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Don't look for Guts in Montgomery County, PA

By Dave Lindorff

I called my congresswoman, Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D-Montgomery County, PA), a second-term Democrat in the Pennsylvania suburbs, to ask where she stood on impeachment now that Bush has committed apparent obstruction of justice by keeping "Scooter" out of the can.

Her aide in her Washington office said she hasn't said anything about impeachment.

When I said, "What is the bar for her? Sex in the oval office? We have a president who has committed far more and far worse constitutional crimes than Nixon. What is she waiting for?" here's the comment I got:

"The leadership has said they are opposed to impeachment."

That's the profile in courage from my representative, and is evidence that Pelosi et all are keeping the pressure lid down on the members.

And here I naively thought that our representatives were supposed to do what we, their consituents, wanted them to do. Silly me!

One thing's clear, if you're looking for guts and conviction, don't look to Rep. Schwartz. She's just a foot-soldier doing the bidding of "the leadership."

DAVE LINDORFF is a Philadelphia are investigative journalist and columnist. His work is available at His latest book, co-authored by Barbara Olshansky, is "The Case for Impeachment" (St. Martin's Press, 2006, and now out in paperback edition).

Originally posted to dlindorff on Fri Jul 06, 2007 at 05:39 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  How disappointing (4+ / 0-) think I donated money to her when she ran the first time.

  •  asdf (3+ / 0-)

    Thanks for making the phone call, dlindorff. Bummer.

    Support Thom Hartmann and migratory song birds! Buy shade grown coffee from a sponsor.

    by OLinda on Fri Jul 06, 2007 at 05:40:22 AM PDT

    •  So now you are going to help elect her next (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      terrypinder, kafkananda

      republican opponent in 2008. You might as well canvass everywhere from King of Prussia to Ambler for her republican opponent.

      •  re (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Ghost of Frank Zappa

        Yes. Because Asking Dem Leadership to hold this admin accountable for more crime then any admin before = wanting a rethug congress in '08.


        "Nancy and Harry can kiss Steve Holt's @ss until it's back on the damn table." - Steve Holt

        by cookiesandmilk on Fri Jul 06, 2007 at 06:35:59 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I wouldn't go that far. But... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        ...she should be primaried and/or thrown out as Speaker -- if at all possible.

      •  Dude, you're making quite a leap there (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        theran, Lovo, chesapeake

        First of all, we have primaries in this party.

        One would hope that there will be a challenger who is a genuine Democrat, who is an honest progressive, and who seriously wants to defend the Constitution and end the war (as opposed to Schwartz, who just wants to be re-elected, and who takes her orders from the DNC, or the DLC).

        And if not, I'll tell you I'm sick of this kind of hack politician, and I am saying here and now I would rather see her go down to defeat, and say any Republican replace her, than give her my vote.

        Until we let our politicians know that they can not take us and our concerns for granted like she's doing, they'll just keep ignoring our concerns.

        •  Dude, I only asked a question based (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          wonmug, kafkananda

          on the premise you advertise yourself as a journalist in Montgomery Country and have started a single issue campaign against a Congresswoman. One of a majority of House and Senate Democrats who do not say the word you want to hear. I happen to like Allyson and think she does a good and effective job representing Montgomery County. Yet, because you are angry over her silence on your hot button issue, you are trying to rally everyone against her and seek to throw her out of office while issues regarding health care, the war, minimum wage, employment, the ecology and other issues dealing with family issues are just as important to many who live in her district.

          •  None of those issues matter (0+ / 0-)

            If you have a president who doesn't feel bound by the Constitution to enact laws passed by Congress, and if Congress, and specifically people like Schwartz, won't stand up for their own institution and impeach a guy who defies it and the Constitution.

            What kind of leader is that?

            People are supposed to at least defend their own authority!

            Besides, saying that you're doing something because of the leadership is pathetic.

            The latest poll shows 54 percent of Americans and even one in five Republicans favors Cheney's impeachment. Can't Schwartz even find the guts to sign on to H Res. 333, the bill to impeach Cheney?

            •  None of those issues matter? Speak for yourself (0+ / 0-)

              what a self centered comment. Health care to us senior citizens maybe meaningless to someone so much more important like you, so I wouldn't care to comment any further about your self important view of things.

              •  You're either a poor reader or just silly (0+ / 0-)

                I am saying these issues "don't matter" because nothing Congress does about them will achieve any results as long as Bush is permitted to be a "unitary executive."

                I'm not saying the issues themselves aren't important.

                But Pelosi and Reid and in fact everyone in Congress knows that the bills they are passing are just a kobuki play, because Bush is the "decider" with his signing statements.

                So they need to impeach first over his usurpers' claim of executive, legislative and judicial power.

                Don't be so simplistic. Read what I wrote!

                •  I read every word you wrote (0+ / 0-)

                  Don't be so cavalier with your words. If you claim to be a journalist, then act like one. You are supposed to be a chronicler of events, not someone to facilitate your agenda. You are trying to destroy someone because of a single issue. I am an old man. You are no different than the Walter Winchells of my era. Stop it. As Gandhi would implore, stop it. Your agenda is your own, not the majority of Montgo citizens. You are stirring up rather than being a positive force for change. There is 17 months left in Bush's administration. If he's not impeached, so be it. Get over it. I know exactly what you are doing and it is wrong.

      •  doesn't this assertion sound even just a tiny bit (0+ / 0-)

        ridiculous to you?

        I'm kind of stalling for time here...They told me what to say. George W Bush, 03-21-2006 10:00 EST Press Conference

        by Tamifah on Fri Jul 06, 2007 at 07:43:16 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Real leadership... (10+ / 0-)

    ...would be standing up to "the leadership" and defending the Constitution.

  •  Yeap. (4+ / 0-)

    I was proud of the 100 days thing.  Even though most of it was a Dem. show that they knew wouldn't be passed in the Senate (most likely).  Still, it was the kind of show I was looking for.
    But her refusal to hear HR 333 is shameful.  Allowing these criminals to be victorious in their crimes is beyond belief.

    "The angels left this nation, Salvation, caught the last train out tonight. He lost one Hell of a fight." - Bon Jovi.

    by rainmanjr on Fri Jul 06, 2007 at 05:58:30 AM PDT

    •  Impeachment is in our hands. (4+ / 0-)

      Leading Dems are not unsympathetic to our sentiments, but they are practical and pragmatic people.

      On the Day of Action to Restore Law and Justice the group I lobbied with had a wonderful opportunity to sit down and talk frankly about impeachment with our Representative's Chief of Staff.

      The Dems won't impeach unless they think they have a viable opportunity for the Senate to vote for removal.  That opportunity is not there yet.

      Two things are needed. -- 1) Incontrovertable evidence that cannot be spun as political wrangling. (Conyers is working on that.)

      and 2) A groundswell of support for impeachment from an engaged populace that will be enough to undercut and overwhelm right-wing media smear efforts.

      From inside the beltway right now impeachment looks like partisan wrangling.  And yes -- the Repubs did that to Clinton, so turnabout would be fair play -- but what would that really get us??

      How does that win anything worth having??  

      Our Reps care about the country as a whole.  A failed impeachment attempt, or a simple censure doesn't help anything.

      If we want justice to win out, we have to help by getting busy working on building the groundswell for impeachment that can led to removal -- and maybe even criminal proceedings!

      •  They should still show moral support for 333. (0+ / 0-)

        This is a great comment and makes good sense.  I understand #1, but #2 would probably just happen along with the motion.  The groundswell of support is dependent upon the earthquake.  But, you're saying the earthquake wont happen without the groundswell.  Dem's have to take the leap of faith, here.  If they don't, and the groundswell isn't realized, then the populace will simply become more bitter about our political system.  Also, future POTUS's will take advantage of the gains in power that have been achieved by this one.  Only impeachment can bring this power grab down. Further, only impeachment will stop Shrub from attacking Iran after the election.
        They should stop waiting and get it done.  We have the evidence, IMO, already.  It just needs to be presented correctly.

        "The angels left this nation, Salvation, caught the last train out tonight. He lost one Hell of a fight." - Bon Jovi.

        by rainmanjr on Fri Jul 06, 2007 at 09:37:09 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  we have NO congressional leadership.... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cookiesandmilk, ichibon

    just congressional followship.  Someone somewhere must have pictures of Nancy and Harry....

    You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it think...

    by left my heart on Fri Jul 06, 2007 at 06:05:05 AM PDT

  •  And note the obfuscation. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chesapeake, Friend of the court

    "The leadership" for Rep. Pelosi and "they are" for she is.

    Now I'm certain she sent Rep. Jay Inslee to Washington to pressure them out of an impeachment measure.

    Pelosi loves things as they are -- impeachment as well as the war.  This way she gets a Dem landslide in 2008.

    It's just too bad another thousand troops will die for it.

    •  But there won't be a Democratic landslide in '08 (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      theran, chesapeake, dov12348

      that's the irony.

      The public is moving away from Pelosi (she's down to 39 percent support in her own California!), and away from the Democratic Congress, support for which has collapsed from 65% right after the November election to 23 percent today (lower than Bush's favorable rating!).

      What's going to happen in November '08--mark my words--is that Democrats are going to lose all those independents who voted for them so optimistically last year, and the Republicans who crossed party lines, hoping for action on the war and the Constitution.

      After watching this Democratic Congress do nothing of consequence, those people who gave Democrats their dramatic victory are already leaving. Only action will bring them back.

      So the reality is that Pelosi & Reid et al are blowing it.

  •  true representation will only come when (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    fly, chesapeake

    after mass protest.

    2006 - the year the GOP died

    by nymosyn on Fri Jul 06, 2007 at 06:12:59 AM PDT

    •  Absolutely (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I’ve been saying this forever. I love the “go stand quietly” in a visible place this Sunday at noon that Cenk Unger is urging. Call a few friends and ask them to join you.

      No circus, just a quiet presence.

  •  There are two sides to this (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wonmug, kafkananda

    Listening to the leader and acting accordingly is vital to the operation of the House. Just look at how republicans have managed their members and the lockstep results. So as long as Pelosi takes the position she does it would weaken her to have everyone running off in all different directions and shooting off their mouths. So Schwartz may well be doing the right thing.

    On the other hand the calls are not wasted since the more you pressure your reps the more likely they are to echo your concerns upwards. Who knows what’s coming down the line, Pelosi may change her stand.

    Consider this - if Pelosi should change her position on impeachment you won’t want the other reps like Schwartz running around saying they don’t agee and oppose impeachment.

  •  Unfortunately, I fear we're going to see far more (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BlueInARedState, chesapeake

    diaries like this than I'd like.

    Recc'd. Many thanks, Dave. Please keep up the pressure.

  •  Um, (0+ / 0-)

    And here I naively thought that our representatives were supposed to do what we, their consituents, wanted them to do. Silly me!

    Did you ever stop to think, just for the slightest of moments that her constituents--the majority of her constituents--don't want her to do what you want her to do on this issue?  And, therefore, she has no sound reason to buck leadership?  Did you ever think tht she, herself, doesn't believe that impeachment is viable?  I know it's tough for a lot of folks to accept on this issue, especially in the echo chamber of this site, but there are people out there who disagree with you.

    Yes, silly you.

    •  The only important point... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cookiesandmilk doing justice.  Viability -- political tactics -- is therefore irrelevant.  

    •  So? (0+ / 0-)
      Should we as citizens wait until we've taken the national pulse and make sure we're in step with the most backward segments of the population before we act, or express an opinion?

      Tell everyone you know about Iraq Moratorium Day!

      The Occupation Project

      The Camp Casey Peace Institute


      •  Impeachment is a political act, and as such (0+ / 0-)

        you had better have the polity behind you, or you are doomed to failure.  And here, the consequences of failure could be devastating to this country.  You cannot go into this process with no hope of prevailing or with the idea that you will amass support along the way, for if you fail, nothing will exhonorate Bush more than an impeachment attempt that did not even get out of the House.  

        Then, what are you going to do?  Break your arm patting yourself on the back for having been noble?

        •  What you are saying here may be true. (0+ / 0-)
          But consider the legacy left by not challenging this administration through impeachment. If this adminstration walks without a challenge because impeachment is deemed too risky, then impeachment as a tool is effectively dead. It will still be on the books, but will have no place inthe real-world armamentarium of the people and Congress against would-be tyrants. Also, the presidency will come out of this further centralized and strengthened, and the legislative branch that much weaker, since it was completely unable to check the illegal activities of the executive (even with the opposition party in a majority), and unable to reserve its right to make war.

          It is about far more than feeling noble, which is just a straw man.

          Tell everyone you know about Iraq Moratorium Day!

          The Occupation Project

          The Camp Casey Peace Institute

          •  I have thought about the legecy of Congress, (0+ / 0-)

            and to say that if Bush is not impeached, such a failure act will forever deaden the hand of Congres to indict and convict a criminal president, to effectively remove the impeachment language from the Constitution, is ludicrous.  Facts are judged against their time, and, perhaps, some 50 years from not scholars, politicians, and the people may determine that impeachment should have been implemented against this president, but such will in no way bind other Congresses from moving forward based upon the facts of that day.  What gives you such authority to speak for future generations?

            What you argue with is nothing more than rhetorical hyperbole.

        •  Latest poll, just out, says 54% say impeach Dick (0+ / 0-)
    •  But that's not what she said (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wonmug, sheddhead, chesapeake

      She isn't saying, "I don't think the president should be impeached."

      If she said that, then we could have a discussion about what her reasons for saying that are, and I as a constituent could say why I think she's wrong.

      She said, "The leadership doesn't want this."

      And by the way, I can tell you, living in this district, that impeachment is very popular. If as polls say, a majority of Americans favors impeachment, you can bet that in this district, a large majority supports it. Bush is not popular here and never has been.

      There are only two reasons for opposing impeachment. One would be if you didn't think the president has committed impeachable crimes. The other is if as a Democrat, you think impeachment would hurt the party strategically.

      The first is a ludicrous position. This is the most criminal administration in history, and if Bush is not worthy of impeachment, we should just remove the impeachment clause from the Constitution. The second position is unconscionable, because when you have a president who is a threat to Constitutional government, it is a travesty to be putting thoughts of party advantage ahead of defending it.

      I'd love to have that debate with Rep. Schwartz, but she ducks it by saying she's just backing the leaders.

      •  Ask her WHY she's backing the leaders... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        ...and not representing the people as she was elected to do.

      •  Wow! (0+ / 0-)

        I should have read all the comments before posting mine.  :)  

        "2009" The end of an error

        by sheddhead on Fri Jul 06, 2007 at 07:58:10 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  No, there's a third reason: (0+ / 0-)

        I never said that Bush and people in his administration are not worthy of impeachment.  Indeed, I have said the precise opposite. But what I also strongly favor is Democrats getting off their collective asses and passing good legislation, laying on the president's desk and daring him to sign bills the public wants passed or incur the further wrath of the people by vetoing that legislation.  Impeachment is, in my opinion, not going to solve anything but--and only if successful--exact retribution.  The public will give us no points for standing up for the Constitution.  They'll see it as a polically divisive act.  Call me cynical, but I really do believe most people will see it in those terms.

        We need to fix what's wrong with this country; I'm sure we can agree on that. You and I just see different means of getting that done.  

        These are monstously divisive times, and what impeachment does is divide us further at a time that we can and should be coming together.

        •  No legislation can be passed of any consequence (0+ / 0-)

          As long as the president can continue to claim "unitary executive" authority to ignore laws passed by the congress, and the only way to stop that is impeachment, since a law opposing that bogus theory would simply be ignored under the theory of unitary executive authority.

          •  This is overblown (0+ / 0-)

            Validity for the claim of unitary executive has not been ceded by Congress nor determined by the Supreme Court.  He claims it from time to time, and it is up to Congress to challenge him in the arenas where they can do so.  One such arena is in Congress itself, where, in contrast to the claims made by this particular president in a signing statement, legislative history is a valid and recognized source for courts to look at in interpreting the law as passed.

            The other is in the courts themselves, where Congress can file suit to force the executive to execute the laws.  

            Your claim that simply by claiming the powers of the unitary executive, Bush effectively eliminates Congress and that Congress' only (your word) means to stop the president is by means of impeachment shows a certain lack of understanding of the process.

    •  Then why wasn't that expressed? (0+ / 0-)

      Instead of just "I'm doing what mommy told me to do?"

      Your theory is fine (if you can support it with a poll that proves it, it's worth actually considering, too) - but it in no way addresses what the aide said.

      It's just another GOTV spin against impeachment.

      "2009" The end of an error

      by sheddhead on Fri Jul 06, 2007 at 07:57:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  So, your position, honestly held, is virtuous, (0+ / 0-)

        and my position, just as honestly held is spin.  Gotcha.

        •  You spin like a pinwheel. (0+ / 0-)

          You ignore what was said in the diary (or in the comment, as above) and then address what you want to.

          That's spin, all right.  It wasn't in the diary you posted.  It wouldn't be, if you addressed the diaries you comment in or the comments you respond to.

          But when people make shit up about a comment or a diary and then comment about what they made up - or when they just come in and start talking about something else entirely without addressing what was said in the diary or comment, that's spin.

          "2009" The end of an error

          by sheddhead on Fri Jul 06, 2007 at 09:05:16 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I addressed directly what Lindorff wrote (0+ / 0-)

            His diary was a sarcastic few paragraphs essentiallu excoriating his congresswoman for not issuing a statement on impeachment and that congresswoman's staffer for listing as the reason Schwartz has not come out in favor of opening such an inquiry was, to quote the aide: "The leadership has said they are opposed to impeachment."

            I addressed that comment, the source of Lindorff's ire here:

            Did you ever stop to think, just for the slightest of moments that her constituents--the majority of her constituents--don't want her to do what you want her to do on this issue?  And, therefore, she has no sound reason to buck leadership? [Emphasis added.]

            What I commented upon not only was in the diary, it was the point of the diary, and I quoted directly from the diary.  I made nothing up, but mere surmised that, perhaps, the reason Schwartz has not come out against the House leadership is because the majority of her constituents have given her no reason to do so.  That's not exactly a quantuum leap in logic, friend.

            Next time, try reading for content.

  •  Albert Einstein to Nancy Pelosi: (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chesapeake, Empower Ink

    "The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing."

  •  Good job, Dave. (0+ / 0-)
    All members of Congress should be contacted by constituents to find out their positions on impeachment, the war, and national health care and to pressure them to take a progressive stand on these major issues of the day. The findings should then be reported in a diary, as done here.

    (In addition to demonstrating in the streets and occupying your representative's office, of course.  : )   )

    Tell everyone you know about Iraq Moratorium Day!

    The Occupation Project

    The Camp Casey Peace Institute

  •  I'm of two minds (0+ / 0-)

    On the one hand, we want to see - at long last - some Democratic discipline, without which we will never win any important battles.  So I commend Schwartz in that respect.  On the other hand, the leadership is so completely wrong on this issue that it blind allegiance is just stupid.  What Schwartz and others should be doing is publicly standing behind Pelosi, but being far more candid with constituents and encouraging constituents to contact the leadership to make their views known.

    My Rep. is Gerlach.  Doesn't seem to be much point in calling over there . . .

    •  I disagree. Contact Gerlach (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      chesapeake, Mother of Zeus

      He was in a very, very tight race last November, and is clearly worried about next time.

      Get him on the record on the war and on impeachment.

      How does he defend a president who refuses to enact laws of Congress? Does he want the next president (Hillary? Obama? Gravel?) to be able to do the same thing?

      How does he defend a president who willfully violates the law (The FISA ACt), even after a federal judge delares what he is doing to be a felony and a violation of the First and Fourth Amendments (as Federal Judge Louise Diggs Taylor did last August in Detroit)?

      Make him squirm.

  •  Interesting, (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wonmug, BachFan, tazz

    I have a casual friend who works for her. What the friend has reported is that Schwartz is perpetually worried about being re-elected given the percentage of Republican/conservative voters in her district. (DL, how big is it? How Dem/Repub is the district?) My guess is that she's too afraid to do anything that will jeopardize her votes with the Repubs.

    In general, I think the strongest tack is to go after the Dems in the safe seats, who couldn't lose if a John Wayne or Ronald Reagan zombie himself ran against them. Those Dems have no excuse not to support it.

    As for those in closer districts, tell them you won't give them any money or support their re-election campaign. Enough similar voices might start to scare them into action...  

    •  Schwarts's District is narrowly Democratic (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      But the Republicans are not Bush Republicans. Many are upper middle class moderate Republicans who reject the fundamentalist pandering and the economic chaos and the war-mongering.

      Schwartz is making a classic mistake.

      There are also many, many independents here, and they are not all "in the middle" as Democratic strategists at the DLC like to pretend. Many are disaffected Democrats and progressives, who view the political system with great cynicism. they can be won over, but only by concrete action.

      Schwartz is right to be worried, but she won't win re-election by rejecting principle, and rejecting her pregressive constituents' demands, while pandering to the right.

  •  You know this was an act of obstructing justice. (0+ / 0-)

    Pelosi threatens representatives of the people with their careers so that a criminal will stay free.

    If that's not obstruction of justice, I don't know what is.

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