slowly, but surely, change is brewing.

    •  New orleans rooftops (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ksingh, leo joad


      Seems to me that there are a lot of badly damaged houses (uninhabitable) in New Orleans and a lot of people there who have reason to be upset with bush.    So painting "Impeach" on their own rooftops (or getting someone else to do it if they have moved) would be a good photo op, visable from the air, etc.

      --
      -6.25, -6.36 Worst. President. Dictator. Ever.

      by whitis on Sat Mar 25, 2006 at 09:56:23 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'm down for both too.... (0+ / 0-)

    Impeachment and censure.

    It's about a system of accountability. We cannot have a law breaking president and expect to have a functioning democracy.

    Only the dissatisfied can make change

    by pharoah on Sat Mar 25, 2006 at 08:15:12 PM PST

  •  Judgement at Nuremburg (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    btyarbro, ksingh, greenearth

    is on the television tonight.  The parallels are all too obvious.  

    Censure then Impeach then Sentence.

    Do it NOW, even if it's too late.

  •  Too bad that American citizens (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greenearth

    can't IMPEACH him without the Congress.

    He wouldn't stand a chance. Maybe even the 34% who now support him would jump on the bandwagon once they saw how much Americans really despise what this man has done to our country and world.

    Just one of my little daydreams---where Bush is NO LONGER in the Whitehouse.

    An army of sheep led by a lion would defeat an army of lions led by a sheep. - Arab Proverb

    by Esjaydee on Sat Mar 25, 2006 at 08:39:08 PM PST

  •  I am (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ksingh

    It's im my diary.
    Can I say that?

    BUSH KILLS DEMOCRACY

    by LeighAnn on Sat Mar 25, 2006 at 08:47:49 PM PST

  •  You can, and you should (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ksingh, leo joad

    Thanks, LeighAnn!

    Here's a link to your diary.

  •  Another signing statement (0+ / 0-)

    Has anyone here picked up on the story in the Boston Globe about the signing statement issued by the WH concerning the Patriot Act?  It's more of the same "I'll obey the law when it suits me" unitary theory of the Executive.  All of the changes made to the Act to get it passed have just been rendered moot.  From a business perspective, what would you do if you had an employee who intentionally and consistently broke the regulations under which they were supposed to operate?  How do we communicate this to GWB's power base?  

    •  Yes. (0+ / 0-)

      I have.

      But Armando and Josh Marshall think Bush needs yet another "warning" before we should be allowed to discuss impeachment.

      This demonstrates the hollowness of Armando's position. If we "warn" Bush on torture, with the McCain amendment, and he nullifies that with a signing statement, we have to "warn" him again.

      If we "warn" Bush with restrictions on the PATRIOT Act powers and he nullifies that, too, we apparently need to issue yet another "warning."

      Under Armando's theory, we apparently have to "warn" the president on every constitutional violation he commits. We can't simply warn him not to violate the constitution.

  •  Argument should be that Bush deserves impeachment (7+ / 0-)

    but the Republican Rubber Stamp Congress will not even censure him. I believe that the informal polls are showing anywhere between 42-50 percent support for impeachment. Support for impeaching Clinton ran between 29-43 percent according to various polls. A greater percentage of the public (59 percent) favored censuring Clinton. This is despite a near continuous campaign by the Republicans to come up with some cause for impeachment.

    Presumably the public might favor censure over impeachment for Bush. However, we cannot really say because the media and prominent polling organizations are unwilling to take any polls on either impeachment or censure until the issue is pushed by Congress and/or prominent national figures or organizations. So the Democrats ought to present a united front on this to force the media to find out what the public thinks. This might come as quite a shock to the Republicans, who are used to seeing staged events in which the President lays his hands on cripples and they arise and walk.

    The Democratic position ought to be that Bush deserves to be impeached for criminal abuse of power that has jeopardized our safety, economic health, and Constitutional rights, and that abuses are likely to continue and possibly worsen while there is a Republican majority in Congress who refuse to admit to any wrong-doing on the part of the President and who will continue to ignore these abuses. Impeachment will never be considered by The Republican Rubber Stamp Congress regardless of what high crimes and misdemeanors the President commits. And to prove that that is the case, the Democrats need the censure debate and vote to take place, preferably before the elections. Censure will fail, but the debate will be very revealing. The Republicans will be forced to defend the President's actions and will acknowledge their own culpability in doing so. The Democrats should use the debate not only prove how craven the administration is, but how complicit and enabling the Republican Congress has been in allowing thes abuses to continue unchecked. The censure debate then becomes not only a political tool that can be used against the Republicans, but also as a display of Democratic principles, integrity, and devotion to this country and the Constitution.

    •  Aha! The perfect comment! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Jeffrey Feldman, poe

      You have expressed exactly the rhetorical design to frame the issue -- "Bush deserves to be impeached" doesn't mean we actually call for impeachment and try to climb that hill without power now and likely without political will among Dems in Congress even if we retake the House and Senate.

      Rove-Mehlman-media are already characterizing Dems as calling for impeachment, to which we should respond to Blitzer on CNN:

      "Well if Mr. Mehlman and Republicans have impeachment so much on their minds, let them impeach Mr. Bush. If they were true conservatives they would remove him from office themselves for not conserving the Constitution and rule of law. As for us, we're realistic. Without Republicans joining us, impeachment is not a realistic course. If they want to leave a law-breaking president in office, that's their choice. As for us, we Democrats are not a permissive party, unlike Republicans who are letting Mr. Bush get away with criminal acts. He certainly deserves to be removed from office but meanwhile we're calling for censure as punishment for wrongdoing in breaking the law he's already admitted to, like spying on Americans without warrants. That's clearly illegal two ways, by statute and by Constitution, and while Mr. Bush deserves to be impeached for it, as long as Republicans protect his illegality, then at the very least Mr. Bush should be punished with censure. He lied to Congress in the State of the Union in 2003. That's a criminal act that needs to be punished with censure. He authorized torture. That's against U.S. law and must be punished with censure. Bush deserves to be impeached but as long as Republicans defend his illegality, we call for punishing him with censure."

      Leave impeachment in Republican laps and carry the ball on censure as punishment, disapproval and "no confidence." Every time a Republican talking head mentions impeachment, say, "They he/she goes again, can't stop thinking about impeaching Bush but so permissive he/she can't punish him."

      Turn the tables.

      Pushing for removal from office via impeachment risks losing focus on why Bush should be removed. As you say, even censure might not prevail but the debate would be revealing, and might even convince more and more Hill Dems to join in. They're the ones we're up against.

      It's about realism and the right rhetoric. Censure can be more than a "pop-gun." It can be what we make it. The word "censure" should never be mentioned without the accompanying words punishment, disapproval, disdain, contempt, no confidence.

      Only yesterday I was thinking impeachment would best express our ideals about the rule of law being savaged but now I think formal impeachment would take us down a rabbit hole, while censure preserves and expresses our ideals without trapping us politically.

      Thanks, Magister, for helping me organize my thoughts.

      "It's 1776 all over again"--One-minute video, two turning points in history: 1776 American Revolution and 2006 elections.

      by wardlow on Sun Mar 26, 2006 at 05:16:17 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Exactly! It's the DISCUSSION (0+ / 0-)

      about why he should be impeached that is what we need.

      And that discussion is both "realistic" and "practical" right now.

  •  Alas, if only (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    leo joad

    we could get Washington dems and principled repugs to hear what you are saying or read what you are writing and to listen what almost the entire fucking country is saying to them.... so far, it's only the stuff of dreams.

  •  I'm with you on the outcome if not your reasoning (6+ / 0-)

    Appreciate much of what you wrote, Jeffrey. But I think the real reason Dems should do it and why it will help their standing is because it is the right thing to do. The more the effort comes from that - and appears to come from that - the more successful it will be and more it will improve the image of the "spineless" Democratic party (and the Repub or two who jump on to help it along - as happened with Watergate). The more it looks like a Dem is doing it because his/her "liberal" constituents want blood the more vulnerable to being attacked on grounds of partisan politics.

    It must be presented as a difficult, unpleasant battle with an uncertain outcome, but one that must be taken to ensure that future generations are not lied into war or are spied on by their gov't without cause. And that, since this Rep Congress only provides cover for Bush and no oversight, this is the only way to get the facts before the American people.

    "I shall follow the light of reason, express my honest thoughts, help destroy superstition, and work for the happiness of my fellow beings." - Robert Ingersoll

    by JavaManny on Sun Mar 26, 2006 at 05:24:07 AM PST

  •  What Glenn Greenwald said yesterday is unnerving: (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DemocracyLover in NYC, leo joad

    Please check out Glenn's latest:
    http://glenngreenwald.blogspot.com/
    -

    "Put another way, the Administration has seized the power of Congress to make the laws, they have seized the power of the judiciary to interpret the laws, and they execute them as well. They have consolidated within themselves all of the powers of the government, particularly with regard to national security. This situation is, of course, exactly what Madison warned about in Federalist 47; it really is the very opposite of everything our Government is intended to be."

  •  R'd (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    leo joad, betterdeadthanred

    bush is a horrible, horrible president-- wait, there's one of the main problems right there; he's not president in the real sense of the term. the repuglican money people (the oil/natural gas/defense corporations which comprise bushco) chose bush to be their front man-- to lobby for their agenda.

    the fact that repuglican and swing voters voters bought into this nefarious scam indicates just how immensely stupid they are.

    I agree with Jeffrey here; it's a false premise to believe censure and impeachment are a "distraction"..

    a distraction from what?? a distraction from bushco stacking the SCOTUS with pro corporate, anti civil and personal rights hacks? a distraction from the attempt to sell us bogus Social Security "reform"? a distraction from a war gone horribly wrong in Iraq?

    we're now in year SIX of the worst, most offensive administration in U.S. history. these people are not governing the U.S.; they are slamming thru their personal agenda which has zero benefit to the American people.

    there are gross violations here both of the U.S. Constitution and the Geneva Convention. this cannot be allowed if we truely expect to live in a world with some sort of basic respect for human rights and the law.

    "Think of Iraq as a military base with a very large oil reserve underneath.... You can't ask for better than that." Fadel Gheit

    by Superpole on Sun Mar 26, 2006 at 06:12:19 AM PST

  •  A Big Dem problem in all of this (0+ / 0-)

    Is that at bottom, many of them agree with the Dubya tack and have no real issue or complaint with their own position in the "New America", that basically lawless dictatorship that's being set up. Holy Joe may be the most overt of the Dems in this category, but there are plenty of others, like Kerry and Hillary and Biden and most of the rest who voted for the IWR and the enabling acts ("Patriot" Acts).

    The Big Dems who don't agree -- Dean, Feingold, and the others -- are purposely marginalized by the so-called Democratic Leadership and the media. For Rahm Emmanuel to claim that Bush should be censured for not supporting an increase in the minimum wage, not for spying on Americans, is idiocy of the first order, or it's an indication that Rahm is a collaborator in the extinguishing of Constitutional law in this country.

    The fact that Big Dems run from impeachment and from censure, and the fact that there is endless argument over what they should be doing, shows once again that our elected Dems are all too often caught up in their own little bubbles, and it helps reinforce the notion that they have no principles and stand for nothing.

    No, they don't like being called cowardly, but that's what too many of them are.

    But ultimately they are disinclined to mount any serious opposition to Dubya because they agree with him on most things and don't want to cause waves under their own boats.

    We're on our own.

    --felix

  •  There is only one issue (0+ / 0-)

    The President has admitted that he is setting aside parts of the Constitution in order to perform his constitutional duty of defending the Constitution.

    You can't defend something (the Constitution) by undermining it.

    You can't use a law to justify breaking that same law. ("The Constitution says that I don't have to abide by the Constitution.")

    It's very easy to explain.

    Colin Powell had it right: go in with overwhelming force is the best way to ensure victory. Legally, this means go in with arguments that cannot be argued with.

    As convinced as some of us are that the President deliberately misled the country into war, it is hard to prove, and the idea that "he meant well" is enough for many people to overlook that little lie.

    On the other hand, the President has:

    • admitted that the NSA program violates FISA.
    • admitted, directly or indirectly, that the NSA program violates the 4th Amendment.
    • stated that he will disregard the oversight role of the Congress, in direct violation of the Constitution.

    Nothing more is needed to prove that the President did not keep his oath to "preserve, protect and defend the Constitution." Worse, that he deliberately broke it.

    The only argument against this is that the President's executive power trumps everything else. However:

    • Nowhere in the Constitution is there anything that would indicate this is true.
    • The Constitution as it stands, is consistent. There is no ambiguity as to what is whose resposibility. This argument introduces an inconsistency that wasn't there before, and therefore should be disregarded.

    So my advice is: When censure or impeachment comes up, set aside this "misleading us into war" business and focus on the clear, indisputable facts that the President purposely disregards the Constitution.

    Your freedom is in jeopardy. Let me take it away from you so I can protect it. -- John Ashcroft

    by jcs on Sun Mar 26, 2006 at 07:54:18 AM PST

  •  Opposing the frame of Moderation (0+ / 0-)

    I so agree with this diary. I felt very strongly about this, I had a gut instinct. This explanation really helps. Thanks so much!

  •  can we impeach Cheney and Rumsfeld first (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    leo joad

    http://veterans.house.gov/...   the letters from 28 April 2005 from lane evans to Secretary Principi  and then read the Oct 5 2005 letter from Sec Nicholson back to Lane Evans  

     

    How they win

    Sunday, March 26, 2006 at 5:02 AM PST
    The story is so incredible that no one believes our government would allow veterans to go without their benefits   we do have the VA, if you deserve it they give it to you right?  Only if the public knew the truth about the VA,  waiting times for claims to be approved as long as 60 years  Frank Fong is a prime example, I salute him, I only  figured out 4 years ago what could have been the cause or a aggravating circumstance of my medical conditiosn I learned the full story of Edgewood Arsenal in Oct 2002, now can we talk about nightmares. Blissful ignorance it was, yes I have been diagnosed with OCD, guess what I am obsessed with, my government used me as a lab rat and has let me go blissfully unawate they might owe me compensation.  The men that were in power when the testing on the enlisted men were stopped and had knowledge of it, are all rich, powerful men today, I am just a raving "lunatic" Dick Cheney, George H.W. Bush and Donald Rumsfeld are all "honorable" Americans, aren't they?  What is honorable about denying widows and disabled veterans their veterans benefits, 1000 or 2500 a month means nothing to millionaire's  but to us poor peons, it would make a world of difference, why can't my family get their benefits now, why do we have to wait until FY 2009? Mr Rumsfeld and Mr Cheney? One last time Mr Nicholson  you ought to be ashamed of yourself for what you did with those lists from Lane Evans and Ted Strickland in April 2005, YOU are the VA, and this is how you treat "honorable" veterans, you men wouldn't know honor if it bit you in the azz.  7120 american  families have suffered and will suffer because of this, and I bet you all sleep like babies, shame on you!!!!!

  •  I am pro censure and impeachment (0+ / 0-)

    but from most people I know, they are getting sick of the talk without any vision or solutions for major problems in the country coming from the left. We are preaching to the choir with our obsession with Bush. However, ecology, economy, healthcare insurance, jobs, immigration, etc., require solutions that just negative comments about a lame duck president and a majority Congress cannot address. In order to take back Congress, we better offer more than just censure and impeachment.

    •  Well... (0+ / 0-)

      Great point.  Very important point.

      I think those solutions will emerge.  The so called 'plans' are more detailed than the broad narratives and will take a bit of time to get out.

      •  They have to emerge now (0+ / 0-)

        Not after the rest of the country realize censure and impeachment were political wishes and stunts designed to add on to Bush's negative image. The only way to do that is embarrass the republicans on the issues. Whenever we tried to play their game we lost and lost big. Whenever we promoted ideas and issues, we won. Impeachment is like the abortion issue with us. It's a wedge issue. We never win on wedge issues. There are some real issues that our leaders are not addressing because Bush controls the agenda. We push impeachment, they will control the agenda because they control Congress and the Court.

      •  Feldman (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Jeffrey Feldman

        It doesn't take a brain surgeon to sell our basic Democrat message...

        • Pro-environment & education.
        • Peace through strength.
        • Help those who can't help themselves.

        We do have an Iraq problem with so many Dem numbskulls voting for the war. What were they thinking Feldman?

        Life is what hap-pens to you while you're busy mak-ing oth-er plans. yoko

        by vic ariel on Sun Mar 26, 2006 at 09:32:02 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  It is difficult (0+ / 0-)

    is difficult for me to really see which, between impeachment and censure, is the best 'political' solution, especially with the amount of emotional and physical distress Bush has brought since elected (not to mention before).
    However, and although I retain a sad feeling that this debate should of happened years ago, I say yes: impeach and censure. The shame of it if he finishes his 2nd term.

    •  I'm worn out. (0+ / 0-)

      Other Dems I know are too. The nation has finally realized that this liar is the worst President in history.

      Bush is a loser abandoned by his own party.

      From my perspective, our work is done re. Bush. He's been contained.

      It's not censure or impeachment folks, but Dumbyah has been rendered meaningless. Forget that asshole as best you can.

      Life is what hap-pens to you while you're busy mak-ing oth-er plans. yoko

      by vic ariel on Sun Mar 26, 2006 at 11:16:57 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Perfect (0+ / 0-)

    Perfect analysis.

    My letter to Feingold is diaried on my website, SmokeyMonkey.org.

    Talking about impeachment and/or censure (at least) is all and everything that Democrats should be doing.  Period.

  •  Bush must be tried by more than the Senate! (0+ / 0-)

    George Bush is the worst war criminal of the 21st Century. Censure and impeachment are not nearly enough. He needs to be indicted for his war crimes, be convicted by a jury and sentenced to the death penalty. While I oppose the death penalty, if it is still in use in America when Bush is tried that is the only penalty to consider. We should abolish the death penalty before then, and let him live out his life in solitary, as Rudolf Hess did for his lesser crimes (compared to Bush). We have a facility in Guantanamo Bay which is perfect for him.

    OF course, Bush will not voluntarily stand trial, and he will use the full force of George's Extra Special Terrorist And Police Operation to make sure that he escapes punishment.

    The American public must demand Bush's trial and let justice take its course.

    I'm a linguist, licensed to use words any way I want to!

    by MakeChessNotWar on Sun Mar 26, 2006 at 11:49:19 AM PST

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