In a just-released piece in Esquire Magazine, conservative Republican Senator Chuck Hagel posits that unless things change, President Bush could face impeachment hearings:
"The president says, 'I don't care.' He's not accountable anymore. He's not accountable anymore, which isn't totally true. You can impeach him, and before this is over, you might see calls for his impeachment. I don't know. It depends how this goes."
"Congress abdicated its oversight responsibility. The press abdicated its responsibility, and the American people abdicated their responsibilities. Terror was on the minds of everyone, and nobody questioned anything, quite frankly."
Sen. Hagel has been a consistent critic of Bush's Iraq War policy for the past few years. Those critiques aside, which many on the right have shrugged off as simple politicking, pale in comparison to the suggestion that President Bush's job could or should be thrust out from under him.
There are other notable quotes, as well.
On Hagel's resistance to the troop surge, and how the potential backlash--further electoral losses for congressional Republicans--could embolden those who might call for impeachment:
"You don't have the draft, so you don't have that many people touched. This is a more sophisticated political divisiveness. It divides people from their government. 'They don't care what we think, so they're not accountable to us.' That's the kind of thing that's going to widen and deepen. If all these new troops get in there and the casualties start mounting, you're going to see that 74 number go to 80 and higher. You can't do anything about the president. He's gone. But you can do something about your congressman. That's why all these Republicans are so nervous."
And my favorite excerpt, from the piece itself, in which Hagel chides Senator Joe Lieberman:
Senator Hagel is out of patience.
This morning, he happens to be out of patience with Senator Joseph Lieberman, the putative Democratic senator from Connecticut and one of the president's very few supporters on his latest plans for Iraq. They are on a Sunday chat show together, and Lieberman is droning on and on about the historic moment we all face, and every word he says seems transparent. You can see in them a treacly syrup turning slowly to blood. Finally, Lieberman says he's supporting this war for his grandchildren.
"We all have children and grandchildren," says Hagel. "He doesn't have a market on that."
He's out of patience with the young cheerleaders of this war, the chickenhawks at places like The Weekly Standard who once called him part of an "axis of appeasement." He is out of patience with think-tank cowboys and talk-show Napoleons. "I'm always taken aback by that certain cavalier manner, not connecting at all with that human loss," he says. "I do think of those guys, kicking doors down, walking target practice for snipers.
"Nobody lobbies for the guy on the ground. To too many people in this business, committing men and women to war, and many of them to their deaths, is an abstraction."