Impeachment Rears Its Ineffectual Head Yet Again

My pal Burns! asks me, in e-mail:

I thought sure you’d have something to say about the Congressman from your great state of Ohio, Dennis Kucinich, bringing his impeachment resolution before the House yesterday.  He read for nearly five hours yesterday, and apparently they read the whole thing again earlier tonight.

Of course, nothing will come of it.

Thoughts?

I don’t really have thoughts on it, for two reasons:

1. As Burns! correctly notes, nothing will come of it, since the Democratic leadership in the house wants nothing to do with it, and there aren’t enough rank and file members who want anything to do with it, either;

2. Independent of this, while one can argue whether Bush deserves to be impeached or not, I think doing so would be a waste of time and effort and political oxygen, and this is a subject I’ve been fairly consistent on over the years. Also, you know. There’s no way I would endorse impeaching Bush without impeaching Cheney first, since the second Cheney gets his dead and soulless hands on the nuclear football, he’s going to throw a tight spiral of ICBMs right at the heart of Tehran. And then, well. Then it all gets really messy.

Since I don’t think impeachment is a good idea personally, and since I don’t see how it gets any traction in the House (much less the Senate, which would have to try Bush, and in which there would not be the required majority to convict, so again what’s the point), when Kucinich brought up his impeachment resolution, I didn’t think much of it. It’s nice for him that he made a stand and has been consistent to his principles, but otherwise, eh. I know half of the blogosphere is going nuts for it, but one half of the blogosphere is always going nuts about something, and while I give the half credit for going nuts over something more substantive than, say, what Rachel Ray is wearing, at the end of the day it’s not going to amount for much.

I’ve said it before, and it’s worth saying again: Whether people believe George Bush should be impeached, he won’t be, and it’s time to accept that fact and be done with it. You’re wasting your time on fantasy, and on a fantasy that in the real world would be messy and ugly and not worth the effort. If you genuinely believe that Bush has damaged the country, spend that time and energy you would sink hooting for his impeachment into doing something actually useful, which is to say, electing people into government who would work with a will to reverse the damage. That would be something worth hooting about, and thinking about, and doing.

54 thoughts on “Impeachment Rears Its Ineffectual Head Yet Again

  1. Ya, it is sad he’s gotten away with so much and our Congress did little to stop him. Maybe the next election will be begin to undo the damage.

  2. As you say, impeachment is a pipe dream, and it would only make things worse at this point. So why waste any air on it?

    If you’re going to make noise, make noise about the impending attack on Iran. As stupid as the invasion of Iraq was, attacking Iran is that degree of stupid again.

  3. I must admit, I have found the non-protests during his Farewell Tour of Europe to be interesting. Europe has already focused on coming US general election and doesn’t have the time or inclination to protest our lame-duck president, who is working (now!) on his legacy.

    Darth Cheney continues to keep his head down in an undisclosed location. Just wish he’d stay there.

    OTOH, maybe Kucinich wants more air time for both himself and his hot wife… (both received lots of air time from Jon Stewart on The Daily Show when Kucinich was in the nomination race)

  4. Tell us how you really feel about Cheney.

    This far in it’s just too late to bother with impeachment.

  5. I agree completely with your comment, including the small kudo to Kucinich for standing up for what he believes, whether it has an ice cube’s chance in a blast furnace of success. Also, it’s nice to have it in the record for historical purposes, lest future generations of historians scratch their heads, wondering why there was so much turmoil in the media and no formal mention, outside debate, in Congress.

  6. Dennis Kucinich is a joke. If you wanted me to think that Bush should be impeached, having a clown like Dennis the Menace propose it immediately makes it lose any chance of my support.

  7. Well, this congress has done nothing but run for re-election since they took office, so this is just another part of the plan. No doubt he was hoping that the trial in the Senate could come along in October, and could be turned into an indictment of all republicans, just in time for the November elections.

  8. No, there’s no time. *That’s the point.* The only point Dennis could possibly have at this point would be to keep these issues in front of the camera and make *damn* sure John “Bush III” McCain doesn’t have a snowball’s chance. (And to give Congress an excuse to go gridlock on any last-minute hoo-ha Junior and Darth want to send down the pike.)

    To use a football analogy, it’s like spiking the ball. It doesn’t gain you any yardage – but it does stop the clock and give you time to think. This won’t stop BushCo… but it will slow’em down.

  9. When I started hearing buzz about this on my lj friends’ list, I was like “meh. De ja veus all over again.” I heart Kusinich for being willing to be the guy no one takes seriously, because he does honestly manage to have an impact that way. But if the DNC were serious, it would have been Pelosi reading the articles.

    While I admit that the thought of evicting Bush from 1600 Pennsylvania a few months early has its appeal, you’re right that it’s not worth the time or political capital at this point. I’ll just live in hope that he has the misfortune of crossing paths with the wrong Spanish judge while vacationing in Europe. You know, sometime far, far in the future. Hopefully during the first few months of a Republican presidency on this side of the pond, to lessen the fallout. Not that I honestly think that’s going to happen, either, but it’s nice to have dreams.

  10. I like the analysis that this is destined to go nowhere, but is sitting on the table within Pelosi’s reach in case Bush and Cheney try anything funny with Iran.

  11. 12. Mark Moskowitz – Oooohh – I hadn’t thought of that – what a cool idea!

    (i bet nancy thought of it, tho…)

  12. Discussing impeachment is about as useful as weighing the benefits of libertarianism or Marxism. Those who care cannot organize to change anything leaving the discussion interesting but unimportant.

  13. what Rachel Ray is wearing

    Last time I checked, that was “nothing”.

    Oh wait, that was only in my mind.

  14. Make no mistake, whether or not the Congress has the will to go after impeaching the two of them, Cheney and Bush both deserve to be locked away in Gitmo. The damage they have done to the Constitution of this country is incalculable right now. They have betrayed this country to Big Oil profits.

    So, no impeachment will go nowhere.

    But, because Congress has given the Bushies anything and everything they wanted, maybe we could try launching an impeach Congress movement as well.

  15. BeVibe @13,
    It’s not original to me. I’ve seen it several places. Apparently Pelosi has specifically mentioned war with Iran as a situation in which impeachment would no longer be out of the question. (I can’t find the quote, sorry.)

  16. Meh. On both sides. I’m no lawyer, but I did pay attention in my history classes…

    One can make an excellent case that there’s been an awful lot of unnecessary dying going on in Iraq because some guy wanted to start a war, and his cabal were happy to play along.

    Similarly despicable things have been done along the same lines for the past 150 years (mostly to Indians and Latin American states), and we’re staying true to form by ruling out any possibility of admitting that we were wrong. I find that failure reprehensible.

    More to the point, there is value in impeaching Bush so late in the game: if convicted, he can then be regarded by the legal system as a criminal, and I personally figure that scheming to bring about the deaths of untold thousands of people definitely qualifies him for such a label at a moral level, and perhaps a legal one.

    In fact, successful impeachment and conviction is the only way that outcome can be realized. Otherwise his actions were merely those of someone who was executing the duties of his office, which have been affirmed repeatedly as being inculpable.

    Of course, the Roll Over And Play Dead Caucus in Congress was complicit by virtue of its failure to investigate his various claims, a fact I’m certain they don’t want to raise in the open.

    …Which leaves us right back at Go.

    The final travesty is that nearly all of the good will pissed away since Sept. 11th could be regained by doing the courageous thing.

  17. My boyfriend and I were talking about this very subject, and while I agreed that the idea of Darth Cheney in the driver’s seat was scary, I couldn’t figure out how that looked differently than Cheney in the front passenger seat, ready to perform a fire-drill swap at any given point. I mean, if our strategy is to avoid Cheney as president, the Republican strategy could very well be, place Cheney close to power that he can wield it, but be in a position to scare the Dems should they try to stop this president.

    I don’t really like the idea of using impeachment as strategy anyway.

    Here’s my bf’s thoughts on the subject. (He said I could repost them here.)

    It shouldn’t be that way. The first step to it not being that way, is trying to impeach fuckers who have failed their position. Just accepting that impeachment is too difficult means that eventually we no longer even have the option of firing underperforming or crooked Presidents.

    Mind you, I don’t have any particular interest in impeaching Bush. I’m tired and don’t care. Damage done, sort of thing. Clinton was impeached and he’s landed not only upright but appears to be floating several feet off the ground, so I don’t see much justice in the process.

    I do object to the idea that we *shouldn’t impeach, for whatever reason. It should remain an option.

    This isn’t a reason not to impeach, but I think there are a lot of people in the executive and legislature who should be held accountable for where we are today. We employ them to be less credulous than us. By taking Bush’s shining leadership hook, line and sinker, they’ve failed us too.

    I’ll say it again — because I like to say it — I spotted Bush immediately. And I only have “some college” and just bought a book called “Algebra I for Dummies”.

  18. I saw an assertion whose source I forget and whose veracity I cannot attest to that a President who is in the process of being impeached cannot issue pardons. If true it might be strategic to arrange for the doomed impeachment attempt to last until the next President is sworn in.

  19. Another thing: if this impeachment gets off the ground we won’t see 3 consecutive administrations without another one from here till the end of time.

  20. At this point, I think it’s a lot more important to concentrate on undoing the damage Bush has made then on trying to shave a few months off of his term (or even punishing him.) I’d rather attention was focused on his fiasco of a term by pushing the current candidates to vow to repeal the expansion of the executive branch that he oversaw. Punishing him only makes us happy today. Some of the precedents he has put in place could effect this country forever.

  21. I don’t know, John. You seem to be under the impression that if Bush were impeached, Cheney would somehow gain unlimited power and control, and I doubt that would happen. In fact, if he did wind up acting as Commander in Chief, I can’t imagine anyone taking him seriously enough to allow him to attack Iran.

    So, I think this great fear people have of “Darth” Cheney is somewhat irrational. As president, he would still have to follow the rules, and his leash would be pretty short.

  22. Ben @ 19: In fact, successful impeachment and conviction is the only way that outcome can be realized. Otherwise his actions were merely those of someone who was executing the duties of his office, which have been affirmed repeatedly as being inculpable.

    As the Pinochet case illustrated, that’s not necessarily the case. Under international law, you can’t claim immunity for crimes committed while acting for the state if the crime in question must by definition be committed by a state official. Which means that Bush, like Pinochet, can be held liable for Gitmo and the secret prisons under the Convention Against Torture.

    Now, that doesn’t actually mean anyone is going to get him on that, because there are some rather obvious differences between going after a former president of Chile and going after a former president of the United States. But Sovereign immunity is beginning to erode a little as a concept in international law as international human rights norms take precedence.

  23. Dan:

    “In fact, if he did wind up acting as Commander in Chief, I can’t imagine anyone taking him seriously enough to allow him to attack Iran.”

    “Allow him?” The President doesn’t need permission from anyone to order an attack, if I recall correctly. He needs permission from Congress to formally wage war, but that’s an entirely different thing. Cheney wouldn’t need “unlimited power,” just the power any president wields.

    To be clear, I don’t really think Cheney would launch a nuclear attack. I do think it’s entirely possible he would order some other sort of more conventional attack, however, given his current thinking on Iran and the fact that he and his pals have been doing a whole bunch of saber-rattling in that direction. Any sort of attack would, I suspect, be massively destabilizing to the area and would dump the US and the world economy into the shit house.

  24. ben @# 19
    “More to the point, there is value in impeaching Bush so late in the game: if convicted, he can then be regarded by the legal system as a criminal…”

    Actually, no. According to Article I, Section 3, Clause 7 of the US Constitution, “Judgment in Cases of Impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from Office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States: but the Party, (defendant), convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment, Trial, Judgment and Punishment, according to Law.”

    So conviction in an impeachment does not cause him to be “regarded by the legal system as a criminal”, it merely removes him from office and disqualifies him from further office. For him to be “regarded as a criminal”, he would have to be subsequently indicted, tried, and convicted of a specific criminal offense (beyond the rather-nebulous “high crimes and misdemeanors.”)

  25. Yeah, just because it is hard to do, we shouldn’t do it. What’s more American than turning our backs on something that is hard or difficult. I’m sure most Americans would agree that it was completely futile to even consider helping the people of New Orleans before and after Hurricane Katrina because that seemed like a pretty tough job to do as well. So we can hardly impeach George W Bush for failing to act to protect the Gulf Coast (one of the articles in Kucinich’s proffered resolution) for not doing something so hard that we wouldn’t do ourselves.

    While we are at it, to hell with global warming. I mean if we can’t help New Orleans and we can’t impeach a President or a Vice President, who do we think we are to try and save the planet.

    I say we focus on something more doable, like writing a petition to Rachel Ray requesting that she wear more purple colored clothing.

    With Greatest Sarcasm,

    Brett

  26. It’s definitely one of those damned if you do and damned if you don’t things, I guess. We impeach, we’re screwed. We don’t impeach, and we all wind up looking like a weak, gullible nation who refuses to hold their leader accountable.

    I never thought I’d be looking forward to winter in Wisconsin, but January just can’t get here soon enough.

  27. I think Bush and Cheney were never seriously threatened with impeachment because (i) their party controlled Congress for the first six years, and (ii) the Congressional Democrats now in control know from recent history that an impeachment initiated by the opposition party can cause that party some damage (i.e., the Republicans’ losses in the 1998 elections, even before the House impeachment hearings began, leading to replacement of the Speaker; also the humiliation of not being able to get even simple majorities for either impeachment resolution in the Senate). Maybe if they’d somehow won in 2004 instead of ’06…

    In the absence of impeachment hearings before 1/20/09, I would be satisfied if huge majorities massively repudiate any and all Republicans in elective office. Any of them who haven’t quit Bush’s party should have done so long ago.

  28. 1) If anyone deserves Impeachment, it’s Bush and the rest of the White House senior staff. It doesn’t matter how little time in office they’ve got left. If you look at other criminals, there is sometimes a concerted effort to convict criminals right before the applicable statute of limitations runs out.

    2) If you don’t actually Impeach a President, it’s no longer a useful deterrent. (see also: Bush Presidency)

    3) The reason for impeachment of Bush apply equally well (if not more so) for Cheney, so I see no reason to think that Impeaching Bush would result in a Cheney presidency. In fact, I’d be left wondering how far down the rung you’d get before you’d find someone who wasn’t also at least partially responsible. I doubt you could nab any Democratic Congresscritters in this, but giving him power reserved for Congress certainly qualifies in my mind. This is not a Republican White House-only crime we’re talking about here (though the bulk of that responsibility certainly lies there.)

    4) This would be a nice into the the deserved war crimes trials they should then undergo (assuming you could keep Bush from escaping to his 100,000 acre war criminal safehouse in Paraguay, which I doubt).

    5) Until you’re willing to actually ENFORCE the laws for the President, you have no right to expect anyone else to follow them, either.

    6) It’s only ‘ineffectual’ because the people aren’t willing to force their representatives to actually, you know, REPRESENT their wishes. If you give up before starting the fight, you’ll never WIN the fight. Funny how that works.

  29. One thing to take into consideration is the men and women serving our country in Afghanistan and Iraq. Imagine the spike in violence that will take place if the president they serve is impeached. It may even have the opposite effect, causing a prolonged response, and an increase in insurgence activity. I much prefer we concentrate on getting the troops home. Granted, it’s not likely to happen while Bush is in office, but I don’t want to do anything to increase the risks those men and women face on day-to-day basis as it is. Impeaching Bush may seem like the right thing to do, but I rather do the prudent thing and get a guy in office who will get them home as soon and as safe as possible.

  30. Look, this is how it is: we only live under the rule of law as long as we apply it as evenly and justly as possible, making all citizens equally subservient to the social contract. If this doesn’t happen, the idea the law doesn’t apply to anyone begins to gain credence. Then, all hell breaks loose.

    If we don’t hold George W. Bush and Dick Cheney responsible for their illegal actions, then we have established a precedent that there are no high crimes deserving of impeachment. We become subjected to the whims of an unchecked, all-powerful executive.

    These men ordered the illegal invasion of a sovereign nation and knowingly lied about it to the nation to gain its approval; approved torture, murder, rape, robbery, and a laundry list of other crimes against humanity; and finally thumbed their noses at the U.S. citizenry when some of us objected.

    We must prosecute these criminals not just because they should be punished but because if we fail to do so we have failed as humans, not just in the eyes of the world but in our own. How can we respect ourselves if we allow these criminals to escape justice because it’s politically expedient, which is just another way of saying we’re too lazy and afraid of the consequences?

  31. R.W. Ridley @35 – I don’t know how you get from Impeachment to a spike in violence in Afghanistan and Iraq. Also, I could see an argument that impeachment proceedings may signal an impending pullout of troops, thus easing tensions over there, rather than the opposite.

    Also, impeachment proceedings may help us prevent an illegal invasion of Iran.

  32. I’ll play the pessimistic Euro b*tch, here: among the bloggers and pundits talking against the impeachment right now, how many were in favor of the war in 2003? Counting those who weren’t fooled by Bush’s “leader” shtick but still thought going to war in Iraq was “the right thing” to do?

    *sigh*

  33. I’m for impeachment because it is Congress’s duty to impeach a president who has broken the law. It’s that simple. No one is above the law in this country, even King George. Every member of Congress should be ashamed of themselves for not doing their job, and that includes the Democrats milking this for political gain.

    Remember, impeachment does not mean the President is removed from office. It simply means to try the president for alleged crimes. In fact, no president has ever been removed from office by impeachment. So the fact that Congress would likely not remove him before the end of his term is irrelevant.

    It’s a lot like trying an 95 year old man for murder. Sure, the dude is going to die long before you ever get him to death row, but isn’t it still the right thing to do?

  34. Tumbleweed, I don’t think it’s that big of a stretch that the impeachment of the president will embolden the guys who set out IEDs and strap on bombs to drive through check points. In their minds, the troops are just as liable as their commander and chief. They won’t see liberators or invaders. They’ll see criminals. The insurgence aren’t interested in a peaceful resolution. They’re interested in killing American troops. They’ll use the impeachment process as a recruiting tool and fire up the marketing machine.

    With the time left, it’s not possible to pull out the troops and then impeach Bush. If you can find a way to accomplish that, then I won’t have any objections. I know there is a lot of anger and hatred for the mess Bush has gotten us into, but as I said, I’d rather do what’s best for the men and women who are putting their lives on the line. Get them home first and then send the legal system after Bush.

  35. I figured we’d fall on the same side of this one. I don’t really have anything to add, as you (and a couple of noters above) have said it already.

    Nice that Kucinich is standing by his principles. Good that he read the charges into the record for historical purposes. At this point, impeachment would have nothing but downside for the country. He didn’t have any illusions that this would ever be acted upon, and knew that it would ultimately end up in Judiciary Committee limbo.

  36. There is a definite value in impeachment. Not only would there be some personal satisfaction in seeing his presidential pension stripped, but the message sent to future presidents will be clear:

    We will not stand for this.

    As a people, as a nation, we may be slow. We may have waited until very late in the game, but we need to send a message: there is a line, sir, and you have crossed it. We have a heckuva mess to clean up politically, economically, morally, and in the world community, and you will be held accountable for your role therein. We only hope that, over time, we can regain our lost credibility and standing in the world, and that the message, hope and promise of democracy is not lost.

    Having said that, I realize a) it won’t happen, b) the timing is miserable, and c) nobody cares enough to do anything. Furthermore, there is d) the vast majority of Americans shouted down voices of reason who suggested we might need, oh, say *evidence* before launching a war and blindly espoused Bush like good little lemmings. There is the faint possibility that they may be embarassed to admit an error of such magnitude.

    For those who addressed the “rule of law” issues above, the concept is crucial, but forgotten in this land. The police do as they please, follow such laws as they will, and the new overlords sincerely believe that the law does not apply to them. It is a tragedy of the first order that the general public appears to be willing to endorse this arrangement by its inaction.

  37. R.W. Ridley – I very much doubt that the insurgents really think about the difference between invader and criminal as far as U.S. troops are concerned. To them, I think, any forgeigner on their soil is pretty much fair game, especially Americans. If they feel we’re getting out, I think the much more likely scenario is that they’d lay off rather than be emboldened. I doubt either one of us has the necessary point of view to be able to prove we’re right, though.

  38. Annalee @ 26: You’ve just stated the single strongest case why in a situation like this, the Legislative should waste no time. The world is turning into a place where other countries will try to do it for us, and I see no good coming out of such attempted erosion of state sovereignty (whether committed to the disadvantage of the United States, or any other nation-state).

    DG @ 29: You’ve only strengthened my point – you’re right, impeachment and conviction only go so far.

    However, WITHOUT THEM A NORMAL CRIMINAL TRIAL WOULD BE UNCONSTITUTIONAL.

    Ahem. Was I shouting? Sorry about that.

    It’s been held repeatedly that federal officials cannot be held liable or culpable in court for actions taken pursuant to the fulfillment of their office; the Constitution also makes it clear that conviction by the Senate allows no sentence other than removal from office.

    Without a Senate conviction to overcome, any culpable confirmed/elected officials could then claim that they were only doing their jobs – and almost certainly get away with it, because any other precedent would be disastrous.

    Meanwhile, the deadline for a Senate conviction is ticking away.

    After the ’06 elections the impeachment issue ceased to be about removal, and became a question of whether or not the Republic can keep its own house in order (lest others choose to do the keeping for us, a la Pinochet).

  39. This really is the line of the day:

    the second Cheney gets his dead and soulless hands on the nuclear football, he’s going to throw a tight spiral of ICBMs right at the heart of Tehran

    Love it. Oh, and I agree with you. Cheers.

  40. Kucinich did bring articles of impeachment against Cheney last year, probably for the very reason you suggest.

    Obviously, nothing happened.

    As an outsider, allow me to say that impeaching this administration would go a long way toward restoring the US’s reputation internationally.

    You know, if you care about that sort of thing…

  41. Israel will probably hit the Iranian nuke facilities before Cheney ever gets a chance to strike Iran. Of course Israel will have US support in any op against Iran.

  42. @ Brett, 48.

    I am not sure why another countries opinion of America’s reputation in the long run matters. It seems that since the mid 70’s, which is about as far back as I can remember clearly, the US has had 2 options when it comes to making decisions on the international field:

    1. Do the right thing
    2. Do the popular thing

    And no matter what choice they make, someone somewhere will raise a Che embossed banner in protest.

    An impeachment trial would play right into the Republican plans this year.

    All they would have to do is wait for the process to start, then release a commercial:

    “High Energy Costs,high food costs, an conflict in the middle east with no resolution in sight. A sluggish economy, a housing crisis, etc etc etc. And what are the democrats in congress doing? Rather than solve those issues, they are wasting time on a process that will solve none of these issues. While working Americans struggle to put food on the table, gas in their car, and hope their paycheck will get them by another two weeks, Democrats are not working to solve these issues. Instead they are using their time on Capital not to advance the interest of their constituents, but their own…”

    Or a variation thereof. I am sure some group on K Street has something worked up already…

    If the Democrats were serious about impeachment, they would have done so already, and someone other than Kuchinich would have been the mouthpiece…

  43. I wasn’t sure you _would_ care what other countries thought of the US’s foreign policy. And you are certainly right that you can’t please all of the people all of the time.

    But as someone who lives right next door, I’m glad to see that at least one Democrat is interested in making those jerks pay for ignoring your constitution, invading other nations without provocation (and dragging us along with you the first time), and violating international law.

    You may not care, but about 190 other nations share the globe, and the US has been throwing its weight around rather a lot in the last 70 years. That’s mostly okay, because, more often than not, the Republic has been a force for good. But the Evil Empire has been particularly indiscreet recently, and it makes the rest of us nervous. If we saw that the rule of law still has power _within_ your borders, we’d probably feel better about how you’re behaving elsewhere.

    It’s symbolic and largely ineffectual, I know. But yesterday my government apologised to the Native peoples of our country for their mistreatment in the residential schools. It’s symbolic, sure, and it won’t bring anyone back, or restore their childhood, or teach them their mother tongue or their culture, both of which were beaten out of them. Nonetheless, it was important to say: to accept responsibility, to admit wrongdoing, and to start to make amends.

    “High Energy Costs, high food costs, and conflict in the middle east with no resolution in sight. A sluggish economy, a housing crisis, etc etc etc. And what are the democrats in congress doing?”

    They’re getting the bastards who did this.

    You may not care, and clearly the rest of the Dems don’t, and the bulk of the American population clearly doesn’t. And that’s fine, because it’s your house, and they’re your rules. Follow them, don’t follow them, whatever. And before long, _not_ punishing these men for violating your Constitution will be a footnote in the death throes of the American Empire.

    I’m just saying what one Canadian thinks of the whole thing.

  44. Call me naive, but wouldn’t impeachment send a message to future (vice) presidential hopefuls that careless disregard for their nation’s founding principles doesn’t go unpunished? This punishment, shame and a tarnished legacy; wouldn’t this also be in some form a preventative measure, as well as symbolic one?

  45. Ben@46: I have a terrible feeling you’re right. But does that include all criminal activity–like Cheney’s conduct in the Valerie Plame scandal (espionage) or war profiteering (both of them)? I’d like to think it doesn’t. And while they might get out on appeal, there are juries angry enough to convict.
    Impeach is of no interest in me–in part because of the very limited time table–but at the very least, I think a lot of Americans could be convinced to support criminal prosecutions once they get out of office.
    I hope.

  46. I just hope ole Nancy P. suffers a little for not using her position to protect our country from Bush/Cheney

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