We've read in several diaries that impeachment and conviction just won't happen because there will never be the minimum 16 Republican Senate votes required to convict (if we got all 51 Senators in the Democratic Caucus). We know it will be tough to get the 67 votes in the Senate, but I believe that, as happened with Nixon, it could happen with the right conditions. So who might these Republican Senators be?
Certainly none of the Senate Repubs would vote to convict today. We only get to that point after solid investigations in the various House and Senate committees and after House impeachment. But for the sake of argument, let's stipulate that there will be solid evidence uncovered and publicized by these investigations - maybe evidence of crimes not yet cited in the various impeachment books and diaries. Maybe evidence that the Cheney Energy Task Force really did want to divide up Iraq for oil; evidence that the NSA spied on the Kerry/Edwards campaign; proof that the White House really did collude in the NH phone jamming criminal case; or maybe that they really knew of the 9/11 attacks in advance and let them happen; or that they orchestrated intentional vote fraud in Ohio and New Mexico and Florida in 2004 or 2000. Whatever. The point is that we have yet to see real adversarial investigations, and if and when real crimes are uncovered, the mood will shift, and real pressure will mount to impeach and convict. Impeachment by a majority in the House could become a given with this kind of evidence.
Let's say that under these future conditions, that all the 7 'moderate' Senate Republicans vote to convict (my arbitrary choice):
Olympia Snow (ME), Susan Collins (ME)/08, Dick Lugar (IN); Lindsay Graham (SC)/08, Arlen Specter (PA), Pete Domenici (NM)/08, John Sununu (NH)/08.
Note: Senators with a /08 are up for re-election in 2008
And that all the 7 expressing opposition to the Iraq War escalation vote to convict:
Chuck Hagel (NE)/08, Norm Coleman (MN)/08, Gordon Smith (OR)/08, George Voinovich (OH)/08, Sam Brownback (KS),
and the previously counted: Specter, Collins.
And some of the Skeptical 9: Jim Bunning (KY), Saxby Chambliss (GA), Kay Bailey-Hutchison (TX), Trent Lott (MS), Lisa Murkowski (AK), David Vitter (LA), and the previously counted Snowe, Sununu, Lugar.
Then there are those up for election in 2008, who should at least be considered 'maybe' votes, depending on the weight of the evidence and the redness of their states:
Jeff Sessions (AL)/08, Ted Stevens (AK)/08 , Wayne Allard (CO)/08, Saxyby Chambliss (GA)/08, Larry Craig (ID)/08, Pat Roberts (KS)/08, Mitch McConnell (KY)/08, Susan Colllins (ME)/08, Norm Coleman (MN)/08, Thad Cochran (MS)/08, Chuck Hagel (NE)/08, John Sununu (NH)/08, Pete Domenici (NM)/08, Elizabeth Dole (NC)/08, James Inhofe (OK)/08, Gordon Smith (OR)/08, Lindsay Graham (SC)/08, Lamar Alexander (TN)/08, John Cornyn (TX)/08, John Warner (VA)/08, Mike Enzi, (WY)/08.
So that's a possible 7 moderates, 5 of 7 escalation opposers, maybe 3 of the 6 not-already counted escalation skeptics, and say 3 of the not-already-counted Senators up for re-election in 2008 - Allard (CO), Alexander (TN), Warner (VA), how about McConnell (KY)?
And how about McCain? Yes, how ABOUT McCain?
In any case, I think there are a number of scenarios where we could get 16 or more Republican votes. Not now, but in the future, after several months of investigations and mounting outrage. Let me know what you think. And flame away on my categorization of moderates!