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Interesting question that may or may not matter, but one I have not seen raised. If it has been discussed please let me know so I can delete this.

What a difference it would have made if the Republicans had not persecuted, or dogged the Clintons with endless investigations and then impeached President Clinton for lying about a serious private indiscretion and lapse of judgement involving consenting adults. But they had to drag us all through that personal muck.

--As if our own divorces and indiscretions were not bad enough to live through, eh? And don't give me that "well, that was in the WH! bit. That was their house.

Some important questions about this all follow:

Important Questions:

 -  Is there any question that Congressional Democrats would have
    impeached Cheney, Bush and Gonzales by now assuming they would
    have gotten the votes--had Clinton not been impeached?

 -  Is Impeachment, the word, and indeed the concept,
    still toxic (after the Clinton impeachment, that is)?

 -  Is it true that the process and ordeal of impeachment must
    inevitably be a worse trauma than allowing a law-breaking,
     Constitution-breaking administration to continue unchecked?

 -  Would Republicans have brought charges of Impeachment if Democrats
    had a president as lethal and unlawful as Bush, and would
    Republicans hesitate in the future to bring charges against a
    Democratic president given the least provocation?

 -  If the answer to the previous question is "Yes," then what on earth
    are we doing and what does it say about the courage of Democrats in
    office?


REPUBLICANS MADE THE WORD "IMPEACHEMENT" TOXIC:

The Republican Party was incensed, LIVID, with having Democrats in charge of Congress in the 90's after their "contract with amerika" had faltered. And the presence of Bill Clinton in the WH, and the economy on steroids, and a relatively peaceful world, made them somewhat deranged with their fury. Not that all Republicans are bad, but it became too much for some self-righteous and greedy Republicans to bear. So they eventually "got" Bill Clinton and plotted their comeback by hook or by crook, one imagines.

REPUBLICANS MADE AMERICA SICK OF POLITICIANS

The country was absolutely sick of the Republican chicanery and politicking in the 90's. [Democrats, for whatever reasons, were not doing enough for the people in the last half of the 90's, thinking perhaps that a great economy would eventually "trickle down."] "Gotcha" politicas was the low road, leading the nation astray into phoney "values" issues. --Now of course, with all the Republican corruption the situation is that much worse, (and no one can question the overwhelming Rethug aspect of corruption, compared to that of Dems).

REPUBLICANS DULLED AMERICANS TO THE REAL VALUES ISSUES

Not that we lacked authentic values issues, but those were the ignored social justice and class issues of universal health care, and affordable drugs, low wages, opportunity and jobs, education, inner city decay and housing, and the environment, to name a few. The inequitable distribution of wealth was just not on the radar of Democrats in the 90's (unless I slept through that which, due to divorceand family problems, is possible).

REPUBLICANS CONFUSED TRUE CHRISTIANITY WITH WHO WAS ACTING THE MOST RELIGIOUS

They fixed the "Christian" brand to the Republican Party, when what they actually owned was merely a certain portrayal of Christianity via religiosity, or acting "more religious" than other types of Christians,

REPUBLICANS ZEALOUS PARTISANSHIP & IMPROPRIETY PUT IMPEACHMENT OFF THE TABLE FOR A PERIOD OF TIME
It seemed to be a tacit agreement after that period--from the SCOTUS decision to install Bush on his throne--and lasting to the present day, that IMPEACHMENT would be off the table forever. "The people"--it seemed--did not want that kind of "gotcha" politics going on in Washington, and that either party engaging in such would wear the obstructionist brand for all time. Impeachment had become toxic. Fighting the SCOTUS became, if it wasn't already, impossible, when Gore was denied.


Thus the reluctance of our representatives in Congress during the past two years to even mention the I word.

In a sense then, no matter what the depth and horror of the Bush/Cheney offenses toward the people, the world, and the Constitution have been, nothing would bring about calls for impeachment on Capitol Hill except by those whose outrage, courage and individuality allowed them to take that risk and suffer the consequences.

Yes, to get Democrats elected in 2006, they believed they had to play down the calls for impeachment, and Pelosi went so far as to declare it was "off the table."

To pacify the people who demand and cry out for sanity, for impeachment, for protecting the Constitution, Democratic leaders talked of not having the votes. Of not enough time. Of the deliterious effects it would have in electing a Democrat to the White House in 2008, and gaining a true majority in Congress. Of being distracted from more important legislation. Of needing to deal with Iraq and other important business.

And finally, now, perhaps just to pacify the people, they talk of the need for "building a record." Are they thinking they can run out the clock by this so-called "building"?

One can be sure of one thing. That if a Democratic president is in office in 2008, unless there has been a sea-change that has escaped notice, Republicans will not hesitate to agitate for impeachment at the least possible drop of an article of clothing or anything else they can find on the floor or in anyone's closet. One fears that by then the Constitution may be much more difficult to protect.

Whew. Out of my system anyhow.

Originally posted to Gorette on Wed Jul 25, 2007 at 11:10 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I think you're right. (7+ / 0-)

    Some have even said that the GOP impeached Clinton to inoculate future GOP presidents against impeachment. That's a little tinfoil for me, but I agree with what you're saying.

    "It's hard to hit another living thing in the face with a shovel for about an hour... Where's the joy in that?" --- Michael Scott

    by droogie6655321 on Wed Jul 25, 2007 at 11:04:03 AM PDT

    •  I don't think they did it to Inoculate, but (8+ / 0-)

      that has been one of the ironic outcomes.

      Pretty straightforward: A president is impeached by a "family values" party over lying about a his sexual infidelity.

      A decade later, when the Constitution is truly threatened the American political system is stymied and the opposition party - afraid of political consequences (created by this "family values" party's spin machine) fails to use the ONE tool the Constitution provides it - impeachment - to rescue the nation.

      Was this what Gingrich and his cronies envisioned? No.

      But, he'll take it. Because the Dems will give it to them

      "Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn't mean politics won't take an interest in you" ~ Pericles

      by Chrispy67 on Wed Jul 25, 2007 at 11:12:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Crooks often plan the getaway before the robbery (7+ / 0-)

        I remember reading the remarks of several political commentators back in the late 90s who said that the Republicans did, in fact, impeach Clinton for no other reason than to make the whole process so distasteful to the public that they wouldn't want to do the same to a GOP president, no matter what his crimes.

        This—along with doing away with the Independent Counsel—sounds like the GOP were already planning to protect themselves from prosecution before they committed the crime.

        And if it were not so, why were people predicting this outcome before the 2000 election?

        "Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph."

        by Junkyard Dem on Wed Jul 25, 2007 at 11:46:00 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Ahh but consider this (8+ / 0-)

      That the Republican Congress rejected renewal of the Independent Counsel Statute in 1999, which has effectively inoculate Bush from any investigation.

      •  If the GOP thought that far ahead... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Gorette, Terra Mystica

        ... maybe they would have known that this Iraq business would lose them the House, the Senate and (soon) the White House.

        "It's hard to hit another living thing in the face with a shovel for about an hour... Where's the joy in that?" --- Michael Scott

        by droogie6655321 on Wed Jul 25, 2007 at 11:21:59 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  That's a pretty good comeback, droogie! (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          droogie6655321

          I think you're right.

          ...if you have 100% agreement down at the Gunshop on anything you know the wave must be coming. -Kenevan McConnon

          by Gorette on Wed Jul 25, 2007 at 11:32:43 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  They did and do think that far ahead. (10+ / 0-)

          You should spend some time reviewing the Reagan administration's policies and assertions of executive privilege - hell go back to Nixon where it all really started in 1969 when he took office - read the PNAC document - read the conservative thinkers and the legal opinions they have churned out over the years...

          It is not so much of a tin foil conspiracy as it is a rather twisted ideological view of how this country's government should be run.  It is quite detailed - touching on all aspects of our government in domestic affairs and foreign relations.  A key component of their plan to take hold of and keep power has been to instill a deep cynicism and mistrust in government so that the people will not pay close attention to what they are doing.

          Clinton's impeachment was one part obstruction - he was super popular and therefore should have been able to force even a GOP congress to pass a lot more "good" legislation, but for all of the fake scandal and the freaky bj impeachment - it was also one part revenge because they are nutters like that and they have a taste for blood - angry about Nixon, Iran-Contra, Bush I losing his re-election bid etc. - and it was one part "hell, it's bonus points if it turns Americans off of impeachment because that will insulate us at some point".

          Because you see, at the root of their ideology is a deep distain and anger towards government.  They have no respect for the institution so they rarely use it in a respectful fashion.  The large majority of the 1994 GOP newbies came to Washington to dismantle this government - then they figured out how profitable it could be for them and they stayed.  Tom DeLay is the poster child for the "We hate government" crowd that didn't think it was so bad if they kept power and got cash out of the deal...

          They haven't lost the White House yet and they have only barely lost the Senate.  They see '06 as a temporary set back and they might be right too.  There is a lot that can happen between now and '08.  Already most Americans believe that the Democrats are the ones who have failed to stop the war even though the President or the Congressional Republicans could step in and stop it tomorrow if they wanted to.  But the war is a money maker for their side so they don't really care what goes on in Iraq.

          So back to impeachment - I don't think that the Clinton impeachment helps, but I don't think it is a real impediment - or the most important impediment in the minds of folks like Conyers, Leahy or Pelosi at the moment.  I think we're back to an obstructionist and less than honorable Republican minority who hates government and therefore has little motivation for preserving it by agreeing to do the right thing and appropriately disciplining this Executive Branch.

          For anyone who hasn't seen the debate at the Conyers hearing today about the Miers and Bolten contempt citations, you should try to checke it out to get a sense for what kind of loons we are dealing with on the other side of the aisle.  They really could care less about the integrity of our government.

          •  Thank you, inclusiveheart, for your comment here (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Janet Strange, inclusiveheart

            which is very informative. You know, I believe that I trust your judgement and value your statements more than anyone else at kos. This will go into my memory bank.

            In a way, this is much worse, the real reasons as to why we cannot impeach now. I've never read those earlier things you mentioned re Nixon and Reagan, but lived through that period.

            I'll check out the Conyers hearing. Yeah, they could care less. Guess it's getting me down. I'm about to take a break from it all I think.

            Thanks again.

            ...if you have 100% agreement down at the Gunshop on anything you know the wave must be coming. -Kenevan McConnon

            by Gorette on Wed Jul 25, 2007 at 01:05:26 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Don't get down - this process is taking time (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Gorette

              in part because the adults are in charge again and they care about the institutions and the rule of law.  I know it is hard to believe, but it is true.  The Democrats in their current formation are not nearly as spineless or "offenseless" as some would like you to believe.  They aren't going to tell you what their end goal is mostly because they want to keep the Republicans guessing.

              Today's contempt vote was disappointing on the GOP side because it showed what creeps they are, but the Dems went for it and they keep on investigating everything - that means they are serious and impeachment at least of Gonzales is in my opinion highly likely.  Once that pandora's box is opened the others will be pursued although I am not certain about what shape those pursuits will take.  I'd only really be depressed if they shut down these investigations and hearings because that would be a clear indication that they meant to do nothing - but they aren't going to go and dig up the dark underside of this administration and get themselves caught not doing anything - they really aren't that stupid...

              Cynicism always works in the GOP's favor - just remember that when you're feeling cynical about the process.  Skepticism on the other hand and passion/hope for "the good" are their worst enemies.  Our guys need encouragement and sometimes outright prodding, but they are for the most part pretty good and they do care.  Keep helping them :)

              It will take time and vigilance, but this will work out.  We will get our democracy back.

              I really hope you don't take a break because I always love to read your diaries and comments. :)

              •  Oh, thank you! I will take that to heart. I want (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Janet Strange, inclusiveheart

                to believe, and I do feel that we have many Dem heroes and heroes-in-the-making in Congress.

                Thank you so much for your kind remarks.

                ...if you have 100% agreement down at the Gunshop on anything you know the wave must be coming. -Kenevan McConnon

                by Gorette on Wed Jul 25, 2007 at 03:38:19 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  I too, am hopeful now (0+ / 0-)

                I just finished listening to Gore's "The Assault on Reason" this afternoon.

                In Ch. 9 (I think - harder to keep it straight when you're listening rather than reading) his description of the turning of the tide to an America where there is now a two-way conversation between American citizens and their elected leaders, a sea change that literally has the potential to save our democracy, was inspiring.

                I think we saw a bit of it in the difference between Sen. Feingold's two diaries. From no impeachment we've got to much to do, to I'm filing censure resolutions. In less than a week.

                I personally think impeachment is essential to saving our Constitution, and I am beginning to believe that it is actually possible. One by one, those who have argued against it are rethinking. I just read this from Josh Marshall.

                Gore's point was how people change when they can see that they can actually have an effect. We are. I can feel it. I can almost see the waves building.

                Thanks for the great comments, inclusiveheart.

                I am not going to sit here and be an idle spectator to the diminution, the subversion, the destruction, of the Constitution. - Barbara Jordan

                by Janet Strange on Wed Jul 25, 2007 at 08:19:07 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  I think this is a key point (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Gorette, yoduuuh do or do not

            A key component of their plan to take hold of and keep power has been to instill a deep cynicism and mistrust in government so that the people will not pay close attention to what they are doing.

            And every time someone says - including us - that politicians are all the same, spineless, beholden to the moneybags. . . that "the American people are too stupid," or too ignorant, or too selfish. . . that the "vast majority" of Americans just want to warch mindless pap on the teevee and don't care what is happening to our cherished democracy and Constitution . . .

            . . . we add to that cynicism. We do their work for them.

            I am not going to sit here and be an idle spectator to the diminution, the subversion, the destruction, of the Constitution. - Barbara Jordan

            by Janet Strange on Wed Jul 25, 2007 at 08:01:10 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  I disagree (0+ / 0-)

          If you will recall, PNAC had it's genesis in the '90's, just before the Clinton Impeachment. The Neocons never accepted Clinton as a legitimate president, even after his re-election. These guys truly believed, in the words of Paul Wolfowitz, that conquering Iraq would be a "cakewalk" and would place a permanent imprimatur upon the Middle East as a expression of the American Empire. Even the selection of W was based more upon his perceived ability to garner Hispanic and black votes (as he did in Texas) than any true ideological fit. So in the oft spoken words of Condi Rice, no one (no neocon) could have imagined that Iraq would be such a mess and that the American public would turn so quickly against it.

      •  getting rid of the IC law was a (0+ / 0-)

        bipartisan effort.

        "Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn't mean politics won't take an interest in you" ~ Pericles

        by Chrispy67 on Wed Jul 25, 2007 at 12:30:38 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  If, if, if, .... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Night Owl, corvo

    If my grandmother had wheels, she'd be a bus.

    Or, as Pootie Poot put it,

    If your grandmother had balls, she'd be your grandfather.

  •  Not at all. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    smkngman, kraant, DarkestHour, Tanya

    This is just one of many excuses trotted out by a Democratic Congressional "leadership" unwilling to rise to the occasion.

  •  Raised this in another diary, so agree completely (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gorette, droogie6655321

    that it is part of the mix that is constraining a broader and more assertive move toward impeachment.

    Also agree about the likelihood of the remorseless, forgetful-by-design, prediction of future R actions.

    You say it so much better than I did!

    TFTD!

  •  I agree (4+ / 0-)

    I've been saying stuff along these lines for a while, but not nearly as well thought out.

  •  I agree with the poster (3+ / 0-)

    I feel the GOP impeached Clinton just for this very reason. So they could break the law without recourse because the public was turned off by impeachment.

  •  Absolutely correct, Gorette (10+ / 0-)

    Americans were not only traumatized by the Clinton impeachment as well as the 24/7 repitition of salacious details, they are really afraid of whether we have the "luxury" of impeachment in an age of "terror". After watching Alberto Gonzales yesterday, I had to wonder who will have the courage to end this. Who is going to stand for the Constitution and the Rule of Law. Sadly, I see no profiles in courage around DC and truthfully, it will have to be a Republican that will have to show some spine to end this. Sara Taylor was right when she said that she (and the Republican Party) took an oath to the President, not to the Constitution.

  •  Absolutely. (3+ / 0-)

    Guaran-fuckin'-teed.

    If Bill Clinton hadn't been impeached, Nancy Pelosi would, likely as not, be President of the United States by fall 2007.

    Joe Lieberman likes to be called an "Independent Democrat". I like being called a "sexual dynamo".

    by Arjun Jaikumar on Wed Jul 25, 2007 at 11:24:16 AM PDT

  •  Don't Confuse Repubs With Conserv Movement (10+ / 0-)

    Every Dem 1992 President was 100.00% guaranteed to be impeached the moment he was certified winner of the election.

    Yes for all the reasons given here. The Republicans aren't this smart but their strategists are.

    The program is to destroy liberalism at all costs. All costs, now that we've got no immediately lethal enemy empire to worry about.

    These guys think generationally ahead, we think generationally behind.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Wed Jul 25, 2007 at 11:27:00 AM PDT

    •  That's sad, but I would like to think we are (0+ / 0-)

      getting a little bit better. Maybe not enough though.

      Am I confusing the conservative movement with the R's? What I like to do is tar the R's with the conservative deeds.

      ...if you have 100% agreement down at the Gunshop on anything you know the wave must be coming. -Kenevan McConnon

      by Gorette on Wed Jul 25, 2007 at 11:43:36 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Great comment. Your generational observation (4+ / 0-)

      is right on.  They knew what they were doing when they impeached Clinton.  Maybe not in detailed specific terms as to how it would play out, but strategically I believe they knew that it would create a "space" within which they could operate as they are now, to effect the goals you stated.

      I don't think this is conspiratorial at all, but as you imply, it is a strategy that offers them many upsides in the DC power game.

      I wish our leaders could stop reacting to the chain yanking though.

      It's full of stars...

      by Terra Mystica on Wed Jul 25, 2007 at 11:55:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Gooserock: small clarification (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Janet Strange, Gorette, Terra Mystica

      Republican strategy is to destroy populism, democracy, and the voice of all but the 'economic royalists' (as FDR called them) and big corporations.

      "Liberalism" is just the GOP code word to scare average citizens about imagined filthy anarchist seducers.......Conflating libertines with liberals.

  •  Republicans had a stated intent to impeach in '93 (3+ / 0-)

    I can't find a cite for this, but I remember very clearly that the Republican leadership was already saying that Clinton should be impeached back in Jan. 1993---possibly even before he took office, presumably over WhiteWater. Anyone else remember this? I think it was Delay, but maybe Armey.
    The Republicans didn't try to impeach Clinton partially as an attempt to cheapen the process. Rather, they don't value the Constitution at all. Everything is pure power politics to them.

  •  Excellent discussion (5+ / 0-)

    We live in turbulent times. Many democrats seem to criticize the Iraq invasion only because it failed. They are quick to denounce Iran but say nothing about Saudi meddling in Lebanon and Iraq. Our military say that Saudis are much more numerous than Iranians among foreigners captured or killed in Iraq. The Israeli lobby is anxious for us to attack Iran. I think that would be extreme folly.

    Bush has successfully played the fear of terrorist attack card. I presume that impeachment resolutions will be filed against the next President if there is another major attack on US soil. I also fear that the next President may increase our problems by intervening in Pakistan, Syria, Iran any Muslim country that conservatives don't like. That will fortify Salafism. I would amend the Constitution so that no preventive or preemptive war or bombing raid could be carried out without the 3/4  approval of leaders of both political parties. However, that's fantasy. It’s hard to give up the idea of American exceptionalism, that we have rights which Canadians don't.

    Our biggest problem is that Bush has usurped power and insists that Congress may not investigate his actions. He does this by making sure that the DOJ will not enforce Congressional subpoenas. That is a violation of the Constitution, and a very dangerous power to pass on to the next President. I think that our Congressional "leaders" have drawn the conclusion that it's not safe to take a stand on anything controversial- that’s why they can’t deal with immigration. Name-calling is of course safe and encouraged. The Clinton impeachment is part of the background, but so is the ADHD drenched American culture of complaint.

    •  Agree about the Saudis, and the risk of (0+ / 0-)

      an attack on Iran...etc.

      I'm afraid that without impeachment now things will just get that much worse in the next few years.

      Question: Kindly explain what you mean by "the ADHD drenched American culture of complaint." I must be missing something.

      ...if you have 100% agreement down at the Gunshop on anything you know the wave must be coming. -Kenevan McConnon

      by Gorette on Wed Jul 25, 2007 at 11:59:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  GO POSITIVE (0+ / 0-)

    You phrase it all in the negative.

    Now give us the positive statement of Progressive Dems.

    Here's a link to POSITIVE statment from a Republican....click on the link in the comment:

    http://www.dailykos.com/...

  •  WHY nothing happens.... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gorette

    Lawyers specialize in making sure nothing too exciting happens. Many in Congress are lawyers.

    Alexis de Tocqueville thought this segment of the population--lawyers--would be a good MODERATING force in a Democracy.

    I think we have to be more foreceful and effective (in a Brooks Brothers sort of way that can be seen and heard by all, and not marginalized) as We The People in letting Congress know what we want.

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