If, like me, you believe Attorney General Gonzalez, Vice President Cheney, and President Bush have all committed high crimes and *cough!* felonies *cough!* but fear that removing these criminals from office would be a distraction at best and a nightmare for Democrats at worst, here I offer one possible way this could happen successfully. But you're going to have to stand with a few Republicans to make it work. Just like we did during Watergate when Nixon got the boot and Vice-President Ford was handed the Reigns.
Below the fold: how it is Republicans who will decide the success of impeachment and removal. Thus, if you want to impeach, you're going to have to make a few friends in the GOP. One in particular, John McCain, would appear to have most reason for revenge against the Bushies. But feel free to imagine this scenario with any of your most palatable Republicans.
"But ... but ... but ... this is a Democratic Blog!!!" I hear you scream.
Well, sorry. As much as it sucks, the Democrats lack a supermajority to force the issue. And further, doing so would only incite yet more partisanship warfare at a time when national unity is critical to success.
There is ample evidence to impeach on the grounds of Obstruction of Justice and Conspiracy to Commit Obstruction of Justice. These men are criminals. And if they are let off without sanction, we will set a precedent for lawlessness in the executive that threatens the very foundations of our republic. Thus, seeing Justice done is far more important than Democratic partisanship. Or Republican partisanship. Equal justice is mandatory for the functioning of our constitutional republic. Partisanship wins, less so.
Here is one possibility for how a successful change in leadership might occur. We need seventeen Republican senators and only a few (if any) congresspersons:
- Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid arrange a little meeting with John McCain. They offer him an interim presidency to support impeachment and removal for Gonzales, Cheney, and Bush. McCain may be willing to do this because - I suspect - he is still a little pissed with the Bushies for insulting him, his wife, and his adopted children during the 2000 primaries.
- John McCain has a good deal of political clout with Republican Senators. He arranges a little backroom brokering behind closed doors with Republicans and gets the necessary seventeen.
- Nancy Pelosi places in three parallel articles of impeachment against Attorney General Gonzalez, Vice President Cheney, and President Bush. She next immediately steps down as Speaker of the House temporarily. John McCain is handed the Speakership duties pro-tempe. Note that the role of Speaker of the House can be assigned to any citizen, regardless of House membership.
- The new Speaker places articles of impeachment on the agenda and stifles all debate, instead forcing a voice vote to immediately Impeach all three. Without a roll call, votes are not recorded - so Republicans aren't on the record.
- Senate immediately takes up the trial and convicts on the same day.
- John McCain is sworn into office as President of the United States. He chooses a vice president of his liking.
- Nancy Pelosi returns as Speaker of the House.
- Bad news: John McCain - like Gerald Ford - will have the opportunity to pardon. *shrug* I'm not a vindictive prick, I just want these assholes out of office. Fine.
- '08: we fight it out on the election battlefield, just like every other presidential election year.
No debates. No bullshit. No media storm before it happens. Just walk in, do the deed, and get the fuck off the house and senate floor in one day flat. Don't let them prepare. Don't give the Bushies one inkling of the shitstorm coming their way. Do it all backroom and then stick the knife in once you've got the votes. Gonzales, Bush, and Cheney would be then out of office without recourse. Plus, the Democrats would have not used impeachment for partisan gain. So at least a minority of Republicans would have cause to support the action. Certainly McCain, who I think would consider this fair turnabout.
Everybody wins. Except for Gonzales, Cheney and Bush. Who get what they deserve.