In congratulating Obama for reaching an incredible milestone of 250,000 individual donors (and rapidly closing in on the goal of 350,000 contributions) in the first two reporting quarters, a comment from One Pissed Off Liberal in this diary caught my eye.
What started out as a response to Liberal's outrage at Obama's rejection of impeachment has morphed into this diary.
Obama came out against impeachment for either Bush or Cheney, saying that they've done nothing to merit it.
Gee, thanks for that window into your judgment Senator.
While that's not exactly what Obama said, the article referenced does note:
The senator, a Harvard law school graduate and former lecturer on constitutional law at the University of Chicago, said impeachment should not be used as a standard political tool.
"I think you reserve impeachment for grave, grave breeches, and intentional breeches of the president's authority," he said.
Obama criticized the Bush administration for enlisting a variety of incompetent characters, as well as its practices of secrecy and "loose ethical standards". But he clearly doesn't believe their actions have lived up to the bar of "grave and intentional breeches of the president's authority".
Rather, Obama stated electing a new president is the systematic remedy for citizens to express dissatisfaction with the current office-holder.
"I believe if we began impeachment proceedings we will be engulfed in more of the politics that has made Washington dysfunction," he added. "We would once again, rather than attending to the people's business, be engaged in a tit-for-tat, back-and-forth, nonstop circus."
I agree on three counts.
First, such proceedings would make for two consecutive administrations of impeachment discussions, a bad trend and even worse solution for voter's buyer remorse. The impeachment standard of "high crimes and misdemeanors" is ultimately defined however a session of Congress wants to define it. It can almost be guaranteed that the next Republican-controlled Congress would consider impeachment proceedings against a Democrat president who's job-performance was, in their eyes, abysmal. That power to remove, except in extraordinary circumstances, lies with the voters, not Congress.
Secondly, a super-majority is required for removal of office. Democrats can't even get a simple majority on an immigration or Iraq funding bill, so there is certainly no hope in getting Bush removed. If Bush is not going to be removed, as Obama points out, this will just be viewed outside of Washington as political payback and more of the same old shtick DC is famous for.
Lastly, the proceedings themselves, even if ultimately successful in removing Bush from office, can be stretched out certainly for the bulk of 2008. Bush vacates anyway in January '09, so not only is such an effort a waste of time (in terms of the end-result), but even if its logical end is realized, would be a waste of money (not to mention a big national distraction) as well.
With the virtual defeat yesterday of comprehensive immigration reform, there is nothing left to salvage of Bush's disgraceful legacy. He and members of his administration could certainly face a war-crimes tribunal after leaving office and he will, no doubt, go down as one of the worst presidents in American history. But impeachment, primarily for the purpose of making a political point, doesn't serve the Dem's mid-term election mandate, IMHO.